Rob Ulitski - 22nd Oct 2021

The Trash Factory (James Arden) and Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille, co-direct the promo for No Bad Days - a story of love, loss and the intersection of humanity and technology. 

As well as co-directing a Bastille video for the first time, Dan Smith plays a scientist who is trying to bring back the essence of his deceased love into the form of a robot - both played by Amber Jean Rowan. She gives a multi-layered performance, cycling through different characters and emotions with ease, while Smith matches this energy with his own seamless performance. 

Xander Mitchell's art direction elevates the piece to a new level, peppering the space with high-tech screens and gadgets, whilst ensuring the environment is still anchored in some sort of reality.

The story, heaped with some familiar sci-fi movie references, also plays powerfully with the theme of the song No Bad Days, as Smith's audacious, ground-breaking experiment promises the end of misery - indeed the end of Death itself...


In the end, it’s a simple story about grief and wanting to bring somebody back... 

"Co-directing, it was a pleasure to guide Dan through his first experience in the hot seat - we both had a lot of ideas at the start, and spent hours together distilling down the concept and working out what we wanted the video to communicate amongst all the twisted beauty and technology.

"There’s a lot going on in there - cramming in sci-fi references to Ghost In The Shell, The Matrix, Ex Machina, Alien, Devs, 2001, etc. But we focused on not losing sight of the soul of the piece. In the end, it’s a simple story about grief and wanting to bring somebody back, and how that could play out in a futuristic setting. We allude to the Futurescape technology from previous videos, showing Dan hacking it, but I wanted to make sure No Bad Days would look and feel unique as a promo.

"One of the ways we did that was to limit ourselves to track and dolly for the most part - thanks to DoP David Wright arguing his case for that! - holding on moments to focus on emotion and really using the scale of the space around us. I think it looks especially mad on the circular track around the android. Hopefully, people agree.

"On a technical note, we shot this promo on Xtal anamorphic lenses - the same used for Ex Machina, which is obviously pretty cool given the android theme! Stylistically, they worked so well to emphasise the dramatic, cinematic feel we wanted.

"Our production designer, Xander Mitchell, and costume designer, Minna Attala, both did an incredible job bringing the vision of the world we had to life - building Dan’s lab and android workstation, whilst the wider story of the woman’s past was created entirely through VFX which was a first for me… waiting until post to tell half the story and pray it comes across - I think we got it right though!"

PRO Credits


DirectorThe Trash Factory
DirectorDan Smith
ProducerVanessa Mc Donnell
Production CompanyLowkey Films
Executive ProducerVanessa Mc Donnell
1st ADKerry Green
Director of PhotographyDavid Wright
Focus PullerBenjamin Smith
2nd ACKristiana Zhekova
GafferMilo Cosemans
Art DirectorXander Mitchell
WardrobeMinna Attala
EditorAmy Dang
ColouristJonny Tully
Grading companyTag Collective Arts
Post ProducerKatie Gillard
VFXJohan Barrios
CastAmber Jean Rowan
Director's RepresentationOB Management
CommissionerJames Hackett
Other creditsSparks: Amarjeet Singh, Kqcper Jaszcz Art Assistants: Sammy Cullis, Charlie Adams, Simms George, Izzy Nakhla Grip: Bobby Brown Riggers: Sam Cashman, Francis Cutler, David Mullins Hmua (Artist): Tom Gilling Stylist Assistant: Natasha Luz Del Cielo Photographer: Louise Bennett Photographer Bts: Oliver Middleton Videographer Bts: Ryan VFX House: Tk-Fx VFX Producer: Elis Tanyeri Lead VFX: Salvatore Lo Cascio VFX Artist: Ronnie Humphrey Covid Supervisor: Les Spiteri Runners: Grace O’Connor, Sonny Greaney

Rob Ulitski - 22nd Oct 2021

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