Cunard Sea Goddess

Agency: Strattons

Brief: A series of promotional films for Cunard, for them to use in the international marketing of some of their cruise ships.

Solution: The films needed to look very, very glossy and luxurious. One way to achieve this is to work with a lighting cameraman who is experienced in creating an expensive look; the other is to use good-looking actors to play the role of the guests. You would never be able to achieve the ‘advertising’ look if you were trying to film ordinary people. And unless they are staff, you can’t generally direct people trying to go about their own business!

My role: Producer, editor

Comments: The man with the agency contact was the director on this job, Justin Cartwright, one-time advertising commercials director, now highly successful novelist. I produced for Justin for several years, on commercials and television documentaries, including a BBC Omnibus film on the state of the arts in South Africa, and one on the Dead Sea Scrolls. But the toughest jobs we did together were the four we made on Cunard liners: The QEII, Royal Viking Sun, Vistafjord, and Sea Goddess. Tough because you have four days filming to capture everything that goes on on-board, and on a cruise ship life never stops. They were almost all 16-hour days. The producer’s job in that scenario is to be continuously planning one or two set-ups ahead: prepping the location and the ship’s crew that you are working with, organizing the actors, and generally keeping everything running.