Aug. 29, 2012, 5:13 p.m. by LBB Editorial
Your Shot: Be Sensible for The TrainlineAcademy directing duo Si & Ad lowdown on their loco-motive spot
In this business it helps to have a good eye. After directors Si & Ad spotted a disused train carriage lying forlornly by a film studio, they made sure that it didn’t get sent to the Fat Controller in the sky. A few weeks later and Thomas the Tank Engine got a new lease of life as Percy the Panic Train for their hectic new commercial for thetrainline.com, created with DLKWLowe. We caught up with the twosome to talk angry jelly heads, train-bound horses and organizing chaos.
LBB> What was it about the brief that originally appealed to you?
S&A> The performance element was the thing that stood out to us, first and foremost. We are constantly looking to work more with actors and we loved the fact that this type of comedy performance was something we had not yet experienced. Good comedy movies, from Airplane to Anchorman, are the films that we have grown up with and this felt like it was in that mold.
LBB> There's an amazing chaos onscreen - was it equally crazy behind the scenes or did you have to be super organised?
S&A> We are always super organised. Well, as much as one can be with a chicken, a dog and a Spanish Stallion on a train carriage.
LBB> There are lots of funny details packed into the spot. How did you go about coming up with these ideas and developing them?
S&A> It was a very collaborative creative process between us and the creative team, Christian and Andy. It was one of those jobs where ideas constantly came, went and then came back again. It could have been a much longer film had the four of us shot everything we wanted.
LBB> Where did you find the train carriage, and how did you make sure there was enough space for the unfurling action?
S&A> Strangely enough we had just shot a Thinkbox commercial at Wimbledon studios and we saw the remains of a train carriage set in pieces in their loading bay. As soon as we received the script we made sure they did not dispose of the set. With some TLC and fine art direction we brought it back to life. The train set is slightly oversized so it made squeezing a horse down the aisle just that little bit easier.
LBB> How was jelly man made?
S&A> We thought about doing it in post-production but then our casting guys thought they knew someone who might fit the part of a man with a jelly head. Turns out he’s real, called Glenn and lives in St Albans.
LBB> What was it like working with such a large cast in such a small space?
S&A> It worked out well in the end. Giving out direction was pretty easy, just a simple stroll down a train carriage really.
LBB> What was the most enjoyable element of the spot to work on?
S&A> It would have to be the initial brain storming and coming up ideas. We also had to look back at many great comedy movies for inspiration, which was fun.
LBB> And what was the biggest challenge?
S&A> The casting process, although a lot of fun, was rather unsettling after a while. It was a case of having hundreds of people come in one by one and scream at you. Also making a jelly the size of mans head isn’t as easy as you think. Sadly Glenn from St Albans didn’t exist, but thanks to the very talented puppet maker Andy Gent, our man with the jelly head did wobble with frustration.
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