Specialized Women video campaign

// In some of my last blog posts I wrote about the kind of films I wanted to make, and about my true passion, what I really want to do. The first chapter in this new story was the motorcycle project, a film I made because I was missing something in my films up until that moment. A certain depth, something to identify with, a personality, a story.

It’s strange to see how quickly things have changed since, because right now – just months later – creating these kind of films are the ones that take up most of my time. They’re not all about someones passion, but they do have more depth and personality, are more thought-out and have proper scripts to guide the process of filmmaking and storytelling. Up until last year I never really worked with scripts (one has to start somewhere…), but I’ve come to realise they are a great help when building a story – and absolutely essential if you want to create a strong film.

A well though-out script is a great help when building a story – and absolutely essential if you want to create a strong film

One of my latest films, Thank You, Bicycle is definitely one of those – but that was personal, not for a client. However, in the mean time I’ve also been busy with a client of mine to create a series of short films that tell personal stories. Specialized Bicycles came to me at the end of last year with the proposal to create a short film about each of their female Dutch ambassadors. These women are not professional athletes, but just moms, wifes, businesswomen… everyday people who happen to have a passion for riding bikes. Specialized wanted to show that these people – like everyone else – have to combine riding with work, family and other responsibilities, something many people can relate to. We wanted to show that each of them does this in their own way and thus that there’s no one rule, no one way people should enjoy riding, but many. This is the basis of Specialized’s women-dedicated program, with the slogan ‘Your Ride, Your Rules’.

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We had 20cm of snow on the day we were supposed to film road riding with one of the ladies. No way that was gonna happen, so I had to go back a few weeks later to get the final shots when it would be sunny instead of snowy and cold.

The mastermind behind this campaign was April Marske, who used to work for Specialized in the U.S. but moved to the Netherlands to setup a dedicated marketing and support program for Specialized Women in the Dutch spoken markets. Having worked with her before, we started brainstorming right away and after some bad ideas, out-of-the box ideas, scribbles and finally some good ideas, we knew we were onto something. I put together a concept of style that would connect all the videos to each other and make them easily recognizable, even though the subject and their story in each of the films is different. April and I work together very well and she likes to be very much involved in every part of the project, giving her input and fresh look on things during preperation, filming and editing, which really helped make the films into what they have become.

During this project we had both fortunate and less fortunate moments, and although that’s nothing new and all part of the job, some things are worth mentioning… for example I got lucky with filming a few deer that sprung up from the bushes just 15 meters away when I walked up a hill to get a better shot, but we also encountered 20cm of snow on the day we were supposed to film road riding with one of the ladies. No way that was gonna happen, so I had to go back a few weeks later to get the final shots in better weather, which ended up being a great decision because the sunset on that day was absolutely amazing.

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Every person is different of course, so every story is too. Jitte’s special relation with her daughter is what really caught our attention, as did Fieke’s drive to help other women start riding bikes and take everything out of it. Esther’s day-to-day job is working on the dykes and waterways in the landscape that she rides through too, and Manon is definitely the most competitive rider of the bunch. Jitte’s video was also used for another market so it’s subtitled, the rest is Dutch spoken only.

Working with a group of ladies was definitely a challenge sometimes as we tend to look at things differently, women talk a lot more – like A LOT more – and I had an awesome but sometimes a little crazy art director (sorry April, but they’re your own words). We definitely had a lot of fun creating these short films, filming everywhere from train stations and offices to kitchens and beautiful hillsides. And I think we all learned a thing or two too which is great because I think you should never stop learning. Thanks for the good times ladies.

You can watch the videos here in my portfolio.