It’s always a pleasure to receive some positive feedback, so I thought I would post these two recent comments on my work:
“Nadaav creates beautiful, moving videos, often under tight budget and timeline constraints. He is always a pleasure to work with.”
Katerina Barry, Design Lead, White & Case
“Nadaav’s ability to juggle multiple projects was unlike any I’ve seen before and made a dramatic difference in the productivity level of our team. He puts passion into each and every project and without exception the resulting outputs are all of the highest quality.”
Paul Curtis, Film Photography & Animation Lead, Transport for London
Thank you both for such kind words.
On a very grey, late December day, on one of the shortest days, I was privileged to shoot an uplifting and heart warming profile of Paralympic Gold Medallist, Andy Lewis MBE.
Andy’s story of overcoming what must must have felt like insurmountable odds, to become a hugely successful sportsman is an inspiration and I am very proud of the project we have been working on.
Watch this space for the finished video. For now here’s a still of Andy, the crew and me, from the end of the shoot.
A couple of months ago I went to a presentation by a design agency. They work not just in conventional design but also in systems design, user experience, agile business design and so on.
The snacks were great, the trendy microbrewery ales were lovely. But the actual presentation was a bit poor.
No real effort had been made aside from throwing up a screen. No microphone so it was hard to hear. The audience were lit brighter than the speaker so you had to strain your eyes a little too. And the slides were busy and difficult to read.
It was probably a low priority event for the company, but if a design agency can’t, or can’t be bothered to design a good presentation, with readable slides, they’re sending a poor signal about their whole brand.
There needs to be brand consistency. It’s not just the quality of the work but the quality of everything you put out needs to consistently sit at the same level as you place your brand. Continue reading
“Just Do It” – I never really understood the power of that Nike slogan till now.
Sometimes things don’t feel like opportunities. That job or task that you’re sure you couldn’t do but wish you could for example. In Britain especially, we are so used to being honest and modest that we turn down opportunities before we even realise that’s what they were – opportunities.
I’m a film, TV and video writer, producer and director. I am rarely in front of the camera or an audience, except perhaps at a Q&A’s about my work.
That’s me in the foreground, on the set of Sound Asleep, a short film I’m currently editing, starring Danny John-Jules (Cat from Red Dwarf). I am very comfortably off camera.
And there I am in the foreground again, definitely not stealing the scene.
But a month or two ago I was approached by an actor and performer with a question: Can I write an immersive, iconoclastic, interactive comedy show for a single performer, on the theme of finding love?
Well, it’s a tough starting point, but yes, that’s what I do – of course I can do that.
And will I be that performer?
What??? Continue reading
The Authentic Voice
In marketing and PR everyone is talking about having an authentic voice, creating authentic content, being authentic. Sounds great – it should be natural, right?
The idea of coming up with your “authentic voice” seems ironic. If it were authentic, you wouldn’t have to think about it. But as businesses and individuals, we’re always filtering how we present ourselves.
For me, it comes down to two things: passion and vulnerability. If I feel those when I’m speaking, I’m being honest, and that feels authentic. If I feel those when I’m listening, I connect at a deeper, more human level.
Communicate as a Human
People relate to people. They’ll listen to a real person talking honestly far more than to a brand or a sales pitch. Passion and vulnerability are the subtle signs that the voice I am listening to is real – they are just like me.
As communicators we have to find the passion in our message. Something in the message that we genuinely care about. There’s almost always something you can get excited about if you look hard enough.
When you feel the passion in what you are saying, then you are well on the way to being authentic, and engaging. So look out for it – do you care about what you are saying in your content? If not, something’s wrong.
Don’t hide your weaknesses. Be honest about them and you will create much more engaging, powerful and authentic content that people will want to engage with. People will relate to you or your brand because you are vulnerable just like them. It will make your communication feel inclusive and it will make you seem approachable.
This is as true for an individual or small company like mine, as it is for the multinational brands for whom I work.
Case Study of Passionate, Vulnerable Video Content
8 years ago I won a commission to write, produce and direct educational videos for Jewish Women’s Aid. The short drama scenes were to be used in school lessons on bullying and relationships.
Last week they got in touch again. They told me that the video that continues to have the biggest impact is also the one that for me is the most authentic. Childhood Games.
David really wants to be friends with the cool kids in his school. They see his desire as a weakness and manipulate him. David puts up with it, because he hopes eventually to be accepted. Continue reading
Sound Asleep, the comedy short film I have been writing, producing and directing, has finally wrapped! It stars Danny John-Jules (The Cat from Red Dwarf).
Long time coming
- 6 years ago I wrote a film script.
- 5 years ago it was runner-up for Film London funding.
- 4 years ago same thing, different funder.
- 3 years ago I ran a successful Kickstarter.
- 2 years ago we tried to shoot the film but it fell through, last minute.
- 1 year ago the same thing.
After 4 producers, 4 casting directors, 3 art directors, 3 locations, 2 Directors of Photography, 2 builds, and just one resilient director, in December I flew to Spain to shoot it.
Director and crew head to Spain
The project had been struggling in the UK. Our budget prevented us from being able to afford both the set build costs and the studio space to build it in at UK prices. In Spain we not only managed to resolve that but also engage the exceptional art director, Marcelo Renieblas Paredes.
Coming with me was Emmy Award winning Director of Photography Franklin Dow (of Oscar nominated documentaries Virunga and White Helmets) and camera assistant Naomi Hancock. Producer Dino Webber, production assistant Nick Gaven and runner Kristen Abel drove the van of SLV film equipment, and a generator loaned by Warner Brothers from London to Madrid.
Arriving on set in Madrid
We arrived at the film studio on the outskirts of Madrid to see the amazing set Marcelo and his team had been building. It was a thrill to see Dean’s flat become reality. An odd, hyper real, anachronous reality. Perfect for this quirky comedy.
Danny is an amazing presence to work with. Years of experience and natural talent meant he was unlike any actor I have worked with. He brought precision, skill, comedy timing and wit to the role beyond my expectations. With no one to bounce off on screen, the film really benefits from his inspiring performance and commitment.
Short Film – Long Days
There’s no point in hiding from it – this was always going to be a tough shoot. A £250,000 film made for £10,000. Days were long, conditions were not glamorous, and Madrid in winter is cold! Much colder than us Brits anticipated!
The team really pulled together. Danny’s performance, Marcelo’s set and Frank’s lighting coming together on screen inspired everyone to give everything they’ve got.
International Film Crew
Working with a foreign crew has challenges; the language barrier primarily. This was overcome with a mixture of patience, drawings and google translate, as well as the efforts of bilingual 1st Assistant Director Josemari Martínez. By the final day, it was barely evident anymore and British DoP Frank Dow finally remembered his Spanish gaffer’s name. (Thanks for your patience Adolfo!).
The final shots were a triumph. All the departments came together and pulled everything out of the bag. As Marcello’s set was blown up, Danny’s character stumbled through his wrecked home. Marina H’s makeup was spot on, smoke and lighting was perfect, props fell at just the right moment, and even the dog barked on cue. We had one chance at that closing shot, and we nailed it.
Exhausted but satisfied, all that was left was to pack up the van and get back to London, in time for a well earned Xmas break.
Edit and Post-Production
As I write this, Nick is busy completing the log and we are preparing for the edit. There’s still a lot to do. Edit, vfx, grading, foley, music and sound design. Plus a few pickup shots we need to get in London. We believe this will be a really special piece so we’re not going to hurry – we couldn’t afford to even if we wanted to!
Starring: Danny John-Jules
Producer / Director / Writer: Nadaav
Producer: Dino Webber
Director of Photography: Franklin Dow
1st Assistant Director: Josemari Martinez
Art Director: Marcelo Renieblas Paredes
Sound Recordist: Juan Carlos “Charlie” Arribas
Gaffer: Adolfo Berzosa Rodriguez
Makeup Artist: Marina H
Costume: Sammm Agnew
Original Music: Rich House
Camera Assistant: Naomi Hancock
Art Department Assistant: Luis Morales
Production Assistant: Nick Gaven
Runner: Kristen Abel
Dog Trainer: Mariano Galán
Cuddles the dog: Cavatina
Animation explainer video
written, produced and directed by Nadaav
We’re all very proud of this animation project. I worked with the client to develop a concept and style. After green-lighting, I wrote scripts and worked with animators, illustrators, composers, VO artists and sound designers. Across all the elements: animation, script, voice over and sound design, there is a warm, playful, friendly tone.
The animation explains how peer to peer lending and invoice financing work. It is the second video I have produced for this client. The first is a talking head interview video on a similar topic, for a more traditional investor audience.
I worked with illustrator Peter Ayres to develop the character of Cupid With A Calculator. Peter is also responsible for the logos for Sound Asleep, a short film I am working on.
My videos for the new XCOM2 game create a niche internet sensation.
I was recently hired to create four unusual pre-launch PR videos for XCOM2, a turn based strategy/action video game. The game takes place in a world in which aliens have taken over Earth, and the player leads a small band of guerilla soldiers to fight back.
The promotional videos, designed to create anticipation in the UK audience, take the form of video tutorials and walk throughs, but unlike the typical presentation, these are presented by veteran newsreader and children’s TV presenter Fred Dinenage (How – ITV, How2 – ITV) who explains from his post apocalyptic space ship your role and responsibilities as well as the techniques that will help save the planet and defeat the aliens.
Youtube, gamer magazines, blogs and forums were awash with comments. Everything from Americans asking: “who is the bald guy?” to
“hysterical – I needed this!”
“What the Dinenage”
“This may be the greatest piece of regional specific marketing I’ve ever seen.”
“lol what the ****, I actually needed this but what a hilarious way to present it”
“You know **** gets real when Fred Dinenage tells you about an alien threat..”
“what an epic blast from the past… Whoever came up with this idea, give them a raise!”
“Brilliant – this is just perfect – thank you”.
And of course “That’s HOW for NOW!”
For this tip, you’ll need a brilliant director, and a charismatic presenter with a place in many people’s hearts!
I’ve just finished filming with Fred Dinenage. Readers of a particular vintage may remember him as the long standing presenter of ITV’s How show in the 70s. Younger readers like me grew up on Fred’s tips, alongside Gareth “Gaz Top” Jones, and Carol Vorderman, on CITV’s How 2.
Fred is a veteran broadcaster and a bit of a legend to anyone who grew up with kids TV in Britain. We’ve been filming some How 2 spoofs for the launch of a new video game, and I can assure you, he definitely still has it! Funny, super easy to work with, and put up with me making him say everything in a million different ways.
And he taught me How‘s famous sign off style.
I’m not one for Xmas music. Or pop music for that matter. I never know what’s at number 1 in the charts. Which is why I was clearly the number 1 choice of producer / director for a brand video for Morrison’s with Tony Mortimer, of East 17. He wrote 1994’s Christmas number 1, Stay Another Day. Complete with furry white coat like in the original music video, Tony appears in a tongue-in-cheek film about how Christmas music is annoying rubbish.
2014 roundup in films, videos and events
2014 was a busy year of film making, crowd funding, unusual events and laughter.
In the spring I ran our annual Trafalgar Square pillow-fight, and released a very fast turn around viral video to accompany it. This massive event launched Sound Asleep on Kickstarter. And thanks to 150 backers, we successfully crowd funded the short film, a comedy about insomnia. You can read more about the very unusual campaign, including quirky videos, more pillow fights, a sleep over and a bed time themed closing party on the Sound Asleep website. Later in the spring I made a film for the Daily Telegraph‘s business club. And in April my Citibank commercials were runners-up for the 2014 Focal Award.
In the summer I ran laughter yoga workshops at several summer festivals, a sideline in feeling good I offer to businesses as team building, motivational and experiences. It’s also something I am developing into a documentary. In the late summer I edit produced a documentary series for Channel Five. I completed the BBC’s brilliant creativity training courses and I attended the Sheffield Documentary Festival, where I was asked by the BBC to develop a documentary about the community I grew up in.
In the autumn I began working on several series of corporate and educational films for TfL (Transport for London) and also for multinational law firm White and Case. The former saw me getting to grips with large scale engineering challenges, filming in rarely seen tube tunnels being dug under Victoria Station for example, while the latter saw me return to a role I first worked in for Freshfields, taking complex legal concepts and condensing them into tight short videos. I directed a series of wine promos for Aldi with On-Broadcast, and worked on concept development with Casual Films. Finally, I completed the third of four brilliant courses in the Directors Guild’s Advanced Tools of Directing series, which I highly recommend to all seasoned directors and DPs.
Injured but still shooting!
And then at the end of 2015 I had an operation on my foot! Hence the reason for the image above. I have been using the recovery time to plan lots of film and video projects. I wrote and shot a satire on the Queen’s Christmas Message. I’ve been working on a feature film script, developing a couple of documentaries, working on concepts for some corporate clients and preparing to shoot Sound Asleep.
I can’t wait to get shooting again! Hopefully by mid to late January.
Behind the scenes on the films I’m making with TfL
I’ve been producing and directing a series of engineering films recently, including filming a lot with TfL (Transport for London). I thought I’d share a few fun photos of places you might not normally get to see. Most exciting was the video shoot in the tunnels currently being dug under Victoria Station, using an innovative technique to tunnel directly through wet sandy earth to increase capacity in Britain’s busiest station. I also filmed a video in the super high-tech strong room that controls the whole of the Northern Line, and the not so high-tech way in which signallers are trained to use the new system!
Photos from shoots in secret Underground London
Last week I directed a shoot for a series of web promos for Aldi, which according to wine critic Olly Smith, stocks some top quality wines for bargain basement prices. So we invited Olly down to help us do a … Continue reading
The films I’ve been making and will be making: more films for TfL, including some lovely schools’ pieces, and a commercial for Aldi. Continue reading
I haven’t posted anything for a little. It’s cos I’ve gone underground! But not quite how you might think. In the last few months this is what I have been up to.
Sound Asleep, the short film I wrote and am directing, has been making steady progress. The script is in very good shape, budgets and floor-plans are complete, and a wonderful new casting director is on board. Now we are looking for a location.
I did a brief stint as edit producer on a documentary series for Channel Five. I’ve been working on something special, but top secret, for Sound Asleep’s legendary pillow fight in April. And I’ve been teaching some training and workshops and learning some new skills at the BBC’s creative popups.
But possibly most exciting for the geek in me, I have been going deep underground with TfL (Transport For London). I’m producing and directing a series of engineering films about the huge new developments they are working on to keep London moving. I’ll post some photos as soon as I can get a signal down here!
An intense month!
Thank you so much to everyone who backed Sound Asleep on Kickstarter. It was a challenging, fun and emotional month as we raised awareness and funds for the project. We ran massive scale pillow fights, sleep-overs and parties and were featured on TV, in newspapers and blogs. The film raised 125% of its funding target on Kickstarter – an amazing achievement and we are indebted to our supporters. Continue reading
Crowdfunding for Sound Asleep short film comedy
Have you ever had one of those nights where you just can’t sleep?
We all have. I certainly have, so I wrote a film about it. And I’d love for you to get involved. Take a look at the project on kickstarter – there are some pretty quirky rewards. I could write loads more about it, but I tell it better:
Our Kickstarter Launch
If you’re stuck in bed and you just can’t sleep, a pillow fight is one of the most fun things you can do. So we invited a few thousand people and a samba band down to Trafalgar Square to launch out kickstarter event with a really really big pillow fight.
You can get involved on kickstarter
Find us on facebook
Or follow us on Twitter
The sixty second commercials I directed for Citi (Citibank)’s 200th anniversary have been shortlisted for a Focal Award in the category Best Use Of Footage in An Advert Or Short Production.