Mark Jennings is a British Creative Director, Choreographer and Movement coach based in the heart of London, his company named Snatch’d House Ltd delivers bespoke performances for brands, music artists to stadium scale ceremonies for high profile events. He is also represented by Mass Movement Management Ltd. Over the past 10 years he has been recognised as a highly respected show designer and has been described as “one of the leading creative sparks in the global entertainment industry today”.
Having worked closely with many of the biggest names in the music industry, Mark Jennings is renowned for creating high profile performances that shift perception across Music, TV, Film, Theatre, Live, Corporate & Digital platforms.
To Mark, movement is everything. An expression of emotion that ripples through any performance medium, be it dance, acting, singing, presenting, or hosting. His intuitive ability to nurture and develop music artists is well respected as he has a unique way of being able to hone an artist’s natural ability whilst giving them a distinct and unique style of their own for all Live, TV and music videos. Mark Jennings’ energetic approach coupled with his experience in producing memorable performances on the world stage is well documented and his choreography contribution for international artists such as The Jonas brothers, Jax Jones, Louis Tomlinson, John Newman and Katy Perry have resulted in billions of people seeing his work.
Mark Jennings is also passionate about creating dynamic experiences for a wide range of global brands and his extensive knowledge of the entertainment industry has given him opportunities to bridge both worlds. Taking inspiration from fashion, design and art, Mark sets new trends in live entertainment which result in meaningful and powerful performances and breath-taking direction for major events and ceremonies. He is proud to work and collaborate with clients such as Cartier, Marks and Spencer, Expo, Department for International Trade (Expo), Facebook, Huawei and The Burley Clubs.
Mark Jennings is highly experienced in providing appropriate visual movement direction, choreography, and content for TV Commercials and TV Light Entertainment shows such as X Factor, BGT, Stepping out and Strictly Come Dancing have also benefited from his creative approach and dedication to his craft.
Mark firmly believes in every project he undertakes which is why his increasing portfolio of clients return to him time and time again. Put simply he understands their needs and always delivers beyond their expectations. “I want my work to make people feel emotions, to challenge my audience to think differently. Above all for it to be beautiful, captivating and engaging.”
Where did the idea for Snatch’d House come from?
The name came from phrases colleagues and I would say on set, it began to stick and then later formed as my umbrella company for the designers, producers, choreographers, stylists and dancers that I work with on a daily basis.
Although creatively I work using my own name, Mark Jennings, Snatch’d house carries the team when moving into large scale arena and stadium events.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day normally starts with exercise, to awaken my body and get my mind feeling alert and focused. After that, I normally dive into answering emails and delivering creative submissions that are deadlined for that day from production companies or direct clients. I love what I do, so work never feels tiresome as it is something that I am passionate about. I try to remain self disciplined with my work day to day, I write a rough schedule the night before hour by hour on points to focus on, this keeps me productive and my mind feeling fresh and allows me to think of new ideas.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have an idea, I do my research, I find visual references and imagery which helps get the team on the same rhythm as myself, it’s all about dancing to the same beat. I find that visualising everything I am trying to bring to fruition, is more digestible for people to understand and get behind. I’m a very physical person, being an ex-dancer so I often like to use that in my pitches and production meetings to get the team around me behind the idea and also to have a real sense of the experience I’m trying to create. I have a vivid imagination, so I get most of my inspiration from things that I see whilst moving and interacting with people.
What’s one trend that excites you?
With every digital social media app under the sun, now is the time more than ever to get your passion or business projects out there. It is now such a breeze to release work and for it to be seen. Speaking from my own experience, we often let fear of judgement stunt our growth which ultimately stops the flow of creativity. I think showing your work online and having the confidence to just put work out there that is totally yours, to be looked at and ultimately judged is a great skill. Some will not like it, some will love it, so long as its authentic to you, your audience will find you. I love seeing other people’s ideas and work, it inspires me even more than before.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
In the mornings, instead of reaching for my phone and draining my internal battery with work as soon as I wake up, I stretch for 15 – 20 mins to get my body awake and moving and then I often mediate to give myself a moment of stillness so I can enter the new working day with a fresh perspective. Being passionate about the work I am doing helps to keep me excited and productive throughout the day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell a younger Mark Jennings to take more chances. Don’t tone down who you are as a person just to be accepted by others, (particular in the smaller town I was bought up in, ‘fitting in’ seemed like my only life goal). In the end, the payoff for that is not worth it. Trust your instincts, don’t sweat the small stuff and go fly with the ideas and dreams in your head. Don’t focus on the few negative critics, celebrate and collaborate with the supportive ones.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Be cautious when looking over at what your peers, colleagues and most importantly your competition is up to, being unique is crucial in all areas of work. As soon as you start to veer off and look at what your competitors are doing, you can lose clarity of thought, and suddenly your ideas may be infused by the work you are seeing around you. I love to look at inspirational content but when it comes to crunch time, I try to silence everything around me so what I am producing is authentic.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Journal, write your thoughts onto paper. It keeps me on track and accountable. If there is a lot of information inside my head that could impact my work in good ways and bad, journaling has helped me make sense of it and to stay focused and on track to progress the work. Let your ideas and thoughts, worries and successes be visible in front of you daily. You do not have to be a writer to do this, and you can do this in any way you like, but it just gives you something to look at to plan ahead, and also something to go back on and see how far you have come.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Learn at least a base level of what the teams around you specialise in, in my case lighting, set design and other technical elements. I have a beginner knowledge in the work most of the people I interact with do, that helps me communicate more easily if I am looking for something specific. It makes for a much easier workflow in the collaboration process. Also meet and talk to likeminded people where possible. Networking in a sense. Through my early days as a dancer, I was keen to meet the teams around me that worked on the stages that I was performing on. Those individuals have now become clients and colleagues of my own.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have failed and failed often. Earlier in my career I remember trying to get everywhere super-fast sprinting before I even knew how to walk. I had to surrender to the situation I was in and be patient that better moments would come to me, in that headspace my mentality was more positive and that travelled through most elements of my works. I had to keep reminding myself to have the courage to fail.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Billions of views go to YouTube fitness and dance classes, but the content is very detached from its viewer. Particularly during this time, we are all in, people are craving personal 1-2-1 interactive classes. I have not yet seen an online or app service that connects coaches teaching a wide array of classes with customers across the world. The instructor would go live and can interact and give personal feedback on the person taking part in the class. Not like an Instagram live, but a platform where the instructor can see the person in their space, but can also maintain their privacy from other people partaking, no matter what location they are in. So many of these high-end class offerings are only available in big cities, or for people with a lot of money, reaching out to the masses via a lower cost online platform could be very exciting.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Adobe Premiere pro and an online course. I have always wanted to learn how to edit the content I produce or be able to do a quick edit of a pitch film I’m putting together, hoping this saves me the money, time and effort of going back and forth with an editor.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Pinterest – most of the work I do is visual. This web service helps me source high quality imagery helping me paint a picture of a cohesive story. There are so many image search services out there but I find Pinterest super easy to navigate and collect images particularly under a quick time frame. Free and can be used by anyone.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang. After years of rejection in my work I started to create a massive fear of getting rejected, I pulled back from everything I felt could give me ‘no’ as an answer. I still am working through this today, but this book really helped me detach any rejection I experienced at work from myself as a human being.
What is your favorite quote?
‘To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong’
- Produce your ideas in a visual way. Peoples respond to visuals better than a block of text. Get your team dancing to the same rhythm as you!
- Create and keep a morning practice.
- Allow inspiration from other sources but be cautious looking at competitors too closely, as it could lose your own authenticity and clarity of thought.
- Get a base learning of what the people around you specialise in, collaboration becomes a lot easier.
- Don’t let rejection from one person, stunt your ideas elsewhere.