The worrying truth of life in the UK is that it’s getting more difficult to age. From housing, to work, to health the odds seem to be stacked against us as we get older. The Centre for Ageing Better is trying to make sure that not only is it more widely recognised, but that something is being done about it. They publish reports, support innovative programmes and do their best to influence those who can deliver change.
There’s a fine line to tread though. It’s important that we push for change, but that doesn’t mean painting older people as helpless victims. The systems need to change to support people, but it would be wrong to strip older people of their agency. Ageing Better is very clear about this. It’s at the heart of their identity and the messages that they put out into the world. As a way of supporting this messaging and to accompany a rebrand that had recently gone through, Ageing Better wanted to create a brand film. This would be a clear statement about the organisation and the change that it wants to help create in the world.
The film had to reflect on the key areas that Ageing Better are looking to make change in; health, housing, work and finance. It also had to be easy to understand, utilising text so that the film could be understood in circumstances where sound is not an option. Most importantly though, the film had to get to the heart of the problem; that older people aren’t the issue, ageism is.
Our role in our projects with Ageing Better isn’t necessarily to control the creative direction. Instead, we’re there to give our opinion, take their existing ideas further and add to them creatively. We really enjoy this way of working. It’s super collaborative and we each get to contribute to the areas that we know best. Ageing Better steer the messaging and give us a vague direction and we take on the rest. This project was no exception.
We both came to the table with ideas for how the brand film could look and feel. We brought our own references and we used our combined influences to define a plan for the film. This informed our pre-production process. We set about working on the shots we needed to capture to tell the story we wanted to tell, the locations these could take place in and the people we might need. We took these to Ageing Better, who helped us to source real people that they had worked with previously. These people became the characters for our film.
With each character we filmed a small number of scenes. These were defined in advance so that they would tie in with the messages that Ageing Better wanted to put out. That being said, they weren’t storyboarded as rigidly as on some projects. It was a much more organic process of working out what felt right on each day of filming. Nothing was 100% set in stone and it was a really enjoyable experience of working out what we needed on the day. Sometimes that more naturalistic way of shooting is right for the project, which makes production days feel more natural and free flowing.
The one downside to this approach (for us at least) was that we had all of this footage, a direction on messaging and some specific lines, but that was it. We had as much creative freedom as we needed to weave these images together in order to tell the right story for the film. It’s hard to explain the process for this approach.
We knew that we didn’t want to linger on each person for too long at a time. The characters needed to appear, be on screen for a short time and then introduce someone else. We used this, the music that had been selected for the film and the messages relating to each scene as a guide. To give these images clearer meaning and an easier to follow order we also added statements on the screen. The hope was that these would tie the shots into a stronger story but would also make it very clear to the audience who Ageing Better are as an organisation.
Schedules and timelines
4 days of filming
The project culminated in a hero film and a number of social cuts. In particular the hero film has become a central part of the marketing for Ageing Better. It’s used on webpages, as the header for their video channels and in live scenarios where the organisation has to explain what it does. The film is about ageing, how it should be and what is standing in the way of this. We’re proud to say that this story was told in the right way, without portraying older people as victims. Hopefully this positive film goes a long way in helping Ageing Better to bring about the change that is desperately needed when it comes to ageing.
Working with Neck of the Woods Films is a delight. From the proposal and pre-production stage, all the way through to adding the final touches to the films, they are incredibly patient and ardent.
They passionately take on all elements of the project, engrossing themselves in the films and the work informing them. Neck of the Woods bring the perfect balance of experience, vision and trust of the client to deliver on projects that exceed our expectations.