Bricsys has recently shared the tale of the Man Who Brought in BricsCAD: Ted Rossdale and the real CAD heroes that bring BricsCAD to their companies. This week had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Lissens, the creative genius behind these videos. Read Peter’s interview and find out what it took to bring these heroes to life.
What was the vision at the start of the project? Did anything change along the way?
P: It’s funny you should ask that. There was quite a bit of change – or rather: ‘evolution’ as we moved along.
The BricsCAD project started out as a very modest one. People were still – cautiously – trying to decide which way to go. What we (with 99STORIES) brought to the table in that phase, was mainly enthusiasm, commitment, and passion. We didn’t want to push ideas or sell concepts at that stage. We wanted to see what the possibilities were first and help the people at BricsCAD unlock those.
Immediately we found a great creative and strategic partner in Don Strimbu. Don finds it very hard to hide his enthusiasm for good ideas, and for concepts and insights that we presented and that he truly believed in.
We took our time to work on the right insights and then, based on those, we created Ted Rossdale and that idea was just an instant, unanimous success. Joachim, Erik, Don, Rahul, Sander, [some of the team here at Bricsys]… everybody was taken by the Ted Story. And everybody wanted to see this come to life.
And then we needed a compatible format for the case movies. From the start we decided that ‘authenticity’, ‘truthfulness’ and ‘credibility ‘would be key. We didn’t want to do advertising. The Ted character may be larger than life, but he is still not a slick advertising character. And the people in testimonial videos needed to be real, undiluted and dignified, in their own right.
How long did it take to film the videos? What was the format for getting the footage?
P: The idea was to create this character, Ted Rossdale, who really lifts his company to a next level, by bringing in BricsCAD. Ted is a procurement officer, but he might as well have been an architect or a designer. Ted doesn’t actually exist, but he is based on people that we all know. Those people that almost go unnoticed at any big company, that are motivated, mean well, they are committed but not very high-profile, they remain mostly unsung.
So, we decided to give those people a voice and to give them a chance to become recognized as the potential ‘heroes’ that they are. By bringing in BricsCAD, they become so – recognizably – invaluable for their company that the whole company becomes their fan club so to speak.
And then, in addition to that, we went searching for those actual people, the people who actually DID bring in BricsCAD and took their firm and its process to a new level. They weren’t very hard to find.
You were interviewing real people, not actors. How did they react to being on camera?
P: The Ted Rossdale video, obviously, was shot with a professional actor in the starring role. But most of the others were actually employees at Bricsys. They were really talented, and they gave it their all. With an incredible result. We were very lucky. The whole – 18 hour long – shoot day also served as a teambuilding event.
As for the people we interviewed all over Europe, they were absolutely amazing.
Some of them really thrived in front of the camera. They were really truthful and passionate about BricsCAD and explaining why that software actually means for their organization. Some of them were shy and vulnerable, they had never talked in front of a camera before. And still they wanted to take that stand. Now that is bravery and truthfulness. I am very, very grateful to them.
People like Christo, at Prototyp, showed their entire city (Sofia, in this case), he took us to dinner, we talked politics and philosophy… It was fantastic!
I hear you had a hectic, international schedule! What was that like?
P: The schedule might sound like hell to some people. The first trip took only 4 days. But we had 6 stops (Porto, Lisbon, Vienna, Zurich and Sofia) and 4 different time zones. We didn’t sleep more than twelve hours throughout the whole trip. But we did feel that we were making something really truthful and it was an unforgettable trip. It was perfect.
Who worked on the videos, what did they do?
P: We had Dennis (Blarinckx) who was my cameraman and Director of Photography and also the guy who kept me smiling when I tended to get tired and grumpy. Dennis is always in a good mood. Always. Wouter (Geerits) is our sound guy. He records, but he also did most of the editing and helped me put people at ease before the interview. And then of course, we had Bjorn, our fixer, who carried loads of happy equipment, who made sure nobody lost their passport, everybody was on time for the lobby call and nobody missed the flight. He booked restaurants and taxis an told dirty jokes when everybody was falling asleep.
The Ted Rosedale video is very different! How did the experience compare to the real-life interviews?
P: The Ted Rossdale film was entirely different.
That was a BIG production, extremely well organized and prepared. We had four actors and over thirty extras on the set, 3 cameramen, two directors (Dimitri Sterkens from The Breakfastclub and me), stylists, gaffers, … There was no improvisation at all, there. The whole choreography was rehearsed for hours on end, everybody knew their lines. We were all very proud of the result.
What kind of videos do you normally make? How does it compare to working with Bricsys?
P: I used to do a lot of music videos for Belgian bands like Balthazar, St. Grandson, Lady Linn, Disko Drunkards, Absynthe Minded. But over the last few years I have been moving more towards a documentary-style. I did a few documentaries and all the work that I do is centered around people.
Storytelling is really my trade. I love to do interviews and to get to know people. I think there is always an emphatic, humanistic element present in my work. Or at least, I would like to think so.