Staff Reporters
Sep 1, 2022

Creative Minds: Sweetshop’s Paul Nevison survived an earthquake

The director at the production agency on driving through earthquake rubble in Mexico and what he’s currently watching on TV.

Paul Nevison (left)
Paul Nevison (left)


In Creative Minds, we ask APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?

Name: Paul Nevison

Origin: New Zealand

Places lived/worked: New Zealand, UK, Australia

Pronouns: He/him


  • Director, Sweetshop, 2020-present
  • Freelance director, 2016-present

1. How did you end up being a creative?

Once I realised you could get paid for telling tall tales I was hooked. Plus, failing maths and physics sadly precluded my participation in the Space Program.

2. What's your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

It would be a toss-up between ‘Prayer of the Mothers’ and my short documentary Volta. I think is visually quite lovely and it even picked up a few shiny awards.

3. What's your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

I'd be pretty happy with almost anything Martin De Thurah or Garth Davis have made. Though if I had to pick one piece in advertising, it would probably be James Rouse’s affecting film ‘Hope’ for the ICRC. It’s such a powerful and nuanced performance by both actors and delivers such an unexpected emotional punch. I think about it often.

4. What are your key creative influences?

Cello music, philosophy and ‘80s movies from my childhood. Sometimes in that order.

5. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?

Surviving a collapsing Mexican hotel in an 8.1 earthquake and driving non-stop through the resulting disaster zone, avoiding landslides and car-sized boulders. Details best recounted over a few strong beverages.

6. Who do you most admire?

Ronald McDonald.

7. What advice would you give to 10-year-old you, if you could?

Find a better hiding place for when you start stealing your Dad's beer in about three year’s time.

8. What really motivates you?

The sweet dulcet tones of a producer whispering the sacred dyad: ‘You're over time and over budget’.

9. What’s your favourite music / film / TV show / book / other of the past year, and why?

I’m a bit of a Star Wars nerd so the original trilogy (FYI Han shot first). I’ve been really enjoying Severance over the past few weeks on Apple TV+. Has a perfect balance of mystery and weirdness. Fantastic cast, looks great and ‘defiant jazz’ could just about be my favourite scene ever.

10. Tell us about an artist (any medium) that we've never probably heard of.

Viktor Balaguer’s photography has been tickling my eyes.

11.Do you have a catchphrase?

Not yet, but I think it would definitely up my directing cred. I'm currently taking submissions.

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