Mr Invisible, Randy, Moneybags, Nosey & Starstruck: Types of clients at shoots
Inspired by British author Roger Hargreaves' Mr Men characters (Mr Bump, Mr Sneeze, Mr Mean, Mr Silly, Mr Tickle and the rest of their posse), we decided to put together a list of the types of clients at shoots — yes, a BE's Mr Client series.
We dug deep into adland and asked some creative bosses for detailed accounts of their on-location experiences with marketers of diverse dispositions. So extraordinary are their antics on set that they would make The Hulk's moves in a china shop look like a Viennese waltz. The point we are laboriously trying to make, is there are very clear imaginary lines that define the realm of agencies and clients but commercial shoots are the trickiest of territories.
Personalities clash, toes are crushed — severed even — and lines of propriety obliterated. This isn't a view from the cheap seats folks, BE brings you a taste of the action from the frontlines
Mr Invisible, well, let's just say he is Captain America in comparison to some of the other chaps. He has no magic invisibility cloak, and guess what, he doesn't need one. Mr Invisible is a friendly ghost floating around the set. When he does suddenly acquire a character and talk it's usually acknowledged at the other end with an almost there nod, which loosely translated means, "I am listening but I don't particularly care about what you have to say."
Mr Invisible is the client sat at the centre of a bustling shoot — a set teeming with technicians, art directors, actors and their stylists, creative directors and film directors — but he may as well be made of cellophane. Not inconsequential though, just invisible.
You know you have it bad when you have Mr Randy at a shoot. Now, Mr Nosey's distant cousin is most certainly not an advocate of the 'look, don't touch' school. Mr Randy is hands-on, and not just in a manner of speaking. He does not wait in the wings he dives into the thick of things. So if it's a shoot for a pain-relief balm with a twist: the husband massaging the wife for a change, he's quick to detect faulty technique.
After asking the hapless actors to go through the motions a couple of times, he steps right in to show the amateurs how it's done. Mr Randy proceeds with a live demonstration for the crew as he massages the female actor playing the wife. Miffed, bamboozled, and mortified. Mr Randy's actions have left the creative in the chair with all that and just one thought, "He'd have probably been fired before he returned to office if it had been in the US."
If a "good time", be it on location in Mumbai or the backlot in LA, is what you really wish for a client, then say a little prayer and tell Santa you want Mr Moneybags for Christmas this year. In his company (Mr Moneybags that is, not Santa) every hour is cocktail hour.
His friends and associates also know him as Mr Expense Account. One creative fondly remembers that precious time in a swanky Los Angeles nightclub, no Drones Club this, where the beings at the table next door are just the right sort of people - the objects of your wildest fantasies made flesh. Take his hand (and his wad of credit cash) and he will lead you to the land flowing with Moët and honey, so to speak.
He's the client who has that specific super power to turn creative directors of all shapes, sizes and temperaments into provisional bouncers. It doesn't matter what business and art degrees they are saddled with or the crores of spend they command. Under Mr Nosey's glittering eye, they are soon reduced to the 6-foot something tree rooted outside posh restaurants and night clubs with a key to your social life and standing.
Unable to contain his enthusiasm at the sight of a foreign model, the girl from Ipanema, quite literally, he's the client who insists on keeping a close eye on every frame. Lurking on the margins is not an option. Leaving the Brazilian lass a tad perplexed and very bothered, after all she didn't fly over two oceans in a tin box at 30,000 feet for 36 hours to be ogled by the native in a suit. Mr Nosey is the guy who reads "Keep Out" as "come right in and enjoy the show", perhaps even take a picture or ten. For the mateys back home, eh? No silly, they are for the personal collection tucked away in the file cabinet.
More fan, less client. Be it Dipi or Dhoni, Mr Starstruck always has his trusty pen, notebook and camera, and wife, kids, uncle, aunty, the cousins, neighbours, and that Facebook friend who is a big fan, handy. And may we add a towel for that puddle of drool. Good thing it's not a foreign location, then. Flying them all to and fro would cost a pretty penny. Just ask Madam President.