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Normally, when you say you have Sir Ridley Scott attached to your project, the expectation is that he's probably behind the camera.

However, in last week's blockbuster commercial/call to action from cinema chain Vue, the seminal RSA director left the auteur duties to his son, Jake Scott, and instead merely cameoed on-screen, adding his blessing to the message that some things just need to be seen on a distraction-free big screen.

We were curious about Scott and star John Boyega's involvement in the project, plus the lengths taken to create such a location-heavy, cinema-worthy piece of film, so sat down with Jack Brough, partner at agency Joint London, to see how they managed to Get Lost in the work.

Vue – Get Lost

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Jack Brough - Partner, Joint London

What was the insight behind this work? What were Vue after?

Vue’s strategy has been built on the belief that we’re all living a life half-lived, with our entertainment multi-tasking meaning we never really give ourselves to anything. But cinema is different. It’s an opportunity to put our phones away and we give ourselves to these huge, transformative experiences where storytelling can be immersive and total. 

The Get Lost campaign stands as a rallying cry for the power of cinema and that total pleasure you feel when you allow yourself to get lost in a movie on the big screen. 

The Get Lost campaign is trying to bottle this thought. On top of this, Instagram’s assertion that stories are everywhere, and every mobile messaging platform trying to claim ‘Stories’ just cheapens the idea of a story. A story shouldn't be disposable and disappearing. 

Not a proper story, anyway. 

So the Get Lost campaign stands as a rallying cry for the power of cinema and that total pleasure you feel when you allow yourself to get lost in a movie on the big screen. 

Vue are a fantastic client to work with because they are so ambitious. They looked at great work from giant brands like Nike and Apple and said they wanted to match or surpass it. That’s an amazing challenge to work on. 

So, they have this huge ambition and have been changing what a cinema brand can be. They’ve moved to feeling more premium than the other large chains, as well as investing in seating and technology whilst also lowering prices so perhaps no surprise they are growing so fast. 

They don't want to take their foot off the gas, so this campaign is to get out in the wider world and help them with that ambition. 

Above: Jake Scott, on set with John Boyega.


How did you set about writing the film? What were the key beats you were keen to hit?

We wanted it to entertain while communicating our point of view and without being preachy. There was this fine line to tread between pointing out the lunacy of what we all do, gawping at our phones all the time - yet not wanting to feel like we’re ever wagging our fingers or being holier than thou about it. 

Of course, there’s a time and a place for it, but we also felt we could leverage that into the idea that there’s something better out there… 

Without stating the obvious, it was also important to make sure we were landing the virtues of cinema at the same time. 

When did Jake Scott get brought into the mix? What was it about his work that made him the right man for the job?

We first spoke to Jake about eight months before it screened... which was already a year and a half into the project! (Perhaps fittingly this thing took as long as a movie to get made!)

From the very first conversation with Jake, he felt perfect. Cinema is in his blood. As a kid he sat on Kubrick’s knee in an edit suite!

Honestly from the very first conversation with Jake, he felt perfect. Cinema is in his blood. As a kid he sat on Kubrick’s knee in an edit suite! So his understanding of film is immense - both as an art form but also the technicality of practically achieving what you want. 

He has experience of making commercials, music videos and content so he knows how to deliver brilliant visual work in a short time - but he’s also shot features so he has a credibility and an understanding of the bigger picture. 

What people may not know is that Jake is fluent in the language of cinema. 

He is a proper film buff. 

So, straight away he was drawing inspiration from the likes of Fellini and Jacques Tati. Now, that might be in danger of sounding pretentious but he’s totally right. Those directors were pushing the art form and establishing shooting techniques and ways of telling filmic stories that are still being played out today. 

Vue – Get Lost - Behind the Scenes

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The shoot encompasses some impressive sets, effects and locations. Was it important to make it cinematic, considering its purpose?

Very much so. 

We were wary of dwelling too much on the negative. Initially we envisaged a script with much faster cuts, turbo editing and speed ramps. The danger there was that audiences may be slightly immune to that and it wouldn’t have been such a love letter to film and celebration of cinema. 

Immediately the change of pace to sweeping moves in long takes felt right. 

How do you manage the balance between creating work for the biggest of screens that also is likely to be consumed on the smallest? Are there considerations that need to be implemented early?

The very first discussions of the campaign were about ensuring the Get Lost message could have a disruptive impact on mobile. So even though we’ve ended up somewhere very cinematic, there’s always been a focus on making sure we can cut through in the shortest, smallest formats. 

The biggest challenge was actually the sound. We worked with some brilliant people to get the sound right.

There were lots of chats on set and before about making sure shots were never marginalising either format. They are also cut in different aspect ratios so with the 16:9 on mobile you actually get a better view on some of the easter eggs.

The biggest challenge was actually the sound. We worked with some brilliant people to get the sound right. 

The composer, Alex Bingham from Machine, wrote a brilliant piano driven track that has echoes of soundtracks from Tangerine Dream and Vangelis while the mixing was done with Phil Bolland from Factory. 

We were mixing in Atmos so we can make the most of the full Dolby Atmos speaker set ups in the cinemas - where you can actually feel the deep bass frequencies in your body. 

But at the same time we’re also needing to master versions for the shittiest speaker set ups on laptops and phones - so then you need to go back through and balance out different levels so that audience doesn’t lose anything either. 

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Above: Some behind the scenes images.


How was the shoot? Were there any unforeseen issues?

Well, we went to Cape Town for clear skies and sunshine but arrived to be greeted by a huge atlantic rainstorm. On top of which, the first shot we needed to get featured both animals and children...

Actually, the trickiest elements to nail all related to maintaining the fluidity of doing it all in one shot. Obviously we have a number of cut points (spoiler alert) and there is a lot of ground to cover, literally. Judging the right speed movement is not straight forward. 

We needed to land the story beats without being too ponderous - or without moving so fast as to create blurring or motion sickness. 

What element of the campaign were you most excited to see realised? 

Honestly, it’s ALL been exciting. When you spend two years plotting and discussing all the “wouldn’t it be great if’s” then it’s genuinely thrilling to see it all come together. 

Jake Scott’s vision, John Boyega’s performance, Sir Ridley Scott’s cameo; seeing it on the biggest of screens with full Atmos sound mix - right down to making the 10 second vignettes have copy to make you laugh out loud. 

And the easter eggs…!

The post work that Giles Cheetham and the team at Electric Theatre Collective did was mind blowing.

It’s been a privilege to work with so many extraordinarily talented people at every stage of the process. Jake and everyone at RSA have been as excellent as you might expect; Dan Sherwen editor at Final Cut was phenomenal. The post work that Giles Cheetham and the team at Electric Theatre Collective did was mind blowing. The ‘orb’ that you see on the film and will be part of messaging in venue and OOH was created in layers of 2D and 3D and was just an amazing process to see unfold. Seeing Giles and his whole ETC crew was like watching wizards at work. 

A really affirming aspect of this project was that everyone who came on board really got it - they believed in it and they wanted to be part of it. We made sure everyone could see this was one of those rare opportunities where they could really go for it and do their best work.

What was the process in getting Sir Ridley involved? Did he have any issues with being directed by his son?

Ah - glad you spotted that... That was all Jake! He suggested it and of course we loved the idea and Sir Ridley was generous enough to accept the offer to appear. I don't want to cause any family arguments… It went swimmingly and Ridley’s timing was impeccable. I dare say it would have been a slightly odd experience for them both but it’s a brilliant moment and adds another layer of magic to the film. 

We spotted a few easter eggs scattered throughout the film. Can you give us some hints as to what to look out for?

There are over 30 Easter Eggs buried throughout. (And a few more that aren’t even visible in the final film but we know they’re there...)

I absolutely love the film fan geekery of easter eggs like the George Lucas including 1138 in every film (THX 1138) and Pixar sneaking A113 into every movie. So we wanted to pay homage to the whole Egg oeuvre (oeuf-re? Sorry.)

What I didn’t know until we got stuck in was that the very first ‘Easter Egg’ comes from movies. The crew on Rocky Horror hid some actual hen’s eggs on the set but they didn’t find them all so a few appear in the final cut of the film. 

And the ‘X’s that appear in The Departed behind every character that’s about to die - is itself a reference back to the original Scarface. So we’ve got eggs within eggs. It’s a festival of russian doll easter eggs.

We’ve tried to include some that go back to the earliest films but the majority are from the biggest movies and franchises of the last 20 years.

The ‘X’s that appear in The Departed behind every character that’s about to die - is itself a reference back to the original Scarface. So we’ve got eggs within eggs. It’s a festival of russian doll easter eggs.

It was a really joyful process because everyone was getting involved - together with Vue we had  a ridiculously long list, many of which were just achievable. But everyone was free to pitch new ones. I think my favourite impromptu egg was, Howell, the first AD seeing a fork and a cork and realizing he had stumbled on a ‘Ruprecht’ egg from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels… 

But even the effects team at ETC were adding them in afterwards. And that is what it was all about really. The concept of eggs as references like the Pixar one seem to come from this place of love and fandom so we loved everyone getting onboard with that.

Click image to enlarge
Above: A handful of the film's numerous Easter Eggs.


How’s the reaction to eggs been?

Mind blowing. It’s been a great reminder to never underestimate the public. 

Some of these eggs are fiendishly subtle and not only that but appear on screen for the blink of an eye, often out of focus at the edge of frame. 

The first morning on twitter Vue announced that the eggs were there. I thought people might find a few... they found over 75% of them in the first two hours! 

Get Lost will run before every movie across the Vue group where it also serves as the ‘etiquette’ message - reminding you to put away your phone and stop talking.

There are people working on this film who’ve seen it every day for weeks while working on it who haven't spotted any!   

How's the film going to be seen? Are there likely to be any follow-up elements?

The release strategy could not be more polarised. Get Lost will run before every movie across the Vue group where it also serves as the ‘etiquette’ message - reminding you to put away your phone and stop talking.

At the same time, we’ll also be using it in short targeted bursts on social. We always loved the idea of giving nudges while we’re mindlessly scrolling through nonsense like we all do. So using that context to amplify the message always seemed like the right thing to do. 

We get it, we all do it - but we also all know how great it feels when you switch off at the big screen and properly get lost in a great story. 

And then between all that, the messaging of Get Lost will be integrated throughout the Vue brand - in social, on site and in venue. 

Aside from how powerful we think the film is, we landed on Get Lost because we believe it’s a message that will resonate for a long time to come. 

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