Campbell Hooper of Special Problems
Auckland creative studio Special Problems was conceived in 2007 after mutual friends of the pair suggested that founders Campbell Hooper and Joel Kefali should get together to create greatness. Their multi-disciplinary aesthetic skills, which brings together their backgrounds in graphic design, film, animation, music and fine arts, has seen Special Problems become one of New Zealand’s most respected studios. As well as making magic for brands, they’ve produced music videos for everyone from The Mint Chicks to Crowded House, David Dallas to Tame Impala, Wolfmother, Zowie and more, and recently took out the 2011 Vodafone New Zealand Music Award for Best Music Video (Punching In A Dream by The Naked and Famous). STOLEN caught up with Campbell Hooper to learn more…
Were you an arty kid? When did you work out that your future was in the creative field?
Hmmm, arty kid? Not especially. Pretty normal I think, I played rugby and video games. But I was quite insular and off in my own world a lot. Maybe you should ask my mum? I gravitated toward art because I was terrible at everything else.
How did Special Problems come in to being?
Joel and I started sharing a studio space together above Stephen Marr in Ponsonby and out of that we made a couple of music videos and then people asked us to do more and that was that. As organic a ‘start up’ as you could get really.
You work across the creative spectrum doing graphic design, film, music, fine arts… Could you ever pick a favourite discipline?
The pendulum swings from one to the other probably based entirely on boredom. When I finish an animated project, I want to direct photographically, then I get bored and start working on sound stuff, or design, and the cycle continues. I’d get depressed working just as an editor or a DOP or a designer. I’d start to fall into stylistic formulas if I did the same thing day in day out. By the time I go back into animation I’ve forgotten how to do it and I have to start all over again. Special Problems has always worked with a belief that directing occurs inside the making of something rather than outside. Directing should be more than just abstracted opinions. It’s about your opinions becoming informed by wrestling with the forms yourself.
You won the Best Music Video Tui at the VNZMAs. Who would you most love to make a music video for?
Have you caught any live acts recently that have blown your mind?
Who’s rocking your world in the NZ creative scene at the moment?
Favourite STOLEN Rum cocktail?
“If I wasn’t doing this, I’d….”
Photo by Tom Roberton