Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
Wake The Town
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

The Directors: Lizzy Bailey



13CO director on being a self-confessed ‘curious creative at heart’ and work that moves people and packs a punch

The Directors: Lizzy Bailey

Melbourne-based Kiwi Lizzy Bailey describes herself as a self confessed ‘curious creative at heart’.

Her work is narrative fiction, creating films that are honest, warm, engaging and at times funny. At times dark, however always with a humorous aesthetic. Her love for people makes her a powerful director, looking for ways to push the boundaries, sometimes making us laugh in the process.

Lizzy’s love for filmmaking began at a young age as she documented everything making short films with the family video camera. She then studied Film at Canterbury University in NZ, before moving to Melbourne to attend VCA.

Her inimitable observations of people are demonstrated in the way she directs her talent, develops her characters and communicates a story. Bailey’s work is authentic, rich and unique – an inquisitive director always exploring ideas.

Lizzy has directed commercials for brands such as Citibank, SPC, Origin, Solo, NAB, Barbie, Kellogg’s and Bonds.

She won Best Female Director “Frothing Female Award” at the Freshflix Festival and was a finalist for best comedy at Setting Sun Festival.

Name: Lizzy Bailey

Location: Australia

Repped by/in: 13CO – Australia, Loser Kid - New Zealand, Honor Society - US

Awards: Frothing Female Award Freshflix, Finalist Best Comedy Setting Sun Festival, Finalist Best Music Video Flickerfest

LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Lizzy> When a script has a fresh, exciting idea that feels unexpected and like something I haven’t seen before, that gets me excited. I love anything that pushes boundaries, challenging the viewer and giving them something that’s not cliche or safe. A script that does this stands out from the rest. The next thing that excites me is room for creating characters and working with performance, followed by the visual potential. If a script has all of these elements, then it’s the total package for me.

LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Lizzy> Usually I start by working on the story; visualising how it plays out and getting a good sense of the heart of the story - who the characters are, what their motivations are, where the story is set and also what the meaning and messaging is behind the script. I love this part - I really get lost in the world and let my imagination take over. At this stage I often do a bit of research; looking at film or tv references that are similar and looking for other visual inspiration from photographers or film stills. Once my vision is locked in the other elements fall in to place pretty easily and it’s just a matter of getting the words down on the page. 

LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Lizzy> I always like to have an awareness of the brand in the back of my mind so I will often research them in the treatment process, even if I’m familiar with them, to get a well rounded understanding of their brand’s tone, look and feel. I usually get my understanding from their website, previous campaigns along with chats with the creative team to ensure we are getting that core brand messaging across.

LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Lizzy> Not to be a cop out but I think all of the relationships are important. I like the process to be collaborative so on set I check in with the DOP, actors and creatives to make sure everyone is feeling like they’re able to give their own personal best. If you have engaged the right people, that is more often than not exactly what you’re after yourself. A good producer is also another very important key role, more so in pre-production; someone who I can work with as a team to ensure we are pushing to bring the concept to life in the best way possible. 

LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Lizzy> I love work with heart and soul - whether it’s emotive or humorous. Something that moves people and packs a punch. I’m drawn to work that has positive messaging behind it; for example I loved doing a spot for Marriage Equality in 2017. I love Bonds’ recent approach to body positivity and I’ve always been a fan of Dove’s campaign for real beauty, while I also loved the This Girl Can campaign.

LBB> What misconception about you or your work do you most often encounter and why is it wrong?

Lizzy> Probably the biggest misconception is that I only do comedy or only do visual storytelling. I do both! My favourite work carries a bit of both; I love anything that has light and shade. To me that’s a more realistic representation of life; sometimes it makes you cry and sometimes it makes you laugh! 

LBB> Have you ever worked with a cost consultant and if so how have your experiences been?

Lizzy> Yes I have just the once a few years ago. It was pretty painless for me however I’m sure it was more a challenge for the producer! The producer and I discussed our approach and we locked in a lot of the work in the quote stages because once the job was awarded there wasn’t much room for any flexibility. It just meant more work in the treatment stage. 

LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Lizzy> I’d have to say I’ve been pretty lucky and never had any crazy problems on a production - nothing more than the standard curve balls that are all a part of what we do. A very recent spot I did with 13Co was probably one of the more unusual challenges I’ve ever come across - we had to show a bull doing his business. It was a play on the word ‘bulls*#t’. We had limited time with the bull and no guarantee that he would do his thing so I had a multitude of solutions up my sleeve for if we didn’t manage to catch the real thing in camera, including what I could only call an air compressed ‘poo shooter’ made by a family member who happens to also be in special effects on the current Mad Max film. Funnily enough the thing that worked best was the animal wrangler scooping up some real poo from a bucket with an ice cream container and dropping it on the ground. 

LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Lizzy> I’m always honest and open about my own thoughts and feelings about what I see as best for the job and love to have an open discussion - I understand that everyone has their own objectives and that it’s important to try to address them all and work out which are key to the success of the campaign. Communication and collaboration are really important and yield better results, doing the idea justice. 

LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Lizzy> I am one hundred percent behind this - I think it’s really important. I’ve been really enjoying the change in the last few years post #metoo and now post BLM I’m excited about the changes that are afoot. There has been a big upheaval socially in the last five or so years and I’m here for it. Not only is it better for everyone, it results in fresh new takes on things which is important. An increase in diversity in film, tv and advertising is resulting in better content in my opinion. 

I am definitely open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set; I think helping the next generation of filmmakers come through is crucial. 10% of directors in Australia are women and cinematographers are around the same mark, while POC and LGBTQI people representation on the screen or in head of department roles is also extremely low. I would love to help pave the way for young people from all backgrounds and see this change.

LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

Lizzy> The main thing would be adjusting to working remotely - I’ve become quite acclimatised to it and am happy to do a lot of things remote now. Zoom meetings are a part of life now and I’m happy for them to stay; it means we can work between cities or even countries more easily so it’s broadening horizons while bringing us closer together which is great. Of course some things are a lot easier in the flesh, however it’s great that we have now set up a system which has more flexibility to do things remotely if required. 

LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

Lizzy> Yes it’s definitely a modern day challenge! One of the formats is always compromised a little so I focus on the priority format, while keeping the other ones in mind, usually with a monitor with markers on it as a safety. 

LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work (e.g. virtual production, interactive storytelling, AI/data-driven visuals etc)?

Lizzy> To be honest I’m a bit old fashioned - I love film, grain or even VHS - you could say I’m more interested in past facing tech! However that being said if I was given access to some of this future facing tech, which I haven’t had the opportunity of working with yet, I would love the challenge of exploring something new. I’ve enjoyed this technology in art works - I do feel at this stage it is more of a conceptual thing rather than something that enhances story telling but I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads to. 

LBB> Which pieces of work do you feel really show off what you do best – and why?

Lizzy> Ardmona is a good example of my visual story telling and they way I create a mood/world. It was a really collaborative process with the creatives; we got to  craft the story together using real farmers and farms. The idea was to paint a beautiful picture of farming Australia so it was a real pleasure working out the shots, the arc of the story and the overall tone. We were really lucky with the music too, it was something the editor found while cutting and everyone fell so in love with it that we got the rights to some really gorgeous cinematic music which really helped set the tone. 

Solo is a good example of my casting and performance while also showcasing my funny bone. Casting for this campaign was a lot of fun, I ended up auditioning non-actors and actors. I find that adding a non-actor can often add to the believability of a scene, keeping it grounded in reality. We also had the flexibility to improvise a little on the day too which resulted in some really great comedic moments. 

Australian Republic Movement showcases the authenticity and down to earth quality I like to bring to most of my work where appropriate. I really like the tone of this spot; it’s humorous in parts yet packs a punch in others. It has a lighthearted good natured quality that I find audiences connect with well.

Cabital is an example of both my visual storytelling and funny bone. In the case of this spot I used beautiful visuals to set a mood to throw the viewer off the scent, so to speak. Then there’s the rug pull moment where the bull does something you’re not expecting.

view more - The Directors
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
13CO, Mon, 12 Jul 2021 13:41:00 GMT