I love a good prank. Especially when the victim is an innocent, unsuspecting television audience. You guys have come up with a campaign that plays a really fun trick by presenting a familiar world with familiar faces and then turns that world upside-down when the Rogers Technician steps into frame. They’ll never see it coming and it will be hilarious!
There’s a lot of fun to be had with all of these spots, and I’m ready to assemble a team of All-Stars to get the job done. With the right cinematic look, pitch-perfect performances, and a movie-grade production design, we’ll make our viewer think they’re watching the newest project from their favorite star and then yank the rug right out. It’s a memorable campaign and will put Rogers Ignite TV smack-dab in the frontal lobe of customers’ brains. It would be my pleasure to make these spots with you guys, and can’t wait to tell you about my ideas, so here goes...
As anyone who’s done some improv comedy knows, commitment to the bit is always of paramount importance. Same holds true for this project. The “films” need to look like real projects, the actors need to play it straight, and there shouldn’t be any tip off as to what’s coming around the bend. To make it real, things need to look BIG. BUT! Not to worry, things just need to look that way. With the right crew on board we’ll capture the exact feel of these expensive productions without breaking the bank.
One way we could save time, and ultimately leave me more room to play with our stars, is to shoot at a large sound stage and build all of our sets right next to each other. We could be filming one scene while pre-lighting another. As you know, on shoot days you need every second to be productive, especially when working with busy actors who probably (definitely) have a limited schedule. Optimizing and managing our non-shooting time will allow for a more free and relaxed atmosphere once the cameras are rolling.
When it comes to working with our actors, I like to have the ability to experiment, try things, and generally get loose in order to land the best material. But, make no mistake, I think the scripts you have provided are fantastic, and I’ll make sure we have all the necessary lines covered before we ever start playing with our actors.
The main characters’ interaction with the technician is where this concept will spring to life, and giving the cast the freedom to live in and play with that moment is really important. We’ll get a lot of takes, a lot of coverage, and end the day with a wealth of material that will insure we get the maximum amount of performance from the talent. Ultimately, the acting is what will make this project successful, and we need to give the cast the time and resources they need so that we all come out looking super smart and talented.
Of course, in order for the actors to look good, the FILM itself has to look good, and that leads us to our next incredibly important element...
If the visuals aren’t convincing the audience will sniff out our prank, and the reveal of the Rogers Technician will just fall flat. Can’t let that happen. So, with that in mind, I’ll bring aboard a DP with rock solid feature film credentials. Luckily, I’ve worked with some enormously talented people over the years, and will have no problem hiring an amazing cinematographer who can recreate the exact look and atmosphere that we need for each piece.
Depending on the scene, we’ll visually play to the tropes of the genre we’re recreating. For example, we’ll recreate the exact look of House of Cards, give a hand-held feel to the Gordon Ramsay show, a Good Fellas texture to the mob spot with Mr. Sorvino. All of the scenes will look beautiful and cinematic, and have the feel of a first class production. The compositions, camera moves, lighting will be completely motivated by the genre which we are celebrating/ lampooning, but all of them are going to be of the highest visual quality. Our imagery will instantly put the viewer in world of the film so we can then completely shatter their expectations.
The other benefit to hiring a top notch DP is that it sends a strong message to the cast. Fancy movie and TV stars like to know they’re going to look great, and that the spot is going to have a professional, classy appearance. Knowing they’re in good hands will allow our actors to relax and fully focus on their roles, and do everything exactly as I say!
You guys have assembled a truly amazing, iconic, and (obviously) talented cast. And with great talent comes great responsibility... for the director. Luckily, I have a lot of experience dealing with these Hollywood types. What I’m going to get from our stars is total commitment to their roles. They need to come off as authentic, not playing it too big or for comedy in any way before our technician arrives. Once the technician steps on screen things will loosen up a bit. He’s just a normal, average guy, and almost becomes the default straight man of the scene. After the joke is revealed we can start to have some fun with our performances.
Though they’ll still be in character, the stars can improv a bit, try different line reads, and generally play around to give us a lot of options to choose from in post.
For projects like this I prefer shooting with more than one camera. It’s the best way to ensure that every spontaneous moment of magical performance is covered and we won’t have to worry about recreating it a second time - which never really comes out the same. Everything will cut together better, and we’ll ultimately save time and resources.
Rolling multiple cameras also lets the cast know that we’re truly interested in their creative energy, and we’re ready to use their best ideas in our final edit. It gets them invested in the project to know that we want their input, and shows that they’re valued. This kind of reinforcement is something that always translates into better performances, and gets our actors to give their best on every take.
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