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Production Brief
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Production Brief

Author: Mark Welker & Brendan Lee

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Join Mark Welker and Brendan Lee as they unearth the latest news and developments within the Australian advertising production industry. Featuring interviews with directors, DoP’s, agency leads, post-production gurus and many more, we’ll bring you weekly stories of how those in the advertising and content production circus are working in this new post-COVID-19 world. Brendan Lee is a freelance producer of TVC and advertising content for over 15 years. From big-ish jobs, to teeny title little ones, he does them all. Mark Welker is the owner and director at Commoner, a video production company based in Melbourne.
18 Episodes
Episode 18 features Mark Toia, one of Australia's most in-demand commercial directors, as we take his back catalogue of car commercials for a spin. Mark is a DP/director/feature film producer behind some of the world's biggest brands, including Ford, Honda, Tourism Australia, Coke, Hyundai, Mazda, Isuzu, Bank of China and Yamaha to name a few. His 2019 super bowl commercial for Jeep racked up more than 106 million views in the first days of release and his work is frequently sought out by creative agencies around the world.Mark gives us his roadside take on what it's like to shoot cars (and many other subjects) for a living, how the automotive genre is faring in 2021, and his essentials for a successful vehicle spot.
So we're a bit late out of the 2021 gate, but what worth waiting for isn't worth waiting just a little longer...In this episode we look at how commercials convince us to be better (and safer) humans with Creative Director Nigel Dawson.  Nigel has spent some 40 years in advertising and worked on the Transport Accident Commission account for more than 16 years, producing over 150 behaviour change campaigns to help lower Australia's yearly road toll.  Nigel walks us through the tactics common to the behaviour change genre, how sound and vision work to deliver visceral impact, and how the genre has changed over the last 20 years.Nigel is currently co-founder and Creative Director at Three Wise Men and continues to specialise in behaviour change work, creating campaigns for VicHealth, Childwise, Worksafe and Quit. Commercials mentioned in this episode:Quit for LIfe Sponge Ad (1979): Bakery (2008): Blood (2021):
Virtual Production 101

Virtual Production 101


In this episode, we sit down with Mark Grentell and Rick Pearce of Sydney's Spectre Studios to get the dummies course on Virtual Production (VP).  We chat about the adoption of this relatively new technology in Australia, how it's currently been used for commercial advertising production, and where VP is headed over the next few years.If you're a crew member curious about virtual workflows or a producer looking to set up a business case for VP, this is the episode for you.Spectre Studios is one of the leading XR studios in Australia bringing feature films and experiences into true room-scale VR.
With the next 'COVID-normal' step for on the horizon for Victoria, we thought we'd follow up our last State of Play episode with an updated view of the near future of advertising production in Melbourne. To get a fresh perspective, we speak to Martin Box, Head of Production at Airbag, one of Australia's most awarded production companies, and get his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of the last six months and well as his outlook for the remainder of the year and into 2021.Airbag is a creative collective of international award-winning film directors, creative technology practitioners and visual effects artists with their main operations based in Melbourne, Australia.
And we're back. Had a bit of a breather there as we headed into lockdown 3.0 here in Melbourne, but we've brushed the dust off our mics and recorded a new episode with Patrick O'Sullivan, aka The Wandering DP. Patrick gives us some great insight into the makings of his career as a commercial DP and popular podcast host. We talk about the ups and downs of forging a production career in Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world, and what life is like outside the COVID bubble. Patrick O'Sullivan is a commercial DP based in Perth, Western Australia, and works across the country and internationally. He is also the host and creator of The Wandering DP a popular podcast about cinematography and filmmaking techniques -
In Episode 13 we talk through sustainable practices on and off set with Tanzy Owen from Sustainable Screens. Tanzy sheds light on how we can champion the conversation around sustainability within advertising production. We talk low hanging fruit for those just starting to 'green up' and where to go next for support and more information.Tanzy Owen was most recently the Sustainability Manager for Endemol Shine in Melbourne, overseeing sustainable initiatives on commercial TV programs such as Masterchef, Survivor, Married At First Sight and Lego Masters. Tanzy is also co-founder of the Sustainable Screens group on Facebook - a great resource for those looking into this space.
In episode 12 we chat to Andrew Stalph from post production studio Mr Fox about the challenges and opportunities of editing during a crisis. Andrew talks about how the role of an editor has changed over his 20 years in the industry, how he approaches collaboration with producers and directors, and how remote editing is helping campaigns to stay on track during COVID-19.Mr Fox is a full service film and video post production house in Melbourne with editing, Flame VFX and post-producing services.
We chat to Sarah Alekna owner of Highway Casting about the past, present and future of casting advertising talent in Australia. With social distancing fast becoming the new norm across all industries, getting back into the casting room is a very different prospect in 2020.Sarah talks through her journey as casting director, how the industry has changed over 20 years, and how production companies and agencies are overcoming casting challenges today to keep projects on the burn during COVID-19.Highway Casting is based in Melbourne and provides talent casting services for film & TV.
For our first double-digit episode we chat to Head of Production for Sydney and Perth, Jackie Archer from Wunderman Thompson about the new normal in agency side production during COVID-19.During the episode we touch on client-less remote shooting, Jackie's doomsday approach to backup plans, and how COVID-19 is impacting production runways and client collaboration. Also new to this episode is a pre-show production update where we check in with contacts from across Melbourne and Sydney to hear how production levels are faring in June compared to May.Jackie Archer is an awarded Integrated Producer and current Head of Production at Wunderman Thompson. 
In this week's episode, we finish our mini-series on shooting safe during COVID with an update from Joe Brinkmann and Dan Beck from Film Victoria.Joe and Dan discuss the impact of COVID on the Australian screen production industry, introduce the new Screen Australia COVID-safe filming protocols, and get Film Vic's outlook for the future of both screen and advertising production in Australia.Joe Brinkmann is the Manager Production Attraction & Support at Film Victoria and Dan Beck is the Locations & Production Services Coordinator.You can find the updated Australian Screen Production COVID-Safe Guidelines on the Screen Australia website:
We chat to creative duo Julian Schreiber and Tom Martin from Special Group on how COVID-19 is shaping present and future advertising concepts.Tom and Julian have been partnering up on award-winning campaigns for more than 13 years, bringing home 34 Cannes Lions and a host of best in shows for brands like Uber Eats, NAB, Australian Open, Four 'N Twenty and Tourism Victoria. Now joint Executive Creative Directors and Partners at Special Group Australia, the two share their secrets on making creative partnerships work, the new normal for corona influenced advertising creative, and how the runway from idea to ad is shortening during this pandemic.An essential listen for those who want a better understanding of what creatives and clients have in mind for future production as we slowly emerge from lockdown.Tom Martin and Julian Schreiber first established themselves as creatives, then Creative Directors of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne. They then moved to New York to become the ECDs of Johannes Leonardo NY.Special Group is an independent creative agency that marries the philosophies of communication and design, with offices in Auckland and Sydney. Full episode notes and links available at
What exactly is safe right now? With restrictions lifting in Australia and the economy grinding back into action, now is the ideal time to start charting the high road to a corona safe production workplace. In Episode 7 we take a deep dive into current COVID-19 safety protocols with some sage advice from Kieran Cato of CATO Location Services, and an extended discussion on currently available guidelines. We cover safety officers on set, how Cato Logistics have pivoted to meet the extra precautions, and where the industry can look right now for guidance on safe and productive ways of working.Full episode notes and links available at
Food, glorious food!  In this episode, Mark and Brendan continue their 'safe set' conversation with Tanya Badenhope from Sweet Seduction catering.The holy lunch break is an integral part of any TVC production (and TBH our favourite setup of the day) but with social distancing and hygiene measures currently pushing us apart, the treasured bain-marie is under threat.When it comes to creativity, we eat therefore we think, and managing meal breaks is often the key ingredient in maintaining a productive set. Tanya talks on set catering options during COVID-19, the impact to their business from cancelled bookings, and details measures any production can put in place moving forward to keep crew safe around meal times.Sweet Seduction has been providing catering to film and TV productions in Melbourne since 1985.
Today we talk to DP Marcus Cropp, Director Jesse Richards from Cummins and Partners and live streaming expert Aaron Maguire from Live Streaming Events and get three perspectives of the same socially distanced shoot.Safety on set is gaining a number of new pointy angles at present, with productions forced to interpret and react to changed social distancing recommendations and ways of working. To help ruminate on this a bit further, we've decided to devote the next few episodes to what it means to have a 'safe set' during the COVID-19 crisis. In this episode our trio touch on remote shooting realities, new casting hacks, PPE precautions on set, as well as how to manage client/agency feedback over live-stream.Marcus Cropp is a DP/Cinematographer based in Melbourne. Jesse Richards is a Content Director with Cummins and Partners. Aaron Maquire runs Live Streaming Events.
In this episode, accountants Tony Nagle and Ben Chiverton deliver the who, what and how on the Australian government COVID-19 support payments for creative freelancers and small businesses.Few of us look forward to hitting the books after a day on set, yet keeping one eye on the accounts remains an integral part of surviving in any creative industry.With the financial realities of COVID-19 bearing down us from many angles, we've dedicated this episode to cover freelancer eligibility for Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments, grants opportunities, tax deductions for COVID-19 and new incentives for writing off new assets in 2020.Tony Nagle is owner of Nagle Accounting and Ben Chiverton is Partner and Senior Accountant. Over the last 25 years Tony and the team have built their practice around the film and advertising production industry, representing some 3000 clients across the creative spectrum.
In this episode, Brendan and Mark call in Caroline Logan from Freelancers Promotions to get an update on crew bookings under COVID-19. Freelancers is one of Australia's largest film and tv crew booking services, managing the bookings of everyone from DPs, gaffers, sound recordists, and set designers to makeup professionals.Caroline takes us through the impact of COVID-19 on production levels in Victoria, the new onset guidelines and practices for socially distanced productions, and what Freelancers are doing to support crew members during this difficult period.  
In this episode, James MacGregor from The Vision House talks through the impact of social distancing restrictions on the camera rental market. Commercial rental turnover is a good indicator of the amount of in-progress advertising productions, with most medium to large sets requiring specialist camera and grip support to operate. The Vision House is one of the oldest players in camera rental market and in this two part interview, James reflects on the personal and professional impacts of COVID-19, ways of working under the new restrictions, and his outlook for the future of commercial production in a post-COVD world.  
First episode! Well after much talk about what to say and how, it turned out to be a pretty short session. Brendan and Mark explain the idea behind a podcast dedicated to the advertising production industry, why it's a good time to launch in a time of crisis, and a hint for the next 'full' episode.
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