Tales from a shoot #1: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

By Stephen Drummond, Creative Director

At DC, we’re very lucky to have made hundreds of TV commercials. Whether it’s a local stills shoot or a complex crowd shot on the other side of the world, we like to think we’ve seen it all. Shoots can be very intense and a million things can, and will, go wrong; bad weather, cameras breaking, actors not wanting to say the words on the script. I think you’ve got to be prepared for absolutely everything.

We’re going to share a few of our shoot stories. We’re calling them ‘Tales from a shoot’.

Here’s the first:

Tales from a shoot #1: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

It takes a long time to craft a TV script. We can spend weeks making sure every single word is perfect, and every scene has space to breathe. Usually, we act them out between ourselves. This gives us a good idea of pace and timing. There’s nothing worse than a commercial that’s been overwritten. About four years ago, we were going through the scripts with Ray Winstone prior to filming for a bet365 campaign, indicating what we wanted to emphasise within the scripts and where certain cuts would be.

Stupidly, I read a bit out to Ray and accidentally put on my faux Cockney gangster voice – forgetting that this was no longer just practising in the office. Let me point out, when directing actors (especially famous ones) this is an absolute no-no. They’re the artist and they know their craft better than you. However, Ray being the nice guy he is, laughed and said, “It’s a good job you did that to me son and not someone else – other actors might take offence. So, I’m going to let you off with it this time. But since you’ve already started, I want you to look me in the eye and read the rest of the scripts… as me.”

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