Chris Payne, our fuzzy friendly rep has been photographing concerts, bands, playing in a band or two and keeping an eye on the pulse of what new music is buzzing in people’s headphones.  So we asked him to tell us about his current favourite Canadian bands, why he likes them and what he recommends listening to right this second.  Take it away Payner!


Admittedly, I have a fondness for heavy and punk music, which I am well aware may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  I grew up listening to punk bands like bad religion, NOFX and pennywise.  After a while my tastes changed and I listened to heavier bands like Glassjaw, Alexisonfire and whatever other post-hardcore flavour of the week that was popular on myspace that month.  

My taste in music can be boiled down to a fairly simple rule; music should sound like the person/people making it have passion for what they are doing and that passion should be apparent in their music.  I find that intensity and energy makes the most satisfying music as you can really connect to it.  This same passion can be found across all genres of music, be it jazz, 90′s influenced hip-hop or metal- I have a great appreciation for those who physically exert themselves while performing. 

So for the sake of keeping this relatable and brief, I will focus on my favourite Canadian bands as of this moment.  Maybe it will be funny to look back on it someday.  These are in no particular order or ranking and I welcome suggestions of new music always!

1.  The Flatliners

One of my favourite bands of all time (not just Canadian bands) is Toronto’s The Flatliners.  This band has been around for over 10 years and have not stopped writing thoughtful lyrics, catchy riffs and some of my favourite songs to date.  Some of my favourite times playing music have been shows that we have opened for the Flats, the crowds they draw are made of the best people.  I have also shot a few Flatliners shows over the years as well- they have what I would consider one of the best live shows I have ever seen.  This band holds a special place in my heart and it is an added bonus that they are local.



I love bands that turn up as loud as they can, yell most every word and ooze energy from every possible note, all while maintaining melodies and diverse rhythms.  METZ has a great way of creating tension in their songs and making you feel like you are in some kind of horror movie-esque trance while remaining amped by pounding rhythms that keep you looking forward to every next track.  This band is loud and proud, I love it.

3. Sloan

Anyone who writes a best-Canadian-bands post and does not tip their hat to Sloan was most likely born after 1995.  Yes, they have written a few of those songs that everyone knows, but in the realm of famous Canadian bands, Sloan seems to have been swept under the rug of Nickelback, The Tragically Hip, City and Colour, etc.  It is a shame because this band is just plain rad, no way around it.  I have had the pleasure of shooting Sloan as well, it’s a tough life as a concert photographer- you know?


4. Shad

The undisputed king of the 5 panel hat.  The old prince maybe, but the new host of the Q.  Shad’s music is interesting- lots of 90′s influence, lots of unique and creative lyrics.  Overall a great listen.  I am a fan of energy, which Shad has tons of but definitely keeps his cool during every line.  He used to play live with a DJ, a bass player and he would play acoustic guitar- now there is horns, drums, keys and electric guitar.  So things have progressed and Shad is obviously very different from the current hip hop and rap offerings.  I must say, I haven’t kept up with his music so much with his recent releases- but the dude can’t do anything but be solid.  Check out the half hour set video below to get familiar with his live show- it is a spectacle and you will see what I’m talking about.

5.  This last one is a struggle, there are so many bands that deserve the kudos.  Leaving this up to 5 choices is tough.  I will stick to my favourites as of this moment.  


I have been listening to Northcote for the last few months as they have released some new music lately which has been the soundtrack to my fall thus far.  Matt Goud used to play in a hardcore band called Means, which I also really enjoyed.  There isn’t much to be said for Northcote other than amazing songwriting and a voice you can really warm up to.  Plenty of care taken in his music and you can totally hear the love he has for the songs he plays.  Great tunes.


I would be remised if I didn’t include an honourable mentions section in case you need some more music for your rainy mid-week.  If you want, please also check out Teenage Kicks, The Dirty Nil, Cancer Bats, Counterparts, Poor Young Things, Spells of Vertigo, Billy Talent, Rush, Sum 41, The Weakerthans, The Arkells and a great many more.  



All photos © Chris Payne 



    RYU Apparel gets a workout with Anthony Redpath

    by Westside on October 19, 2015

    RYU Apparel is a Vancouver based athletic apparel company.  RYU (Respect Your Universe) exists to provide the highest quality athletic clothing that can be worn inside or outside the gym.  As the quality has been cranked up on the average active wear, they needed to stand apart.  Enter a good idea: to team up with Anthony Redpath in order to create a beautiful website that brilliantly shows off each of their clothing lines!  Boom!  After all, RYU’s philosophy for imaging speaks volumes about their business.

    Our Mandate for imagery: Beautiful Tough - imagery without compromise to highlight the outstanding design, technical features and materials of RYU apparel being propelled by high performance multi-disciplined athletes. At the same time, capturing the timeless style that RYU imparts to those who live in its association through sports and all life activities.”

    Now take that brief and compare it to Anthony’s images RYU clothing in action.  Nail on the head, folks.

    Mantra_1500px Rest_And_Recovery_1500px Running_0259_1500px Running_18614_1500px There_And_Back_1500px Train_And_Develop_1500px

    “These are some of my favourite images from the RYU design lab shoot.  They have a design lab up in Squamish, one hour from Vancouver with five internationally experienced designers.” -Anthony Redpath

    RYU-DesignLab-01_1500px RYU-DesignLab-02_1500px RYU-DesignLab-04_1500px RYU-DesignLab-05_1500px

    RYU has recently gone under a bunch of changes with its new CEO, Marcello Leone.  He stepped in as president and has done wonders for the company.  Here is a portrait that I shot of him”- Anthony Redpath


    Some really awesome work by Anthony for this project and he will be shooting more with RYU in the coming months.  So, be on the look out for more great images like these!  To learn more about RYU apparel, click here.  Check out some BTS of creating these shots!

    IMG_8379 IMG_8442 IMG_8568 IMG_8638 IMG_8685 IMG_8728 IMG_8775 IMG_8779

    Photo Assistants: Rob Seebacher, Kyle Gibson, Nathan Beausoleil
    Art Direction: Jay Gundzik
    Copywriter:Rik Klingle-Watt
    Creative Director: Jay Gundzik
    Makeup Artist: Christine Fritz
    Wardrobe Stylist: Sarah Ainsworth
    Producer: Sean Frith
    Digi Tech: Kathleen Loski


      You are out grocery shopping, paying for dinner, buying parking, or whatever else you may swipe/tap/insert your credit card for.  You’re probably collecting points that in 5 years you may redeem for a $50 gift card.  Woohoo!  Well George Simhoni recently created some photographs for Scotiabank’s GM Visa campaign where you can redeem points that go towards the purchase of any GM vehicle!  Car vs. gift card… you decide.  George worked with Chris Harrison and Hayes Sternberg to create these photos outlining the campaign!  Check them out below!


      “I had the pleasure of joining the creative duo of Chris Harrison and Hayes Steinberg from Bensimon Byrne with agency print producer Magda Czyz to produce the launch of the Scotiabank GM Visa campaign introducing the Scotiabank Visa reward program where you can use your points towards any of GM vehicle purchases.


      We had several locations with a variety of props and talent featuring a different vehicle per location.  We were demonstrating all the situations you could be in and the items that you typically buy that will help you purchase your new vehicle.
      The challenge of keeping two sets of clients involved with all the steps in the photography project is always an interesting challenge but Scotiabank and all the client representatives from the different GM car brands were all proactive and great to work with.”  -George Simhoni
      All in all some really great automotive photography by George, with a bit of a backstory to the viewer.  The little red stars denoting the things that can rack up the points towards the purchase of your next GM car.  If you go by any Scotiabank right now you will most likely run across one or two of these photos so keep an eye out!
      For your added viewing pleasure, check out these cinema graphs that George also created.  These are kind of fun and George has become very good at creating them.  See if you can spot all the moving parts to each photo!  That last one is pretty tricky to spot!
      boat_v4b camp_v6
      Here, for your viewing pleasure are some behind the scenes images of the production involved in creating these images.  They feature assistants Abe Roberto and Jon Brown modelling with their best looks and a goose invading some personal space.  Enjoy!















      ACD, Art Director: Chris Harrison
      ACD, Copywriter: Hayes Steinberg
      Agency Producer: Magda Czyz
      Photographer: George Simhoni
      Producer: John Stevancec
      Production Company: Westside Studio
      Assistants: Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto, John Wayne Brown, Gabe Nivera, Logan Almandinger
      Retouching: Mark Tyler


        Shanghoon shoots McDonalds without farmers?

        by Westside on October 8, 2015

        What do you get if you take the egg farmer out of the McMuffin?  What do you get if you take the Milk farmer out of the McFlurry?  What about the Potato farmer out of the fry?  Well, you get Shanghoon’s newest set of images for McDonald’s care of Benjamin Playford and the folks over at Tribal DDB.  Take a look below to see what that all means.

        P51596_MCD_Fries_1920x1080_E_small P51596_MCD_Nugget_1920x1080_E_small P51596_MCD_Egg_1920x1080_1E_small P51596_MCD_McFlurry_1920x1080_2E_small P51596_MCD_BigMac_1920x1080_E_small

        “I was thrilled to be able to play a role in creating the print visual for the latest McDonald’s campaign, focused on Canadian farmers.  The idea of missing ingredients and floating layers of food was technically challenging but really cool – so, right in my wheelhouse!  We had to come up with ways to physically keep each layer of food in the air, so a lot of armature wire and clear plexi glass was used in the process.”- Shanghoon


        “The shoot took place in Montreal, where the agency, Tribal DDB, had set up the shoot for the broadcast portion of the campaign. That meant we got to pool resources and use the same food stylist and creative team for both components.  The food stylist, Noah Witenoff was fantastic to work with.  It was a pleasure to watch him style the Big Mac and the other classic McDonald’s items.  He nailed it every time he made it.

        The AD, Benjamin Playford, and the Tribal DDB creative team including Chris Webden, had double duty of going back and forth sets between my stills set and the broadcast set.  But thanks to them, it went incredibly smoothly!  This campaign was really fun to work on, not only did I get to venture outside my studio to shoot, seeing my shots running on billboards, bus shelters and in McDonald’s restaurants around the city is really rewarding, especially because I love the way it came out.

         Thanks everyone who worked and helped bring this campaign to life!” – Shanghoon

        DSC01195 image1 mc_3 mc_4 mc_5 Screen-Shot-2015-09-18-at-1.17.10-AM

        Agency: Tribal DDB Toronto
        Art Director: Benjamin Playford
        Photographer: Shanghoon
        Production : Westside Studio
        Producer : Phaedra Kennedy
        Food Stylist : Noah Witenoff


          Kirsten White, the Baroness and Nuit Blanche

          by Westside on October 7, 2015

          *NOTE: for best effect, please read the following paragraph in a charming english accent*

          The night was cold and the sky was dark.  As the rains fell and the wind blew, a certain sea foam trailer is where true love grew.  Between the commuters, the fixies, the vintage and the new- more than 400 bicyclists proclaimed their love to be true.  Beside Drake One Fifty trailer Baroness stood tall, with twinkling lights, Dolly Parton, Elvis and two wheeled matrimony for all.  For the remainder of our tale, Westside Studio producer Kirsten White will tell you all, from the origins of trailer Baroness and Nuit Blanche this fall.

          Okay you can switch back to your normal voice now.

          “The idea of marrying a a bike might seem a little weird to some, but not to me and my Bike Gang.  The Deadly Nightshades is an all female arts collective/midnight bike crew who’?s ?raison d?être? is promoting sustainability, feminism, art and more women on bikes. Our mantra is: step 1 matching jackets, step 3: take over the world.  This weekend we took over down town Toronto, so thats a start!”

          2015-10-03 13.56.32

          2015-10-02 17.02.00

          “I have wanted to show off our great love for the bicycle for 2 years but never had the right back drop for it.  Last year, Westside Studio’s Matt Barnes photographed the Trailer Park Boys in studio and found a ratty old trailer for part of his set.  When he was done I wiggled up to him and asked what was going to happen to the sweet 1966 Dal trailer.  He said it was going back to the dump, but he could see the reno twinkle in my eye and gifted it to me and the Nightshades with the promise of a shoot inside it when it was done (whenever you have time Matt she?s all yours).

          portfolio-00142014-07-18 20.45.22-12014-10-18 14.51.27

          “We ripped the guts out of her 3 weeks later and slapped on a sweeeeeet shade of sea foam (our gang colour of course).  After a 4 month winter sleep on a farm, myself and Big Red (also known as my best friend, partner in crime, and wifey Cat Essiambre) went to get her and begin brain storming for what we wanted this trailer to be.  After a very fun planning session we decided a rentable open concept/pop up shop/art making space was what we wanted.  The decor?  Palm leaves, teak, pineapples and pin stripes OF COURSE!”

          2014-07-27 15.58.15-1

          2015-05-17 12.55.10-2

          2015-05-18 14.19.42 2015-08-23 19.19.15

          “While Cat, a.k.a Big Red and I are the most skilled people in the history of the world we decided that getting a little extra carpentry, electrical and general contracting help from our families in Ottawa was needed.  Papa Essiambre, my Uncle Ed and many other friends came out on the long weekend to help us replace EVERYTHING!  Walls, frame, floor, electrical, pieces of the metal frame, you name it, it got replaced.  DIY till you DIE and we almost did.  We got 5 good days of work on the trailer in and finished the rest in July with the help of Andrew Gooding (our personal Deadly Night Shades get?’r?done bud, and secretly the only male DNS member).  It was beautiful, it was full of our love for fun, colour, art, and we had named her as well, Trailer Baroness.  Now what would we do with her, we couldn?t just camp!”

          2015-07-05 16.38.40-2

          “Our fav curator in the city Mia Neilson is always up for a good time and a good idea, so Cat and I invited Mia over to check out Baroness and ask what the Drake Hotel was up to for Nuit Blanche 2015?  She told us all about the amazing exhibits and we asked nicely, “Can we be apart of it? We?d like to marry people to their bikes, shot gun wedding style, with our trailer as a back drop?.”  We were ready to commit to our bikes forever, and we wanted to help other Torontonians too!  She said yes and offered us up a great parkette space beside the Drake 150, right in the heart of all the Nuit Blanche action!!

          “We spent the next month prepping our vision with bike wheels, spray paint parties, running around the whole city borrowing our friends Christmas lights and of course picking our officiant outfits.  Elvis (THANK YOU RICKY), Sister Seafoam, Dolly Parton, Mermaid 1 and Mermaid 2 spent 12 hours setting up our chapel (including getting the trailer up and over an 11inch rock) 8 hours marrying 400 + people to their bikes, 3 hours tearing down AND IT WAS THE BEST DAMN TIME EVER!!  This year Oct 3, 2015 myself and my closest friends made our two year in the making idea come to life, and hopefully showed how much we love our bikes! 2 WHEELS 4 LIFE!







          “A big thank you to everyone who helped make this a success, especially my wife Cat, and to all those wed on saturday night may you live long and happy lives with your bicycles.

          Till the next crazy idea!  

          Love: Snow White”


          Event photos: John Lee, Digital Fabrik


            Dave Makes Moving Pictures

            by Alex Beetham on October 6, 2015

            You already know that our roster is packed with some of the best photographers on the continent.  What you may be less familiar with, is that they also make moving pictures too!  The director reels are growing here at the studio.  Not only in length, but in diversity of subject matter, technical complexity, and just plain awesomeness. Dave Delnea began shooting motion long ago but has successfully applied the same treatments to his motion as he applies to his stills work. Working with the talented and lovely John Ker, Dave created two sports motion spots in studio.  Check’em:

            Take Your Shot – Basketball from Dave Delnea Images on Vimeo.

            Take Your Shot – Soccer from Dave Delnea Images on Vimeo.

            Cinematographer John Kerr has worked with a handful of Westside Studio photographers and we had this swell gentleman tell us a bit about working with Dave.

            “The “take your shot” project was an exciting opportunity to bring Dave’s beautifully stylized photography into motion.  From the preproduction stages Dave had a very strong vision of how he would like to break down each “shot” and bring the audience into the athlete’s mindspace.  Dave wanted the images to be minimalistic, with all of the attention being drawn to the athletes. We lit the set with large tungsten light fixtures that allowed us to capture the action at up to 200fps with our Red Epic, and also allowed for Dave to simultaneously shoot stills with the same lighting setup. We had an amazing team of althletes, camera assistants, hair/make up and wardrobe who’s hard work made with possible to shoot both of the spots in one day.  Dave finished the project by collaborating with Redlab digital for post-production and audio design.”


            IMG_1908 IMG_1906 IMG_1896


            “My favourite part about working on creatives is the freedom it allows for collaboration with other people.  Director of Photography John Ker and myself had been chatting about how to take the look and feel of some of my athlete and sport still images and incorporate that into a couple short motion spots – the “Take Your Shot” spots are the result of those chats.  With massive shout-outs to John for his work as DP and also to the post-production support we received from the amazing people at RedLab.  I’m excited to have these spots in my reel.”- Dave Delnea





            IMG_1889 IMG_1892IMG_1873 IMG_1872 IMG_1864 IMG_1855 IMG_1860


            Director/Photographer: Dave Delnea
            Cinematographer: John Kerr
            Camera Assistant: Calvin D’souza
            Post processing & Audio design: Red Lab
            Assistants: Alex Beetham, Tiana Gordinho
            Hair & Makeup: Caroline Levin


              Happy Friday!  Another week come and gone… Where did September go?  Here’s the lowdown:

              Things I leaned this week:

              • Open bar + extra strength tylenol cold nighttime + more open bar = Walking zombie KO’d Alex
              • Hey Rosetta needs to be dropped tuned by 5 semitones for me to get anywhere close to be able to “sing” their songs.
              • Contractors are 500% more likely to respond to phone calls over emails.  Not actual math, but not too far off.

              Ads I came across and quite enjoy:

              Movies I watched this week:

              Between the roommates and I, there’s a movie on in the living room just about every night of the week.  Here’s what I took in this past week, ordered from least, to most favourite:

              I was really surprised I didn’t get into Interstellar all that much.  Big space & sci-fi nerd, but this just didn’t take the cake for me.  Related however, I was lucky enough to catch a TIFF screening of The Martian, which was FANTASTIC.  Go see it this weekend if you get a chance.  Jackie Brown was a classic Tarantino, and Happiness is just awkward genius.  Twisted, but incredible.  Highly recommend.

              Art I love (and selfishly want to keep to myself but should be shared because it’s amazing):

              • Craigslist Mirrors – Exactly what it sounds like.  A curated collection of photos of mirrors from craigslist.  It’s beautiful in every way.

              Craigslist Mirrors
              Have a great weekend, and Happy Nuit Blanche-ing!


              - Alex


                Chris Gordaneer’s full time assistant, Brendan Smyth has been to Japan, Zurich, Bali and Cape Town to name a few.  Some with Chris, some without- either way, he has created an interesting way to commemorate every place he has been by taking a picture of his Vans in front of some of the most noteworthy landmarks and beautiful scenery.  No, it’s not just photos of his toes in the sand, feet on a dock or next to something peculiar found on the sidewalk- it is much better than that!  We will let Brendan tell you about the top 5 travel destinations from his Instagram account that he has dedicated to just this!

                This is a series that I guess I started in the early 90′s, on the first roll of film I ever shot on my dad’s old Olympus OM1.  I must have been about 13 at the time, but it really became a thing in 2007 when I did my first big trip to central America.  I wanted to do something unique with my travel photos that involved me in some way.  I also wanted to something that I could replicate over and over as I travelled.  This was just easy to do and seemed unique enough to me, and once I took one- it is hard to not continue doing them.

                1.  Ha Long Bay, Vietnam


                Vietnam Map copy


                These images were taken while on a 3 month long trip through South East Asia that I did in 2010.  Vietnam was one of my favourite countries because of its history and its scenery.  The scenery there was like something from another planet, or out of a sci-fi movie.  There are these rock formations that are hundreds of feet tall, some that are completely flat on some sides with trees growing out of them, just out in the middle of the water.  The landscape here is really amazing.

                2.  The Dalton Highway, North of the Arctic circle- Alaska


                Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 10.45.32 AM copy


                This one was shot North of the Arctic circle on the Dalton Highway while travelling with Chris Gordaneer.  The Dalton Highway leads to the most northernly point of North America that is accessible by road, so you can’t drive any farther North in North America than on this road.  We mostly ate hotdogs and drank beer in Alaska, essentially it was camping the whole time.  You can pull over to the side of the road and sleep almost anywhere in Alaska so we lived off of what we had in the cooler.  The most northernly place we got to was where the picture of my feet was taken before we had to turn around due to weather.  Most of the road is dirt/mud but for some reason way up there theres about a 100km paved stretch, which is where we turned around.

                3.  Mauna Kea Observatory- Hawaii


                Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.15.08 AM copy


                These images were taken 4207 meters (13,803 ft) above Sea Level at Mauna Kea observatory, Hawaii.  I travelled there with my wife Arisa in 2013, the trip to the observatory was a huge, very sketchy climb in a 4×4 truck.  When we left in the morning it was t-shirts and shorts weather, but once you get up to 4,000 meters it was about 5 degrees.  This place also had 40% less oxygen and 40% less air pressure than sea level, the lack of oxygen up there can be really problematic for some people.  A short walk will feel like an epic journey at that Altitude.  I knew what to expect from high altitude from my experiences in Peru and Bolivia, so we took our time driving up and give ourselves time to adjust.  The observatory is in such a remote area and at such a high altitude in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that it makes it one of the best locations for ground based astronomy.

                4.  Teufelsberg- Germany


                Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 10.31.26 AM


                These photos were shot while I was visiting Europe in 2010.  This place is an abandoned US spy station constructed on top of an artificial hill made from the ruins and rubble from Berlin after the second world war.  Turns out it is build ontop of an old Nazi technological school that the allies tried to blow up, but it turned out that burying it was more efficient.  This place has tons of history and was a fun mission to get to, which of course is never complete without crawling under some barbed wire fences.  There wasn’t any security, it is just kind of a forgotten cold war relic.  You have to take a train, then a 45 minute hike through a forrest to get to it…  Berlin is full of all kinds of old war ruins if you know where to look, they seem to just forget about or bury them. 

                5.  Hashima Island, Nagasaki- Japan


                Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 10.49.28 AM

                This was taken earlier this year when I went to Japan with my wife Arisa.  Hashima Island translates to Battleship Island, it lies abandoned about 15km (9 miles) from the city of Nagasaki in Southern Japan.  The island is a symbol of the rapid industrialization of Japan, but it is also a reminder of its dark history as a site of forced labour prior to the second world war.  During the second world war the island was referred to as “jail island” or “hell island” among Korean forced labourers.  In the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall the island served as the inspiration for the lair of the villain Raoul Silva.  In 2013 there was even a Thai horror movie called Project Hashima where 5 college students visit the island to film it.  It looks evil, has an evil past and that sounds like a pretty good setup for any horror movie or villain’s lair.  

                I’d like to go back to Bolivia and make my way though Chile to Patagonia.  I’d like to spend some more time in Africa, but Mostly I just want to go back to Japan, hang out with my in laws, eat amazing food  and snowboard.


                Well that’s all from globe trotting Brendan Smyth for now folks!  Maybe one of these locations has inspired some ideas for a winter vacation or a shoot locations?  Catch you on the next edition of Westside Picks!


                  Shanghoon’s got a brand new bag!

                  by Westside on September 30, 2015

                  Separating the trash into the proper receptacles not only does good for the environment, but it also fulfills the obsessive compulsive tendencies that are just far too fun to satisfy.  In the past little while, you may have received a piece of mail that depicts bags wanting to hop into their previously off-limits bins.  Under the creative direction of Zach Muir-Vavrina and Freddy Nduna from Publicis, Shanghoon was able to make these bags really reach their audience (pun shamelessly intended).

                  “I’m always happy to do my part to spread the word on noteworthy causes, so I was glad to be involved in this City of Toronto campaign on recycling.  The city wanted to let everyone know that things like bread bags and soil bags qualify to be recycled, and Zac Muir-Vavrina and Freddy Nduna brought that to life with this concept of recycling bins acting like magnets.  The bags were styled on set with wires (and lots of tape!) to make this execution seem as realistic as possible.”     – Shanghoon

                  City of Toronto_097_RGB agency


                  So how were the bags made to look like they were reaching?  Well that’s simple, you take the bags, bend them around some wire, tape them and scrunch them just so.  Then voila!  The bag is seemingly longing for it’s recycling receptacle companion.  This was shot completely at Westside Studio, check out some behind the scenes photos from this shoot below!





                  Agency: Publicis
                  Art Director: Zach Muir-Vavrina
                  Copywriter: Freddy Nduna
                  Photographer: Shanghoon
                  Producer: Phaedra Kennedy
                  Production Company:  Westside Studio
                  Assistants: Jon Wayne Brown, Heather Gilmour


                    As the warm season draws to a close, the time has come for many to put their boats away and dust off the snowboards and skates. For others though, especially diehard hunters and fisherman, boating season is still in full effect.

                    Earlier this summer, Westside Studio’s very own Derek Shapton took another step forward in his motion career with the folks at Saatchi & Saatchi.  He already has four motion spots currently on air and another in post production.  In addition to two commercials for this year’s national United Way campaign (“Possibility” and “Not By Itself”), and a powerful viral video for the Humane Society’s efforts to stop the Yulin festival, Derek also recently directed two very funny and slightly surreal ads with writer Matt Antonello and art director Joel Arbez at Saatchi & Saatchi.  The spots have generated quite a lot of buzz, you’ve probably seen them on StrategyStimulant or Ads Of The World.  Check them out below, as well as some behind the scenes action from the shoot day!

                    Derek answered a few of our questions about this shoot and about working in motion along with his stills work.

                    Q: What attracted you to the job?
                    A:  I’ve worked with Matt in the past and when he sent me the project brief I jumped at the chance; there were a lot of elements in there that still photographers rarely get a chance to tackle when transitioning to motion work.
                    Q:  What do you mean?
                    A:  Well, the humour aspect for sure. And of course, the chance to work with real actors delivering actual dialogue as opposed to just stringing together a series of pretty images, which is a more typical ask for someone coming from the photography world. Matt and Joel are extremely smart guys and there were clearly some very strong ideas in the scripts that I really tried to flesh out when writing the treatment. It was a real opportunity to do something that people might not have expected from someone with my background, and I really have to give credit to Saatchi for believing in me.


                    Derek, Joel and Matt modelling the latest in on-set headgear.  Photo: Jeremy Benning


                    Framing up the shot for the Froggy spot, camera is an Arri Amira with Cooke mini s4 lenses.  Photo: Jeremy Benning

                    Q:  What do you like best about directing for TV?
                    A:  Two things actually; first the writing aspect of it — the treatments are particularly fun — and then, rather unexpectedly, the fact that I’m not actually running the camera or rigging the lighting or any of that! As a photographer I’m used to being very hands-on with that stuff but much to my surprise I’ve found it very liberating, it really frees me up to concentrate on actor performances and deal with the nuances and subtleties of the script. Of course it also helps to have a great crew and I was really fortunate on this job. I was able to work with some really talented people, in particular my producers at OPC, our amazing DOP Jeremy Benning, our brilliant editor Brian Wells, and Andrew Exworth and Michael Medeiros at The Vanity, who handled the transfer and online.
                    Q:  What was most challenging about the project?
                    A:  The weather was brutal — really hot and relentlessly sunny and of course there’s no shade to speak of when out on the water for hours and hours.  Also the shooting schedule was pretty crazy, but we managed to get everything we needed in the brief time we had! Again I really have to credit the crew and in particular my line producer Ian Webb (who also wore the production manager and 1st AD hats too) for that.


                    Writer Matt Antonello and some random photobomb guy


                    The requisite agency creative team thumbs-up selfie

                    Q:  Where do you go from here?
                    A:  I’m still shooting quite a bit of print stuff of course, and have just wrapped another TV spot, it’s in postproduction right now.  I’d love to take on some more!  I’m particularly keen on looking at other idea and dialogue-driven humour type projects.  I’m really looking forward to working with actors again!

                    Brand: Canadian Safe Boating Council
                    Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Canada
                    Executive Creative Director: Brian Sheppard
                    Group Creative Director : Matt Antonello
                    Group Creative Director: Joel Arbez
                    Writer: Matt Antonello, Cory Hansen
                    Art Director: Joel Arbez
                    Head of Production: Michelle Orlando
                    Director: Derek Shapton
                    DOP: Jeremy Benning Sesler
                    Editor: Brian Wells, School Music & Sound
                    Design: Boombox Sound
                    Colourist: Andrew Exworth, The Vanity
                    Online: Michael Medeiros, The Vanity
                    Production House: OPC
                    Producer: Ian Webb
                    Exec. Producers: Harland Weiss, Donovan Boden