An Anniversary to Remember
It’s been just over a year since Gua went live. I couldn’t have seen it coming but normally I would have thought we’d be celebrating with a commemorative video. Little did I know that I’d be directing a TV commercial for my own company. With my boss as the client.
I started out as a director. I’ve always loved directing and I think I’ll still be doing it as the years go past. It satisfies the creative part of me that is so dominant in my life. It’s an addiction of passion. Of course, I was one of those who also enjoyed producing – putting projects together and seeing them on screen. And then I got the chance to executive produce at Gua, conceptualizing and creating a whole slate of programs to cater under one brand. I got to handle a huge budget and a bunch of people to work with too. It was the corporate side of me at work.
But I miss directing. Sure, I did a couple of music videos that were meant to promote our drama series Kerana Karina, plus help our a few indie artists for our music download portal. And having the resources to spend on a TV commercial was something I didn’t want to deny when my boss Zul told me he needed my help. (Okay, I was going to do it for free so that would save a bit of money. Media Prima’s creative services department couldn’t spare anyone themselves.)
But I like the challenges of directing as well as producing. Danny Cannon does that for CSI:Miami and he’s always been an inspiration for me. Danny was a hugely talented director who went into executive producing CSI:Miami and still occasionally directs episodes. And he’s not bad either.
So there I was directing a TV commercial that would be broadcast on TV to commermorate our first anniversary. CSD came up with a good script about how one college-goer goes from geek to trendsetter in a year, all because he logs on to Gua. The commercial took the better part of my lfe for 3 weeks, from pre-production to post. We still had to do a commemorative video, plus a few other little promos for the anniversary but I left that to my trusty producer Kahar and our video editors.
We had several ideas for the lead role but I cast rising actor-singer Nabil for the college kid. Having got that one over I knew the main location would be equally important. It was the ‘hang-out’ café that most of the story would be set in over the 12 months. I found it on the first day when I had lunch at Wondermilk Café in Uptown. Somehow it just felt suitable as the place for cool people to be. Then came music, which had to reinforce the theme of discovery/transformation. I had been listening to lots of Faizal Tahir at the time and one song, Kerna Kamu (because of you), a fast-moving song (that’s what Zul always wants).
The end result was well-received – especially by Zul and fans in general. Nabil has probably cemented his place as the face of Gua, appearing in the campaign’s print ads and following on from his role in the second season of Kerana Karina. The great team included my DOP Shoufe, always glad to accommodate my most demanding of requests; Sanjit my producer for putting in a lot work; and Eddy for doing a fine job as art director. I’m already looking forward to the next one.