What an incredible opportunity it was working with Jacklin Enterprises and Balthazar Bierman, tasked with creating four commercials with the time frame of seven days from concept to delivery. Yes, a rather monumental task to say the least, and yes, we accepted the challenge! Our amazing client, Reinhild Niebur, told us her heartwarming story of, just two weeks prior, stepping in to purchase and save a company/bookclub with the hopes of spreading the written word and the ultimate dream of creating literacy throughout Africa. How could we even say no?
If it wasn't for Balthazar, a well-known 'fixer' in the film industry who contacted Director Garon Campbell, an old-time acquaintance, these ads may have remained a pipe dream. The duo have worked on projects across the board from big-budget ads with lists of crew and cast to simple crew shoots in West Africa.
Due to the company's financial constraints and the need for online content to push sales we needed to move fast. Balthazar, the orchestrator behind it all, enlisted the sheer talent of strategist and copywriter Sarah Britten who came up with a few scripts on Sunday night with our first meeting Monday morning. We needed to shoot the ads on Wednesday to get them edited, graded, into studio and ready for approval by Friday, thus giving us a mere 1.5 days to source a location that would fit both a kids Star Achievers ad and a Mills & Boon ad. As well as cast, crew, gear and props. Balthazar called in favours from all over and got last-minute casting tapes, head shots, crew lists and gear houses on board.
Two commercials were animated so we had to prep for two live-action ads where we only received final sign-off on cast at 5pm on Tuesday afternoon to arrive on set at 6am the following day. While the two animations were getting boards approved with some fine art work from Sarah we were underway to hit the deadline.
We managed to pull it all together and hit the ground running with a revered and talented cast and an eager crew. What a fantastic day on set as Garon couldn't have asked for better actors. First-time actor, five-year-old Okuhle Lebohang, had the support of the established and talented Bongani Dlamini, best known for his role in Isidingo, Zone 14, Ashes to Ashes and Isithembiso. Paired up as a father-son duo, they have won the hearts and minds of anyone who watches this 30-second TVC.
Filmed on the same location in the middle of the day, by blacking out the windows, Breadbin managed to pull off a completely different book brand known to the ladies as Mills and Boon. Again casting the well known and experienced actor and scriptwriter, Eric Bouwer, best known from 7de Laan and Getroud met Rugby, Eric brought his screenwriting skills as well as his devilish charm to win over the ladies in a romantic fire-lit ambiance inviting women to climb between the pages with him.
Overall, we are so happy to have been part of this project, company, brand, these amazing people and this super-fun experience.
Thank you, Vince Boonzaaier, the DP and engine behind the visual aesthetic of these simple, well-crafted and beautiful pieces.
Thanks to the amazing and talented cast and crew who jumped on board this super-low budget production and gave us their time, their skill and their favours with the hopes of saving this company.