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BizTrends 2018

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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Being a BlueMoonerang

I started off at Blue Moon as a freelancer more than 10 years ago and freelanced for a while before I finally "joined the family". I went on to head up the video department for four years and then, thanks to the support and faith of Blue Moon, started my own video production company, The Divas, with my partner, Ziyanda Macingwane.
I guess like many Blue Mooners, I am a "BlueMooneranger": a Blue Mooner who just can't seem to stay away. To me, Blue Moon is a company made up of people who shape each other.

Celebratory Culture

When I arrived I was so impressed with the culture of Blue Moon and one of my earliest memories of was a party. A party that everyone wanted to attend and no one wanted to leave.

I would learn that the parties would continue with drinks on Friday afternoons and naturally cake at birthday time, when you get a new car, arrival of a baby or a puppy, any excuse to show gratitude, coupled with cake.

Filming Underground

The first corporate video I worked on for Blue Moon meant travelling three kilometres underground, down the shaft of a gold mine. This was such an awesome experience as I got to see - first-hand, the operations of the backbone of the economy.

We filmed all over the mine and even in the hostels. I was the only woman on site at times but never felt uncomfortable as I had my intrepid team of director Alex Yazbek, Director of Photography Mike Washington and the bravest props and wardrobe person ever - Erique Swartz.

The learning curve was huge: it was during the making of this video that we worked out the best technical system to film underground under such extreme humidity and lack of access to power. It is a system that we have used time and time again, with adaptations as camera technology develops.

Mining People

Individually and together with Blue Moon we have become specialists in filming on mines and similar challenging environments. What is so fascinating are the people and personalities that we have worked with - people at the rock face and mining CEOs. The variety of mining clients that we have serviced, constantly keep us looking at how to produce quality mining communication.

Safety Mindset

One of our greatest challenges remains how to get the best shot whilst still remaining within the confines of a safety mindset. We can't be producing a safety video whilst flouting safety rules and regulations. I am happy to say that from three kilometres underground to the top of the highest steam stack on the Sasol Secunda plant, my team and I have managed to produce over 300 videos - injury free! (Here's an example:

Retail Giants

Just when I would get tired of being dirty and gritty on the mining locations, then I would be lucky enough to produce a video for Edcon. We had so much fun producing programming with Steve Ross and Dr Urin Ferndale who were often willing to get involved in acting in some of our training programmes and induction videos. Who can forget Steve Ross as the Edcon TV news reader and Dr Ferndale as the coach during the world cup roadshow? And it was so fascinating filming in a gleaming Edgars store after hours.

With the Edcon management team, I learnt so much about how clients are willing to take the journey with you to produce engaging communication - especially when you have Mr DJ Grant onboard as the creative director.

DJ is a visionary who has taught me to have confidence in my creative approaches and to follow through with them. He is so good at being able to see the big picture and I believe many of Blue Moon's long term clients have complete confidence in his vision.

The Process

One of my greatest learnings at Blue Moon that I have carried forward into running my own business are the importance of processes. Lynne Normanton taught me so much about running a tight budget and Sarah Leftwich showed me how to negotiate around that in order to get the best out of each production and put the value on screen.

Music of my Life

Working on six of the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) was definitely a highlight of my time at Blue Moon. Working with Deana Heslop-Mthembu who is the ultimate MacGyver - from always managing to make a plan when we were stuck from artists who couldn't be found, to offering up her garage as a shoot location when ours fell through. Being exposed to the talented musicians and performers in this country has certainly shaped my taste in music.


One of Blue Moon's strengths is that outside of the strong team within the company, the pool of loyal freelancers that they pull from on a regular basis keeps ideas fresh and energised.

Even though it has been five years since I "officially" left Blue Moon I have not let go completely and I often pop back for words of advice from my mentor and "surrogate work mother", Michelle.

A part of my heart will always remain with Blue Moon, because I am a BlueMoonerang.

Note from the MD: Heather has lived our values by remaining a True Blue Mooner in her spirit, always Fresh in her creative approach and the ultimate in Brave by forming her own company, The Divas, with our support and blessing.

About the author

Heather Taylor-Waldron is Managing Director at The Divas Audio Visual Communications.

Blue Moon Corporate Communications' press office

Blue Moon Corporate Communications
BLUE MOON captivates and engages audiences through FRESH, TRUE and BRAVE communication strategies, events, internal engagement, design, video, theatre and visual learning.