Since it was my birthday on Sunday (2nd April) I thought I would write a quick blog on my favourite moment from being the Creative Director at Red Pencil Productions. If it helps, imagine Charles Dance, sat in an armchair of a Victorian styled office and dressed in a sharp suit and a poke-a-dot tie… Or just look below.
It’s already difficult trying to decide on a favourite moment as we worked on some amazing projects with clients of various sizes. We’ve won awards, had our work broadcast on T.V, travelled to Marrakech, Milan, and Barcelona, and played an important part in improving the standards of dementia care in the UK. I think there are two moments that I think have had a huge impact on me but for two completely different reasons.
The first had to be our work with YOUSEF and PayASUGym. In the true spirit of online video production, this project required a quick turnaround and needed to be shot for possible TV usage. I am very proud of the crew on this project and we had the pleasure of working with new companies such as CHEAT in London. The crew’s hard work and dedication led to a fantastic product, one that perfectly sums up what we aim with every project, to create a video that is not only exciting and engaging to the audience, but also expands brand awareness, creates trust with the audience and therefore leads to an increase in sales. In 30 seconds, you understand exactly who PayAsUGym are, what they offer and how you can get it.
Now the second is a lot more personal to me, but since it’s my birthday, I thought why not?
As a writer, you always want to write a piece that can impact an audience. When we were brought in by the NHS to write and produce a fictional 25-minute film to become a vital training resource for improving dementia care, I was given a huge challenge too, to write and direct a film that will need to leave a lasting impact.
‘Diary of a Bed Number’ was a challenge on so many levels.
- Research: Dementia is a very complex term. To begin with, it is not actually a disease itself but an umbrella for a collection of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Trying to understand dementia, and trying to understand how it must feel to suffer from these symptoms was a huge challenge. It required a lot of research and speaking to those affected by dementia to even get a grasp on what our lead character, Lucy, would have to endure.
- Directing: My background is directing fictional film, which is why we love creating narrative pieces of online marketing. Not only does it work, but we have the experience and knowledge to make it work. The challenge here for me was, again, trying to grasp an understanding of how a dementia sufferer would feel, how we could create a realistic lead character that would leave that lasting impression. I had the absolute pleasure of working with an amazing actress called Roseanna Leathley, who was truly fantastic in the role and brought in personal experiences to create a character we can be proud of.
The challenges of this project, however, were worth the reaction from the audience, and this is where my second favourite moment at Red Pencil Productions comes in.
Premiering ‘Diary’ to nurses, doctors, teachers, journalists and the general staff of the NHS was a fantastic honour, and the feedback throughout the film was better than I could have ever imagined. For the entire film, the audience was dead silent. Now, this could mean that no one wanted to be rude, but in film, it usually means that everyone was entirely focussed on the film. They didn’t need to shuffle, leave for the toilet, open snacks or share a comment with the person next to them, they just engaged with the film. It was silent until our final scene, to which we started to hear sniffles. I could see people pulling out tissues and wiping their eyes.
Now that was my favourite moment.
It may sound horrible that my favourite moment was making people cry, but to me, it meant that the film had achieved its primary goal. To create impact.
Reviews were fantastic, journalists were lovely about the piece and ‘Diary of a Bed Number’ went on to be screened at a London Film Festival as well as picking up 3 awards, including two for writing and production. But for me, knowing that this film leads to people wanting to make more of an effort to understand dementia and improve the standards of dementia care, was priceless.
So, there you have it two of my all-time favourite moments from a list of amazing projects. Every project we work on is unique and bespoke. We are a boutique for video production because we believe that to stand out, you need to be a little different.
Written by Anthony Smith