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Director's View: Nimble Content's Melanie Chung Discusses 'This is Our Shot'


Melanie Chung talks about her experience filming “This Is Our Shot” to be #TogetherAgain for Coalition of Canada’s communities and companies with draftLine YYZ

Director's View: Nimble Content's Melanie Chung Discusses 'This is Our Shot'

Melanie Chung directs her actors on the set of 'This is Our Shot'

Melanie Chung talks about her experience filming 'This Is Our Shot' to be #TogetherAgain for Coalition of Canada’s communities and companies with draftLine YYZ.

Nimble Content director Melanie Chung got vaccinated against COVID-19 in early May. “A friend told me about a pop-up vaccination site. I was in line with hundreds of people. Everyone was laughing and sharing their stories. There was an energy in the air.” While in line, she got a call from Nimble EPs Michael Corbiere and Andrew Lynch to tell her that she had been selected by Labatt’s in-house agency draftLine YYZ to direct a unique project she had pitched called “This Is Our Shot to be #togetheragain”. The script told the personal stories of people getting vaccinated and celebrating the moment by writing a dedication on the bandage for the needle mark.

“I didn’t realise it at the time, but my personal vaccination experience was research for me. The emotion of winning this project in the midst of this celebration of hope was very powerful. I wanted to put those emotions behind this spot to give authenticity to what everyone around me was feeling.

Casting was the first important step. Melanie worked with Shasta Lutz at Jigsaw Casting who recommended a mix of actors and real people. “With our casting submissions I didn’t want people to perform. I asked them instead to tell me their pandemic stories. Who were they missing? What would change for them when they got vaccinated? We received wonderful submissions with people telling these beautiful two-minute-long stories.” The little moments in the spot – the kiss, the hug and the photographs - grew out of these casting stories. “Those moments represent the celebration of what is to come for all of us.”

The act of getting vaccinated was a powerful moment for Melanie. “It’s the key moment in this whole pandemic experience when things change. I personally felt that unlocking. I also wanted to capture the moment of gratitude between caregiver and patient. Our older actors had all been vaccinated within days of the shoot and the emotions were still fresh so the timing was good.”

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to our actors Ed, Yui, Joan, Shelley, Joshua, Lyndsey, Ahmed, Michelle, Victoria and Matthew. They were very giving and put their trust in me. The photographs in the spot are pictures they brought in of their friends and families.”

The client on the project was a Coalition of Canadian companies and individuals coming together to encourage vaccine-hesitant Canadians to reconsider vaccinations. The strategy was to lean into the positive things that will result in vaccinations, and the world we can all go back to once we have conquered this pandemic, together. Labatt’s in-house agency draftLine YYZ handled creative. “DraftLine and Labatt were fantastic. Agencies and clients put their faith in directors, but I feel that is particularly true with Covid. It was hard for them as they were not able to come to set and we had to communicate by video during the shoot. This was an MOS shoot, and we didn’t have any mics at camera, so they were not able to be a part of the moments that I had with the actors when shooting. They were so open and collaborative and their trust in me was strong from beginning to end on this project.”

“On the shoot day, honouring the stories of the people we cast was really important to me. I took a deliberately slow approach to capturing these scenes (which drove my AD crazy ☺). I needed to develop trust with my actors on set to allow them to be real. I needed to give them the space to be vulnerable and to have an intimate and open conversation with me. I went there with them and there were tears on both sides.”

The production ran through the Holiday United Group (HUG), a group of companies offering a one-stop-shop approach to projects. Nimble Content and Recess Post are members of the group. Melanie gives big credit to her team. “We had a wonderfully diverse and committed crew. There was a huge openness from everyone to help and push out the message. That’s all you ever want as a filmmaker.”

After months of lockdowns and isolation, Melanie wanted this spot to be exciting and uplifting. “The pandemic is universal and goes beyond race, class and financial standing. We all felt a loss of safety and security. Our story is about hope and the celebrations to come.”


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Categories: Short films, Short Films and Music Videos

Holiday Films & Nimble Content, Wed, 16 Jun 2021 15:04:36 GMT