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Posted 16.11.15

‘Under the Skin’ creative Walter Campbell gives students industry insight

By Sarah Packer

Walter Campbell (centre) with BA (Hons) Film lecturer John Sealey (left) and BA (Hons) Film programme leader Lucy Leake.

Our Studio Theatre was packed last month when award-winning advertising creative Walter Campbell visited our students – discussing his work, the industry and advice on 'working harder than anyone else.'


Known for his diverse catalogue of work from the film 'Under the Skin' to the creative genius behind ads like Volvo 'Twister' and Dunlop 'Expect the Unexpected' – made with director Tony Kaye.

One of Walter Campbell’s most celebrated works – an ad many consider to be one of the best ever made – is the stunning 'Surfer' for Guinness with director Jonathan Glazer.

Walter Campbell talks to our students.

"I’m in the office whilst everyone else is still asleep," said Walter Campbell during his talk to our students. "I'll be in at half five, so I'll do more stuff and in that way and in that attitude if you swing enough you'll eventually end up connecting with someone’s jaw and knock them out. It’s a little bit to do with just how much you want it."

Campbell discussed in depth the work that went into Under the Skin - his latest collaboration with Jonathan Glazer – a sci-fi drama starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien who roams the streets of Scotland, seducing men to destroy them.

It’s been hailed as a daring and experimental triumph, and a "grand statement on what it means to be a human being." The L.A. Weekly wrote, "We may finally have an heir to Kubrick."

"His message to students and faculty alike was truly inspiring and a highlight in this academic year. I hope he joins us for another visit sometime!" — Alex Stephens, BA (Hons) Film

Third year film student Alex Stephens said, "Walter Campbell's visit left everyone I spoke to awe-struck. He wasn't condescending, he wasn't showing off, he spoke plainly to everyone in realistic and authentic terms.

"It was a first-hand account of an individual who has retained creative integrity while still achieving success. His message to students and faculty alike was truly inspiring and a highlight in this academic year. I hope he joins us for another visit sometime!"

Opening the talk in complete darkness certainly alluded to Walter Campbell’s style – pushing the boundaries of the real to create something unsettlingly familiar and surreal – as the lights came up we became the audience to an in-depth interview between film lecturer John Sealey and visiting artist Walter Campbell.

"You’ve got a lot of facilities here and lots of ways to really show off, so use them." — Walter Campbell.

Covering topics from how he discovered his love of film, whilst making a giant bird's nest in his university studio, to asking Brad Pitt to be in his film by emailing 'alright you dirty necker, I want you to read this' – the talk was both inspiring and shocking, revealing the down to earth, no nonsense attitude that has made him the most sought after advertising creative in the industry.

"And that's the thing I wanted to say to you guys, it’s a weird thing you know because when you leave here, life is really busy and distracting and there’s no time to do it all. But if you leave here and you’ve done it all and you’ve got this present to give to the world, you’re really just giving it to yourself you know.

"You’ve got a lot of facilities here and lots of ways to really show off, so use them," said Walter Campbell.

Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate.

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