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Author: Rory

Camera

Big camera, big problem

Being DOP in a pandemic

Keegan Jood

We all enjoy a good coffee shop, me included. But having a 12-man film crew there with me just hit different. Picture it: I’m on set, it’s a production for a soon-to-be-launched financial brand and I’ve been appointed DOP. Literally, a dream come true. There was just one not-so-small challenge: we’re also in the middle of a global pandemic. Oh, and we had just one day to pull off the job, obvs.

It was nerve racking, to say the least. Adapting to new hardware, such as the beast of a camera I had personally picked out for this project, is difficult enough. For the first hour or two I felt locked-in to getting the shots we needed at a base level. In retrospect, I think of those opening hours as “warming up”. But it wasn’t long until the indie filmmaker in me said “invoke motion” – which is my personal mantra when filming any kind of content creation. Basically, if it aint moving eyes, it ain’t turning heads.

It was probably by scene 14 and all the mandatories were in the can that I attempted a whip pan shot; which is what I would usually do, were I operating a gimbal. All of a sudden I heard the director shouting “Yes! I love that, let's go with that!”. Admittedly this was a hard shot to pull off with such a ridiculously heavy rig but when you see your name on the clapperboard you realise that you gotta do whatever it takes to make that happen. Balls to the, uh, camera.

Working with Director Lamar Bonhomme gave me something extra, it must be said, to push through and get out of my box. Or whatever you call it, when you’re somewhat set in your ways. Each Director will have their way and his was part collaboration, part exploration. I figured that my role was to help him discover the beauty for which he searched. Loved it. Every now and again, he’d throw a famous quote my way to help me understand his intentions or to inspire a shot that wasn’t boarded. While that might be weird for some people, it made the experience interesting for me.

So what of the pandemic and COVID challenges?

Well, it all kinda just faded away to be honest. There were people assigned to ensure certain protocols, but as for me and my responsibilities: I was geared for the worst. I expected everything to be harder, more awkward and a whole lot slower. But I can’t say that this experience was any more challenging than what we were doing pre-pandemic. And for that, I thank my entire team at TNG.Productions. I think it all comes down to two things: passion and people. Together, those elements allowed me to focus on the job at hand, the thing I love.

And I can’t wait to do it again, mask and all.

Reach out, you’ll find me on all social media platforms.
Keegan Jood, TNG Productions

New needs friends, start here: hi@thenicheguys.com

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DOP with a problem by Keegan Jood

Big camera, big problemBeing DOP in a pandemicWe all enjoy a good coffee shop, me included. But having a 12-man film crew there with me just hit different. Picture it: I’m on set, it’s a production for a soon-to-be-launched financial brand and I’ve been appointed DOP. Literally, a dream come true. There was just one…

Hello world

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Sarah

Being judge/d

Loeries 2021

Sarah judging
There are many reasons why advertising award shows should be a goal for agencies. They’re good for business, they attract talent, but probably the most important reason, now more than ever is that they build morale.

I've noticed two things happen while working remotely in lockdown. Firstly, it’s harder to stay inspired when it feels like the whole world is at a standstill and secondly, we get so swept up in the day-to-day that we don’t always take a second to admire the final work. 

That’s what makes award shows and case studies so important for morale in agencies that are continuing to work remotely. Stop, recognise and admire what you’ve accomplished against all odds. Last year’s awards still featured work from the year before, a time before lockdown. This year however, each piece of content you see is a lesson in resilience and smart, creative solutions.

Judging this year reminded me how important external work and internal work are for inspiring teams and building morale. It’s not just about comparing your work to the local and global standard. Now we need to take the time to assess projects we do, no matter their size or budget and celebrate our creative resilience together.

Sarah Colville, Head of Copy

New needs friends, start here: hi@thenicheguys.com

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Being Judge/d by Sarah Colville

Being judge/dLoeries 2021There are many reasons why advertising award shows should be a goal for agencies. They’re good for business, they attract talent, but probably the most important reason, now more than ever is that they build morale.I’ve noticed two things happen while working remotely in lockdown. Firstly, it’s harder to stay inspired when it…

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Niche X Effective Altruism

We’re prepared for Purpose.

Committed to Purpose
Becoming a certified B Corp advertising agency has been, so far, both exciting and daunting. Access to the B Corp network provides us with wave after wave of insights and inspiration to help us build a better business for ourselves and for our partner-clients. What makes it daunting, is that we’re constantly reminded that we’ve only just started this journey and that there is still so much to learn about developing and manifesting a Purpose properly.

If you think about it generally, most challenges become briefs to agencies, which ultimately land on the desks of copywriters, art directors and designers. Are those creatives equipped to build the new solutions required in this complicated world – the solutions that answer to business objectives, sustainably and with maximum effect? While we cherish creativity at The Niche Guys, we’re not satisfied with simply creating an impact; we want to have the most positive impact possible with every effort. So we’ve become students again.

We’ve recently achieved our first graduate with Effective Altruism – the global, social movement focused on maximising the good that individuals and companies can achieve through work. This intense program drives development in strategic and measurable decision-making and inspires thinking that’s both creative and effective. We’re also proud to announce the participation of Niche Guys in the next course rollout.

Bring your brand and let’s collaborate on your next Purpose program.
Cameron Kurt Krieger, ECD

New needs friends, start here: hi@thenicheguys.com

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Made in lockdown

Brut Campaign

2020’s lockdown came with a bunch of new challenges for agencies. Campaigns were on hold, budgets were cut, shoots were a nightmare and let’s be honest, we’re glad the pineapple beer trend is over. So when an opportunity arrived for us to put aside our lockdown woes and tackle a Purpose project for Brut Deodorant, we were on it like the last toilet roll on shelf.

On a serious note, businesses were struggling and suddenly in a country where we’re forever hearing about risk-takers branching out on their own or starting their own business, things were quiet. Bruts mission is to give men the support they need to elevate their game, so we turned their campaign budget into an opportunity for go-getters to get going again.

The Brut Elevator pitch

Small business owners were called to Elevator Pitch their business or proposal as a voice note on Instagram. Was this a difficult ask, to pitch your business through a voice note? With the rise in Tik Tok we argued “no”. In fact, we played into the new normal. The judges, including Dj Sbu and Dj Tira, picked the candidates who were then invited to pitch their business during an Instagram Live event for the chance to win R500 000 in funding. With gatherings cancelled, we turned Brut’s Instagram into a business platform for new ideas, workshops and for a lucky few, the opportunity to have their ventures funded.

As for us? Lockdown seemed less harsh knowing that we helped inspire those who needed it during the pandemic - while also making some pretty nice work.

Dylon, Head of Art
New needs friends, start here: dylon@thenicheguys.com

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Words of advice we’d give our younger selves

#WomensDay

Niche Women's Day

We asked the women in leading roles throughout our agency to tell us what advice they would have given their younger selves when entering this often crazy industry.

Vanessa
Head of Digital Strategy

Change is disruptive, expect disruption.

Although change is necessary for growth, as women we’re socialised to put the comfort of others ahead of our own needs and desires. So when others are unhappy by the changes you’re making to your own life, it can feel like what you’re doing is wrong.

The truth is that change is messy by definition. So when you’re replacing routines, habits, expectations, assumptions - there’s a good chance that some people are not going to be happy about it because you’re disturbing a status quo that kept them comfortable, even if it wasn’t working for you.

That's okay; that's change.

Sarah
Head of Copy

Courage is a muscle. The more you work it, the stronger it gets.

I love this advice. It takes courage to do presentations, it takes courage to hold your head up while your work is criticised, it takes courage to admit you have a creative block, it takes courage to change your mind and voice it. The list goes on. Every time you feel the fear and do what’s asked of you anyway, the less daunting it is the next time and the further you can push yourself.

Nomika
Partner and MD

Coming from an orthodox Indian home, it was imperative that we follow our tradition and the rules governed by our religious discipline… which you set out to do as you are none the wiser. Getting uncomfortable forces you out of always doing things within safe parameters, you are challenged to think and act differently in every aspect of your life, your opinion and voice counts, don’t be afraid to BE and THINK differently.

Lia
Head of Brand Leads

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

The life lessons I learnt in this book are both eye opening and inspiring. Not only did it teach me about compassion and selflessness, it also solidified the importance of taking chances. The biggest lesson is that we should always give our best and not wait for  “the right time” or a specific moment to do the things we’ve always wanted to do or to express our love to the ones we love. The right time is always now.

Nasiphi
Head of Production

Dear Younger Nasiphi

“Do what you love. Do what makes your heart sing. And NEVER do it for the money, go to work to spread joy.” A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson

Honey, this life is not always fair and it will not always be fair to you. Follow your heart at all times and always operate from a place of love and kindness. Remember that you are the best and validation is for parking, not people. Never stop reading books cause the best sexual chemistry comes from those who read.

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We're shooting again

Hello world, again

Notes from a set, in the real world
and not on Zoom.

We're shooting again hero

The director yells, “Cut!” Everyone on the muddy, rain soaked set breathes a sigh of relief through their masks. Not because they’re relieved we got ‘the shot’ but because in spite of the nervousness about being back on set, it’s exhilarating being back and doing the thing we love.

Oh, how we missed all of this.

To pull off almost any kind of shoot you need to meet in person. Face-to-face. Side-by-side. Equipment passed from hand-to-hand, shared scripts with over the shoulder peeks - touching, brushing and rubbing up against each other. All par for the course.

Before COVID-19 that is.

The past twenty months have been littered with postponed shoot days which quickly became cancelled shoot days as Levels were adjusted, curfews introduced and reintroduced, the proximity to other people just wasn’t comfortable anymore and the utterance of this pandemic brought a lot of life to a deafening halt.

“Action!”

But now twenty months later I think the world realises it isn’t about waiting for this pandemic to end before we get on with life, it’s how do we continue life whilst battling the pandemic. So with crew, cast and client masked, sanitised, socially distanced when possible and vaccinated (fully or semi) TNG.Productions happily achieved two shoots in September for the tech finance app Spot Money and South Africa’s favourite toilet cleaner Domestos.

Both spots will be hitting screens in the coming weeks and we can’t wait to share this work. In the meantime, here’s what nervous excitement and somewhat-relief-about-being-outside looks like: check out these images from the set.

We’re pretty proud of our COVID-friendly learnings and systems for large scale productions.

If you want to chat about opportunities, give us a call here.
Rory Jacobs, TNG.Productions Creative Director

New needs friends, start here: hi@thenicheguys.com

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DOP with a problem by Keegan Jood

Big camera, big problemBeing DOP in a pandemicWe all enjoy a good coffee shop, me included. But having a 12-man film crew there with me just hit different. Picture it: I’m on set, it’s a production for a soon-to-be-launched financial brand and I’ve been appointed DOP. Literally, a dream come true. There was just one…

Hello world

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Niche X Digify Africa

A new wave of creativity.

Niche X Digify
As a certified B Corp, our Brand Purpose – “lighting creative fires” – prompted us to connect with Digify Africa in the run-up to the graduation of their class of 2020. Through a series of lectures delivered by the agency’s top leaders on critical topics such as The Business of Creativity and Creative Risk, we helped to launch some much-needed new talent into the marketing industry.

“This exchange with Digify Africa was extremely rewarding and to be completely honest, something that our industry desperately requires. The greater the support and investment that we provide to young talent, the better we will improve the industry’s future potential for growth and also help resolve the skills shortage within it,” commented Leigh Augustus, The Niche Guys Group CEO.

This being the second collaboration between the organisation – the first took place when South Africa first entered lockdown. “In addition to our creative abilities, we’ve collaborated well with the Digify Africa team because of our independent working model; which we kickstarted in 2019 before the arrival of the pandemic,” added Augustus. By the request of the students, an edited recording of the lectures has been made available and can be heard via the media player on this page.

Need some creative inspiration? We'd love to help out.
Leigh Augustus, Group CEO

New needs friends, start here: hi@thenicheguys.com

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Lifebuoy Charcoal

Falling in love with charcoal

Lifebuoy campaign

We collaborated with renowned artist Fhatuwani Mukheli to launch the stunning, new charcoal soap bar for Lifebuoy. Spending time with the artist in his studio, we got to overindulge in numerous loves: creative process, debate, art, production and of course work with Purpose. Here’s an edit of the video we produced, which presents the main ingredients from the perspective of an artist with a message for the world.

Need to tell a story in a unique way? Talk to us.
Cameron Kurt Krieger, ECD

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Agency on deman thumb

INTRODUCING
AGENCY ON DEMAND

By The Niche Guys

introducing agency

How should a creative agency operate in 2021 to bring real and relevant value to brands? With hardly a line between work and our personal lives anymore, we want our clients to work the way they live: on demand.
This means having constant access to quality data and crucial interactions where and when they require it. And we’re not just talking about availability or taking calls around the clock. We’ve partnered with global partners in Workplace by Facebook and Salesforce to create bespoke and refreshingly instinctive platforms for mutually profitable client-agency relationships.

But the Agency On Demand system manifests beyond technology. It also questions geography and location; and answers with a paradigm to liberate us from our offices – placing us in the real world where the plethora of influences on connections, creativity and commerce coalesce.

So The Niche Guys don’t have offices, nor do we work remotely. Our work culture, fondly named iP stands for “individual Partnership” and means that each and every Niche Guy is in partnership with clients and primarily manages their own location and workflow. Accountability and empowerment are the key drivers underpinning our mission to create great work for our clients and their customers and stakeholders. All the while assured, inspired and guided by the vision and purpose that comes with being crowned Africa’s first B-Corp Agency.

Agency On Demand must be experienced to be understood. It’s work styled by life and matched to the future.

If you’re intrigued, allow us to demonstrate it to you today.
Brendon Sissing, Managing Partner at TNG.London

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INTRODUCINGAGENCY ON DEMANDBy The Niche GuysHow should a creative agency operate in 2021 to bring real and relevant value to brands? With hardly a line between work and our personal lives anymore, we want our clients to work the way they live: on demand.This means having constant access to quality data and crucial interactions where…

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Not just another agency

We’re young, digital and not carrying any baggage. We are Niche.
Cameron Kurt Krieger, ECD

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