10 Questions with The Christmas Crew

Category General Published 3rd October 2017 by Phil Mann

10 Questions with: The Christmas Crew

It was the months leading up to Christmas and all throughout Ideal House people are preparing for the busiest retail time of the year.

We took a peek behind the scenes to see what was stirring and it was more than a mouse: It was Phil Berridge! Phil is the Senior Creative Producer at Ideal World, and the big cheese in terms of getting the right look for all of our footage, year round.

Ideal World copywriter and namesake Phil Mann caught up with Phil asked him about his time at Ideal World and how he prepares for the festive season.

Ideal World: Hi Phil, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at Ideal World?

Phil Berridge: "I'm a Senior Creative Producer at Ideal world. Myself, my team and the creative department are responsible for making all of the pre-recorded content for the channel such as footage of the product and the commercials for the advert breaks. We work alongside all of the departments in the building from buyers to backstage in order to bring our projects to life. Thanks to the strong sense of camaraderie in the building we strive together to create engaging and well executed content across multiple platforms."

IW: What's it like being a producer/director? Do you get the cool director's chair?

PB: "Being a creative producer at Ideal World is an exciting and varied role, we're always pushing ourselves to create our best work, learning new techniques and sharing technical knowledge with each other to achieve our goals. No two days are the same: one week I could be in Germany shooting in a vineyard and the next I could be at a holiday mansion in Hertfordshire filming our next Christmas commercial.

"A proud accolade of the creative department is that 95% of everything that isn't live that our viewers see has been made by us. We're working on the chair."

IW: How did you get started in the industry?

PB: "My video production career started in 2008 straight out of university. I built up a portfolio of music videos and corporate films over my last summer on campus and used that to get a loan from the Princes Trust to start my own production company.

"For the next 5 years I undertook a variety of projects worldwide ranging from a music video on the old sets of Star Wars in Tunisia to shooting fruit and veg production lines in Spain."

Christmas at Ideal World
Christmas at Ideal World

IW: You have to start shooting our Christmas footage in September. How do you get in the mood for Christmas so early?

PB: "I don't, Christmas is ruined!

"Just kidding. We normally start work on our Christmas projects in July–August so September was a bit late for us this year. The Christmas spirit normally starts to flow when we're looking at music options for the promo, it helps you to remember all the fine details that you need in each shot to persuade your viewer that it's Christmas in the shot. The music sparks off memories from my childhood Christmases and that's what I take a lot of inspiration from when generating the ideas for the commercial campaign.

"I think the most important aspect for any Christmas shoot is to get the cast and crew to believe its Christmas. I try to get a few sets dressed before our actors arrive, especially if we have children in the cast, so that when they get on set it instantly helps them to bring out the inner-Christmas in their characters."

IW: What's your favourite part of the shoot?

PB: "My favourite part of any shoot is when you perfectly execute the most difficult shot in your storyboard, whether you're working with children, animals or (occasionally) difficult adults, it could be nailed in the first take or it could take a hundred tries. That feeling when you know you've got that shot in the bag and everything from that point on is going to be easier gives you the strength you need to get through the rest of the shoot, which can be up to a 16-hour day."

IW: What's your number one tip for a very jolly Christmastide?

PB: "Use your festive break to relax and appreciate your family or alternatively wind them up like I do; hide their main present in the morning so you can genuinely surprise them with it later on in the day; pretend you've burned the dinner to wind up Mum; and, most importantly try and balance as much stuff on Dad while he's asleep after dinner."

IW: Can you tell us about the Christmasses past, present and future you'd visit if Jacob Marley sent three ghosts to take you there?

PB: "Good question!

  • Past: Christmas in Ancient Egypt would have been pretty interesting.

     

  • Present: I'd like to experience an Australian Christmas BBQ— but, perhaps without the spiders and other creepy crawlies.

     

  • Future: Christmas in SPACE!"

     

Christmas at Ideal World

IW: What Ideal World product are you most looking forward to buying for a loved one?

PB: "Some of my favourite Ideal World products are the watches and I'd love to get my father a special Constantin Weisz watch to celebrate his 70th Christmas."

IW: Finally, what do you leave out for Santa?

PB: "As a child I used to leave out a glass of brandy for Father Christmas but somehow that would go missing before the night was even through, so I resorted to milk - Mum and Dad are lactose intolerant."

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