Oliver Astrologo is a digital director that specialises in video making, photography and internet technologies, based in London and Rome. Oliver Astrologo worked on numerous projects for international brands: Visa, Condenast Traveler, Google, Fendi, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and Airberlin. His mission is to reveal locations and tell stories about people. Oliver Astrologo has been a Director and Photographer for over 16 years and has recently embarked a new journey in expressing his creativity through travel or fashion themed videos. Oliver Astrologo is a firm believer that any piece of work he produces should stir the viewer emotionally. Please enjoy my interview with Oliver Astrologo.
When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living?’ – How do you respond?
I am a Film Director, I have always had an interest in capturing inspiring moments with stills or video. I consider myself lucky as I pursue my passions with excitement and I travel across many destinations every year.
A friend of mine gave me a copy of In Asia by Tiziano Terzani, he was an Italian journalist and writer, who spent over 30 years in Asia and certainly is one of the most interesting voices to discover Asia. The book contains a collection of some fascinating reports and stories about his journey. (Unfortunately, the book doesn’t seem to have been translated into English) but in my opinion is an eye-opening experience.
What’s your earliest memory of reading?
I remember two books that I loved when I was young. The first one is Gip nel televisore e altre storie in orbita by Gianni Rodari- The main character is literally caught into the screen of his Television and becomes part of the schedule starting some crazy adventures inside the TV programs.
The second one is The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf – The book is about a young lad, Nils Holgersson, he takes great delight in hurting the animals in his family farm. The gooses take him on an adventurous trip across all of Sweden.
If you could encourage young people to read one book in particular, what would it be and why?
I would suggest The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, it was the first book I read in the English language and it was helpful to learn a new language through a story.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Honestly, I can not complain, I have always worked in jobs that I was passionate about. If I had to define the worst job, I would say that my biggest concern is about the difficulty of finding a job and not the job itself.
Do you read as much as you’d like to?
Every time I was leaving for a new destination I used to bring a book with me, I recently bought an e-reader that makes the job easier – I have an entire library available everywhere and anytime!
What books do you feel are important reading for people on your career path and why?
I would suggest looking for a book about the concept that is behind the creative process of film-making instead of focusing on technical aspects. Nowadays it is quite easy to learn using the internet tutorials and the technical aspects are no longer a secret, rather I see many people working in the industry who are lacking a cultural background on the topic. The book that I suggest is On Directing Film by David Mamet.
Is there a book that you’ve read more than once? What is it and why did you revisit it?
I always had a strong passion for the Sci-Fiction and “Far Future” themed stories, Isaac Asimov is definitely my most read author about this theme, I have read the entire series and the book Foundation by Isaac Asimov at least two times!
What book have you recommended the most to friends and family?
I have recommended Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh many times, I made the mistake to lend my copy of that book to one of my friends and I’m still trying to figure out how to get it back!
What’s your favourite genre of book?
After the Sci-Fiction and “Far Future” themed stories, I love the “Costume and Society” novels, I love when the story is based on something that is real and belongs to our society.
What do you think a world without books would be like?
Life without books is life without oxygen. Honestly, I can not imagine a world without them, but I’m sadly discovering how the internet with its simplicity of finding information is also killing the need of reading books especially on younger people that prefer to spend their time on social networks instead of enjoying a good read.
Is there an author whose writing you’re such a fan of, that you’ll read everything they release?
Definitely, Irvine Welsh, I have read all of his books, and I’m constantly following his career. I would love to make a documentary or create a short film based on one of his stories.
Do you think digital books will ever completely replace real books?
I don’t think so, the book is something physical and immutable that could be used in every place from anyone. E-books depend on technology. Since the technology is constantly evolving there is the risk that your device becomes an unuseful paperweight when a newer device pops up in the market. That’s the reason why I always buy the printed copy when I don’t need to travel light. Also, I love to fill my library with quintals of heavy paper!
Climate change is something that we can not ignore. I think that everybody should know why and what’s is happening to our planet if we will continue to pollute and abuse our resources. I would suggest reading This Changes Everything: Capitalism v the Climate by Naomi Klein.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life?
I have two books: Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands by Kevin Roberts & Making Movies by Sidney Lumet.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
What books or subject matter do you plan on reading in the next year?
For the next year, I want to create a series of short documentaries about the life of some of the most isolated towns on Earth. I will look for some books that describe the behaviours and the costumes of the people who are living there.