Do With Eli Roth Series Roundup: Lachlan Phillips

Earlier this year, you may remember that we partnered with acclaimed Hollywood actor, writer, producer and director Eli Roth on our “Do With” series. Eli is the multi-hyphenated talent behind such films as Hostel, Cabin Fever, Inglourious Basterds, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, and the new film HAUNT, released on September 13th.

In addition to giving a Master Class in Los Angeles on his 20 years of experience in the filmmaking business, Eli also selected three lucky aspiring creatives who won the opportunity for an hour-long 1:1 session with Eli to discuss their creative projects.

In the spirit of sharing, we’d love to shine a spotlight on the winners of the contest and the insights they gleaned from their time chatting with Eli.

Next up, Lachlan Phillips in the UK!

Tell us a little about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and a little more about (company/project).

My name is Lachlan Phillips. I’ve spent the last 10 years in the film industry as a layout and story artist, on films like The Lego Movie, and have had the pleasure of working directly with Chris McKay, Roger Deakins, George Miller, Alex Proyas and others.

By day I run a technology startup called Ad Robot that leverages AI and automation to create videos for blue chip brands and agencies at scale.

In the evenings, I’m developing a SciFi film project called “Echo”, alongside Producer Mark Millar. 

In Echo, we follow Sam Smith, a techno scavenger living amongst the scraps of a higher society. A filthy “noiser”, Sam looks after her younger sister by building outlaw hardware that can get people onto the darknet – That is, until one customer puts a mysterious chip in her hand, along with an ultimatum. Forced to unlock the enigma that lies within, Sam discovers a darkness in the technology, and awakens something that will determine the future for humankind – The Echo.

What inspired your brand/project? What are your goals?

I originally got involved in the experimental music scene years ago with Children in the Game. A large part of this involved creating human computer interfaces. What happens if we track the performer’s eye movement? How can we detect emotion? What is the most direct way of converting the human experience into something tangible, that others can see, taste, touch and feel?

This led me down the path of creating all manner of things, but above all, left me with a lingering question: What if there was no space between the inner world and the outer world? Would we know each other? Or would this familiarity cause the whole thing to collapse. This is the question we’re asking in Echo.

What prompted you to enter Fiverr Pro x Eli Roth? Please briefly explain your submission.

I’m a big fan of Eli Roth’s work. I knew there was a horror/grit element missing, and I knew it would be a dream come true to be able to get this kind of feedback from someone so entangled in every aspect of the production process at that level. There’s pragmatism to the way he approaches his films that is very appealing to me. What resources do we have available, and what can we do with them? That’s the kind of question that really anchors you to production realities. I knew Eli Roth had a similar pragmatism.

The application process was fairly simple. I explained honestly what my goals were, provided the feature length script, a collection of concept art and a Spotify playlist to set the tone. I didn’t think much more of it until randomly one day Eli Roth messages me on Fiverr. That’s a fairly surreal way to break up a Wednesday.

What motivates you? Why do you do what you do?

I’m very motivated by this idea that each person has this hidden inner world that, try as we might, will forever remain hidden save for some great technological advancement. To compensate for this, we don’t change how we express ourselves, but we change what we express of ourselves. Our outer world becomes a reflection, not of what we think and experience, but what we can communicate – and our inner world soon follows, until we ourselves become the traffic and the broken photocopier. We gather around those shared experiences, and leave the vast richness of the human experience shrouded in obscurity.

I’m motivated to change that. I want every person to be liberated to express their inner world, and want to create tools, ideas and languages that cure this. Ultimately, I want to see an echo of our collective imagination brought into existence around us physically, allowing us to share and understand one another. Not just through art and language, but thought itself, as a creative and collaborative medium.

What are some key takeaways from your one-on-one session with Eli? 

I would have to write more than you could print to express how much I learned from Eli. He has an uncanny ability to hone in on specific issues and expose how to resolve them. He is also very outcome focused, which I like. He told me specific budgets, and a very clear package of content that needs to be put together to get this project off the ground. Storytelling is about finding the balance between the profound and the profane, and doing it within the commercial realities of a production budget, and he understands this better than almost anybody.

Most of all, he liked it and told me to make the damn thing already. 

When the Bear Jew tells you to do something you better make sure you get it done!

What are your next steps for your project?

Our producer Mark Millar has already begun sourcing crew, an amazing cinematographer and key actors. He’s just this force of nature. It’s my job now to rework the feature into a short film, focused on one pivotal moment in the film when our protagonist merges with the Echo and can begin to see the world laid bare, unhindered by the limits of human perception. 

We package all this up with mood boards, concept art and a sizzle reel, source some funding and set about making the best damn short film an Aussie and a Scotsman could hope to make.

Have a question for Lachlan? Leave it in the comments below!

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