... or how I made a series of ads in a very reasonable amount of time and loved every minute of it.
It's pretty safe to say that this post is long over due [what's 25 weeks in internet years?], but it feels fitting as what I'm writing about made it's way onto the airwaves the other night.
As you may know, these types of posts have become a bit of normal on this Scrapbook [See here and of course here]. You see, I love doing a funny, odd piece of work and then finding the time to write a 10-page dissertation about the trials and tribulations of the entire experience - it's part of my cathartic process. Luckily the viewing numbers are up - I’m aiming for a solid audience of 3-4 people this time round and a comment would put me over the edge ... BOOM💥 !
Ultimately, what’s different about this long winded post and, ultimately, the job I’ll consistently reference is the fact that it was an actual gig, with actual people, who actually got paid … including yours truly.
Sidebar: I'm loving my new 24k gold chains, paying for a 2nd class stamp with a fifty-pound note and the perfectly chilled Champagne in my organic hand harvested Frosted Flakes.
This was actually my second project with the super-cool kids over at Mindseye. It goes without saying that this outfit and their roster of directors are seriously off the chain … if you haven't seen their wares I suggest you take a moment and have a solid laugh.
Here's my top 3:
Anyway, that's enough of a prelude ... it's time to put on some music, sit back and enjoy the show.
I'll start at the beginning as it seems to be the logical place to start.
It was a very typical London day [it was probably raining or at the very least overcast] ... I was in the middle of another smaller project with Mindseye. A shoestring budget, and my penchant for creativity, forced me to play Sushi chef with an x-acto knife - you can enjoy my knife skills here.
Please note: My hands have never fully recovered.
Anyway, Hughie [Mindseye MD] provided some respite when he dragged me down to his 'den' of an office [it has bookshelf wallpaper, a portrait of a hamlet like figure and I'm sure I saw a smoking chair in there - he's a classy guy] ... anyway he showed me the printed version of this:
These are just the first three pages, but the following 12 pages read like a crazy bee-inspired dream come true. It felt as if the creatives had tapped into my YouTube browsing history, it's a bit scary, and pasted it into this fairly well-designed document.
But what the heck is Unshackled.com you ask? Good question. Join the club cause at this point I still didn't quite understand what it was either.
The brief was a starting point and it had me dancing in my chair ... but for those who know me, I played it cool [phiff ... hardly].
It pretty much went down something like this:
Hughie: The budget is a bit tight, but you interested?
Moi: [I'll leave it to Kristen Wigg to formulate a decent version of my response].
The people in charge [aka. Hughie and the Agency] battled out the details for a few weeks ... and next thing I know we've agreed to six scripts, a two-day shoot and I'm on a conference call with the boys and girls at Love Creative in Manchester. This is where I first met Jonny Kight - literally the best-looking producer in the business, but don't let his looks fool you ... he's a take no prisoners kind of guy.
I've learned a few things about conference calls over the years ... basically it goes something like this:
The nervous feeling in your stomach is always a good thing - this quote sums it up.
Prepare yourself for the worst hold music in existence ... I'm talking to you Powwownow. Seriously WTF?
If you don't remember a name just speak to the speaker based machine and let the right person answer. People know their roles.
Unlike radio or live TV 'dead air' isn't a bad thing ... it means they're thinking.
The call went swimmingly.
They loved the ideas I put forward, pushed back on others and we agreed the scripts needed development - which they wanted me involved with. I walked away with two words on my notepad: 'BE FEARLESS' ... this was in regards to my treatment that was due in 35 hours and counting.
I’m a bit of an odd duck in that I love writing treatments and love it, even more, when they have serious deadlines. Luckily, I was in the middle of another edit ... the treatment gods were about to make it rain.
Sidebar: I remember getting a brief at 4:00pm on Thursday and delivered the treatment at 10:30am on Friday. The only problem ... I was on 8:00am flight to Sydney. I pulled up my bootstraps did an all-nighter only taking a short break to shower and pack. I continued writing in the back of the cab to the airport, on a full economy flight and for the last hour I sat in the terminal finishing it ... thank you daylight savings, free WiFi in the terminal and very patient girlfriend. Needless to say, I won the job ... booyah.
That night I spoke to Grace [you might know here from previous posts ... she's kind of big deal around here] ... I was pretty enthusiastic about it all and told her they wanted me to 'BE FEARLESS'. "Ummm, babe ... they may have said it, but I'm pretty certain they don't mean that." was her response. I think it safe to say she's use to me getting a little carried away with things.
Regardless, I went full tilt. The next morning I had a plan, a young image research to hand and my fingers were tapping fastidiously away as I watched an edit progress in my peripheral vision. The final version ended up something a bit like this:
I've intentionally left out pages with words ... those kind of belong to Moi, but apparently it read as if I was speaking to the reader. I'll take that as a compliment, thanks, Max.
The treatment was submitted and I crashed out after several pints in Soho ... I blame the MSG in Wong Kei's food, not the sleep deprivation or the numerous beers.
A sunny long weekend in the South Downs and a few days later we got the job - high fives all-around. It's really exciting winning a job, even more so when you've just come off the back of another ... I think Publilius Syrus said it best with "a rolling stone gathers no moss" - momentum is a gift of the gods. Although, without this downtime I wouldn't have had the time to put all of this together. Dam.
Anyway, Jonny and I jumped on Virgin Train north to Manchester for a preliminary development meeting. We had few goals.
Confirm which scripts we were actually doing.
Work out exactly what Unshackled.com was.
Enjoy a few pints at Manchurian pub.