Kit Lynch-Robinson: A Few Of My Favourite Things
The action-packed FLIPT director talks good coffee, great grades and important chips whilst going through a few of the things that keep him creatively inspired.
With a background in all things automotive - stunts, action scenes, and adventurous journeys across continents - Kit Lynch-Robinson might seem like a thrill-seeking maniac.
However, despite working as a series director for Chris Hemsworth's show Limitless and helming some episodes of Quibi's Elba VS Block (where Idris Elba faces off against Ken Block in vehicle-based challenges), the FLIPT director's choices for the things that keep him creatively inspired are much more cerebral.
Encompassing the precision of cooking, grading and even coffee-making, as well as a reminder of the importance of self-regulation, Lynch-Robinson's selection shows a director in control of his surroundings.
Life is too short for bad coffee.
Coffee is not only a hobby, a vice, a fuel, and a tool, but it's also a way for me to exercise my control freakery demons.
I always strive to produce the same quality of cup every time, and I do this by weighing beans, dialling in grinders, formulating the exact composition of mineral water, and heating the water to the precise temperature.
This obsessive detail is how I work, and it leaks into other parts of my life.
So, I try to focus it on a few things to avoid causing havoc in the parts of my life that I like to keep freewheeling.
Being able to make a perfect cup of coffee for A-list talent in the wilderness, especially when it's an early start and a gruelling day ahead, can boost the mood of the day.
It's also a nice opportunity for a few minutes of water cooler chat as you make it...
I have always loved the grading process.
Back when I was a runner, I worked on sets with black-and-white video assist on film cameras. I often wonder how we ever coped with it.
From peeking at the monitors and seeing grainy, contrasty black and white video tap images, to seeing rushes on muddy 1-lights, and then seeing the neg literally come alive in the grading suite - it blew my mind.
It has always been and will always be one of my favourite parts of the whole filmmaking process.
Once the hard work is done and the creative rutting has been settled, you get to sit in a room and make the film look the best it can be while eating cake.
That's why I bought myself a printer, and I now 'grade' pictures I take, mainly of my kids, which I print and frame.
But I also use it to experiment with test grades, trying out different things and constantly learning, so that I can be more informed when I get into the suite with the colourist.
I love cooking.
Feeding friends and family is an expression of love.
I believe in the slightly hippy notion of energy - what you put in comes out in the result, whether that's hand-rolling pasta for delicious pumpkin ravioli in sage and brown butter, or making chocolate chip freezer cookies.
It's about spending time preparing something and pouring energy into it.
The same goes for hustling for work - don't wait for the phone to ring, go and have a coffee with some people you want to work with and take them homemade biscuits.
There is also a practical side to it - cooking helps me think.
I concentrate on one thing, and my subconscious works away at the solution to a problem. Whether it's devising shots, making a line funnier, or pushing a host to be more vulnerable, cooking can be a great way to clear your head and find inspiration.
Sometimes, when you hit a block sitting at your desk, you need to get up and do something else for a bit. The solution will hit you.
I have been sober for ten years. This might be TMI for some, but it's a personal choice I'm happy to share. It's not because I'm obsessed with my sobriety; to be honest, it wasn't a huge problem for me.
This is about my drive and passion for my family and my career, and the motivation that I draw on.
Before I quit, I spent twelve years in the industry being a lunatic and having a great time. I was doing good work, having a lot of fun, but I had probably missed some opportunities in my career from being a smart mouth at industry parties or hungover in pitch meetings. When my first child was six months old, it hit me: I had a choice between hangovers, career, and family. I could pick two, but if I chose hangovers, it was only one.
So I gave up drinking. I didn't want to be a fraud of a director, to my kids or to myself. I needed to be able to say that I had done everything I could to be as good as I could be at this. I wanted to be a great dad, and I just didn't have enough time for everything. My choice was simple.
Our industry is full of booze and hedonism, which can be joyous, inspiring, fun, and incredible. It should be. But for many people, it can become a dysfunctional relationship when you add in the stress, long hours, and career knockbacks. I was lucky that I saw my path and sorted it. I don't regret those intoxicated days; going to the edge is good, and going over the edge occasionally is necessary. I now focus that energy on creativity, using this motivation to keep pushing, keep learning, and keep finding fun, kind, interesting, and talented collaborators.
Clarity and energy.
It's been fourteen years now, and I feel good about this choice every single day.