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Your Shot: Expedia ‘Bucket List’



Revolver’s Leo Woodhead on a round the world trip

Your Shot: Expedia ‘Bucket List’

Re-creating an around the world trip through the eyes of a young cheeky chap, without actually traversing the globe – that was the challenge that faced the creators of the new Expedia campaign. LBB’s Addison Capper spoke to Revolver director Leo Woodhead about avoiding the tourist traps. 

LBB> What was the brief from the agency and what were your immediate thoughts when you saw it?

LW> The guys at DDB Sydney wanted something classical and cinematic, with a playful touch. It was about a character who was prepared, planned, and on a mission. He’s in this romanticized world where all the details are meticulously planned and consistent. It’s a timeless world that allows your sense of adventure to open up.

LBB> What appealed to you about it?

LW> You always want to do something that can accommodate a lightness of touch. A project that lets you can define each prop and costume, so it is consistent and makes sense together. It had a character, a sense of adventure and the potential to build a whole world around that character – it’s a great combination. When we decided the spot wouldn’t consist of wall-to-wall dialogue, it allowed Otis to cut loose on his journey and immerse himself in experiences, which open up the world even further. 

LBB> What was the pre-production process like?

LW> It really involved trying to keep everything tangible and consistent, so nothing stood out as foreign. Everything was hand made. I wanted the audience to see the time and effort invested in the locations, props and wardrobe. It was basically a balancing process of incorporating enough contemporary notes into this timeless feel, so that we never strayed to anything too retro. Some of the biggest decisions were on small, small things. The amazing drawings and the highlighter – we looked at ten different yellows for the mark it makes. 

LBB> The shoot involved the task of re-creating an around the world trip, without going around the world - can you tell us a bit about the lengths you went to manage this? Where did the shoot take place?

LW> We went to Chandigarh and Manali in the north of India and doubled up the Holi Festival with a Himalayan setting. The rest was in New Zealand. It all came down to locations, design and wardrobe. It needed to be high-end and unique in the fine print – the designers nailed it. 

We tried to make each place look contemporary and not the “obvious” tourist spot. If it had been full of the Eiffel Towers and Statues of Liberty of the world, it would have lost the charm. The stuff I remember when I’m travelling is the great slice of pizza I ate or the coloured decorations at a street stall – it’s the small details that make that memory yours. 

LBB> The young boy who stars in the film is very much a cheeky kind of chap but with an odd sense of maturity - why was he the perfect fit for the role? How involved were you in the casting process? 

LW> There were two ways to go. Studied and particular (James Stewart in a kid’s body) or the more bouncy, thumbs up, ‘acted’ way – we pushed it in the first direction. I think I saw Jake (the lead) second on the tapes, and very soon it was him or a more traditional kid we were deciding on. I did Skype callbacks and saw that Jake had a contrast to him. He was an adult in a kid’s body, which was always the plan. We used Harold from Harold and Maude as a reference, with hints of a young Steve McQueen or Lawrence of Arabia - wanderers with a particular focus to them. He had that. 

LBB> What was the shoot like? What were the most challenging aspects you faced and how did you overcome them?

LW> Very planned. We were basically stripped back to the bare essentials technically, but there was enough left to keep a fluid movement through this world of the story. Controlling the choreography meant doing each scene bit by bit until the master shots were singing. 

Also getting some things by luck was the key. We missed a blizzard by a day in India. On our biggest New Zealand day, we had soft sun through cloud. Our lucky weather gave us the soft cinematic glow to the pictures. So, good luck definitely helped. 

And just asking questions. I saw a yak in India and asked for it to be in the scene. Half an hour later, we had the yak and its owner doing takes. Being open to those moments is key to getting a bit of magic in there. 

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Revolver, Thu, 02 May 2013 15:30:32 GMT