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Business stories, and a tear to the eye

Directors Diary: Kelly Hunt shoots two films for Icehouse.

I’ve always been fascinated by the world of the entrepreneur, so when I received news I’d be working with The Icehouse to produce stories on two successful business leaders, I was as happy as a minion.

The Icehouse are respected for turning out world class business leaders, and the talent for our stories would be no exception. Dave Allan, then owner and general manager of Jimbo’s Pet Food, and Carmen Vicelich, founder of digital start up Data Insights, were our stars. Dealing with high profile people can often be a challenge, so just finding time in their diaries for a preliminary conversation was tough enough, let alone asking for a day out of their busy lives. But both Dave, Carmen and their families were incredibly generous with their time, as they allowed us a peak into their after five lives.

Dave and Carmen are very different people with different approaches to their business and personal lives.

Dave is a humble, salt-of-the-earth type of bloke you’d happily sit with in a bar over a beer discussing fishing and life, and have no clue he’s a very successful business owner. He’s happiest in his shed making flies for fly-fishing or weeding his garden.

Dave Allan with his family

Dave Allan makes a priority of spending time with his family.

Carmen was described as an energizer bunny before we got to meet her, and we were not let down. Her energy is contagious. She is non-stop till she hits her lifestyle block where her husband and three gorgeous kids bring her back to mummyville.

After milking their time on a phone call to glean enough information to begin shaping our stories, it was time to begin filming.

Sometimes a small crew is best.

Our nimble crew consisted of myself directing, Harriet Maire (another Film Construction director) as my righthand woman and getaway driver, Richard Parsonson ensured our pictures were stunning and Mokoto Takaoka did a fantastic job capturing everything for our ears. Due to the allocated budget we had 2 days to shoot the interviews and cutaways for Dave and Carmen at 4 different locations. So with packed lunches and a heap of equipment, the four of us set off in our van to squeeze as much as we could out of the two days filming.

Dave often retreats to his workshop to work on projects.

Retreating to his workshop gives Dave the chance to wind down.

Due to time constraints we opted for a sit down master interview for both talent, to ensure we had all our questions answered and safely in the bag before shooting cutaways. We also knew we’d be able to get some interesting grabs on the fly. I wanted a gentle motion to the pictures, so our DOP, Richard, shot the interviews with a slight movement to the camera, and the cutaways were all shot in slow motion. With modern cameras slowmotion imagery is easy to capture and it could be said that it’s a little over done, but you just can’t beat it for creating an emotional impact with stories involving humans…..and breaching whales.

Dave and Carmen were absolutely brilliant during their days of filming. They were incredibly forthcoming, allowing us into the private lives and homes, and I believe we all felt privileged having a peak into these successful people’s lives.

Carmen working hard to balance business and family life.

In the edit suite.

Each interview took nearly an hour so there was a lot of footage to break down for the editor, Josh Yong, and a lot of brilliant grabs hit the cutting room floor to ensure we crunched these films down to the best 3 minutes.

In the final edits the difference between the two personalities was mainly expressed through the use of music. Dave’s music being more downtempo, acoustic sounds in keeping with his rustic nature, as well as his location surroundings. And Carmen’s music was modern electronica, in keeping with her industry and her fast paced personality.

Previously The Icehouse had some content produced that was not up to their standard and they mentioned their concerns at the beginning of our alliance. Because of this there may have been a certain amount of trepidation on arrival for their first viewing of the films, at Film Construction.

I knew we’d captured great footage and had constructed a terrific story, but I was still a little anxious to know how The Icehouse would react on first viewing. Well I needent be.

We showed the client Dave’s film first, and when it finished I was holding my breath waiting for the feedback. As one of the clients turned to me with a tear in her eye, I knew we had them. I don’t remember her exact words but it was something along the lines of ‘perfect, that’s what we wanted’. You can’t ask for a better response than that.

It was certainly a pleasure working with The Icehouse and the job was made smoother with the full collaboration of Dave and Carmen. Thank you.

Kelly Hunt is a filmmaker with passion for telling stories about New Zealanders.

To see more of his work click HERE.

View the finished Icehouse films below.


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