The process of Creation.

The process of Creation.

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We are a small team, and we like it that way. Gone are the days of old boardroom brainstorms and ego-match ups. We like to be able to have an inspired idea and act upon it without fear or reservation. Being nimble has enabled us to take on some mammoth jobs while staying true to our creation vison and more importantly bringing the clients vison to life – even if they don’t know what that is yet.

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01 The brief

Usually in the form of an email, phone call or plea for help. It is our job to decipher exactly what is needed, wanted and what the client is imagining. Some say the job is only as good as its brief so, ask the right questions: What is the deadline? what are the deliverables? budget? purpose? what is it you want to achieve?

Eventually the brief will start to unveil itself. Usually with the majority of work we do, there is very little time in Pre-Production and acting fast is part of the job. So, make sure you are asking the right questions from the start, confirm the (initial) direction and get producing.

Before we go any further

Once the budget has been signed off, we also make sure an agreement is signed confirming what is expected, especially with new brands and clients.

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02 Pre-Production

This is where the fun starts: creativity is flowing, ideas being shouted out, pencils being thrown at each other, Ant jumps onto the table and an idea is born. (Only joking!) It’s usually a less extravagant process, but after a few hours of brainstorming and challenging, we will have decided on a route which we all agree on. Depending on where we are in the process and how much time there is, we will confirm the routes with the client, get feedback or, if we’re lucky, get sign-off

Once the creative and the route is confirmed and everyone involved with the project is aligned, the logistics and project management stage kick into gear. This usually consists of a desperate call to our producer Natalie, who immediately eases our reservations and starts building the perfect team for the job, agreeing on rates, organising the equipment list with the DP and working on a detailed call sheet for the shoot day. How does that old saying go: ‘fail to call Natalie and prepare to fail.’ Something like that…

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03 Production

Game day is upon us. The planning and details have been ironed out and we have talked and waved our hands around tirelessly. Time to do what we were born to do. The morning of a shoot day is usually quite exciting (if it’s not, are you in the right line of work?) Everyone knows the drill, it’s time to bring the vision to life.

Our style of shooting is quite run-and-gun, and we like it that way. Depending on the depth of preparation, we will block out each part of the shoot ensuring the crew knows what is going down and any problems that might arise are dealt with accordingly and calmly.

While the camera crew is setting up and booting up the war machines, we liaise with the client to make sure everything is on track and visions are aligned before rolling.

With the loud battle cry of “ACTION!” screamed across the set, cameras begin to roll. Multiple takes or one take if we are lucky. Blood, sweat and tears from the profuction crew, and a lot of flat whites and pats-on-the-back for the camera crew, we end…

On a usual one-day-shoot we tend to fill anywhere between 300GB to 4TB of hard drive space depending on the codec we shoot. This decision is usually made in Pre-Production with a conversation between the director and DOP taking into consideration how much budget was allocated to storage space.

At the end of the day after the obligatory ‘That’s a WRAP’ is hollered and all kit is packed down. We live to shoot another day. 

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Personally, my favourite part of the job. As an editor myself, I see the magic behind this process. Only a few people I know find joy in going through hours of selects and rushes. Chilled playlist on, hot coffee and snacks at the ready… It’s time to “lose yourself in the edit” as Eminem would say.

Once the selects have been sorted and the rushes have been mined for those golden moments, it’s time to start playing an advanced form of Tetris. Generally, the music has been chosen and cut to the desired length. The shots are then placed onto the timeline one by one until they start to resemble a video. This part of the edit almost reminds me of the sculptor’s process of “revealing the art that already sits in the stone” – except this is Premier Pro and Adobe would never be so kind.

After some time lost in the edit and you find there is hope in the assembly cut, you’ll keep the momentum flowing and roll on until you’ve got yourself a unicorn of the edit world. A true first-cut wonder, something directors all over the world dream about. When this happens, the client tends to add a few more versions for luck – but who can blame them when it’s their project at hand?

On a whole, some of our best moments of joy and elation as a crew have come when All of the week’s (sometimes months’!) worth of work, pre-prod and production all come together. Creating something that does everyone from the production crew to the camera crew and client justice. Creating something everyone is proud of. To us… there is no better feeling, and that is why we do what we do.  

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At ZUZU, our vision is to help create a more well world by nurturing creativity, practising conscious business, and facilitating partnerships. We strive to create a working environment that brings people joy and provides support through challenging times.

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