Tell us a bit about yourselves and role in the creation of this work.
This was an interesting one. We (Pabz+Damiano) were thinking of dipping our toes in some unknown waters, we usually have a focus on Automotive, Sports and Character pieces. We were kind of looking for the next challenge as a director duo, something that would push us creatively. We only started working together last year and after a few successful projects it was clear to us where our strengths were but as creative minds, we’re always searching for the opportunity to develop our shared aesthetic feel. We focus very much on the visual impact that our work can have on an audience, regardless of the brand we’re advertising, and we felt that comedy as a genre could be something that allowed for further exploration of cinematic advertising. This was our first comedy piece and we loved it.
When looking at this project's script, was there anything in particular that drew your attention?
The main attraction was the freedom that was given us by Ogilvy and Troels Popp + Majken Gram creatives, we had a lot of chats over coffees (and beers), they were really open to collaborate. The original concept was actually in a white room with pixelated faces – but we wanting to push the boundaries, by adding an environment and introducing unique quirky characters to the piece.
The agency shared a lot of insights into the attention span of the viewer – so we suggested to add a dynamic camera movement, the simple pull back: close up to medium - beginning on the characters face, and having the reveal of the brand on the final moments – which collectively created suspense, tension and a solid punch line and reveal at the end.
What do you think it was about this campaign that made you the choice to direct it?
I believe it was the excitement we showcased and the clear interest we had in making the campaign bigger than what was projected to be. We pride ourselves in always trying to improve a brief we receive. Ultimately, we want to be fully involved and passionate in everything we direct and produce. This way both clients and agency can be sure that we care about the end product, because we want it to become something we put on our portfolio.
Can you share with us any alternative ideas (if any) you had for approaching this campaign? Why was this idea chosen?
The idea of a ‘KFC confession’ was there from the beginning. It was solid. The matter was how do we film it? What’s the vibe? How can we make it captivating and relevant? We bounced a few ideas with Ogilvy about possible backgrounds and locations, from a plain background to an empty and grungy warehouse with only one overhanging dramatic light illuminating the scene. At some point the option of pixelating the face of the talents was floating around, to create the feel of a shameful mockumentary. At the end we went with a retro noir set inspired by True Detective since it offered a lowkey comedic atmosphere with lots of props that could tell lots about the story without being too obvious.. Regarding the face pixilation, that idea was unanimously scraped after we saw the incredible faces and acting abilities of the cast, another element that added value to the production. Nobody wanted to lose anything from those great performances!
How well did the information flow between client, agency and production company on this job? How would you describe working with them?
What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during filming? How did you overcome it?
Well, the creation of the set of course!! It was a real challenge scouting for an office space suitable for our needs. Generally, offices in Dubai have two looks: the modern flashy one with glass walls and the dull, yellow-green neon lit with no widows! While the latter could have provided us with something to work with we decided to build our own set from scratch. We used a studio and brought everything from outside, desk, file cabinet, vintage printer, wooden panels for the background etc.. Some of the props, like the tape recorder, were even flown in from Singapore, straight from the flea market! The cast and wardrobe proved to be a challenge too. There’s not a very vast pool of talents in Dubai and I give incredible credit to Electric Lime Films’s Production Assistant Rindala; she went on a deep search for interesting-faced quality actors and the wardrobe moldboard she pieced together was on point and added so much production value to the films.
Another challenge I’d say was to direct the Arab talent. Given that we both don’t speak the language; I give credit to the Assistant Director Chaza. She ensured that none of the little comedic nuances we aimed to achieve were lost in translation and that the Arabic scripts also came to life how we had imagined them to.
Any behind the scenes stories you’d like to share from this shoot?
The most memorable behind the scenes story to us is that until the evening before the shoot, the entire team was still on a relentless search to find all the little props and elements that we could add to our frame to make it even richer and more dynamic, from little vintage mugs to the perfect texture and brown shade of big wooden panels. If you look carefully you will spot the Giraffe on the left hand corner that was actually purchased by the producer from a dollar store late the night before, and on the top right of the frame is a vintage portrait of Colonel Sanders posing in front of one of the oldest KFC joints in the State.