- Intro -
It’s pretty obvious that the biggest issue with ads these days is a distinct lack of talking Dolphin. "Gaslighting" is a short spec ad (basically a TV ad created for a real company, but used on our reels), a proof of concept and example of our ability to create engaging advertising. It also includes a talking dolphin created entirely in 3D!
Riiiiiight. Um… why?
Everyone in the group is a working creative professional in the film industry. But, sometimes to show what you’re fully capable of, you need to challenge your skill-set and think big, real big. Think of this as us re-inventing ourselves 'a la Madonna'. Our* goal with this project is to show off our unique understanding of narrative comedy and deliver it as high-quality ad. Once complete we'll use this piece to generate more work for everyone involved and to thank you we've got some salty treats in store (ie. Rewards).
*Apologies to grammatical tense enthusiasts, we just went from third person to first person. I don’t think it’s a big deal though; most people don’t even know how to use a semi-colon.
- Story -
Everyone has an argument in a car and its a pretty testing moment in any relationship. Ted and his girlfriend, a hotheaded Bottlenose Dolphin named Dolly, are no different then any other couple. An argument is brewing, something is clearly awry as she exhales loud thru her blowhole. To Ted it's a scene that plays out all too often and he takes shelter by trying to not get involved. That is until he tries to downplay his affair with the line: 'It was just a Tuna sandwich'. Which quickly fuels Dolly's fire and infuriates her to pose the question 'Are you Gaslighting me?'. Ted's lack of movie knowledge or, more specifically, vocabulary leads him to dig a deep hole, but it's nothing a little salty sexual innuendo can't fix.
We've taken a very typical and normal situation and turned it on its head. In our minds Dolly is no different then a normal women, she just happens be Dolphin. Performances are dead straight and even though we have a few Dolphin gags in the mix we're purposely avoiding slapstick humour ... what can we say - we're a bit classy. We like to call our script the meat and potatoes and thru improv sessions with the cast we'll being pouring on the comedic gravy, so to speak.
The ad has been written for a specific brand that we feel lacks a distinct presence on the web, but has values and a product we admire. It's a brand that, in our opinion, is young, modern and environmentally progressive. We'd love to spill the beans, but we can't until it's finished... sorry. Seriously, we can't say anything.
- Planning -
We’ve spent forever thinking over the tiniest details, like how much a car would lean with a 7ft 600kg Bottlenose Dolphin in the front seat - for some reason we've been called pedantic. Everyone involved has spent numerous hours and many late nights on this project and it's our absolute passion to see this come to fruition.
The entire project, from storyboard to location and cast are complete and in place and to keep things interesting we'll be releasing info throughout the course of the campaign.
- People -
Matt Gray (Writer) - Matt is a working copywriter which has seen him pen TV ads in Australia and the UK. Together Matt and Jonas have done numerous TV ads, a short film and are currently workshopping a TV series. He's probably the tallest man you'll ever meet but that doesn't stop him writing some seriously funny words. His site is apparently 'under construction' at the time of writing.
Jonas McQuiggin (Co-writer / Director) - A commercial director who's looking to get signed to a production company in the UK / US. He's done a bucketload of TV Ads in Australia (www.twolittleindians.com) and is using this spec ad as a launching pad for his career into bigger markets. You can see his work at www.jonasmcquiggin.com.
Jo Norman (Producer) - With numerous years experience line producing for major TV series, Jo's taken a little breather to come help us achieve our dreams. She's a wizard at making permits appear out of thin air and keeping us within our piccolo sized budget. Luckily she's got a wicked sense of humour, a great laugh and the fastest iPhone typing fingers this side of Atlantic. Thanks a million Jo.
Gareth Ward (Director of Photography) - Proud wearer of the yeti mountain beard and a stickler for fighting the rules on airplanes, Gareth luckily finds himself at ease behind the complexities of a camera. He's well versed in all mediums and extremely methodical - which means he constantly delivers a product born of great thought. Since he's most likely only thinking about updating his site you'll only get to see some of the action at www.garethward.com.
Michelle Sotheren (Art Director) - A smile says a lot about a person and this girl seems to smile more than anyone we know. Maybe it's 'cause she’s high on ammonia fumes from making sadist props for this project or maybe it’s the fact she has a Dolphin tattoo on her left ankle. Your guess is as good as ours. Michelle and Jonas have worked together numerous times and her site features bucket loads of visual jaw-dropping work ... have a look at www.michellesotheren.com.
- Talent -
Anne Zander (Dolly) - Anne Zander is an American-born, London-based actress. She recently finished playing the wife of a corrupt Algerian politician in L'Oranais, a French feature film due for release in 2014. Other recent notable roles include her critically-acclaimed performance as Mary Shelley in the original play, Mad Women, and her take on feminist icon/would-be Andy Warhol assassin Valerie Solanas in Whore. She sounds plenty serious, but tells us she's looking forward to playing a Dolphin 'because, you know, why not?'. Gotta love that enthusiasm.
Riley Madincea (Ted) - Actor, improviser, and sure to be the best newcomer nominee at this year's London Catering Awards, Riley trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He's received extensive training in comedy through a carousel of disappointed girlfriends. He's performed at theatres such as Shakespeare's Globe, The Cockpit, and Traverse. He says his acting style resembles a cross between Hugh Grant and Ethan Hawke, with a hint of Denzel. A bit of Heinz 57 of acting if you ask us.
- Money -
Funding in the commercial world for an 60 second ad of this scope would have a budget easily in the realm of £300k - we’re hoping to do it for about £7500 with the serious help of partners. You calm down, we don’t need that much from you. 'Cause with a mix of personal savings we've managed to raise about £4500. With another £3000 we can bring this Frankenstein to life.
Every pound raised goes directly to the project, ensuring only the highest quality product (and Dolphin) goes on screen. Which will help benefit the careers of all the talented people involved - hopefully we can return the favours on Kickstarter. As you can imagine we've been planning this for a few months and it now comes down to you.
Your support goes towards things like:
Permits / Location Fees - Shooting in and around London ain’t cheap. Even a quiet street and access to toilets that don’t resemble shrubbery come with a price.
Traffic Lockdown - For our safety and the general public’s we need to close a few roads as we drive around in circles.
Vehicle Hire - The entire spot takes place in a car. We’re going for a late model VW Golf (or whatever). We also need a glazer to remove and replace the windscreen. Reflections are arseholes, that’s why.
Lowloader - Most actors can’t drive. Neither can most dolphins. It’s science. So we need to hire a performance driver and the right rig to effortlessly drive them around in circles.
Insurance - We’ve got plenty of it but we need more. The last thing we want to do is post another Kickstarter campaign to bail us out of jail because a tourist got hit by a fridge. It happens.
- Partners -
Absolute Post - These guys are the real deal and they haven’t just come to the party with a 4-pack of Red Stripe – they’ve brought a fully stocked bar and a barman who wears suspenders. What that means, in technical terms, is providing offline edit, the creation of a life-like 3D dolphin, a grade, and basically using their talent and expertise to bring everything together seamlessly. These guys are some of the best in the business and we’re excited to be working with them. (www.absolutepost.com)
Panalux - Lights, camera, action. While Jonas and Gareth will take care of the last two, Panalux will be providing all our lighting needs. And since the sun never shines in London we'll need plenty. (www.panalux.biz)
Brownian Motion - Jeff Brown and the team have sorted us out with a RED Epic Camera, a full set of Cooke S4 Lenses and a DIT van - who knows what happens in there. (www.brownianmotion.co.uk)
Motion Mechanics - The boys over at Motion Mechanics have donated the crew and use of their Jimmy Jib for us to achieve the opening shot. (www.themotionmechanics.co.uk)
Crew – A special thanks to each and every one of the crew that is donating their time and energy to this project. These guys and girls are serious legends and without them this project wouldn't even happen.
- Outcome -
It is our hope that the end result will be a calling card for all those involved to grab the attention of production companies and agencies in the UK, US and Europe.
Your support is greatly appreciated by everyone involved. And above all, we promise to stay in touch throughout the rest of the process and keep each one of our backers up to date. If you have questions please don't hesitate to contact us.
Risks and challenges
Like any other film project there's risks involved, but we have an experienced group of working professionals who know what it takes to achieve success.
To be honest this is no different from our day jobs – it’s just without the limitations we often face and is a chance for all of us to show off who we are as creative people. The challenge we face is producing a spec commercial that works as an effective piece of advertising with a purpose, but also entertains.
Once complete we will work tirelessly to send out all the rewards before the end of January 2014. Sometimes things go missing or there's delays, but we're here to help and will do anything we can to make sure we deliver on our promise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (19 days)