Mischa Rozema directs Richard Hammond in the future of car ownership

Ambitious 3 minute long LEASEPLAN film raises the bar for creative stakeholder communications

16 OCTOBER 2017, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Summary
Internal stakeholder communications may seem like the creative industry's unloved projects but LEASEPLAN's ambitious film directed by PostPanic's Mischa Rozema raises the bar on how to digest corporate messaging. Commissioned by Amsterdam agency Etcetera, the 3 minute long film sees journalist and 'Grand Tour' presenter Richard Hammond take the lead in a cinematic, action-packed and unexpected journey through the future of private car leasing.

Initially proposed as a voice-over script with a single steady backtracking camera by agency Etcetera, director Mischa Rozema felt instantly drawn to the opportunity of juxtaposing simplicity and complexity. 'I love how a seamless camera motion can look simple but its a really complex thing to achieve. It limits you but I actually love those limitations.' A relatively complex script showcasing the future of private car leasing, he also felt the main character of the narrator needed to be a charismatic and recognisable 'face' who represented a voice of experience in the world of cars. His solution: journalist and former Top Gear presenter, Richard Hammond who is currently fronting Amazon's hugely popular Grand Tour alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Hammond is not only the people's favourite but also a well-known face globally.

Once Hammond was on board, it also allowed Rozema to add elements of comedy to his proposed direction (Hammond has great comic timing which Rozema wanted to take advantage of) and really push for an ambitious cinematic entertainment experience.

(Rozema) 'I knew if I had the viewer on the beginning scene then they'd stick with me for the whole 3 minutes so I developed a really cinematic approach so we could communicate a big chunk of quite serious business information. I needed an anchor as the rest of the film was going to be so fantastical and Richard is like liquid - he comes in and out of scenes but he's the only one who is ever looking into the camera. It's as if we are in his head, a musical without singing and dancing but with Richard himself, loads of cars and extreme characters. But throughout Richard is just Richard, just as we know him and that allows us to surprise the viewer with unexpected scenarios. He is our link to reality - a constant, reassuring factor in a ever changing world.’

Los Angeles was chosen as the location for the (2 day) shoot, instantly iconic and internationally recognised, it was the perfect stage for the theatre to take place. Rozema wanted people to feel as if they had seen this scenario before, evoking a familiar visual which didn't need explanation (a luxury which couldn't be afforded on a 3 minute film). 'I had a few location options in mind but Downtown Los Angeles resonated the most especially when we decided on the opening alien robotic invasion scene. It would have been difficult to communicate the same instantaneous experience by locating it in Amsterdam for example'

Timing was a key component in the film and the resulting film happily came together as Rozema had intended despite the mammoth technical challenges. 'Timing is always a really difficult thing to have in your head and then practically achieve it on set when things can be beyond your control. But ultimately timing and camera speeds are part of a big machine that has to work so we had an enormous complex puzzle to figure out. But Richard was a joy to work with and his ability to deliver lines and perfect comic timing under pressure was just one of the best things I walked away with from the shoot. I'm really happy it all came together as I imagined.'

The huge VFX post-production on the project also showcased the unique processes at work between Rozema and his team at PostPanic. 'We're in a priveleged position where we can lean on VFX whenever we want and this plays a big part in how you come up with a story like this - you don't feel restrained. And on a script like this, you have to go nuts or epic all the way. It's good to know we are specialised and can push projects as far as this.'

The final magical element in the film was the music. Working closely with MassiveMusic, Rozema searched for the right track which would address Ecterera's brief of an instantly recognisable song. (Rozema) 'Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ seems like a natural first pick but was far from it. It took an extensive search of multiple musical directions. The trick was to find a known track that would fit the dynamic of the film. Problem here was that the visuals had an enormous narrative range. The track needed to work on an epic and cinematic scale only to change abruptly to comedy. We also decided to juxtaposition the futuristic visual treatment with a retro but future proof, credible track. Massive Music provided us with incredible tracks to choose from and ‘Cars’ came out on top.'

(Rozema) 'I'm just really happy with the whole experience - we (PostPanic) had a good working relationship with Peter (Peter van Leeuwen, ECD) and his team at Ecterera and CEO Tex Gunning at Leaseplan really pushed us to break expectations. You can't ask for more as a director. This was really a team effort as everyone was willing to take the risks a project like this needs. I hope this inspires other brands to raise their game with B2B films.'


Credit list LeasePlan - What’s next?

Client: LEASEPLAN
CEO: Tex Gunning
Global Marketing Director: Sandra Tappermann-Pieper

Global Campaign Manager: Selma Sertkaya

Agency: ETCETERA
Creative Director: Peter van Leeuwen
Client Services Director: Dick van der Lecq

Strategy Director: Bas Vroonland
Business Director: Danny van de Wetering

Creative Team: Marius Lichtendahl, Marvin The

Agency Producer: Joze Rikken

Campaign Manager: Luanne Quax

Production Company: POSTPANIC
Director: Mischa Rozema
Executive Producers: Jules Tervoort, Annejes van Liempd

Producer: Inge Zoete
Production coördinator: Androniki Nikolaou
Post Production Producer: Kristian Stoykov

Line Production LA: Ferguson Presents, Jesse Trott

DoP: Jon Gaute Espevold fnf

Grading: Captcha, Barry Clarke

Music Composition: MassiveMusic

Original track: “Cars” by Gary Numan

Sound Design: Antfood, Pedro Botsaris

Copywriter: John Weich

Post-Production: POSTPANIC

VFX Supervisor: Ivor Goldberg

VFX Lead Artists: Matthijs Joor, Chris Staves, Jeroen Aerts

VFX Artists:
Guido Ekker, Dieuwer Feldbrugge, Giovanni Grauso, Kameliya Dimitrova, Carlo Pietramale, Vincent Boudewijn, Jochem Aarts,
Jos Wabeke

2d Lead Artist: Doma Harkai

2d Artists:
Erwin van den IJssel, Hugo Morais, Federica D'Urzo, Ton Mikkers



Quotes
"(Rozema) 'I knew if I had the viewer on the beginning scene then they'd stick with me for the whole 3 minutes so I developed a really cinematic approach so we could communicate a big chunk of quite serious business information. I needed an anchor as the rest of the film was going to be so fantastical and I chose Richard Hammond as he seemed the perfect narrator and guide for this ambitious narrative. Richard is like liquid - he comes in and out of scenes but he's the only one who is ever looking into the camera. It's as if we are in his head, a musical without singing and dancing but with Richard himself, loads of cars and extreme characters. But throughout Richard is just Richard, just as we know him and that allows us to surprise the viewer with unexpected scenarios. He is our link to reality - a constant, reassuring factor in a ever changing world.’" Mischa Rozema
"(Rozema) 'I'm just really happy with the whole experience - we (PostPanic) had a good working relationship with Peter (Peter van Leeuwen, ECD) and his team at Ecterera and CEO Tex Gunning at Leaseplan really pushed us to break expectations. You can't ask for more as a director. This was really a team effort as everyone was willing to take the risks a project like this needs. I hope this inspires other brands to raise their game with B2B films.’" Mischa Rozema (on Etcetera and Leaseplan)
"(Rozema - on the timing of the film and working with Richard) ''Timing is always a really difficult thing to have in your head and then practically achieve it on set when things can be beyond your control. But ultimately timing and camera speeds are part of a big machine that has to work so we had an enormous complex puzzle to figure out. But Richard was a joy to work with and his ability to deliver lines and perfect comic timing under pressure was just one of the best things I walked away with from the shoot. I'm really happy it all came together as I imagined.’" Mischa Rozema (on working with Richard Hammond)
"(Rozema - on Los Angeles) 'I had a few location options in mind but Downtown Los Angeles resonated the most especially when we decided on the opening alien robotic invasion scene. It would have been difficult to communicate the same instantaneous experience by locating it in Amsterdam for example’'" Mischa Rozema (on Los Angeles)
"(Rozema on PostPanic) 'We're in a privileged position at PostPanic in that we can lean on VFX whenever we want and this plays a big part in how you come up with a story like this - you just don't feel restrained. And on a script like this, you have to go nuts or epic all the way. It's good to know we are specialised and can push projects as far as this.'" Mischa Rozema (on PostPanic)
"Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ seems like a natural first pick but was far from it. It took an extensive search of multiple musical directions. The trick was to find a known track that would fit the dynamic of the film. Problem here was that the visuals had an enormous narrative range. The track needed to work on an epic and cinematic scale only to change abruptly to comedy. We also decided to juxtaposition the futuristic visual treatment with a retro but future proof, credible track. MassiveMusic provided us with incredible tracks to choose from and ‘Cars’ came out on top. " Mischa Rozema (on music and MassiveMusic)
"An epic blockbuster opening of the film was the first thing I said to Mischa when we started talking about the treatment, I think we more than succeeded in that. " Peter van Leeuwen, ECD at Etcetera (agency)
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About PostPanic

PostPanic is an internationally awarded and respected Dutch film company.

PostPanic is made up of three divisions: PostPanic (commercial film), PanicProgram (emerging commercial talent) and PostPanic Pictures (long format film).

Founded in 1997, PostPanic closely guards its unique creative attitude and continues to produce memorable visual work for the advertising, entertainment, broadcast, retail and music industries worldwide.

The Amsterdam home is made up of a permanent international team composed of producers, directors and creatives specializing in live action, motion graphics/animation, VFX and installations.  PostPanic also host and curate the popular bi-annual inspiration evenings, The PanicRoom (an invite-only night for the Amsterdam creative community).

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