Wes Anderson, hot trends and AI: how to create video content in 2024

Joe Newmarch

Head of Video and Broadcast

#1 Pick a hot trend

I was inspired by a TikTok trend in 2023 of turning any situation into a Wes Anderson style ‘movie’ – because what could be more iconic than Wes Anderson? An element of ‘hot trend’ provides a theme you can parody as a timestamp but be realistic – if you’re going to leverage a trend you need a new take to build conversations. I knew we needed a story to make the parody work…

#2 Make AI work for you

Without a solid script the whole idea would have fallen to pieces. I hit upon the idea of mccglc winding down for the winter holiday, trying to identify what it was that made their work so iconic. It was a vehicle to allow us to say a little about what we do, and include every team in the company. I prompted Chat GPT to give me a short script based on the idea and was completely blown away by what it returned – the whole piece came together at that point, triggering new ideas and helping me to quickly form the basis and structure of the piece. I revised my prompt several times and arranged the script with some words of my own to tie everything together. This process saved me hours of time and the end result was something far beyond what I could have done on my own, inspiring several more gags and visual ideas we see in the final video. The key to using any AI tool is to personalise what you get out.

#3 Use what you have around you

High quality content doesn’t have to be big budget. We drew up a mood board of shots, creative devices and filming techniques used in Wes Anderson movies, developing some simple rules to direct the video; Symmetry, Vivid Colours, Sparse Environments, Gags. Of course, WA uses deadpan delivery beautifully in his films, which everyone kind of understood without having to be directed (because everyone here is a fan of Wes). If we could recreate examples from our inspiration, in and around the office, as group shots and individual scenarios with gags… we had ourselves a video. Of course we didn’t have the luxury of lengthy set up times and fancy lighting (everyone still had work to do) so everything we shot was almost ‘run and gun’ unrehearsed and often spur of the moment.

#4 Get everyone on board

Make everyone the star of the show. The production was fun because it involved absolutely all of us. A large portion of our team haven’t been involved in the previous videos from years gone by, so this was a great opportunity to continue fostering the culture of diverse people and skills which we’re so proud of at mccglc. I was quickly able to develop visual directional notes for my team, who ensured that we booked slots for everyone to be filmed… scouting suitable locations around the office and ensuring that the Wes Anderson brief was met with vibrantly coloured clothes and quirky outfits.

#5 Sound on

Music is a crucial part of WA movies, and knowing we couldn’t legally use anything quite as iconic as the soundtrack to his films, we settled on a main stock track which uses acoustic instruments in a traditional and quirky folk sound, which helped to amplify the ‘deadpan’ performances. The space and dynamics in the track really help to move the story along, and there is enough in there for it to not get boring whilst still being quite passive under everything else. Then the shift in the final scene brings us back to the fact that it’s Christmas time and we’re happy to be all celebrating a fantastic year together with our work family!

We tied everything together with the iconic text treatment, cooked up by our graphics team.

Considering we just ran around filming whatever we could for a couple of days, I’m really happy with what we produced in such a short timeframe with such limited resources. Plus, not only was the film well received by the whole team but it was re-shared many times over, which is what great content is all about. Already thinking about Christmas 2024…

To check out the Christmas video in question

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