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Joe Wade, company director, Don't Panic

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WHAT HE DID

Don’t Panic created an online film for Save the Children that shows how a British girl’s life might deteriorate if war breaks out. It has been viewed more than 29 million times on YouTube.

How did the project come about? We made a film for our clients Global Witness (Bill Oddie’s BankWatch) that resulted in HSBC changing its corporate policy on lending to logging companies. They introduced us to Save the Children.

What was the idea? [The creative] Richard Beer’s idea was based on the one-second-a-day videos that are popular on YouTube and Vimeo. He thought subverting this would make for a great twist in the film but would also allow us to film in the UK, which would help people empathise with the plight of Syrian kids.

What were the main challenges? Shooting in two days meant there was no margin for error. The crew was small, and Martin [Stirling, the director] and Unit9 worked wonders and asked for a lot of favours from Smoke & Mirrors and Factory to make the film look and sound great.

How did you write the script? I was influenced by an 80s docudrama called Threads, which is a terrifyingly realistic account of the impact of nuclear war. You see the build-up, the nuclear strike and the aftermath. The build-up is happening in the background and often uses news reports. The attack on the school in our film happens in the middle and events after that mirror events in the lead-up. For example, the girl has her hair plaited in the first half whereas, in the second half, her hair falls out. This gave us a coherent structure. We felt the body-rig idea would work after watching an episode of Breaking Bad – this actually forces other action into the background.

What was it like winning a Bafta for The Revolution Will Be Televised? I normally manage to mention I have won one within three minutes of meeting someone. And, if I can’t shoehorn it into the conversation, my business card actually says "Joe ‘Bafta’ Wade".

What was your hairiest moment producing that show? I am safely cowering in the office most of the time. But my colleagues have been detained by police, Nick Clegg’s SO19 bodyguards and in the International Criminal Court (for putting up "wanted" posters of Tony Blair), and punched by enraged aides of various bigwigs.

What is your next project? We are helping to launch one of the biggest blockbuster movies of the summer.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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