Sometimes it’s better to be behind the camera. Over two cold, rainy nights, players of BC Rugby and the Canadian national program beat the hell out of themselves and each other in the name of promotion. I suppose this is what they do on a regular basis but we thank them just the same. BC Rugby approached Brüdder on the heels of our production for the UVIC Vikes video we produced this past summer and wanted a campaign of their own that reached out to young rugby players considering the next step in their development. With that in mind, we developed a concept that focused on the legacy of the sport and the union of all its players. The video features men and woman of all ages and levels working together to carry the ball down the field, a physical symbol of their camaraderie.
The commercial presented many logistical difficulties. With a modest budget and limitations on where we could film, we were forced to light an entire section of playing field at the Stanley Park oval in Vancouver. This required hours of cabling and pre-lighting prior to the shoot which ultimately ate into our shoot time. We also were working with unpaid, non-actors which is sometimes tricky, especially in unpleasant conditions to keep morale high and everyone focused with what to an outsider always feels like a very bizarre process. “Non Film People” are usually surprised at what goes on behind the scenes and just how long things can take. Tackling, sliding, jumping, thrashing and running over and over again for the same shot in cold, wet mud is fun when you’re competing in a game but repeating endlessly for a camera and a bunch filmmakers can be understandably annoying. All that being said, rugby players are a tough lot and the BC Rugby group were incredible. Even when a hair and make up person was artistically slathering mud on their face and body.
The first day, went well. We managed to move efficiently through our series of shots and scenarios and were only moderately distracted by game 7 of the opening NHL playoff series between the Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks. We knew the game had gone into overtime and just before midnight we heard a collective roar echo over the city and it swept over us like a wave of desperate relief. It was a surreal and fantastic way to experience such an important moment in sport for the city, especially given we were all here celebrating sport in our own creative way.
The only problem was only fully realized the next day when we woke from our daytime slumber to find out we would need to switch fields. Sort of a big problem. It turns out that our multiple scrum takes had done a real number on the playing field and the parks people were not too happy. They informed us we would not be able to shoot in the oval the second night. With little alternative, we quickly regrouped and rescheduled our night and re-cabled and moved all of our lights to an adjacent practice field next door. This cost us another 2-3 hours of production time and left us already behind before we had even started. But, not to bested, we pushed forward and worked our way through the shot list and made the concession of shooting the profile shots and dialogue at a later date, in studio. All in all a reasonable compromise all though it was an additional hit to the budget. Another day, another dollar(s).
A month or more after production, the completed BC Rugby “Carry The Ball” promotion was screened at a gala event before delegates, staff, players and fans alike and we were proud of the overwhelmingly positive and excited response from everyone. It is always fulfilling when the subjects of your work endorse it wholeheartedly. Since its screening, Brüdder has been approached by BC Canada and the National program to create a commercial of their own. We are currently in concept for that work.
Thanks to all the players and crew who braved the uncomfortable shooting conditions and gave so much and a big thanks to our client Jeff Sauve and Andrew Smith from BC Rugby for the commitment, faith and constant support for the project.