It’s awards’ season. A time where authenticity, creativity and glamour come together to deliver a seemingly underwhelming but none the less bastion-like indication of the previous 12 months’ work.
The RAD awards, our industry’s very own Oscars, happened last week and we were delighted to take home two awards for our work with Kent County Council and Heathrow Airport. But like with any and every awards ceremony, there are the big ones and the less big ones. But isn’t it the smaller categories that carry much more of the story than you might think. Sure, industry legends charge around at the top of the bill, praising each other and looking perfect in their bespoke tailored suits and designer dresses (usually at least)
It’s also a bit of a joke that Ryan Gosling is nominated for an Oscar for best original song. But, then again, this is the new generational ‘cult’ film, the new Mean Girls perhaps. The way Barbie blew up on the silver screen is truly remarkable and many have praised it as a saving grace for cinema; that it was an absolutely joy to be in a cinema packed full of excited filmgoers.
Where were we? Oh yes…
Award winning films and the stories behind the glitz and glamour of best picture, best actress and best director. The categories that act, absolutely, as the fundamental access to the overall success of the film. The costume, the set design, the cinematography, the writing, the make-up, the sound and the editing. Aspects that any film would fall apart without. You could almost say that the film doesn’t even need actors. That a compelling story can be told without any human beings in the frame at all; their voices not even necessary to the craft.
It’s these smaller categories that agencies should learn to thrive in. Campaign and agency of the year are great. But best use of social, integrated technology, candidate experience, experiential design and innovation. Surely these are the ones we want to be focussing on. That’ll truly set us apart in the next ten years as we launch into the next phase of TMPWs metamorphosis.
And it’s because we live in a world now of celebrity – where Barbie is nominated for multiple huge awards – that really drive home the relevance of social media and trends. You just can’t afford to be left behind. And sure, Greta Gerwig isn’t being recognised this time around but at least she’s a leader in her craft. She’s paving the way for others to follow and create fantastic worlds and stories with an immaculate attention to detail.
So the glue that holds these things together is behind the scenes. Where we come in as an industry to fight against the corporate rejection and the safe road and the data. We asked copywriter, George Russell-Stracey for his Oscars predictions and to score his hangover on a scale of 1-10.
I think we’re going to have a repeat of last year where one film shone over and above the rest. Another ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ vibe. I’m putting my money on 11 nominations for ‘Poor Things’ which I think will win 7 (including lots of big ones). But the reason I think this is because of the love and attention that so clearly went on behind the scenes. It was breath-taking. The cinematography, editing and set design.
You can’t conjure up a convincingly neo-industrial, vibrant surrealist world without some out-of-this-world set and costume design. You can’t visually convey the developing sense of human emotion, growth, maturity and understanding of the world without creative camera lenses. And you can’t even begin to tell a story without a nuanced sense of what’s relevant to the story, what comes through in subtext and what your audience will actually be interested in.
In a lot of ways, we want to be looking at every story we tell like this. To plan it in a way that’s collaborative, that tells the story and checks all the boxes before we start making it. We want to do the research, to have the creative ideas and to then have the freedom and the trust to create what we’ve agreed. Because without a real understanding of what makes something resonate with authenticity and compelling storytelling, your work will end up being just another Harlen Coben limited series on Netflix with an identical plot and semi-identical cast.
The point here is that audiences and journalists and pundits focus on the big few accolades at these awards ceremonies. But the truth is that, for any creative industry, you’ve got to really truly appreciate the extent of craft going on behind the scenes. And giving attention to these less raved about categories are exactly how you go from being exceptionally good at one thing to be an all-round industry powerhouse.