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12th August 2015
Nights at the museum
Title of film: Ted Baker, Wonders never cease
Director: Crowns & Owls
Production Company: White Lodge
White Lodge directors Crowns & Owls spent six nights at London's Natural History Museum shooting the latest short film in their ongoing collaboration with Ted Baker

How did the idea for the film come about? Did it start with the print campaign or were the stills driven by your concept for the film?

The idea was very much informed by the location. It felt wrong to shoot at The Natural History Museum but not acknowledge the context of the space itself, so we developed the archaeology theme pretty early on during the writing phase. We spent a lot of time in the museum, figuring out which areas of the building we could communicate in a cinematic way, looking at which exhibitions felt quite timeless in their look and then using them to piece together a narrative. It doesn’t really feel like 2015 is an age of discovery, so giving the film an unspecifically older feel felt quite applicable and correlated well with the styling, hair and makeup that Ted had in mind from a stills perspective.

Tell us about the production – what was it like shooting at such an incredible location as the Natural History Museum?

The shoot itself was very humbling and surreal. We shot from 6PM-5AM for six nights and it quickly began to feel quite homely. As is always the case when a stills and film set is operating in unison, things get very hectic and intense, but there was a few moments where we looked up and just felt incredibly proud. The photography of our pieces is something that is hugely important to us, and everywhere you point your lens in that building puts you on the right road to creating a great image. Admittedly, it felt pretty unusual to be shooting a fashion film in a space which you could argue houses some of the most important (if not the most important) ideas and discoveries that our species has ever made.

This is your first narrated piece for Ted – are you moving more towards branded short film with them?

We’re very fortunate to have a great relationship with Ted, and the decision to have a voiceover was one we debated with them for quite some time. We felt the narrative should translate pictorially, because the brand is a global enterprise and the audience is very culturally diverse. The voiceover was designed to be an additional insight into the characters and we think it definitely works in that context. It was super fun to write and it was lovely having Fred Szkoda (the lead male) record the piece for us. We had wanted to introduce voiceovers to our work for a long time – something beyond the kind of gimmicky, visceral slogans you hear gasped over fragrance commercials, and this project felt like the right time to start. Whether or not we use them in future work is yet to be decided. Everything we do must ultimately support the story, as that’s the world we came from. We’ll always try and convey a narrative when the project allows it.

How would you describe the evolution of so called fashion film over the past few years and how do you see your work sitting in that space?

Film seems to be an ever increasingly powerful weapon in the arsenal of the fashion house. There’s so many arguments for film being the most powerful medium for fashion to express itself in – from the basic fact that you can actually see the clothes in movement all the way through to the idea that a brand can express so many of it’s unique nuances through moving image –the performance, the soundtrack and the story are all things a still can’t or will at least struggle to convey. As long as brands are bold and operate with strong intent, we feel the content can only become more interesting. Hopefully we can continue to explore character and narrative as we have done with Ted. Branded shorts are interesting, but run the risk of being a little self-indulgent unless you are really inviting the audience along for a ride. Hopefully we can make work that takes the audience on a journey regardless of what the cast are wearing, whilst also heightening and clarifying voice of the brand who commissioned it.

Do you have any forthcoming projects we should be keeping an eye out for?

Things have been crazy lately and we’re in for a few months. We have a short due to be released for a major architectural firm, a pretty unusual music promo and another set design based fashion film all on their way pretty soon! Guy Ritchie was a fan of this piece, so we’re also looking at potentially working on something with him in the future – all very exciting indeed.

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