When the client starts crying in the middle of a shoot is that a good thing?
On a normal day, I would be a bit worried but, on this day, it was like receiving a big thumbs-up. We’d done it, we’d captured the moment everyone would remember.
There are a huge number of things that can go wrong on a shoot. Rain, prop failure, over-acting, underacting, depressed black panthers (a story for another time) but for this Southern Cross shoot, we had an ace in our back pocket.
We’d done our homework. We were interviewing a customer of Southern Cross; that always sparks a bit of nervousness because you never know what will happen when someone sits in front of a camera for the first time. This is a sink-or-swim moment. Will you get lucky or not?
I know nothing about golf, but I love the Gary Player quote, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” When you are recording customer testimonials, this is always true. You can’t prepare too much.
What really loaded the dice in our favour was having a fantastic team around us. The client was awesome, it was very clear what we needed to achieve with the interview, and everyone was on the same page. We knew what we needed to do, we just had to find a way to do it.
Sue Worthington and I called our talent, John, well beforehand. He is a lovely, salt of the earth fella, calls a spade a spade. We quickly broke the ice and got to know each other, and a ten-minute chat revealed some gems.
Let’s face it, people are captivated by stories, not carefully crafted propositions, we always want to find a storytelling angle to draw people in – and everyone has a story to tell, you just have to wheedle it out of them.
The business story was about the Southern Cross member advocate service, where they go to bat for you if you have an ACC claim turned down. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a story about lawyers, but I was so wrong.
This was a very human story, someone who was hurt, tired and frustrated by a bureaucracy but is rescued by the kind intervention of a stranger. The stranger turned out to be the Southern Cross member advocate, James Villanueva, who turned out to be a nurse.
John and James had only met over Zoom but James had changed John’s life.
When Sue heard that, a little light bulb went off in her brain. “We have to get James down to New Plymouth to meet John.”
Surprise, surprise, a week later, I am in John and Maree’s house in New Plymouth with Cameron who has a huge camera on his shoulder. Bennet, the photographer is bobbing around taking shots, Ben the producer is keep checking his watch and our two beautiful clients, Madeleine and Sandra are jammed on the sofa. It is not a normal situation.
And we all know that James, this wonderful empathetic guy who has changed their lives is going to walk through the door. Everyone apart from John and Maree.
And here he comes and there is not a dry eye in the house.