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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : July August 2008
T VC PRODU CT IO N Thrifty ‘Birthday Girl’ (JWT Sydney) Nissan X-Trail (Whybin\TBWA, Melbourne) DAVEKLAIBER’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES Plaza Films director Dave Klaiber just picked up a Silver Lion for his Thrifty spot at Cannes. But Dave is a modest bugger who doesn’t really enjoy talking about winning awards. So instead, he tells CB about the size of tomorrow’s swell. IT’S ONLY BEEN FIVE YEARS since Dave Klaiber picked up a camera to shoot his first commercial, and he’s already wo n one of th e in dustry’s most res pec ted aw ards : a Silv er Lion at Cannes, as well as a bronze and f inalist at New York F estivals, a Silv er at the A NDYs an d a Bronze at The One Show - all for the same ‘Birthday Girl’ sp ot for Thrifty, via JWT Sydney. Not only that, but Klaiber is re p- resented by Plaza Films, a rguably Australia’s top pr oduction compa- ny, where he is mentored by one of the ind ustry’s biggest names, Paul Middleditch. But d espite these achie vements, Klaiber admits the onl y r eason he got into this business was to pay for his holidays - skiing, rock-climbing, surfing, or bas ically any natu re- based adventure sport tha t’s da n- gerou s en ough t o c aus e s erio us injury. The film industry pa id the bills, and was n’t qui te as b anal a s getting a ‘real’ job. Still, alth ough Klaiber was n’t as committed as he could have been when he first started out as a dire c- tor , he a dmits i t was “a wesome” winning a Silve r L ion at Ca nnes this year. He speaks with CB about his two great est passions - a dven- ture sport and di recting - and how one passion inspires the other. Your Thrifty ‘Birthday Girl’ spot is one of the most awarded commercials in Australia this year. Can you remember first reading the script? Yeah, I rea lly l iked it as soon as I saw it. It was one of tho se thi ngs you read off the page and immedi- ately knew it would be h ilarious if 42 CAMP AI GN B RIEF all the scenes myself in pre-produc- tion meetings – not everyone knows how to deal with it. But I ge nuinely love what I do. Suz says you’re hyperactive I find it hard to sit still. And if I Dave Klaiber Action Man and director we could get the right cast and peo- ple involved. It just lined up beauti- fully – the actors were great, and I think the thing that made it so suc - cessful was its simplicity, and then executing the idea in th e simplest way. When did you find out you’d won a Silver Lion? I w as s itting on t he beach in Cannes wi th Su z [ Susan nah Dilallo, Klaiber’s producer]. I seri- ously couldn’ t tal k, i t was qui te overwhelming. It w as one o f the proudest moments o f my c areer because it’s something I ’ve worked so hard for over the years. So you’ve always wanted to direct? No. F or years I would g o b ack- cou nt ry ski ing and s ur fing a nd that’s all I really did. I only got into the film i ndus try t o get enough money to go away again. Then one day I picked up a camera and start- ed shooting a few things and it grew and grew from there. I shot a mak - ing-of video for a Visa spot st arring Pi erc e B ros nan for Clemen ger BBDO Sydney, and af terwards ECD Danny S earle s aid, ‘D avo, how’d you like to star t direc ting commercials?’ and I said, ‘Mate, I’d love to’. That’s how it started. So would you rather be surfing and skiing, or directing? It’s funny - when I was at school my report cards would say, ‘If Dave put a s much effort into his school work as he did into his surfing, he could achieve anything.’ About two years ago, Paul Middleditch pulled me a side and s aid, ‘Dave, i t’s not just about adventure sports - you’ve got talent, you’ve just got to apply yourself and you could be one of the best’. I thought, ‘Fuck, what do you know mate?’ But then I realised he does know what he’s talking ab out because he’s one of the best. From that day I started thinking about my career a lo t mo re se riousl y, and everything seemed to happen a lot better. I take great pride in my work and I want to be the best. One day I want to knock the little bugger off his perch and take it as far as I can. So what makes you different to any other performance comedy director? I guess I’ve got a fresh look at it. I’m lucky because I’ve g ot r eally funny friends who are always joking around. So I take a lot of r eal l ife experiences and apply them to my work, and people seem to find that funny. I’m a lso pretty hands-on when I’m working wi th ac tors and explaining myself. I used to act out How has your style developed since you joined Plaza four years ago? When I first star ted directing I was basically bluffing – I think I got by because of my over-exuberance and a false sense of confidence. But whe n I fir st met Paul and Pete [Masterton], Paul said, ‘I want to teach you everything I know about filmmaking.’ They’ve both become incredible mentors and frie nds . Particularly over the past two years, my talent has been nurtured and I’ve been gently pushed in the right direction. I’ve never been told how to do things, but I’ve been shown opportuni ties a nd learnt my own way. And then last October I broke my ankle while I was rock-climbing in Thai land. I was pr et ty wel l fucked for the whole summer. It drove me insane, but it a lso forced me to focus on my work and find out what I’m capable of. So what’s the end goal? My dream is to shoot a 20-day commercial in Fiji with pumping surf followed by a back-country ski- ing shoot in Europe. That would be the u ltimate. I just love being in nature, but it’s getting busier and harder to the find time to get away. www.plazafilms.com.au JU L Y /AUGU ST 2 0 08 don’t get away from the hustle and bustle then I really start to lose it. But I think Suz has made a b ig impact on my career over the past 18 months. When I’m by myself I’m a bit of a loose cannon, I can get sidetracked and go off in differ- ent directions. But Suz has calmed everything d own. We both know what angle we need to take to get to the next level. All our jobs seem to be getting better and better. It’s a good feeling when you work so hard and bang your head at something and final ly the wal ls star t to fall down and your p eers start to pat you on the back.
May June 2008