How to produce “Extraordinary Stories” using video by Rory McLoughlin from Boomtown Productions

  • 09
  • Jul
by Hugo Marcos
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Who is Rory McLoughlin?

One thing Rory McLoughlin likes more than telling stories is hearing stories from others. He loves to learn about people. How they came through hardships, what their dreams are, what they’re most proud of. Documentary filmmaking is a dream of his and he is living that dream through content based films. Rory enjoys the challenge of fitting a brand into a personal story. Sure, one day he’d like to make scripted feature films also. But for now, he is content in what he do. He is content for content and mad about stories. Originally hailing from New Zealand but having spent the last 10 years between Bahrain, Jordan and Dubai, Rory is a film director with extensive experience within the MENA region.
As the in-house Director at Boomtown, Rory is involved in the entire creative process from concept development and filming right through to editing and finalizing post-production.

Boomtown Productions were commissioned by M&C Saatchi UAE to produce all of the original media for the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi’s new international advertising campaign.

Hugo Marcos spoke with Rory McLoughlin, Film Director at Boomtown Productions to discover more about the production process of the video campaign.

HM: What can a customer expect when working with Boomtown Productions?

RM: Our clients have high standards, that’s why they come to us. Because they know we can deliver. We’ve got a great reputation for quality, honesty, and for our work ethic. We’ve been established here for almost a couple of decades now so we bring a lot of experience to the table too. We’re transparent and trustworthy.

"Good story telling in film making will engage viewers."

HM: What do you like most about your profession?

RM: Storytelling. Not only do I get to create and bring my vision of stories to life through film, I work with inspirational and creative people. I love how film making is such a collaborative process but also just the interesting characters you get to meet whether cast, crew, agency and client. They’ve all got stories to share too.

HM: How was the production process of “Extraordinary Stories”?

RM: Tough! We shot in 50 degree heat in the open desert between the hottest months of the year July to August. There were three elements to the campaign; The main masthead TVC directed by director Duo Norman Bates of Belgium, a stills campaign headed by Paul Ross Jones of NZ with additional shoots with locally based Hywell Waters and then Katerina Premfors and the supporting content films directed by myself. So, there was a lot of planning, scheduling, casting, scouting. But most of all, a tonne of love and soul that went into making this campaign from everyone involved.

HM: What were the main challenges during the film production?

RM: The weather. The skies that time of year are filled with dust and humidity. So, lenses would fog and crew would become dehydrated. We had to keep an eye on that and we worked through it. We fixed the skies in post, so Abu Dhabi felt like as appealing as it actually does in the winter months! And the reason why we had to shoot then was for a tight delivery timetable to have enough time to broadcast an appeal towards aspiring tourists and holiday makers in colder northern climates over winter.

HM: What were the goals for “Extraordinary Stories”? In your opinion, did you reach them?

RM: To create a memorable, inviting visual identity for Abu Dhabi and distinguish it from immediate competitors. For tourists to experience such an amazing time in Abu Dhabi they have an extraordinary experience, worthy of sharing with friends. An Extraordinary Story. We also wanted to appeal to target markets around the world, so our casting reflected that diversity.

Yes, it definitely worked. Views, inquires, bookings and visitors were noticeably up from previous years and people would talk about the film to tourism venders “Can we drop down the side of the dune like in the video?”.

"A good tourism film gives an impression of inclusion, intrigue and energy. It’s got to create FOMO. You’re appealing to people to experience another culture, to sometimes step out of their comfort zones and enjoy it."

HM: Video is a powerful tool to promote tourism destinations. Technically speaking, what is a good tourism video?

RM: A good tourism film gives an impression of inclusion, intrigue and energy. It’s got to create FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). You’re appealing to people to experience another culture, to sometimes step out of their comfort zones and enjoy it. So, there’s got to be energy and life but also showcase the amenities and activities on offer.

HM: What would you say is the key to good storytelling to promote the assets and attractions of a tourism destination using Video?

RM: 1) Colour. The grade plays a huge part! It’s got to be inviting, vibrant and full of character.
2) Collaborate and listen to everyone. I loved working with M&C Saatchi, with their clear vision, and I learned a lot from the Norman Bates guys, so there was cohesion across the campaign.

3) Also, create intrigue. At the end of the day, people want to create their own stories of their tourism experience, so it’s ok to not go into too much detail all the time like a brochure. Good story telling in film making will engage viewers.

HM: “Extraordinary Stories” won several international awards around the world in Tourism Film Festivals. How important are these awards for Boomtown Productions?

RM: They’re important for us and the team that worked on it because it helps validate the hard work we put into it. All those hours in the heat, the kms travelled across the emirate, the long days and early before sunrise mornings through to the hours spent in the edit suite putting it all together. I’m very proud of the team. It shows that the 40 films I made for Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi during the campaign are recognized internationally and we’re doing something right.

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