Nanu Nanu: Aliens Land in Campbeltown

We’ve made an ‘out of this world’ alien spoof for Weber Shandwick to highlight the bid from Machrihanish Airbase Community Company’s (MACC) to become Europe’s first spaceport. #backMACC

We spent a fantastic day at the airbase – aka UK’s Area 51 – in Campbeltown and around the Kintyre coast with two very friendly and ‘up for it’ aliens!

The spoof got a full-page spread in The Sun on 1 May and coverage in the Herald, Daily Express and Evening Times!

Visit  Discover Space UK for more info

Together We Are Hillington Park

Last summer MEPC Hillington Park invited us to produce a short promotional film that presents a day in the life of Scotland’s largest business park. The purpose was to attract further investment and business to the area.

We spent seven days capturing the diverse and fascinating community that exists around the former Rolls Royce site. Amongst the more unusual sights are an Oscar statuette (won for ‘Seawards The Great Ships’ [1962] and housed in the screen archive), a group of bee hives for harvesting the park’s honey and, my favourite, the factory of Sutherland’s cakes.

The opening borrows an excerpt from ‘Wealth of a Nation,’ a Films of Scotland production from 1938. It’s a powerful reminder of Hillington’s status as Scotland’s most established centre for business and industry.
Today, the ethos and ambition remains the same – Hillington is a centre of innovation, where the prestige of Scottish craftsmanship has always stood high, attracting global attention and supportive appreciation.

The film features an original soundtrack from Glasgow based composer John Lemke and dramatic drone footage.

Scotland’s Green Future

2014 is our most prolific year yet and demonstrates the growing appetite of organisations to commission video content as a core component of their digital strategy.

We’ve worked with young people in North Ayshire (Irvine Burns Club), interviewed Team Scotland for Irn Bru (Glasgow 2014), produced a music video for British indie band Mazes and delivered an inward investment video for Glasgow’s largest and oldest business park at Hillington. Most recently we’ve completed a promo for Dundee and Angus tourist board.

One of the standout projects was commissioned by the Scottish Government via Stripe Communications. We were asked to capture portraits of community-led projects that have received support from the Climate Challenge Fund. The fund was set up to help Scotland achieve its ambitious target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020. In total nearly 700 projects have received support.

It was a humbling experience as we travelled across the country meeting inspirational and energetic individuals from all walks of life warning of the dangers of climate change and tackling carbon emissions.

Never was this more explicit than on the Isle of Coll where the natural world overwhelms. The community has devised a brilliant method of imploding glass bottles into sand to make concrete closing the recycling circle on Coll. It was great to hear the children passionately defend the future of their island.

In the suburbs of Edinburgh we witnessed the asylum-seeker community offering home energy saving advice to minority groups. They’re not just fulfilling a requirement of government policy but a deep-felt need to protect the planet. Some had witnessed first-hand the impact of climate change in sub Saharan Africa.

In Scotland the natural environment is an unequivocal part of our lives. As a nation we depend on it to generate income, provide nourishment and act as a playground in which we can exhaust our energies.

These projects are brilliantly inventive, varied, and resourceful and most importantly they are inclusive.

Please enjoy the film, introduced by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Environment & Climate Change, and share these brilliant examples of grass root projects protecting our land for future generations.

Electric Heroes

As storms currently smash the country to smithereens I thought I’d draw your attention to these unsung heroes.

Shortly before Christmas we were commissioned by SP Energy Networks (responsible for maintaining the grid) to produce short portraits of their frontline staff at work in Scotland and Wales. I was amazed by the crazy conditions these guys work in – gales, blizzards, and hazardous terrain – all while dealing with live cables.

Stepping into life threatening scenarios to make areas safe and keep the lights on is no picnic!

Finding your Ron Burgundy

Ron
18 months ago social media magician Craig McGill (now Digital Strategist at Weber Shandwick) asked me to deliver a staff training video for Whyte & Mackay.

This was to be my first encounter with the legendary master blender Richard Paterson a.k.a. ‘the nose.’

Without a script he leapt into a one-take exhibition of presenter mastery, describing the brand’s finest whiskies and, most importantly, how to drink them.

The whole piece was shot in just two hours – a cameraman’s dream.

The team posted a short clip on YouTube for promotional purposes and, to my astonishment, it amassed more than 300,000 hits in a year.

Given that the whole thing cost less than a grand to produce, that’s a pretty good return for investment and demonstrates the potential reach of online video.

Comments flooded in from all over the world with one subscriber even labelling Mr. Paterson as Scotland’s Ron Burgundy.

 

This December the world eagerly awaits the return of the real Mr. Burgundy, currently causing a social media storm as he hijacks news networks and drip feeds teaser clips of what’s to come in Anchorman 2.

The public can’t get enough of him and the same is true for Mr. Paterson.

And here lies my point: never underestimate the power of personality and character in your online video. It’s the single most important element of creating a watchable and unforgettable experience.

Whenever you see a great movie or TV show, it’s the personalities that you take away from that experience.

A strong story is critical (that’s for another blog), but it’s the characters that make the piece resonate and linger long in the mind.

Whether it’s Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Maureen from ‘Driving School’ or Homer from ‘The Simpsons’, it’s the compelling protagonists that we imitate, debate, despise and empathise with.

When I worked in television we spent months researching and interviewing individuals before putting them on screen. I always looked for personalities that had a strong passion, raw emotion and muscular presence on film.

I firmly believe there are personalities in most organisations willing and able to be great on camera.

Cast strong personalities to vocalise your messages and remember it’s not necessarily about picking the most attractive or indeed the most important people!

If you can unearth your brand’s Richard Paterson it can be the difference between half a dozen and half a million hits.

10 Tips for Writing a Film Brief

One of the most important parts in commissioning a film is nailing the brief, but it’s the one thing that clients often overlook.

The brief is the starting point and is as much for the commissioner as the filmmaker. It’s a critical stage in the production process, helping everyone understand what we’re trying to achieve and why.

Like anything worth doing, it takes a bit of time, but if you get it right, you’ll save a lot of hours in the production process and that, after all, is where your budget goes.

Here’s a list of 10 key points to consider. Yes, they might seem obvious, but you’ll be amazed how many clients haven’t even thought about them.

1) PURPOSE – What’s your goal?
Promote, demonstrate, educate, raise awareness, document?

2) AUDIENCE – Who will be watching?
Fellow professionals, general public, young people, foreign nationals

3) CONTENT – What do you want to say?
Key messages, standpoint, information, successes

4) VOICE – How do you want to say it?
Interviewees, presenter, voiceover, observationally, reconstruction, animation & motion graphics

5) IMAGERY – What do you want to show?
People, places, projects, activities, case studies, stats, logos, urls

6) STYLE – How do you want to show it?
Formal, slick, loose, handheld, black and white, fast-paced

7) TONE – How do you want your audience to feel?
Happy, sad, inspired, informed, moved, angry

8) PLATFORM – Where will it be viewed?
Web-player, YouTube, plasma, big screen

9) PROMOTION – How will it be shared?
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, DVDs, USB sticks, Sendspace, Dropbox

10) BUDGET – What can you afford?
Number and whereabouts of locations & contributors, motion graphics, animation, celebrity presenter/voiceover

Mazes & More

Exciting month ahead. We’ve been invited to produce a music video for London based indie band MAZES. The video will feature the next single from their forthcoming album ‘Better Ghosts’ released on FatCat Records.

Not giving away too much at this stage other than sheep are involved!

mazes

For the second year running, we’re shooting character portraits of modern apprentices – nine talented guys and gals who have been nominated for Skills Development Scotland’s 2013 Modern Apprenticeship Awards. The prestigious ceremony is held every year at Glasgow Science Centre. Can’t wait to hear their stories.

Finally, we’re going to be filming some workshops and lectures for The Glasgow Centre for Population Health. GCPH is a government resource set up to generate insights and evidence to improve health and tackle inequality in Glasgow. Their annual seminar series features international speakers from differing perspectives sharing insight into health and welfare. It’s essential research and you can see past lectures here.

Guten Tag!

We’ve just returned from a very inspiring week in Berlin to find our shiny new website up and running! Elegantly designed by our good friend Mark Reid-Foster of Submarine, we’ve gone for a clean, contemporary look that echoes the style of the company and presents the work that we do in the best possible way.

Mark’s done a brand refresh too taking the original concept in a slightly different direction. Instead of looking at the camera reels themselves, he’s focused on the film that runs through them. Clever eh? And if you look extra carefully you can even see our initials.

jaf_marque_reversed

Keep up to date with all our news, articles, films as well as some free advice via the Blog, Facebook, and Twitter. And let us know if you see any films worth checking out – we’ll need something to stem the Breaking Bad withdrawal!