SHOTS: Behind AIC's Heartfelt One-Take Wonders

10 August 2023

Written by

Jamie Madge, Shots

Director Matthys Boshoff uses his personal experience to inform the three moving vignettes detailing the importance and rigours of caregiving.

The Sweetshop

Using a non-invasive single-take technique and filling the frame with everyday dressing and activities, Matthys Boshoff expresses the extraordinary amongst the ordinary in this heartfelt campaign for Singapore's Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).

Highlighting three separate caregivers, the We See You Care series from The Secret Little Agency manages to naturally reveal the lengths households go to in order to support an incapacitated loved one, a matter not lost on the Sweetshop director.

“It is very seldom that I receive a brief that hits this close to home," explains Boshoff.

"When I was four years old our family was in a car accident that rendered my mom quadriplegic. I witnessed my dad becoming a caretaker overnight. Growing up my normal as a child was to put my mom to bed, cut her food into smaller edible pieces or to empty her leg bag."

"At first glance this sounds quite intense," he continues, "but our relationship was also filled with a lot of joy and self-deprecating humour; making fun of our situation. In this campaign I wanted to convey both the seriousness that comes with being a caretaker and the humour, lightness and joy in serving someone whom you love."

“We filmed all three stories as ‘one-takers’. The idea was never to be tricksy or do a one-shot ad for the sake of a one-shot but it was all about the sense of immediacy; for the audience to experience the world with and through our protagonist’s eyes in real-time.

"I wanted to strip the ad of all fanfare of editing; manipulating time, space & point of view so that the audience can be present & in the moment with our protagonists.

"Doing the ads as one shots required meticulous planning to nail camera, blocking and performance - hitting all the right beats at the right moments - to land at exactly one minute. Three or even two seconds too long meant a take wasn’t usable.”

“In all my years in advertising, this is one script that hits home so close and when I first received it," adds Executive Producer, Penny Woo.

"I knew immediately that we would want to be part of such a special project."
- Penny Woo

She Continues"I too shared a similar experience with Matthys when I was a caregiver to my late mom. Though as heavy as it sounds, as a caregiver I would inject a sense of lightness, fun and spontaneity and through the process, the bond with my mom was strengthened and I would never trade the experience with anything else.

"When I first saw the edits, I cried.”

The article was originally published on Shots, 15 May 2023.