Trevor McMahan: A Few Of My Favourite Things
The Rocket Film director talks us through his penchant for a penguin with a purpose, a consonant-collecting coffee cup and his ongoing ukulele obsession (and biggest fan).
Having started his career as the 'third arm' of directing collective HAPPY, it's not a surprise that Rocket Film director Trevor McMahan's selection of goodies for our Favourite Things feature is a joy-filled one.
McMahan, now an award-director in his own right, uses his ability to draw authentic performances and cinematic storytelling to create work for clients including Coca Cola, Google, Volkswagen, Visa, Huawei, Jeep, and Cadbury.
Amongst the objects he presents us today, we see his penchant for a penguin with a purpose, a consonant-collecting coffee cup, his ongoing ukulele obsession and a bunny called... er... Chicken.
The Coffee Cup
Okay, we’ll start with an ice breaker. My coffee mug.
I drink a lot of coffee out of this mug.
Not espresso though - I like a proper cup of joe. But it’s a great conversation piece.
Because this mug comes from, take a deep breath...
Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubuna-gungamaugg (yes, that’s 14 glorious syllables pronounced char-gogg-uh-gogg-man-chaw-guh-gogg-shuh-boon-uh-gun-guh-mogg).
The longest-named lake in the world, it’s name comes from Algon-quin and translates to “You fish on your side, I’ll fish on my side, and no one fishes in the middle.”
A very quaint New England lake in Webster, Mass you HAVE TO visit, even if just to see how they get creative to fit the lake’s name on street signs and over-passes.
And souvenir mugs.
I love socks.
And I also love mismatching them.
This pair is my favorite.
They have my two kids faces on them, which means they mismatch well.
And I’m never without my kids, even when I’m shooting halfway around the world.
The Pet Penguin (with the penguin backpack)
Not an actual “thing”… but this is one of my all time favorite stories.
A penguin found caught in a fishing net named Lala in Japan who refused to leave his 'foster' family once he fully recovered. He lived for many years in an air-conditioned room in their house, and was well known around town for making trips to the fish market to do the 'grocery shopping' for his (human) family.
He would walk there, all the way through town, where the fisherman would pack the family’s fish order into a backpack Lala would wear.
But, before the penguin would bring it back home, the fisherman would feed him a fish reward.
I just can’t ever get over this penguin, and oh my… his PENGUIN-SHAPED BACKPACK!!
I was obsessed with Lala for a while, but no one would believe me.
Until, of course, they saw the video, which then lead to me receiving years of penguin-themed Christmas gifts.
If you haven’t, you have to check him out.
The Squirrel Art - Squirrel Washington and Squirrel with a Pearl Earring
A couple of my all-time favorite props.
These (tiny) paintings - Squirrel Washington and Squirrel With a Pearl Earring - were commissioned for a shoot involving a fully-realized world of miniature sets inhabited by an array of taxidermy squirrel characters.
They were hung on the wall of a classical library set and were surrounded by surrounded by shelves full of bite-size books, which added to the irony.
I just love these kinds of unexpected props that are just as fun to create as they are to spot while watching.
The DOP (Director of Plumbing)
It’s the winter holiday last year, and my DP is visiting from out of town.
The pipe burst in the bathroom. And what does he do? He rolls up his sleeves, and asks for some pliers.
This is a shot from beneath him just as he was warming up, before he went full-plumber and climbed all the way under the sink.
I really appreciate developing ongoing working relationships with key crew members, getting to know each other, how we each work, and being able to develop a sort of shorthand that helps us push further with each next production.
And, who knows, maybe find a plumber or electrician along the way.
The Ukulele and Chicken the Bunny
Well, we made it all the way to the end.
Time for a break.
This isn’t work related, but I just love this ukulele my kick-ass creative director wife gave me last year.
I’ve found teaching myself how to play ukulele such a great way to unwind from work, while still being somewhat creatively active.
Also, my pet bunny 'Chicken' will sit next to me while I play, and seems to really like it.
Or is he trying to tell me to “pipe down!”?