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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : January February 2010
THE CRAFT 46 CAMPAIGNBRIEF JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 INACHALLENGING YEAR in which truly great TV commercials were few and far between, Lance Kelleher's motorcycle safety spot for TAC and Grey Melbourne stands out for being one of 2009's most accomplished gems. Pundits are already placing bets on how many craft awards the spot will receive on the awards cir cuit this year, which is testament to the talents of Kelleher, who is one of Australia's most notorious directors with a reel that is brimming with award-winning work. In 2009, Kelleher added a layer of gravitas to Curious Film's roster when he joined the company in Sydney. Kelleher had been moving back and forth between Sydney and LA, where he was represented by Ritts/Hayden, before settling in Sydney permanently in 2003. In Grey's most recent TAC com- mercial for Australian Motorcycle Safety, Kelleher ingeniously shifts the camera' s perspective betw een five different motorcycle riders. The viewer feels immersed in the vulner- ability of riding a motorcycle at the film's point of climax, when a motorcyclist careens off his bike towards a passing truck. It's one of the most powerful finales of any TAC commercial, which is why Kelleher's spot fea- tures in Grey's 5-minute compile of TAC's most effective campaigns over 20 years, which launched before Christmas. "This script could have been shot very predictably by cutting from one rider to another, but Lance pr omised he c ould deliver some- thing seamless, and we believed him. Our balls were all on the line, his balls were on the line... Luckily, he did what he promised," says Nigel Dawson, creative director at Grey Melbourne. Upon receiving the script, con- ceived by Dawson and art director Peter Becker, Kelleher's treatment persuaded the client and agency that he was the right director for the job. In place of storyboards, he col- laborated with James Rogers at Postmodern to create a 3/d previsu- alisation that painted a detailed pic- ture of what the final film w ould approximate. "Lance is a very strong visual director who has dealt with a lot of moving vehicles, which is what ini- tially drew us to him. He has an ability not just to make things look pretty but to bring humanity and character to a concept. The shoot was stymied by rain and wind, but Lance managed to keep most prob- lems away from us. He is a director who knows what he wants, and come what may, he'll find a way to deliver. Working with him was a very pleasant, easy experience," says Dawson. Matt Noonan, executive producer at Curious Film, has known Kelleher since his days at Kinomontage in NZ: "Lance and I go way back, I worked for Lan ce when he had Kinomontage in Auckland and he was then and still is a visionary director. What he has accomplished by cracking into the US with Ritts/Hayden makes him one of the most significant Australasian commercial directors ever," says Noonan. "His technical process is master- ful, but it's his overview and person- al aesthetic that make him excep- tional. His enthusiasm for the process is tireless. His love of the craft, his own expectations of him- self and his work are inspiring to me both personally and profession- ally. I hold the TAC film in the highest esteem and am very proud that it was produced at Curious," he says. Kelleher's collection of awards trophies tallies more than 100. He is currently developing a feature film, and is collaborating with his youngest son on a Short. Since shooting TAC, Kelleher has been swamped with questions about how he pulled it off. To find out, Campaign Brief caught up with the man himself. Why did the TAC 'motorcycle safety' script appeal to you? I felt it was a script that allowed me to do what I do best because there was a very clear opportunity to do something different. I was aware of the legacy of TAC's adver- tising, so I knew I needed to step up to the plate executionally to deliver something that was creative- ly exceptional. The creatives want- ed seamless transitions between the riders' points-of-view, but they said, 'We're going to let you develop this your own way.' It was a great brief. The camera shows the viewpoint of five motorcyclists, but it also offers the perspective of an unseen, almost ethereal bystander. Why did you add this layer to the script? We felt that showing the world through the eyes of five different riders might lose impact over 60- seconds. By introducing a slightly distorted point-of-view, and by being more inventive in terms of where the camera would go and what it would see, I wanted to cre- ate a level of execution above and beyond what had ever been done for TAC before. By looking at the scene from a personal viewpoint -- a person in a car, a pedestrian, a pillion passen- ger - we were adding impact. Primarily, I wanted to illustrate Why TAC turned to Campaign Brief catches up with Curious Film's Lance Kelleher [above left] to find out how he shot the latest TAC 'motorcycle safety' spot for Grey Melbourne, which is a hot tip to win at this year's inaugural Cannes Craft Lions.
May June 2010