Gruen: Part 1

It started with an email in all caps. One of those which lead with a single-line subject, that you instantly crack open even though it's after work hours and you 'shouldn't really be checking work emails'.


The content it contained wasn’t much longer - a brief line from our committee president advising that the producers at Gruen have invited YoungbloodsWA to participate in their new season.

"More details to follow."

A few group phone calls, and one excited committee meeting later, we've settled on the air date. Although, it didn’t matter that we opted for the second date - it was no longer available. It doesn’t matter though - we are going to be on TV! And GRUEN!!

Time flies and the briefing meeting sneaks right up. We did have time to squeeze in a quick catch up before the brief, to discuss tactics and best ways to prepare. I left the meeting feeling confident that between our 8 committee members, we'd be able to produce something great.

And then we got the brief

What a stumper!

Due to confidentiality, I can't release the topic, but I can say - if we nailed it, we'd fix a fairly significant first world problem. I had many questions to ask, but unlike the real world where we like to take clients along for the journey, all Gruen wants is a 45-sec TVC in a matter of weeks.

All of us worked through the 'ideation' stage, where no idea is a bad idea and every idea is a winner! I asked friends, colleagues, housemates and random Uber drivers their thoughts on the subject, while withholding the Gruen component. I was building up a repository of ideas and conducting stealthy market research on the fly.

Where I jotted down all my ideas. Refreshing to put pen to paper - most of my day is normally spent tapping away on a computer.

The next week, we met to discuss our ideas. As it turns out, some ideas really are bad ideas, and there was a lot of the 'same same but different' approaches. We went through hours of presentations, each taking a turn to walk the committee through their thought process. We eventually voted on a shortlist, narrowing our potential paths to 5.

A few brainstorming and review sessions later, we proudly claimed 3 scripts. We submitted them to the producers at Gruen, who were quite helpful in narrowing it down. They had a preferred script, but weren’t sure if we could make it happen in the 2 weeks we had to film and edit. No worries mate, we thought.

We hit the ground running, with quick revisions made to the script, and a few phone calls and emails to Beautiful Pictures. By the end of the week, we were sorted – shot list created, talent signed off and a date booked to shoot. It started to feel like it was all coming together!

Shoot day

Shooting in West Perth.

What an exciting day! I made sure to apply a bit of extra make-up for the camera, and hair was sprayed up a storm. I ducked out of work for a few hours in the afternoon, as I was part of the angry crowd shot. We did take after take, working through the different angles and shots required. I had a grand time participating, as it took me back to my ‘actress’ days (I used to live in LA, and once had a brief appearance on ‘Entourage’! Shameless plug). We were able to wrap the scene in a few hours, and I was quickly snapped back into reality as I rushed to Brand, to catch up on the real world.

Only a few days later and we had a rough version completed. It was pretty cool to watch our idea being brought to life, and to have it all happen so quickly was remarkable!

What's next?

Tomorrow I’ll be jetting to Sydney, as delivery is Monday and we tape Tuesday. What a whirlwind!

So what’s the ad, you ask?

Well, my friends, you will have to wait until next week to see.

I’ll provide an update post-Sydney, but make sure you DVR, TiVO, and/or video-record Gruen on ABC Wednesday night to see our work.

Stay tuned!

Article posted by Ashley Allen