Imagine waking up from a coma to find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world
dominated by flesh-eating zombies. Scary stuff right? That’s the basis of Fox
International Channels’ The Walking Dead television series. Not
exactly the kind of thing you want to watch alone, at home, at night.
The latest DStv commercial for The Walking Dead season four
features a hilarious Trevor Gumbi who, after hearing that his girlfriend has to
work late that night, makes several failed attempts to acquire appropriate
company to watch the show with him.
Executive Producer Liesl Karpinski and director Peter Heaney, both from Spitfire
films, were given a simple brief from Johannesburg-based advertising agency
Ireland Davenport – to make a comedic commercial on a small budget. “As
always it was a collaboration between agency and production house. The client
gave us major creative freedom and since we have a great relationship with the
creatives, we just had fun with it,’ says Karpinski.
The ad, which effectively shows off Heaney’s ability as a performance director,
was filmed in a single day in May this year at the old JSE building in
Johannesburg and an apartment in the urban suburb of Brixton. Karpinski says
the message they wanted to deliver is that The Walking Dead is a
television series much too scary to watch alone.
The entertaining commercial shows Gumbi reaching out to everyone he can think
of in an attempt to do just that – not have to watch The Walking
Dead alone that night. He calls up old school mates, invites over his
offbeat colleague, the office domestic helper, a startled kid, and even a bulky,
bad-tempered stranger with whom he finds himself in a lift. The commercial
closes with a visibly uncomfortable Gumbi sitting on his couch, watching the
show with a cross-dressing street walker.
“Casting this job was a ton of fun. We had hilarious characters walking in and
out of the production office. Casting director Anita Schonauer is really gifted at
finding fantastic performers and even though the money wasn’t great we were
still spoilt for choice,’ comments Karpinski.
Karpinski believes South African audiences will love the ad – which is packed
with quirky localisms – as: “It is incredibly funny and beautifully shot with great
Along with Heaney and Karpinski, key crew included assistant director Thobelani
Faku, DOP Brendan Barnes who shot the ad on an Arri Alexa and Andre
Hartzenberg who operated the Steadicam from Media Film Service. Art director
Gavin Scates, production manager Marcia Manning, post producer Cherice
Whewell and editor Ryan Norwood Young made up the remainder of the