COMPULSORY are that beautiful thing that shouldn’t exist in the real world, well, shouldn’t be able to. Only a handful of directors have the ability to stick to their creative guns, with the pesky problem of paying for food and shelter a constant, but that is COMPULSORY’s outlook plain and simple. Now artistic endeavour over money sounds easy, and furthermore, quite obvious! But in reality is almost impossible, which makes co-founders Chris Toumazou and Kiran Mandla’s feat all the more impressive. Both aged mid-twenties it is easy to see why they say the young are idealistic, I’m sure more than a few voted Green, but with multiple UKMVA nods and year on year invites to SXSW as well as the BBC Music Video Festival and International Music Video Festival Paris, in this case ideals are infact, effective.
COMPULSORY have an honest feel to their work which they’ve managed to keep whilst expanding the roster. With recent signings Thor Brenne (who just made the latest Video Of The Day) and Kevin Funk Of Norway and Canada respectively, the international scene hasn’t watered down but instead strengthened the company’s ethos. We had a little chat with Kiran to find out how COMPULSORY came to be, where the name comes from and what the biggest turning point in the company’s development was.
When was your approach when COMPULSORY was founded and by whom?
COMPULSORY started as an idea about 3 years ago by Chris Toumazou and I. Our approach to music videos, has been to re-activate more of a story and concept led injection to a format that we’ve always admired. Chris is natively a director also signed to our roster and I’m an editor so our process is again intuitive in obtaining a creative eye to all aspects of production.
How did you come up with the name? Why all in capitals?
Originally Chris came up with ‘Compulsory Viewing’. The name speaks for itself and our aim has been to produce projects that are actually worth watching, hence the term. As we discovered more about our output we realised that the ‘Viewing’ part was a bit overkill when not on paper and decided to shorten it to just ‘COMPULSORY’. The choice in capitals was a way of further putting across how strongly we feel about our brand and a design choice.
How would you describe your company ethos?
Making ideas that are compulsory.
What was the biggest turning point in the development of the company?
Personally, I think the biggest turning point was being nominated for our first UKMVA off the back of one of our early videos at the time. It gives you a huge boost of momentum when your work gets recognised and shortlisted by a creative body you respect, especially after not being in the game for too long.
What were the other names on the table before deciding on COMPULSORY?
I think they were all around the same theme, although can’t remember off the top of my head. We were very nearly forced to change ‘COMPULSORY’ early on in it’s life actually due to being threatened with legal action over a fake viral commercial we made but thats for another time..