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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : CBNAT JAN-FEB 2013
TVC PRODUCTION CAMPAIGNBRIEF JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 Mr Smith celebrates MACLEAN AND NICOL saw them- selves hand-picking a creative team that could deliver exceptional films of any length, on any screen and on any budget. The trick was to be versatile and responsive to client needs but still preserve the princi- ples they hold dear. "For us, the filmmaking process is the same, whether it's branded films, docos or high-end TVCs," says MacLean. "The philosophy and craft don't change, nor does the need for a good story. So it becomes a question of delivering a level of quality at the budget avail- able." Mr Smith's first 12 months haven't, however, been solely about throwing around clever ideas. In the face of tight budgets and a high Australian dollar, conditions that characteristically encourage "think- ing small", the pair has instead opted to keep their horizons broad. Having fielded approaches from production houses in the United States and Europe, MacLean will soon be represented in both regions. The team is also notching up an array of novel side-projects: a documentary on the revival of vinyl records and another on an iconic Melbourne music venue. For MacLean, the filming of the latter has provided an intimate window into the creative processes of cele- brated artists and musicians, and a taste of their lives on the road. He soon heads to London and Berlin for the next chapter of filming. Both MacLean and Nicol believe the industry has reached a pivotal juncture, one in which people are fast realising that the rules for new and old media aren't so different. "In the initial rush to utilise new media," says MacLean, "clients felt compelled to commission vast quantities of content to fill online gaps. It's taken them a while to realise that while content for con- tent's sake may be cheap, it won't engage an audience." Nicol relates this to the trend for activations, sending a videographer to document an event and then uploading the edited footage online. She argues that a one-man outfit can't produce the same quality of novel, engaging storytelling that a team can. "If clients want content to connect with their audiences it's got to be done better. There's no point in putting content on your site if no one wants to watch it." That is, of course, where Mr Smith come in. Nicol and MacLean personally oversee every project that comes through their Richmond doorway; most briefs are work- Twelve months ago, when Craig MacLean and Helene Nicol put their heads together to brainstorm what would soon become Mr Smith, their Richmond- based production house, there were no arguments about what they were setting out to do. Sure they'd be continuing their distinctive work in high-end commercials, but the duo could also see that to thrive in the advertising industry of the future they'd need to be nimble and quick-witted. They'd need to adapt their knowledge and experience to an advertising landscape in a state of flux, grappling to adapt its principles, budgets and profit margins to the unpredictable realms of social media and online. CB takes a closer look... shopped in their upstairs lounge space. Replete with enormous couches, floor to ceiling windows and a turntable aside an impressive collection of vinyl (the documen- tary MacLean is filming has given the director license to gather an impressive collection), it feels like the lounge room of a cool friend; the kind who makes you think out- side the box. So much so that it's fast become popular with creatives around town who come to "borrow it" for a few days. The working spaces at the rear of the building overlook the railway lines that feed into Richmond sta- tion, lending the rooms a sense of movement and momentum. Mr Smith may be young, but the creative partnership behind it has runs on the board. Nicol has been producing award-winning television commercials for over twenty years at companies including Great Southern Films and The Guild. It was at The Guild that she met Perth-born MacLean, who had moved to directing after 13 years as an agency art director. In their first year the two have put together both a diverse showreel and a carefully curated team with versatile skill sets and diverse inter- ests. Enter Cory White, who when he isn't being one of Melbourne's pre- mier stills photographers is filing for Mr Smith: Cory White, Sam Walk, Will Kewley, Bella Giovinazzo, Craig MacLean, Ed Bell and Helene Nicol
CBAT NOV DEC 2012
Campaign Brief May-June 2013