Benn Sutton Does Stuff
Fashpack: Freetown is a six-part series that peels back the colourful layers of the an unlikely fashion hotspot, and explores how creativity and self-expression have the power to transcend circumstances. Interview with Fashpack: Freetown creator and advertising creative Benn Sutton.
How did Fashpack: Freetown come about?
Toil and luck. I left the Monkeys to make a doco in Kyrgyzstan and then onto Sierra Leone to shoot a quick pitch pilot for Fashpack. The first project ran into legal issues so all we could do was focus on Fashpack. There was a lot of interest in the idea, but we were stubborn and wanted to produce the series ourselves. Even though it took over a year to get funding in the end we made a six-part series the way we wanted.
You wrote, directed and produced the series, which was the hardest?
The first few weeks as a producer were brutal. Suddenly I was running a production company with employees. I didn’t know how to do an A-Z budget, or organise insurance for a country with an Ebola outbreak. I made every possible mistake. But looking back it was liberating and kind of thrilling.
Why liberating? Because you were learning?
That’s it. I’m a scathing self-critic. Thankfully I’m getting less Morrissey as I get older, and I’ve figured out that if I’m learning then the pressure is off. I get to make mistakes without beating myself up. It’s a neat trick, although in practice it means I always need to have a bunch of new projects on the go. Which creates another issue as now I worry about the things on my list that I’m not currently doing.
What are some of the projects keeping you awake at night?
I’ve just pitched another online series, so I’m waiting to hear about that. I’m working on a photography project with my Dad about the fading nature of memory. And I have a bunch of feature scripts in various stages of development including “stop drinking beer and finish that script”.
How do you cope with creative anxiety?
I focus on the craft and the process. With writing I think you have to accept that your first draft is going to suck. Some days it’s unbearable, but that’s the process and without that crummy first draft you’re not going to have anything to improve upon.
Any more children’s books in the works?
I’m working on two children’s books at the moment that I’m really excited about. It’s such a playful and inventive medium, plus I’ve just had a baby girl so if I can get something new out soon I’ll be able to casually slip it onto her book pile.