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For over 20 years, Sid Lee Collective has been a creative incubator that helps fund, produce and exhibit the passion projects of Sid Lee employees and their collaborators. No matter the day job, we believe that everyone benefits when we empower people to create what matters. 


Sid Lee Collective Blog is devoted to sharing our collaborations, creative projects, interesting profiles and invitations to exclusive events. Content and creative direction comes from the Sid Lee offices in Montreal, Toronto, Paris, LA and NYC.


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Making Madness: Behind-the-Scenes of the Super Collaborative SLC Video Shoot.
April 10, 2016
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The sun was still snoozing at the start of shoot day. 6am marked call time at Sid Lee’s event slash production slash brainstorm slash party space, le 8 Queen. Big smiles masked the designer bags under everyone’s over caffeinated eyes, as creators gathered in the spirit of true collaboration. We’re talking make up artists, prop and set designers, a team of stylists, art directors, lighting techs, directors and a whole on­screen cast of Sid Lee’s own.

The big idea more or less was an odd, non­sensical, super slick re­interpretation of a creative renaissance, SLC­-style. Given the freedom to experiment and interpret the script in their own lens, local makers were driven by pure, unfiltered desire to make (cause y’all know the budget was way low). Make-It-Work-Mode ruled the day.

Sit back and enjoy the views we snapped on set, mixed with a little Q & A for your reading pleasure. 

Collaborator Q&A: Tinashe Musara (above), Folio

Hi Tinashe! What collaborative role did you play on set?

A: Stylist.
Q: What was your favourite look of the day and why?
A: The all gold look in the centrepiece ­- very extreme, very cool! I love gold!!
Q: What is the perfect recipe for collaboration?
A: A clearly communicated vision and equal input.
Q: Do you have a passion project in the works? Tell us about it.

Yes, and ongoing art direction role in a friend's fashion brand named Wrkdept. Very streetwear and unisex oriented.

Q: Finish the sentence: Collaborate or ____________.

Drown on your own!

Collaborator Q & A: Jean­-Constant Guigue (above, left), Caravane Studio

Hi Jean­-Constant! What was your first impression of the project?

A: At first I found the concept completely crazy and couldn't wait to start working on it!
Q: How would you describe your role on set?
A: I was working mostly with the actors to coordinate all of the different actions and objects. I also worked the compositions and frames with Simon Duhamel (Director of Photography).
Q: What was your favourite thing to make for the shoot?
A: Working closely with Guillaume Cardell (Director) and Tinashe (Stylist) to create a unified vision and a coherent art direction was my favorite thing to do. We don't always get the chance to be involved that much in the creative process with a true spirit of collaboration like we had for the SLC shoot.
Q: What was your biggest challenge behind­-the-­scenes?
A: Stitching the background together without spaces or overlaps was an incredible challenge. Once it was glued, there was no second try, so we had to be very precise and focused.
Q: How does collaboration make you a better creative?

Working in close collaboration with other creatives gives you the chance to put yourself in different points of view and gives you a constant fresh look at your work. I believe the best work does not come from one creative genius, but from experts combining and sharing their creative backgrounds. 

Collaborator Q & A: Kristian Manchester, Sid Lee

Hi Kris! What character did you play in the video?

A: I think I was made out to be a mix of a bond villain meets Eastern European pimp meets Ziggy Stardust.
Q: How do you feel about glitter now?
A: It makes me nervous.
Q: What do you want people to say when they see this video?
A: “Where do I sign up?”
Q: As the Creative Director of the video, what didn’t make the final cut?
A: Everything made the cut. The process was a true collective experience and everyone that contributed to the project brought great energy and A­-class talent.
Q: You helped ignite Sid Lee Collective from the very start. How do you pick projects?
A: We go for the originality of the idea first and its potential to break new ground, since we want to experiment in places we haven’t been before.
Collaborator Q & A: Zach Labrosse­-Remillard (above, third left), Sid Lee

Hi Zach! How would you describe your character in the video?

A: My character is the Reality Wanderer. He is lost somewhere between our reality and a virtual one. He is so deeply immersed that he doesn’t know which reality is his. It’s kinda scary because it might happen in real life way faster than we think.
Q: What did you see in the VR headset?
A: I would love to say that I was looking at insane virtual reality experiences all day long but sadly, I wasn’t. Just a dark blank screen.
Q: What was your favourite part of the day?
A: I really enjoyed walking on set for the first time. The set design team did an amazing job and it looked pretty insane. The perspective background looked three­dimensional even in person and the props on the table each had something amazing about them. I also really enjoyed sticking my hand in the black goo. It was a bit stressful because it was kind of a one­shot deal but it ended up working great. And we didn’t make a mess.
Collaborator Q & A: Lian Benoit, Sid Lee

Hi Lian! What was your inspiration for the art direction?

A: The Internet!
Q: Who were you happy to meet through the project?
A: All the collaborators were so easy to work with. So any and all of them at the same time. Special mention to Tinashe ;)
Q: Describe the vibe on set in 5 words or less.
A: FUN but CRAZY but FUN!
Q: What was your biggest challenge on this day?
A: Making sure everything worked nicely together and respected the vision.
Q: What made you super happy on this day?
A: The people, the work, the food, the end of day beer!
Collaborator Q & A: Simon Duhamel (above, center left), Consulat

Hi Simon! Describe your role on set.

A: On set, I’m the Director of Photography. Some call me chef, but I prefer Simon! My primary role is to transpose the vision of the Director into image. Part of my job is very technical. I need to make sure that we have the proper footage for post­-production so we can do all the effects planned. The other part of my job is more aesthetic. I frame the camera and give the composition a graphic touch. I also work with the lighting department to give the film a slick look. As Director of Photography, you’re like a quarterback. You need to direct traffic and make sure everybody’s on the same play so we can all celebrate the touchdown. But I’m no jock!
Q: Name 3 things you love about your work.
A: 1. I like working with creative people that inspire me and whose work I respect. 2. I like the fact that everyday brings it set of surprises and challenges, it’s always different. 3. Being my own boss, managing my schedule, taking time off when I want to or being obsessed with work if I want to!
Q: Name 3 key ingredients necessary for collaboration.

1. Open Mindedness 2. Acknowledging other people’s strengths 3. Choosing your battles a.k.a Seeing the big picture a.k.a. Keeping your eyes on the prize.

Q: Tell us 1 super power collaboration has taught you.
A: Being able to leave your ego at the door. You need to recognize your strengths but also the strengths of others.
Q: Tell us 1 secret about Guillaume Cardell.

He’s got a very strong presence and that can be intimidating to some people. But he values and trusts his collaborators and provides them with all the resources they need to thrive. This is what I call leadership.

Collaborator Q & A: Guillaume Cardell (above, left), Sid Lee

Hi Guillaume! What was your role on set?


Working ahead of the shoot was the big thing. To get fully ready to be ‘on set’, preparation is THE key! On set my role is to work with the Art Director & D.O.P, mostly to ensure that we stay on point with the direction.

Q: Describe the video in 5 words or less.
Q: Every project has a budget but what were the priceless elements that made this shoot happen?
A: The backdrop and the one of a kind custom made props.
Q: What is one Cardell secret to a successful shoot?
A: Find people that are better than you at what you do and DON’T BE AFRAID!
Q: Finish the sentence, "Sid Lee Collective is ________."
A: Sid Lee Collective is better than the A­-team, we’re just missing a mini-­van.

And that’s a wrap! Thanks for creeping our day in a most friendly way. It’s clear to see that no matter how slim or deep the time or money you’ve got, collaboration is the true power player. There’s more glory when everyone’s guts are given and shared rather than striving to be the solo saviour. Going at it alone is lonely after all. We say be fearless enough to ask for help, say you can’t do it all, and call on the ones who are so good at what they do, together you all undeniably shine.


Written by Sarah Di Domenico

Photos by Sarah Di Domenico and Lian Benoit

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