The Colourful Multi-faceted World of Mono Ghose

An exciting new addition to the NERD Productions family is Mono Ghose! He grew up playing sports, reading books and watching TV, sometimes too much. But, without a particular taste for science and math, Mono stuck to exploring his artistic side, and here we are.

Interested in football, gaming, reading, and quietly being urged to play the piano, which he never enjoyed, Mono inadvertently fell in love with the Spanish guitar. 

Having Indian heritage, Mono considers Indian storytelling and film tradition a formative part of his upbringing. It’s also a source of his passion for travelling and a diverse perspective. Adding to his already colourful heritage, growing up in the UK and having the experience of being an outsider meant, by will or circumstance, I didn’t have to follow the crowd, which helped me develop a sharp outside-of-the-box thinking and broadened my cultural awareness.’

Mono graduated with a MA in Scriptwriting from Goldsmiths. He studied the best filmmakers from around the globe and learned how to structure and write screenplays across various media. The takeaway was seeing the film as a language for the first time, which has drastically changed how I approach the art form.’

His first industry experience fell on a two-week summer school at Publicis Advertising Agency in Baker Street, London during his Bachelor studies. It was an intensive introduction to the world of ad agencies and how to plan and manage a campaign from scratch. Focused on account management Mono quickly gravitated to the talks and sessions with the creatives, which is where he got the first insight into what was the real direction and this is where he wanted to take his career.

One of the most important lessons he took away since the beginning of his directing career was how to deal with failure and rejection.Whether it’s a pitch, sale or script feedback, I learned to see it as an opportunity to develop my skill set and resilience. It’s also a good test to see how badly you want this as your career including all the ups and downs.’

Mono’s first professional project was a spot for Selfridges with BMB Agency. It was a 60-second spot he directed to advertise Selfridges’ new personal shopping ‘Wonder Room’ area in-store. It was his first big spot and he remembers how everyone waited patiently for Mono to call action, which he eventually did. It was challenging to juggle the different stakeholders from the agency and client-side while maintaining a creative focus with actors and crew. ‘ This balance is something all directors must go through and is a technique I’ve come to excel at and enjoy. ‘


Like nearly every director, Mono had his life/career-changing moment when his short film ‘Lost Bullets’ was long-listed for Oscar. It opened a lot of doors in Mono’s career and got him in front of some industry heavy hitters. The story still resonates with people today and stands up in terms of cinematic quality to other leading shorts.

In directing, Mono loves working with talented people to craft and tell great stories.

I want to achieve impeccable storytelling, draw tight performances and create atmospheric, stunning visuals to match the narrative.’ To keep himself fresh and caught up with everything in the industry Mono watches a lot of ads, good and bad from all over the world. Not hitting the skip button on YouTube and varying his tastes, for example: keeping up to date with exhibitions and art galleries, music, world cinema, NFTs and gaming. 

The creative industry, like any other, is full of good and bad. Mono is not a big fan of the “traditional” route to becoming a commercials director. This is changing with directors coming from other disciplines and backgrounds. The industry could also take calculated risks in storytelling and casting.

On a positive note, the creative industry has never-ending opportunities to tell stories across new formats and media. I’m excited about working with brands open to fresh ideas and storytelling methods.’


Everyone takes their inspiration from somewhere, for Mono, some of it comes from his favourite director Bong Joon-ho. His movies are on the list of those you want to watch again and again to see what’s running underneath (literally in ‘Parasite’) and feel like you’ve been in a filmmaking masterclass after it’s over.

Outside of work, Mono likes keeping fit, reading, playing the guitar and indie games when time permits. Apart from directing, Mono takes time to perfect his travel photography, creating his own game and poetry. He also particularly enjoys the following creations that you might take a note of:

Film: Bong Joon-ho. His stories are thought-provoking and original. 

Ridley Scott. A master of blending visuals, music and story to create iconic cinematic moments. 

Books: George Orwell and Milan Kundera: 

They write in an accessible style which is also ironic, prophetic and timeless. 

Gaming: the creators (Playdead) of the games ‘Inside’ and ‘Limbo’. These indie games show how the atmosphere and a mysterious style with little to no dialogue can carry an entire story.



Lastly, ‘I’m sure, like most artists, I’m driven by the impulse to create a great piece of work that resonates both with the audience and personally.’ We hope you enjoyed an insight into who Mono Ghose is and are looking forward to seeing what NERDy things he creates in the future.

NERD’s Director Rafa Cortés on the power of printing and how to find the best ideas.

Rafa dives deep into the thoughts on how to find the best possible ideas, why he needs to print the scripts and what it takes to be a guy from ‘now’,

What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Scripts choose me! People who get in touch with me usually already know what I can do for their projects. That’s why I don’t usually get scripts that could be difficult for me to end up shooting. I feel lucky because this saves the agencies, my producers and me a lot of time used in unnecessary pitches. The scripts that catch my attention the most are those where I can really tell a little story and provoke emotions to the audience.

How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

First and foremost, I print everything. I need to see a script on paper so I can draw on it, move things around. On the first day I never try to do anything with it, I just go away from my desk and spend some time with my family to let my mind relax trying to keep the project in the back of my head till the ideas start appearing by themselves. After that, I try to imagine what points of the treatment will help me explain what I would do with it. Mechanic typing comes then, I let everything I have flow naturally into the treatment.

What I don’t do is to start the process looking for references. It might be an ego thing, but I let my mind come to something on its own, look within myself. I, of course, can come to it naturally, although it might have already been created and it is perfectly normal. I do need references anyway, no matter how much I dislike it, because I need to find a way for the agencies and the clients to visualise my proposals. Although, I still think it is good to come up with something on your own first.

Nenuco – Regalo

If the script is for a brand that you’re not familiar with/don’t have a big affinity with or a market you’re new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it? 

In my commercial work, I’m there to help sell a product/service, and to associate the companies and their brands to certain feelings or ideas. We always need to distinguish the brand from their competitors, how they’re different and how we can show it in the best possible and more effective way. There’s always a moment when I need to do some research, market research and also ask the agency/client some questions to help me understand where they are at and what they are looking for.  The best way to get a genuine, interesting spot, is to make bespoke work. 

For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

I think the most important is trust and collaboration, with everyone – producer, creative team, management, crew, etc. An important part of my job is to help solve their problems, read between the lines, and come up with the best ideas!

La Quiniela 70 Aniversario (Trio)

What type of work are you most passionate about – is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Fiction, storytelling, recreation of reality and anything that involves testimonials. Errol Morris is a director I look up to and I often think that I would feel at home facing a lot of the testimonial and commercials projects he has masterfully crafted. 

What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

One of my biggest frustrations is when people think there’s no script or mise en scene behind my work, that everything happened for real. My ability to make something that is fake seem very real is what I am also known for. But it is sometimes difficult to imagine that kind of work for people who haven’t been following the process. They usually think I am lucky with getting a lot of real stories, told by ‘real’ people, when in fact, there’s a lot of hard work in writing scripts, casting actors and all other things. I’m mostly about fiction!

What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

It was one of my personal projects, a feature film. I had a scene with one very complicated and strong actor. He had to wear a gorilla mask, you can imagine, as an actor it might be quite frustrating. Then he got really angry because of something I didn’t really understand. He is German and he started shouting in German, so what I had to deal with was a person wearing a gorilla mask, shouting in the language no one understood and I was the person in charge, who had to fix everything. What did I do? I went up to him and said “Wait a minute, do you realise I have a gorilla shouting at me in a foreign language in the middle of a set, can you help me solve this?”. After a deep pause, he smiled, we both laughed and the conflict was resolved.

La Quiniela – El Grito

How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

In the commercial world, I really fight for finding the best possible idea that works for both me and my clients. The client knows the brand, I know filmmaking, and we create harmony of those things together.

What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

I tend to be open to anything that makes me see the world from new different angles, I like meeting new people and hearing different and sometimes controversial ideas. I have different friends, I have worked with different people and I am very happy that I am able to learn from people who come from a different background than I do.

Although, I do not specifically look for anything but my doors are always open!

I mentored quite a few people who are now directors and actors. I wish I had more guys like me when I started, a mentor who would advise and help. This is essentially why I am mentoring everyone who comes to me and needs my help.

How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

I wanted to think that this pandemic would make us better than we were, same with the economic crisis. I tend to be optimistic and I have learned a few things myself.

Working from home has certainly made us appreciate our loved ones more, as well as the change in work ethic. For me, it was no new working from home, I live in Mallorca and I do most of my work from there, so I was trained to work from home for years 😀

Your work is now presented in so many different formats – to what extent do you keep each in mind while you’re working? 

It depends on every project, sometimes you need to put more effort in one of the formats and create others to support the main point of the campaign.

Depending on the format you shoot it, you always need to remember those extras to make it work across all platforms.

VW Polo – Pelota

What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work?

I am a guy from ‘now’. As soon as something new comes out, I will be one of the first people to try it out. I was one of the first guys in Spain who started shooting with a RedOne camera, when people were afraid of digital video, and will be happy to continue to incorporate new technologies in my work as soon as they come.

With new technologies, we should always keep ourselves at the top of the game. For me, it is applying my unique ideas to this new technology, it gives you the advantage over others and I would suggest everyone to do the same.

See more from Rafa here.

Discovering ‘Medela’, directed by Shona Auerbach.

This calming film by our Shona Auerbach was one of the projects this year that has brought the sense of normality and joy to everyone on set and in production! 

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Many mums would agree with us that breastfeeding can sometimes be exhausting. This is where Medela takes over and you can have more time to enjoy a few moments doing what you desire with your little one!

This was a project shot mid-COVID featuring REAL new mums, real people! It was important to bring a sense of confidence and comfort to the set.

Let’s see how Shona pulled it off:

To be honest, I hardly noticed the restrictions other than wearing masks.  I often work with the same crew, we are a good team together, we like each other and that makes a big difference. The team I didn’t know was the agency. We had done several Zoom calls beforehand so I felt like we had spent some time together. That helped us, and I think we worked well together.

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Our Founder & Executive Producer Milana Karaica also adds:

We had to capture that very special & delicate bond between a new mother and her precious little baby, now try doing that during a global pandemic. Our task was even more challenging by the fact that we wanted to capture these special moments by real mums and babies, not actors. As a new mum, myself to a 5 month old baby girl, at the time, I knew exactly how anxious mums can be and what our mums were going through during these unfamiliar times.

This is why I knew Shona was the right person for the job! If we were to get our mums to relax, trust and open up to us so we can be let in on those intimate nuggets, we needed a director that would make the set feel safe and mums looked after.

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It is such a calming and relaxing film, Shona was working with little angels this time, while previously directing professional actors like Gerald Butler in her feature films.

How different was it this time for Shona?

I think the babies in Medela were great, but it helped because they were with their mothers most of the time, so they didn’t really notice whether we were filming or not.  Filming non-actors is always different and working with children is another type of direction too, so you have to approach it with a more captured attitude.  

Pre-filming, I have ideas in my head on how I would like it to play out but inevitably working with children allows some spontaneity. They are too young to direct in a formal sense and therefore I try to guide them in a direction but I am open-minded that they may give me any number of alternative moments which I have to then adapt to. Although I may be aiming for a particular vision, it may not always be possible because they are not actors, therefore I try to create a space where they can feel as comfortable as possible, allowing me to capture moments. 

Working with actors is different again, I can have an image in my head and how I would like it to play out and with the help of the actor, I can go all out to make that happen.  All these options work for me, and ultimately in the end I am looking for the most natural performances, they are just different techniques of getting it.

Enjoy the film and see more from Shona here.

Inside My Sketchbook: Elmaz Ekrem – My Top 5 Tips

What better time than the present is there to start drawing? Whether you’ve kept a sketchbook, journal, scrapbook or a series of loose paper drawings, whether you’ve consistently doodled each day for years, sporadically added to the same (or several) different books never quite completing one, or failed to start one altogether… what follows is a list of helpful tips that I live by to spur my creativity and encourage me to keep a lively, over-used book of artistic brilliance.

Continue reading “Inside My Sketchbook: Elmaz Ekrem – My Top 5 Tips”