top of page

Harriett Maire Directs Dogs and Traffic for ABC Radio

Harriett muses about making talking pictures for some of ABC's most famous talkers.

Any contractors out there will be familiar with the uncanny timing of the Freelance Gods. The moment you book a holiday, a job will come in. It’s a rite of passage! 

"I was at Auckland Airport boarding a flight to Mexico when I got the news I had won a directing pitch in Sydney. What an absolute treat! I got to work typing casting and location briefs on the flight and then worked remotely across two time zones for the next ten days. 

Prepping for the job from across the world was surprisingly straightforward. The 19-hour time difference meant I spent every day exploring Mexico and every evening on Zooms in pre-production meetings and remote casting sessions. The perfect work-life balance!

This project was for the Australian Broadcasting Association. AKA the ABC. We made two 30-second spots advertising ABC morning radio programs across the country. Across the two spots, we built an ABC Radio studio set from scratch and worked with three children and five dogs. Genuinely my dream! 

ABC serves all Australians, and it was important this was reflected in what we were creating. The ABC flew their radio hosts from all over the country to film with us. Each state had its own bespoke edit, with the relevant presenter for the relevant state audience. And although we were shooting in Sydney, it was important for the locations to feel relevant and relatable to audiences all across Australia, not just to Sydney locals. Someone from Perth might feel a bit put out if the commercial advertising their local radio host also featured footage of the Sydney Harbour Bridge! The same went for our casting approach - it was important that we represented a cross-section of Australian society within the age demographics of ABC Radio’s target audience. 

As always with my work, my priority is performance. It was a focus of mine to ensure the radio hosts felt comfortable with multiple cameras in the studio setup. These presenters are comfortable speaking to thousands of people live on air, but they're not necessarily familiar with having cameras in their studio space. 

We started shooting wide and moved in closer as they became more familiar with the set-up. We also met over Zoom with each host ahead of the shoot to build trust and familiarity. The hosts were incredible - no surprises there. Consummate professionals who put their own spin on the scripts to make it their own. 

With the actors, I wanted to explore longer takes to bring these scripts to life. I wanted the audience to really sit in each moment with the characters. The repeated camera movement helped lean into the theatricality and familiarity of each scenario. We all know the feeling of a stressful morning where one thing can push us over the edge. 

Of course, there were some challenges—like the day we locked down a street in Sydney CBD to film a traffic jam, and it hit 42 degrees Celsius. The local crew dealt with the heat a lot better than I did!

But it’s a complete testament to the talent, strength and kindness of the individuals around me that the hardest part of the job was the hot weather. A flawless cast and crew. The brilliant team at ABC welcomed me into the creative process with generosity and trust and made me feel so at ease. Producer Mark Risso-Gill cast the crew perfectly and facilitated everything effortlessly. DOP Katie Millwright shaped the light perfectly and beautifully brought the scripts from two dimensions to three dimensions. Art Director Elisa Baker brought the character’s worlds to life with relatability and charm. Stylist Caitlyn Murray found brilliant, subtle ways to bring in the brand colours and avoided purchasing any wardrobe items from fast fashion brands. I was blown away by the level of care and skill that each crew member brought to the project. 

I really enjoyed putting together a visual story for an aural medium. And I do think a significant part of this campaign’s success has to do with the product itself. Public broadcasting is such an integral part of our media landscape. With the recent closure of significant broadcasters here in New Zealand, I am more aware than ever of the importance of accessibility to objective, informative and well-researched content. I am a loyal listener of RNZ here in Aotearoa, so it felt incredibly special to help advertise for the ABC in Australia - Harriet Maire.


RUSH HOUR - Director - Harriett Maire, Client - ABC Radio

DOG WALKING - Director - Harriett Maire, Client - ABC Radio

On Location in Sydney


Creative Director & Head of ABC Made - Diana Constantini 

Creative Manager - Tim Brown 

Creative Manager/Executive Producer - Tasha Mahalm 

Director - Harriett Maire

Producer - Mark Risso-Gill 

1st AD - Deb Antoniou 

DOP - Katie Millwright 

Key Grip - Ritchie Brown 

Gaffer - Matt Russell 

Sound Recordist - Steve Foy

VTR: Josh Miller 

Art Director - Alisa Baker 

Wardrobe Stylist - Caitlin Murray 

HMU - Jane Atherton 

Location Manager - Jacob Pacholski 

Unit Manager - Steve Dyer 

Casting - Leon Fryer


bottom of page