RMIT Vietnam students had an insightful workshop on 14 April as they were inspired by light, colour, shapes, textures and even some music from the visionary work of award-winning Australian director James Teh.
James, who recently directed two of the most talked-about locally produced TV commercials (TVC) in the country – Knorr's 2010 Tet Holiday release "Postcard" and Unilever's "15-years Anniversary" TVC – spoke with students from the Professional Communication Program as part of their Visual Language course.
Armed with degrees from the Visual and Performing Arts at Melbourne University and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Film School (2001), he is slowly gaining fame in Pan-Asia, winning prestigious awards such as the Golden Bell "KCF Chicknotised" (Vietnam 2008); MADC Awad for Best Digital Advertisement "Aussie Bodies" (Australia 2007); and Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival for Best Short Film "Baby Rattle" (Australia 2006).
His unique fusion of live action, stylised comedy and ability to construct visually intriguing narratives, has seen James constantly explore new and innovative visual possibilities in TVCs, music video and short film productions.
The one-hour presentation gave the students a behind the scenes look at the making of a TVC from agency concept; director's treatment and pitch; casting; location scout; production design; the actual filming and editing process. Whilst sharing his breadth of expertise and experience in advertising, James also gave personal anecdotes and practical tips which surprised the students as they have actually included the theories and concepts they were learning in class.
Highlighting the entire session were bouts of laughter from the audience as each of James' commercials were shown as well as moments of silence when his visual narratives hit emotional chords with everyone, even if they were "just advertisements."