On My Radar: Isabella Parish
Isabella Parish, EP and MD of 1stAveMachine London and self-confessed Apple addict, likes to lose herself in dark and moody TV shows, steers clear of social media & gets her inspiration during hot summer nights in Sicily.
What’s the best ad campaign you’ve seen recently?
You know, I loved the campaign with the paper airplanes for British Telecom [Moments]. It has a lovely gentle idea, it is beautifully executed, I just thought it did the job really well and was very sweet.
I also loved the A-Z of Music by Mark Jacobs; great casting and great looks, and it's pretty funny. Not sure if it counts as an ad campaign, but it was excellent.
What website(s) do you use most regularly and why?
I love thisiscolossal.com; I can lose hours here, so many rabbit holes to go down, there are mountains of interesting artists, and craftsmen and architecture and illustrators and photographers and and and…
Ooh, and I also love Emilie Froozen’s photographic blog; just pages and pages of cool paintings and clips from forgotten films and fun stuff to lose an hour in.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
I recently bought my third set of Apple earbuds. I can’t seem to keep hold of these things at all and I’ve spent hundreds of pounds on them and they drive me crazy and you have to keep reconnecting them between your computer and phone etc etc... very annoying but like the rest of the world I’m addicted to Apple. Hence them recently becoming the first company to be worth one trillion dollars. One trillion dollars! And I feel sick because so much of that is down to me.
What’s your favoured social media platform?
I have not been looking after the online version of me very well and this is not how I communicate with the world… I try to stay away from it as much as possible. I took Facebook off my phone a while back and I try and monitor my girls’ Snapchat stories but its frankly very boring and my Instagram account is looking particularly woeful; there are so many other things to do! So, no social media tips, I’m afraid.
What’s your favourite app on your phone?
I love games on my phone, I love Lumino City and Inside, which is pretty dark. Both have great set design and characters, especially Lumino City which is all shot as a real miniature model.
My favourite pass time on my phone is listening to Adam Buxton’s podcast in the morning whilst doing the crossword on the tube; lovely 25 mins every day.
What’s your favourite TV show and why?
Incroyable Mais Vrais was my favourite as a child growing up in Paris. One of the contestants, Mr Mange Tout, ate a whole airplane, but now The Handmaid’s Tale [below]; dark and moody and frankly terrifying. Oh, and I just started Sharp Objects, which is also pretty dark and creepy.
What film do you think everyone should have seen and why?
Well maybe The Shining [below]. I mean everyone’s seen that right? And if they haven’t they should; great production, great talent, referenced everywhere... I mean we’ve all seen it, right?
Or maybe it’s a montage of moments; Call Me By My Name just for the scene in the end where the father deals with his son’s broken heart, or the moment that the flowers come back to life when everyone thinks that ET is dead, or the opening scene of The Greatest Showman, or the beautiful sequence in Girlhood where the group are dancing and singing along to Rhianna’s Shine Bright Like a Diamond. I mean the list goes on and on.
Where were you when inspiration last struck?
In bed at 3am, lying awake in the heat in Sicily; 40 degrees at night with a cacophony of cicadas and night creatures outside the window and I had an amazing blast of inspiration. Then I fell asleep and forgot it. I’ll try and remember what the genius was and I’ll get back to you!
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
The arrival of the digital content. I’m afraid that I started work in the late 90s and the technology was just not around yet, so commercials were bound for TV and cinema and that’s pretty much it. This meant that everybody would actually see the ads you made.
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
What or who has most influenced your career and why?
Working with Madeleine Sanderson [MD of Partizan London] for over 15 years. She was my closest friend and boss and we went through a million things together. She basically taught me all I know about agency relationships, director relationships, how to support a production and give it a boost when things are dragging, what to do when things go crazy on set and how to have fun too.
Also working with [director] Michael Gracey [below]; the most hard working, positive, person I’ve ever met, he is bursting with ideas for creative projects from games to theatre productions to exhibitions to dance shows. He is determined and resilient and brings the best out in everyone.
And [director] Bob Partington; he is an inspiration – there is a calmness and techy-ness that I love in him. We can chat for hours about the gravitational pull on water for hydraulic systems and the camera’s perspective on revolving sets and how you create systems to hydrate grass so that it only grows in little tiny segments over the course of five weeks in order to push objects down a path….but the thing about Bob is that he only wants to dive into tech if it is actually needed in a project, some productions that we have worked on together have been spectacularly simple. He never forces complicated systems into a production even if that is what people expect from him. He’ll only do it if he believes in it and when he does it has to be authentic.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
I started my career in the porn industry…