Firecracker Films shoots epic Heineken road-trip across Far-East
Firecracker Films in London has filmed an epic Far East road-trip in a campaign for Heineken. The journey follows backpacker Justin and his challenge was to get by using bottles of Heineken as payment for his travels, in place of hard currency.
Given that Singapore and Asia are the campaign’s target markets, the road-trip route from Inner Mongolia through China to Thailand was set by the client to follow the region’s historic Spice Route. Justin travelled with a three-man crew and the journey was researched and planned in advance to make sure everything would run smoothly on the ground.
A good fixer is worth their weight in gold; not only for finding contributors, locations and for translation purposes, but also for visa advice, local knowledge and, above all, reassurance that everything is going to be okay!
Ben Walton, Assistant Producer
Ben Walton was Assistant Producer for Firecracker Films: “We began the process by sourcing fixers in each of the locations that we planned to visit. A good fixer is worth their weight in gold; not only for finding contributors, locations and for translation purposes, but also for visa advice, local knowledge and, above all, reassurance that everything is going to be okay! Visa applications had to be submitted as soon as possible too.”
They approached the Chinese first because they knew these permissions would likely take the longest to arrange. A specialist visa company helped sort out the relevant travel documentation and the team had to get advice on vaccinations too. Equipment was kept to the bare essentials to make the two-week travel period that much easier.
Once the team was in-country, interpreters were needed at each stop-point as English is rarely spoken beyond the main tourist hotspots, even in major cities like Hanoi, Beijing and Shanghai. Then there was the issue of money. Cash was often the order of the day and between fluctuating exchange rates and receipts being scarce, the team had to keep careful records of their spending.
“Data handling was also a challenge,” Walton recalls: “Filming all day, every day for 14 days meant that our data wrangler never had a moment’s peace! Our offline edits commenced just a few days into our shooting schedule so we had to create a detailed logistical plan for sending the rushes back to London via FedEx.”
Our offline edits commenced just a few days into our shooting schedule so we had to create a detailed logistical plan for sending the rushes back to London via FedEx.
Ben Walton, Assistant Producer
Strong support from the team in London – via texting, Skype and smartphone messaging application WhatsApp – was a vital resource and helped sort out any problems. Walton advises that all fixer fees should be agreed before the first face-to-face meeting and that all crew members should have easy access to cash in case of emergencies.
At the end of it all, Walton’s happy with how everything turned out: “The entire team at Firecracker Films and Iris Worldwide pulled together to organise a very successful filming trip. There are very few things that I would change if I had to do it all over again.”
Agency: Iris Worldwide, Singapore
Production Company: Firecracker Films, London
Assistant Producer: Ben Walton
Camera Assistant: James Callum
Production Managers: Miranda Simmons and Tory Souter
Director: Tim Taggart
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