At this point, it’s no news that I’ve been on that cross-continental rat race hustle for the past couple of months with a lot of time spent in studios, boardrooms, and airport lounges, crouched over my laptop in hotel rooms and Starbucks between meetings about the next job, and the next, and the next, and the next. Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked to be working so much (with so much to come), but as far as Shine By Three and @margaret__zhang are currently tracking, I do feel a bit like I’m suddenly dumping editorial after campaign after other-miscellaneous-project on you all in breathless succession, due to some knee-jerk necessity to share the minute work goes public. (Basically, I promise photographic proof that I’m actually alive and well, even if I’m wearing the same outfit everyday because I’ve run out of clean clothes in my suitcase, is coming soon).
To that, I often find that the instantaneous gratification of social media, coupled with direct-to-consumer smartphone content requiring significantly less production value for significantly more hits and the ongoing availability of apps that will do just about anything, has clouded the true value of a lot of creative work in the present industry landscape. Sure, anyone with a laptop can do a half-baked and ill-informed job of constructing a creative treatment, retouching an image, preparing a report or writing a digital strategy, but the real work and real results take infinitely more hours than most people on the receiving end are willing to acknowledge. Alas, the recurring response to attempted explanations of time investment is to turn a blind eye to the work at hand: “Well, that’s your choice, isn’t it?“.
Motion is always a difficult one to quantify. There are so many more measures required to reach the same degree of polish as a stills campaign. What looks like a Hollywood budget will actually only cover the baseline equipment. Hundreds of collective hours might be poured into three minutes of commercial footage, for an “oh cool” from a passing consumer, and a “that’s cute” from a client on release – and yet is professionally satisfying in the challenge alone and the reward of just one consumer engaging with the storyline or lifestyle dimension
being value-added to the product itself. In that regard, I’m so incredibly proud of the thirty-plus cast and crew I worked with on directing the brand film that accompanied these campaign stills for Australian silver-screen sweetheart Jodi Gordon’s new bag collection for Mon Purse. After four hours of punching out stills in the later afternoon heat of Blacktown, we did indeed embark on twelve hours of shooting scenes until the wee hours of the morning. Not one person complained about the impossible amount of filming to get through, or limited breaks, or even inevitable micro-sleeping at the wheel on the long drive home after all was said and done. The fire, work ethic, attention to detail, and clockwork efficiency on set was so refreshing to be a part of in the context of the project. Jodi, in particular, rose to the occasion and remained in high spirits and unbreakable character through to the very last drone shot. Hats off to you, JG. All my respect for your stamina and complete emotional immersion in the project.
Last night in Sydney, our motion passion project screened against all odds (and bloody hell there were odds). But passion and hard work reigns supreme in the end.
And my office CCTV footage will run and tell that.
PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING // MARGARET ZHANG
MODEL // JODI GORDON
HAIR & MAKE-UP // MAX MAY
ASSISTING // SAMANTHA BENNETTS & XIN ING CHAN