These spots for Dulux, Eftpos and Toyota (see in Related Content) are big, bold and cinematic with an emotional kick that can’t help but draw you in. Whether it’s the haunting, poetic beauty of the Australian coast, an atmospheric look into the people that make the product or the rousing, chest beating sonnet of a nation’s pride, Mark Molloy has a knack for making it memorable.
One of 1.4’s favourite recent Australian commercial is Molloy’s stunning VW Memories. Here Rachael Imam talks with the director about delving into his own childhood for inspiration.
There’s a bit of a retro feel to this one even though it is set in the present. It’s almost as if we are years in the future, looking back on our time as it is now. Was this done primarily in the colour grade? Is there more cinematic trickery at work that gives it that sense of timeless nostalgia?
To get that timeless sense for me it was more about developing and crafting the scenes themselves so they were timeless. Those little memories we all have of our first car, no matter when we were born. Going to the beach, going through a car wash, fighting with your siblings, those things never change. It was about capturing timeless memories that everyone could identify with.
The agency came to me with a great script full of strong and clever insights. Quite a few of these scenes also came from watching my own kids. How they see the world, what things jump out to them. We then sat down together with all our ideas and worked out what were the strongest. Then in addition to that there were some other little moments that came out organically on set, we spent a lot of time sitting at eye height in the back seat of the Volkswagen.
Although we don’t see much of the little girl her presence is very strong throughout. She isn’t just looking at the world around her; she’s really watching it. Her brother is great as the cheeky sibling and it would be a very different story if told from his perspective. Were you always looking to feature a girl or did that decision come about during casting?
We spoke about it early on, and kept an open mind in casting, but we liked the idea of this being from a little girl’s perspective. I like that it taps into that feminine side you don’t often see in car advertising.
The visual perspective is an interesting one. From the first second we are right inside the girl’s head. Was that a challenge? How was it technically achieved?
It was a challenge, POV done well always is. This was a real challenge because we were coming from the pov of a 2-5 year old girl growing up. I wanted to get the camera right in there, to feel like it was part of her body. As you know you just can’t get a normal camera in there. So we decided to use the smallest cameras available. Some of it was actually shot on a Sony Nex, which is a tiny camera that we could get in the exact position we wanted. We had this helmut rig made with the Nex attached to it. In addition to being small it also had to be extremely lightweight so a three-year old could support it. Worked really closely with the DP Jeremy Rouse in pre to determine not only the look but also to overcome the physical restraints.
The music isn’t your conventional thumping car ad track but more of a throwback to the sounds of a barbershop quartet. What is it and where did you find it?
The music is a track called “Size Matters”, composed by Evelyn Morris and performed by Ben Mason. It was a track that I have had kicking around in my iTunes for a while and we just put it against the edit and we loved it. It had an odd childlike quality to it without getting into that cutesy or expected world.
Who was more difficult, the kids or the client?
Now that’s a tricky one. The kids came with their usual fun and games that are associated with working with kids, but they were actually pretty good. I was very careful in casting to get some good robust, non hollywood type kids that would be up for the challenge. The client was great on this. They really let us take it where it wanted to go. So I’ll say the kids.