Movings/Shakings 27 June

Reinventing storytelling

Kiwi directors Steve Ayson and Damien Shatford of The Sweet Shop have partnered with Semi-Permanent and Google Creative Lab Sydney to create a first-of-its-kind interactive movie experience for Google Creative Lab’s experimental platform for interactive storytelling, the Cube.  

The Cube is a six-sided display that integrates motion technology to offer its audience members an active role in the storytelling process; it allows viewers to physically interact with the device, spinning it in different ways to reveal new dynamic storytelling opportunities of their choosing.

Ayson and Shatford were challenged with the task of finding a way to use the technology to tell a story unlike anything the world has seen. After extensive writing and experimentation, the directorial pair developed an innovative approach in which the six sides of the Cube would be used to tell a series of short stories in which the characters move across each side of the device, each experiencing their own adventure while simultaneously becoming the heroes, sidekicks, and villains of their neighbours’ worlds. The result is a completely unified storytelling experience that experiments with the limits of what storytelling can be.

“It was very refreshing to be let free on a project that was both a new format but also without boundaries when it came to the characters and their stories,” says Ayson. “I loved how even when we had all of our ideas plotted out, this medium meant we couldn’t help but come up with more great ideas that would have our characters interacting on the different sides.”  

The Cube premiered in May 2014 at Semi-Permanent, an annual conference and exhibition event that’s goal is to spread art and design inspiration across cultures through the use of new and emerging technologies.  

“The film that Steve, Damien and The Sweet Shop team created to wrap around our Cube was completely perfect,” says Murray Bell, Semi-Permanent co-founder and director. “In the space of 2 weeks, whilst we were preparing for 10,000 guests at Semi-Permanent to launch the Cube, the team comfortably stepped outside of the normal realms of commercial projects and created something never done before.  It’s a testament to the confidence their team has in the directors and the production team.”  

A web and smartphone version of the Cube, as well as Ayson and Shatford’s film, is planned in the near future.

Noisy lips

Film-making duo Thunderlips, aka Sean Wallace and Jordan Dobson, have joined Thick as Thieves. Hailed for their audacious and visionary music clip creation work, Thunderlips are a true collective team unto themselves.

“Thunderlips drinks scotch for breakfast and eats dry coffee grounds,” says the promotional pitch about what the duo offers.   “Thunderlips uses hot sauce as eye drops and wears leather socks. As directors of moving pictures, the Thunderlips method is to prepare meticulously, and then introduce chaos on set. Born in 2013 to image-hungry uber-men Sean Wallace and Jordan Dodson, Thunderlips lives in Auckland, New Zealand – but aspires to world domination.”

While still complimentary, executive producer Nik Beachman was slightly more pragmatic in his estimation of the pair do. 

“Thunderlips’ work has already been celebrated locally and internationally,” he says. “These guys are a creative blunderbuss blazing their own maverick trail, and we intend to keep letting them do that in advertising content’.

Thunderlips recently created a clip montage of bespoke GIFs and an associated Tumblr site for Perfect Hair Forever’s ‘Sad & Blue’.

Their clip for ‘Sheep, Dog and Wolf’ shot on location in the Australian desert has been featured internationally as a Staff pic on Vimeo, onepointfour, and Directors’ notes.

Tropical bliss awaits

Fairfax Media comms manager Amber McEwen has  completed her six-month contract, and she now plans to embark on an adventure abroad.

“Yesterday was the last day of my contract with Fairfax Media, and I’m off for an extended holiday in South East Asia today,” she said in an email sent out to her contact list. 

While Fairfax looks for a replacement, group marketing director Campbell Mitchell will take charge of communications responsibilities.

Return to the motherland

TalentShop, Wellington-based and nationally focused creative, digital and marketing recruitment specialists, has welcomed Jessica Haines to the team as she returns to the motherland from Sydney, Australia.

After an early career working as a designer in the architectural industry, Haines decided it was time for a change and moved into the world of account management. Before long, her networking ability led her to the recruitment industry and she has garnered significant experience working with advertising and design firms in Sydney. 

In her new position, Haines will be growing the agency and client side market in Auckland and Wellington in addition to international sourcing of top creative, client service, strategy and digital talent.

Calling innovators

Building on the success of the 2013 Awards, Unilever is once again inviting young people from New Zealand and around the world to come up with practical and innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges and enter them in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards. 

Open to anyone aged 30 or under, Unilever is looking for scalable and sustainable products, services or applications that reduce environmental impacts, improve health and well-being or enhance livelihoods through changes in practices or behaviours. 

The Awards, run in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and in collaboration with Ashoka, offer seven young people a total of more than $310,000 in financial support and individually tailored mentoring. The overall winner also receives the prestigious HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize. 

All seven finalists take part in an online development programme and then participate in a two-day accelerator workshop at Cambridge University, UK, where they receive expert help and professional guidance to help them develop their ideas. 

The Awards are hosted online at Ashoka Changemakers, a community that connects social entrepreneurs around the globe to share ideas, inspire, and mentor each other. Applications must be submitted by midnight (BST) on 1 August 2014 and finalists will be announced in October 2014. The Cambridge accelerator workshop and final judging takes place in January 2015. 

Last year over 500 young entrepreneurs from more than 90 countries entered the Awards. Winning projects ranged from a mobile data and messaging system that tracks water supply and optimises use in India, to low-cost chicken-feed made from waste mango seed in Nigeria; and from water-less toilets in rural Peru to a work-for-education swap scheme in Nepal, whereby the children of low-income farm workers receive education in return for their parents donating their labour to a farming collective. 

Swapping hemispheres

Warner Bros. UK & Ireland today named Preston Kevin Lewis as the new general manager of Warner Bros. consumer products in the UK and Ireland. 

The announcement was made by Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland & Spain, and Pilar Zulueta, executive vice president and general manager, EMEA, Warner Bros. consumer products, to whom Lewis will report. 

This move see Lewis promoted from his current role as managing director, Warner Bros. of consumer products in Australia, New Zealand and India, and he wil nowl be responsible for leading the 12-strong UK team and managing and developing a diverse portfolio of brands and licensees, with responsibility for promoting retailer cross-category plans. He will also join Warner Bros. UK’s Executive Committee when he starts on 1 September. 

An eight-year Warner Bros. veteran, Lewis has extensive experience in all aspects of licensing, including strategic planning, operations, marketing, branding and retail sales. He began his career with HBO, where he was latterly director of marketing for its US home video business in the late ‘90s. From there, he enjoyed successful stints at MTV and The Walt Disney Company before joining Warner Bros. Consumer Products in Burbank as vice president for International Licensing in 2006. 

From 1 September, the Warner Bros. consumer products department of Australia and New Zealand will be led by Tim Everett, who has been promoted to director, licensing and sales, and Andrew Bromell, director, retail activation, marketing and themed entertainment. 

Everett will oversee category sales and Bromell’s remit has been expanded to look after retail, marketing, creative, themed entertainment and the emerging area of clip licensing. 

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