Trevor Beattie night

So last night CR and I went to see Trveor Beattie at Robbie Smith's studio in Edinburgh last night.

It was the first part of many from stv where they get high profile creatives to head north and give a talk on something. Beattie was there to tell us about how to create a great TV advert on a budget. So Union, Family, Newhaven, Leith and a few more sent their people to see what he had to say.

He started with a nice piece information about himself. Material possessions mean little to him, it is all about experiences. He then informed us he paid $200,000 to be on the second plane to space with Virgin and that you should never talk about work that is more than 5 years old.

So...firstly some pointers.

Don't go catch Creative BSE.
Simply put, but basically don't copy awards annuals, they won, you didn't. It destroys youthful minds. So every time we've been told look at awards annuals, maybe go see Trevor instead.

The great thing about low budget advertising is that the idea is everything. Big TV budgets at the minute are being spent on shit apparently and he is very curious to see how a planner knows an idea works, on paper, in pre-research but not in post-research!?!

His first video was Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares To You, written by Prince, he said that the strength of her acting was so good, he would have done away with the fades and had the camera locked on her for 3 minutes.

What not to do.

Never try and make big budget on a small one
The idea is priceless
Be proud to be cheap
It's all about the visual simplicity
And if you believe in your idea, fund it yourself

Use stock footage.

NASA give theirs away for free and National Geographic are cheap.
so much footage can't be recreated again, but apparently that included get Stalin to go to DFS for the sale. Use this footage and say something different
Harry Hill's TV Burp or You've Been Framed are a good example of this.

Be a journalist.

Learn to write fast and precise, there is always time. His analogy for this was if a plane crashed at midnight in London, the next morning the papers would have a 2000 word perfect analysis of events and further essays on Boeing 747s, terrorism and possible other causes, and no one would ever moan.

How to sell low budget.

Low budget is BIG budget to these companies normally, sell it to them that way.
Make it have charm, it doesn't cost a million pounds.
Find something you believe in, sell that.
Don't put a price on ideas.
Don't tell production companies you have a small budget, make it smaller then pull favours, don't let them have the AIG mentality.
Be a passionate expert in low budget
Care, no one did about cooking 10 years ago, now look.
Big budgets mean people get lazy as they have money to burn.
They take things for granted.

How he survives.

Hire brilliant people
If he can sleep at night and not worry about them. That's who he wants around him.
Delegation and trust. 
He wanted fun at BMB now he has fun and 90 people in his London office with New York and Sao Paulo opening in May and September respectively.

That was it (phew!). I've never met the guy before, he seems nicer than I expected, and is definitely the kind of guy I could see myself working for, less knobish. There was also free beer and pizza to top off a great night. Mark Waites from Mother is up next and I'm off to Pecha Kucha tonight so another long write up to follow soon. 

Beam me up Scotty.