We spoke with Film Construction to learn more about how they and creative agency YoungShand crafted the unique television event showcasing YoungShand's latest campaign, 'Unseen Emergencies.'
What did the brief ask for, and how much freedom were you given to execute that?
This commercial needed to be emotional. But it also needed to be very precise. As well as being a series of TV commercials, this was a television event. Each spot was timed to play at a specific moment throughout the national news broadcast. Each character predicts a health crisis that is about to happen. Then each event plays out.
Together, each part contributed to one cohesive message.
We enjoyed the constraints that the format put on the production.
On any given day, people are experiencing emergencies that don’t make the headlines. The job of these commercials was to generate donations of blood and plasma for the New Zealand blood service. Kiwis are very quick to donate when there is a well-publicised emergency. But blood and plasma is needed every day.
Bringing a concept to life is often met with roadblocks and obstacles. What were some unique challenges you faced during the shoot? Tell us what kind of preparation went into the production.
Time was a challenge. The budget was another. But as the old saying goes, no one ever remembers those things - they just remember the quality of the work.
The biggest challenge for us was achieving authenticity. How much film technique was appropriate? How unobtrusive could we be as we pry into each situation?
We prepared with careful storyboarding to reflect the script. This was dissected, reformatted and refined as the locations were found.
But the boards were not a straitjacket. Once the actors, locations, lighting and art department were assembled, we blocked the shots afresh. And the film took its own shape.
Are there some things you wish had made it to the final cut?
We did not have the resources for overshooting. So the shoot was very disciplined, timed, and executed. We did, however, need to hit a balance around the graphic portrayal of trauma. For instance, we had enough material to create a graphic road accident. Still, the decision was made to imply the jogger being hit by a car rather than show it in all its bone-crunching horror. It was the right call.
Can you tell us about some of the most memorable moments from the shoot? Any behind the scenes stories you’d like to share?
It was an emotional shoot.
Producing raw emotion on film is a very delicate thing.
Our final scene calls for a distressed mother whose newborn has been rushed into surgery. Her inconsolable sobbing is the climatic moment of the commercial. Watching the casting tapes of dozens of actresses wailing and sobbing was gruelling enough.
But on the shoot day, our chosen actress performed with such heart and rawness. There was barely a dry eye at the agency monitor. And amongst the shooting crew, the tissue box was circulating freely.
It’s a moment we will all remember.