Last year I worked with comedy writer Dan Gallagher to create a suite of films for Barclaycard. The films were produced for Zooppa.com, a creative global social network who run crowd source competitions producing content for major brands and ad agencies.
The Barclaycard campaign – “More out of today” caught my eye because they were looking for something British and a little self-deprecatory. The brief was wide open, so Dan and I created Hugo; a Hipster with too much time on his hands, thanks to Barclaycard’s innovative time saving features.
Kahleel Ali, cast as Hugo had never acted before but having some natural hipster about him, a great sense of humour and a tidy beard, he was up for the challenge. Directing actors is great fun and very rewarding, but getting a great performance from a newcomer is especially so.
I filmed the ad with some help from Dan on location around Kings Heath, Moseley and Birmingham. The shoot in the main, was gorilla style, no reccy, just turn up and shoot. The budget was really minimal; we were given a $500 grant by Zooppa to get started and with a prize of $10,000 on offer we thought the return was potentially substantial.
We shot over 4 days on my new Samsung NX mirrorless DSLR with only a 9” Led light panel and a reflector for lighting. Costume and props were begged and borrowed. It’s surprising how much hipster paraphernalia people have lying around!
For sound production, I composed and produced the music entitled Hugo’s Theme, not something I get to do much these days. I sampled the Stylophone Hugo is playing in the bus stop as the main instrumentation. The very versatile and BAFTA winning Kevan Brighting performed the VO and my wife Bernie very sweetly answered the phone for Barclaycard.
We submitted multiple entries, experimenting with 30” cut downs and various twists in the script endings but “A Day with Hugo” picked up 1st prize and won $10,000!
Khal, Dan and I had loads of laughs making this, thanks mainly to Khal’s complete lack of inhibition!
The film was used online, for a social media campaign promoting a photo competition for Barclaycard and garnered over 300k views. Dan and I have since had interest for other projects with Zooppa and some of their film makers.
This was my first professional soirée with comedy and I hope you might consider me as a Director if you have any future ads or idents along these lines.
Here is the winning entry, followed by my favourite cut downs.
Hugo’s free time. 30″
Just like Hugo. 30″
Special mentions to…