“It’s all about great creative for us, and working with nice people we can hang out with.” Photoplay executive producer, Oliver Lawrance’s, M.O. is paying off particularly well.
The TBWA Singapore global campaign for Airbnb, A Different Paris, didn’t have a massive budget and it took nearly six months to produce because the miniature set had to be built for real. But it put Photoplay on award winners’ lists throughout the world.
Directors: Scott Otto Anderson & Norman Yeend
As did, The Fading Symphony with The Works Sydney for MND Australia, another standout creative idea achieved with fewer dollars than is apparent.
Director: Husein Alicajic
It has also won Photoplay its newest director, Lance Kelleher, “the epic director”.
“I came back to Australia to contribute to the great work being done here. I didn’t know Oli well except for his great reputation,” Kelleher explained. “I looked at Photoplay’s work and peered through its front door and agreed to the opportunity to meet and chat casually and candidly to see if it would work together.
“Choosing a production company is tough. Having had them myself I know what matters.”
Kelleher chose Photoplay and Photoplay chose Kelleher.
Kelleher has returned to where his career began. The director, who has made his name known throughout the world considers that a privilege. “The great work I was able to do at the beginning of my career led to great opportunities elsewhere. Australia has remarkable talent in its creatives, agencies and technicians. It is still known throughout the world for punching above its weight in both film and advertising.
“I got to do work where I wanted to live at the time. And I got to bring people back here to work with what Australia as to offer.”
Now Kelleher has come back to be part of what Australia has to offer himself.
“In a decade, the landscape here has changed and Australia’s technical expertise has grown. This is exciting. It’s great to be back in the middle of that. I understand the language and the visual sensibilities here. There’s a large cabinet of things that I’ve gathered through life and work overseas and I hope that they will be infused into my work with Photoplay. Ultimately it’s about looking at an idea and asking, ‘What can I do to make it even better?’”
Lawrance is thrilled to have a new director of Kelleher’s calibre to underpin his goal of creating great work here and globally. “I noticed Kelleher first when I pitched against him on TAC. I still admire Kelleher’s interpretation of The Ride for its technical prowess and its in-camera techniques, that put the viewer in the moment. I’ve known about Kelleher for more than a decade. His visual sophistry, great storytelling, VFX experience and live action stunts have been on my radar since then.”
The pair share ambitions in feature films. Kelleher is in the middle of making one. Photoplay has been winning awards for the ones it has already produced and intends to increase its input into film and TV series over the next few years.
While the production company bolted out of the starting gate this year with five commercials shoots, it was also expanding its repertoire. Photoplay was the production partner with Bunya Productions’ feature film Goldstone, which won five Australian Critics Circle Awards at the presentation on February 21. Photoplay also partnered on Berlin Syndrome, which premiered at Sundance and Berlinale, and will be released in Australia in April. It has the TV series, Misaligned and Scarred for Life, in development. And Photoplay has taken on a development producer for TV series and film division, which it hopes will become an important part of its business in the near future.
All of this work is underpinned by Photoplay’s quest to produce great creative. Even its new high end commercial art and photography undertaking, Photoplay Photography, was motivated first and foremost by “so many incredibly talented photographers out there. We wanted to represent them,” Lawrance stated. That motivation unlocked a new opportunity for Photoplay.
“Everything in our industry is quite regimented,” Lawrance noted. “Often TV, digital, content, banners, stills and GIFs are briefed separately. But it can be clever to integrate these things at the beginning of a campaign’s development, rather than tack them together at the end. Our comedy director, Gary Johns, has just done a whole campaign for TBWA Sydney – TVC, online content, photography for digital and OOH.”