The Cinematic Journey of Christopher S Thorne

Goals and Impact of Zero Focus

Christopher S Thorne, founder of Zero Focus, blends cinematic flair with innovation. His journey from film student to award-winning photographer exemplifies resilience and a commitment to capturing timeless moments.

By Ben Alan

With a slew of accolades under his belt, including the prestigious Symons-Hatton Award and the recent Big Business Events BRANDED Retreat Creativity Award, Christopher S Thorne stands as a beacon of innovation in the realm of visual storytelling. His journey from a film student to a seasoned photographer and filmmaker is a testament to his unwavering dedication to the craft. As the founder of Zero Focus, Thorne’s mission transcends mere photography; it’s about capturing moments that evoke cinematic experiences, etching memories that linger in the minds of viewers long after they’ve passed.

Thorne’s story is one of transformation and resilience. From his humble beginnings in warehousing to becoming a CAA registered Drone Pilot, his evolution is marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence. But perhaps what sets Zero Focus apart is its philosophy of ‘focusing on nothing.’ This mantra, akin to meditation, underscores Thorne’s approach to the creative process, allowing clarity to emerge from a sea of distractions.

Innovation is the lifeblood of Zero Focus. Thorne’s ability to anticipate trends and blend nostalgia with contemporary flair is a testament to his cinematic acumen. Yet, amidst this pursuit of the unconventional, Thorne remains grounded in the realities of the competitive creative market. Through effective marketing and interpersonal skills, he navigates the delicate balance between artistic freedom and commercial success.

Looking ahead, Zero Focus is poised to leave an indelible mark on the UK creative industry landscape. Thorne envisions his work adorning the walls of prestigious establishments and becoming synonymous with pop culture iconography. But beyond mere artistic aspirations, community involvement lies at the heart of Zero Focus. By collaborating with local talent and businesses, Thorne not only expands his creative repertoire but also uplifts the essence of his subjects, infusing each project with soul and passion.

As Christopher S Thorne continues to push the boundaries of visual storytelling with Zero Focus, one thing remains certain: his journey is far from over. With each click of the shutter and sweep of the drone, he inches closer to his vision of immortality, leaving an indelible imprint on the canvas of contemporary culture.

How has your personal journey and overcoming challenges shaped the unique vision and mission of Zero Focus?

I came from a background in warehousing and worked most of my life as a regular Joe, living with dreams in my head and a passion in my soul.  I never would have imagined that I’d be taking the kind of photos I’m capable of while I was dragging cages into lorry trailers.  I would say though, that after I got into the game, I found myself comparing myself to others over and over.

Social media can be great as a tool for the visual artist, but it can also give you an unrealistic image of what YOU should be.  You’ll be down on your luck and you’ll see one of your peers pick up a contract with Vouge.  Suddenly you’ll instantly forget about that job you did last week and now you hate everything you’ve ever done.  Learning and hardening myself against these waves crashing against me has given me an entrance into making sure that Zero Focus is something that has an identity.  I also had my time with additions that cost me a lot of time and effort, but again.  Coming off the other side of that and by making Zero Focus the addiction was the cure and mindset that turned me around.

Your background includes becoming a CAA registered Drone Pilot. How does this new dimension enhance the agency’s creative offerings, and how do you incorporate drone technology into your projects?

Drones were new, even though they were not.  To me.  Suddenly there was this device that could fly and shoot Steadicam footage that would normally have taken many crew and a closed set to achieve.  I am influenced by film directors first and foremost, when I saw the opportunity to create massive establishing shots like Ridley Scott or Spielberg, I had no choice but to pay out for one of these.  But along with a burst of creativity, came responsibility.  Getting registered with the CAA is paramount, learning to fly properly was the first step before getting the shot.

Zero Focus was enhanced by Drone Piloting because now I have the opportunity to expand not only my creative education, but also to capture and offer a new skillset that will always be going upwards and onwards. 

The philosophy of focusing on nothing is intriguing. How does this philosophy translate into the creative process at Zero Focus, and can you provide examples of its impact on your work?

I came up with this saying because I was trying to set myself apart from the crowd of my peers.  The name of the company gelled with it too; “Focus on nothing, until you see everything.”

My imagination and mind can sometimes run away with me, I try to finish one task and then I’m suddenly reminded of something else through the music I’m listening to, or someone will email me and I jump onto that, or editing photos and then suddenly you get a phone call that pulls you onto something else.

Like meditation, be calm, still and focus on the breathing, or in my case, nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Then you breathe for a moment..

…focus on nothing…

…when you open your eyes, everything is clear, and you can now get on and do what you need.  The idea of Zero Focus is to turn your focus ring until everything becomes blurry.  Then you turn until all comes into focus.  Start at zero, then find your focus.

Can you elaborate on the role of innovation at Zero Focus? How does the agency stay ahead of trends and ensure a fresh and cutting-edge approach to its creative endeavours?

Getting my phone out is now more a case of; “What can I do to show off my work this week that may get some new potential client base?”

Instagram is paramount for my line of work and lately, it’s important to make reels and short-form videos to grab someone’s attention.  The thing is, I have a very distinct style, but to showcase that in a variety of ways, you have to examine what trends are happening.  

What editing style works best with this song?  And is this song even compatible with my content?  This is where innovation comes in.  I pride myself on my ability to reach into my cinephile background and to apply that by using songs from movies to hit people’s nostalgia and contemporary triggers with my editing styles.

In addition to this, I feel that its really important to balance being creative, to also see how you can market this baby to the pounds.

How does Zero Focus navigate the balance between embracing the unconventional and meeting the expectations of clients in a competitive creative market?

When I first started, I looked at one of the greats, Peter Lindbergh, and I thought.  “Wow, now I want to do THAT!” Unfortunately for me, I learned the hard way that just being

creative and showing off how cool and unique your work is, is never going to get you into paying clients.  Unless you just happened to meet the editor of a fashion magazine in the smoking area of the club I was in. 

The most important thing I found to navigate was to take on some business coaching, learn how to market yourself, and how to sell what you can do by getting some interpersonal skills.

Years ago, I could not maintain eye contact for longer than 2 seconds.  Now I can speak in front of crowds and schmooze with potential clients I’ve known for 10 seconds.  Some may say this is unconventional but I say no.  In a world where everyone is hiding behind phone screens, be the one who can talk because that will always beat virtual connection.

Could you discuss any upcoming projects or initiatives that Zero Focus is particularly excited about?

Of course.  I am about to start making a music video with a local rap artist in my area, it will be my second and I am looking forward to getting back to some Directorial roles again.  I have also got some more names lined up to take part in documentary I’ve been working on called; ‘Dressed to Live’ It’s all about the link between dressing your best to beat your mental health demons.  Something I take very seriously. I am also working with some businesses for event photography, I am always looking to expand.

How do you see Zero Focus contributing to the evolution of the UK creative industry landscape, and what goals do you have for the agency’s future growth and impact?

I want Zero Focus to be making films and producing photography

that people will want on their restaurant wall, or on a billboard for Chanel in Miami Airport.  Quite simply, I want just one photo I take to be an etch in the tapestry of pop culture.  Steven Tyler once spoke about the art of immortality.  Once an artist is down on record, then that’s it.  Their voice will be reproduced everywhere for all eternity.

Long after I am gone, I want a Zero Focus shot on t-shirts and canvases or a movie poster.  Tie and tether your creativity to something immortal and you will live forever

How does Zero Focus approach collaborations with local communities, and what role does community involvement play in shaping the agency’s creative projects?

In a sense, I am lucky as I live close to Colchester’s city centre, where all the musical activity takes place.  I love working with local bands and businesses to not only expand my work repertoire but also to show off the flair and ‘identity’ of my subjects is what drives me most. When I work for a client, my photos may be black and white, but the soul and passion to show them in true light is farthest from.