Saturday, November 23, 2013

Working with Keanu Reeves on "Man of Tai Chi"

Man of Tai Chi starring Keanu Reeves
Last year I was very lucky to get a really awesome and unusual job - working on the set of Man of Tai Chi directed and starred in by Keanu Reeves! 

It started when my friend asked me if I'd like to come along to assist with the aerial shooting for the film, which resulted in me joining the reconnaissance flights with the assistant director and acting as ground crew for the helicopter. Then after chatting with the Locations Manager for a while I found out that they were still missing a key location for the final shooting days - an underground car park. I decided to offer my services! A few days later and after a lot of phone calls to old friends, I had their property booked - the basement car park of Exchange Tower, a landmark building from Sino Land in Kowloon Bay. 

Shortly after that I got invited to be on set again, this time for the green screen shooting at the legendary Shaw Studios in Tseung Kwan O. It was an incredibly exciting night! Apart from getting to watch them building machines that would spin and implode cars and erect three storeys of green screen, it was also the same night that Typhoon Vicente hit, the first typhoon to reach T10 (the highest signal) since 1999! We worked right through the typhoon and when we left at 5am in the morning trees were blown all over the roads and destruction and debris was everywhere. Despite that, it was a fantastic night. Just incredible to watch some of the most dramatic scenes of the film come together whilst the typhoon raged around us. At the end we took the crew photos and you can just about spot me hiding on the left hand side:  

Spencer Douglass Keanu Reeves Man of Tai Chi Crew Photo Michael Wong Man-tak

Man of Tai Chi Crew Photo with Spencer Douglass and Keanu Reeves and Michael Wong Man-tak with an R44 helicopter

After we wrapped the shooting though the fun wasn't entirely over, as I got asked to help out on one final duty: organising the wrap party! Can't have a film shoot without a wrap party and with aviation still in mind, we decided to have ours at The Aviation Club located at the old airport in Kai Tak. It was a great fun night with a live Blues & Funk band, lots of delicious food and most importantly plenty of alcohol. We even had a photo booth with all kinds of bizarre props like knight's helmets and swords to take photos of ourselves with. Everyone had a great time and Keanu and his team were able to relax and let off some steam.

Here we are at the after party (no idea why I look so miserable about what was actually a great night):
Keanu Reeves and Spencer Douglass in Hong Kong
If you're a fan of Keanu Reeves and enjoyed reading this then please make sure to check out the trailer for Man of Tai Chi below:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Harvey Nichols X Jonathan Jay Lee Chinese New Year Campaign!

I love art (at least most art) and I am a huge fan of Jonathan Jay Lee's work, so when he contacted me to ask if I could help arrange a cooperation with him and Harvey Nichols for Chinese New Year I was overjoyed. This is exactly the kind of work I love to do - helping truly creative and highly skilled people (artists, musicians, directors etc.) to link up with forward thinking and creative brands to help them get their work out into the public eye!

So who is this Jonathan Jay Lee that I'm talking about? Well he is an extremely talented comic artist, illustrator, digital artist and painter who also happens to be the only Hong Kong born and raised comic artist I know of to be published by Marvel Comics! He was invited to draw his own version of The Punisher for the anthology comic book titled "Strange Tales" that Marvel releases every year. For this awesome project JJL basically did a Chinese Triad version of The Punisher set in HK! Now tell me that's not awesome?

You can check out a selection of Jonathan's fantastic artwork here:
Agent 88 Artwork for Heavy Metal Magazine

Cityscapes of Canton Road and West Kowloon

Original Artwork - Last Kiss
Live Painting for Hong Kong Jockey Club & Illustration for Kronenbourg 1664

Jonathan Jay Lee's Version of The Punisher & his original creation Wolf & Cub
Original Commissioned Artwork - The Drummer
So for this crossover job with Harvey Nichols, they were looking for JJL to specifically design a co-branded Jonathan Jay Lee X Harvey Nichols loyalty card for their most important VIP customers to celebrate Chinese New Year. The cards would be individually mailed to each VIP with a value of HK$888 pre-installed on the card for them to use at any Harvey Nichols store. For the card itself they wanted it to be an original artistic creation in Jonathan's typical style, but also to reflect traditional Chinese New Year values and artwork. This eventually led to a JJL's re-interpretation of a popular motif from ancient China the Boy and Ox in the field.

Have a look below to see what the final card looked like:
Can't wait to do our next collaboration project together! In the meantime you can check out the rest of Jonathan Jay Lee's work here:

Friday, May 31, 2013

Hydraulic Workshop & Crane Repair

Alatas crane services worldwide is a large multi-national company that supplies crane parts and crane services from 8 different offices across the globe. This includes repairs of crane motors, pumps, winches and gearboxes at their hydraulic workshops. 

I was introduced to Alatas by my good friend Chris Wright who has a strong background in corporate video though he works primarily in recruitment now. At that moment the Alatas Hong Kong team were looking to put together a video that would give a good showcasing of their hydraulic workshop and it's services, especially focussing on their crane motor repairs.

One of the challenges of this project was that engineering in general and the servicing of cranes in specific, is not generally considered a very exciting topic, but it was very important to Alatas that we did not produce the sort of documentary style voice-over led video that is common among across the entire engineering industry. Rather they wanted something short, attractive and fast moving that would at the same time give a very clear understanding of all their services and key points of quality to even a person unfamiliar with their industry casually watching the video. Obviously hitting both of these aims simultaneously meant we had our work cut out for us. Luckily we were helped by the fact that they have a beautiful workshop which is kept in immaculate condition, as you can see from the photos below:



In any case we decided to go for it full throttle and set about shooting a relatively fast-paced video of the journey of a crane motor through the Alatas Hydraulic Workshop. The main reference videos we had to work with (representing some of the best existing videos of a similar nature) were over 20 minutes long, shot in a dull 70's Open University documentary style and accompanied by lengthy and incredibly boring explanatory voiceovers. We decided to scrap this format entirely and go for a 5 minute long, high energy, music driven video with just a few titles integrated into the scenes to act as extra guidance for what's going on. In general though, I think you can follow the linear voyage of the motor through the workshop from arrival to dismantling, cleaning, repairing, re-assambly and testing without needing to pay attention to the titles.

Well we think we did a pretty good job of taking what is quite far from being the most riveting and exciting subject matter and transforming it into a fairly fast-moving and engaging video, in the process altering the ages old documentary format of engineering videos. Apparently we're not alone in our general regard of ourselves, as over 30,000 engineers from all over the world have watched the video making it one of the most popular videos on the net from the crane repair / hydraulic workshop / hydraulic motor category. Have a look and see what you think:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

PizzaExpress Hong Kong Showcase Video!

Well I have to say that I have been a very long time fan of the PizzaExpress brand, specifically 20 years long since I first went to London as a student in 1993. The idea that I could eat fantastic fresh baked Italian style pizza for a budget within my pretty limited student range and even get to see the Pizzaola tossing the dough, all seemed a bit unreal to me coming from the PizzaHut dominated land of Hong Kong. So when they came to me all that time later and asked if I would be interested to work on a new showcase video for them, as you can imagine I very enthusiastically said "YES". 

Before we could get started on the video itself, we needed to attend meetings and have lots of discussion time, this meant lots and lots of delicious pizza and pasta and along with Spiriteca (importers of incredible whiskey and other rare spirits), was one of the most enjoyable build-ups to a job I have ever experienced! 

Now there are probably a lot of things about PizzaExpress that you don't know. Firstly the company was started when Peter Boizot went to Italy in 1948 and saw real Pizzaolas tossing dough in the air for the first time in his life. He vowed to bring this Italian tradition back to England with him and succeeded in doing so in 1965 with a Pizza oven from Rome and a chef from Sicily. 

Another thing you may not know is that PizzaExpress has been a major supporter of jazz music since they started doing jazz performances at their Dean Street location in London in 1969. Some of the jazz greats that have been featured there are Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones and Jamie Cullum. 

And did you realise that PizzaExpress is helping to prevent Venice from sinking? In 1977 they created the Pizza Veneziana and from then till today a percentage of every one sold goes to the Venice in Peril Fund. 

You get the idea - it's an interesting company that does some unexpected stuff. 

Back to our little project. So the mandate was quite straightforward - make a beautiful video that captured the various key elements of PizzaExpress: the location, the design and art which they support, the commitment to high quality super fresh ingredients, the pursuit of the most traditional Italian ways of pizza preparation, the fun, relaxed atmosphere and of course most important - the customers! 

Well a lot to pack into a short 1.5 minute video, but I think we did a pretty good job of it! And by the way, we also created the 3D animated version of their logo at the top of this page :-)

Check out the final video we made here: 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Joey Yung 容祖兒 Recording of Mayfly 蜉蝣

Joey Yung 容祖兒 at This Music Studio with Spencer Douglass

I've been very lucky in these past few years to be able to work with some really talented people across very exciting industries like music, film and TV. One of the main people I've cooperated with over this time period is my old friend and music producer extra-ordinaire Kelvin Avon also known by his producer name Afreex. Kelvin is a double platinum selling music producer in the UK, having sold over 2 million albums in total across his various projects there and has also had top hits in places as diverse as Russia, Turkey, Germany, France and Sweden. Most recently he has been working out of Hong Kong over the last 3 years and that is how we got the opportunity to work together.

This is a pic of Kelvin with one of his Platinum selling albums produced for the UK band N'Dubz:

Kelvin Avon's platinum selling album with N'Dubz

You can also check out his website and blog here: Afreex

Since Kelvin arrived in Hong Kong, we have had the chance to work together with many different well known Asian stars including: Sandy Lam (林憶蓮), Van Ness Wu (吳建豪),  Jun Kung (恭碩良), MC Jin (歐陽靖), Hanjin Tan (陳奐仁), Race Wong (黃婉伶), Rosanne Wong (黃婉君), Michael Wong (王敏德) and many others. 

Although I was not directly involved in Kelvin's production and recording of the song Mayfly (蜉蝣) for Joey Yung (容祖兒) he kindly invited me along to sit in on the recording session at This Music Studio

The song was a great success and reached no.1 on the RTHK Radio 2 charts! Although it was not originally intended to be a "plug song" as it was the last album to be added to the album and the 4 plug songs had already been chosen, but because demand from the fans was so strong EEG decided to shoot a music video to the song and put it out in Karaoke's around Hong Kong. The video they shot turned out very well and you can check it out here: 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spiriteca - Some of the Greatest & Rarest Whiskies in the World

Spencer Douglass working for Spiriteca in The Landmark Hong Kong
A few months ago, I was very lucky to come across a very interesting opportunity indeed. I was introduced to the head of Hong Kong's leading importer of rare and top-quality whiskey for a marketing and PR consulting job. Now, for anyone who knows me well you will definitely know that I am a HUGE fan of good whiskey and suddenly having the opportunity to work with and taste some of the best whiskies in the world was like a dream come true! 

The job description was pretty interesting too - they had recently been offered a space for a 3 month pop-up store in The Landmark, one of HK's oldest and most exclusive shopping malls, and they wanted to bring me on board to spread the word on this exciting first in Hong Kong. Needless to say I enthusiastically said "yes!". 

The first thing we decided to get to work on was a launch party to welcome in existing and new customers, so we booked the date, sent out the invites and off we went! Here are a few snaps of the party so you can see how it went: 
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Drinks were very popular!
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Sniff and sip
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Lots to choose from

Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Golden liquid
Tasty canapes
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt
Discussing the drinks
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt, Spencer Douglass, Next Media
Me & Next Media Crew
Sean Fitzpatrick of Hong Kong Tatler
Sean Fitzpatrick of Tatler Group
As you can see from the pics the event was a great success and the final result of all this fun and merriment was a lot of empty bottles of whiskey, vintage rum, cognac and more, as you can see here:
Speyside, Trinidad Rum, Jean Grosperrin Cognac, Big Peat Islay Vatted Malt

After the success of the launch event, we still had a lot to do to make sure that the 3 months in prime retail space would be maximised. After a bit of thought we decided that we should orgnanise a special "Get in the Spirit Walk" to take place throughout the gentlemanly location of Landmark Men. In order to make sure it would be a great success we decided to reach out to a series of partners who could help make this a great experience for the modern gentleman. The partners who came on board were: Thomas Hardy, Tassels, Gentleman's Tonic, The Armoury, Kelly & Walsh, Vero and Thomas Pink. The idea was that the shops would open much later into the night than usual and you could follow a trail around Landmark Men, stopping in each of these sophisticated stores to enjoy a dram of a different spirit, whilst doing so you would also collect a stamp from each location and at the end could enter into a lucky draw to win quality prizes supplied by each partner - what's not to love about all that?

Here is the final map that we put together for our Get in the Spirit Walk:

Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality

As you can imagine we had great feedback from this event, but it still wasn't the end of all the fun things we had up our sleeves! 

To keep the excitement and interest up throughout our whole tenure, we decided to set-up a free tutored tasting every Saturday and Sunday afternoon between 2pm & 5pm. This meant that every weekend we would open up a few really special bottles and you could just drop in any time after lunch to try several of the best whiskies you had ever tried in your life and get educated in their background, history and tasting notes. Lots of fun - I attended several of the sessions myself! 

There were still several other things that we set-up during our time in the Landmark and all of them were very enjoyable for us and hopefully for everyone who visited us too. And to see how successful the whole project was, check out some of the flattering articles we got in the press below: 

Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
HK Magazine
Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
HK Tatler 
Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
Hip Hong Kong
Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, Whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Vintage, Top Quality
The List
And you'll be happy to know that the story hasn't come to an end just yet! I've been talking to the guys at Spiriteca again recently and seems they have the next exciting plan already in action behind the scenes. Keep your eyes peeled! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mobile World Congress (MWC) with ALCATEL

MWC Logo

Mobile World Congress or MWC as it is commonly known, is the world's largest mobile trade show held in March every year. In 2013 over 65,000 people flew in to take part in the event and over 1,500 mobile or mobile related companies exhibited at the event. As you can imagine it was quite a show and I was lucky enough to be flown over myself to help oversee the global PR campaign from mobile phone designer and producer ALCATEL. 

The event was held at the striking modern Fira Gran Via building which you can see here: 

 In the incredible, historical and picturesque city of Barcelona in Spain:

Lots of advantages of attending a conference in Barcelona - one being the incredible architecture and sights and another being the amazingly delicious food, which I've put a few examples of here: 

Tomato Bread

Paella con MariscoPulpitos
Well enough about the wonderful food, incredible environment and vibrant history of Barcelona (I didn't even touch on the football team...) how about the event itself? Well it was an enormous success for ALCATEL ONE TOUCH. We launched 6 brand new smartphones, which added to those we had previously announced at CES brought the grand total to 13 smartphones launched since January 2013. This very impressive feat, as well as the high quality and beautiful design of the new phones caused a large stir in the press and in all we counted over 2,000 articles about us in the press over the course of MWC.

The beautifully designed phones launched at MWC included the ONE TOUCH Star shown in Cranberry Pink here:

In addition to all the press excitement around the impressive new range phones, I also got my own little press buzz when someone recognised me in the background of one of the product videos as one of the hosts of Crazy from Kong - my youtube show where we review crazy Asian snack foods like Wasabi Kit Kat and Self-Freezing Coke. 

The video was a review of the Idol X by The Verge. I've put it below and if you go to the youtube page you will see the comments referring to me and my show: