As director and co-owner of Johannesburg-based multidisciplinary creative agency
Monarchy, Delarey Hattingh has overseen the creative process on numerous brand
activations utilising an impressive array of media incorporating live action and
animation and working across numerous media platforms.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS INDUSTRY? CAN YOU PINPOINT A PARTICULAR
MOMENT THAT MARKED YOUR DECISION TO WORK IN TELEVISION?
Well, I initially was going to study medicine, and a day or so before registration I
knew I needed something else. I ended up studying B.Com Accounting, and then
found that immensely boring, which led me to have two other majors in Marketing
and Psychology. In the end that led me to full time Audio Visual Production
management (at RAU as it was known then). The want and need to work in TV and
advertising must have came from watching faaarrr too much TV as a kid and
obsessing about every detail of the “how’ behind every second.
YOU AND YOUR COMPANY, MONARCHY ARE TRULY MULTIDISCIPLINARY, COVERING
ANIMATION, POST-PRODUCTION, LIVE ACTION PRODUCTION AND MORE. WHICH OF
THE SEVERAL DISCIPLINES IN WHICH YOU WORK IS CLOSEST TO YOUR HEART?
I have a passion for motion-graphics, design, branding, shooting and everything we
do here (although I can’t design, myself, to save my life). But having started in the
TV industry as an editor for quite a few years, and then going over into directing
from there, directing is definitely my number one love.
YOU RECENTLY DIRECTED A PROJECT IN LOS ANGELES. CAN YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE
THIS PROJECT AND YOUR OBJECTIVES ON IT? HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN
Because we have a presence in the United States, and mostly work with Los
Angeles and New York, we have great opportunities to work with great brands
there. We were invited to pitch for the intro sequence on a new Darren Star (of Sex
and the City, 90210, Melrose Place)- created series for TVLand. Unfortunately
Darren went with another creative, but the network liked our work and way of
thinking so much they asked us to do the new intro sequence for The Exes (with
Donald Faison (Scrubs), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld), Kristen Johnson (3rd Rock from
the Sun), Kelly Stables (Two and a Half Men) and David Alan Basche (Frasier). We
pitched a few ideas and they loved the new evolution of a more dynamic and
comedic approach to the current intro, which had become quite stale. The execution
did ask for on-set direction of the talent, so I flew to Los Angeles and we shot
parallel with other publicity setups that TVLand had, so as to get all the talent
together in one place.
WHAT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU FACE AS A SOUTH AFRICAN
DIRECTOR WHEN WORKING IN THE UNITED STATES?
In terms of challenges, the main one is easy to spot, and that is the time
difference. Los Angeles only wakes up 7pm SA time, and that has the effect of
stretching your days very long. That and jet-lag are the main obstacles we’ve
encountered. In the same breath, the opportunities are incredible. As a South
African (which has shown that we can build relationships and deliver to standards as
high, and even higher, than US industry), the American market has been very
welcoming to us. The feedback I’ve gotten is that they love the different approach
we have to projects. Our thinking has an incredible American influence, so we
understand the psyche there, but we have these great African and European-
influenced ways of thinking that are very unique. The American TV industry has
been very welcoming, to me and Monarchy at least.
WHAT TRENDS – BOTH CREATIVE AND TECHNICAL – HAVE YOU NOTED IN THE
INDUSTRY IN THE PAST YEAR AND WHAT DO YOU FORESEE BEING THE MAJOR
TALKING POINTS IN ADVERTISING, MARKETING AND MEDIA IN THE NEXT YEAR?
The trend internationally is that on-air marketing is getting a smaller and smaller
part of the pie, and the way we have to approach and think of executions are going
to be very interesting. Personally I think that viewers are oversaturated with
shallow marketing and design bull, and that will be a big driver to come up for
more honest, real and beautiful content generation from our industries. Be it in
motion, communication or live shoots, the viewer wants something that feel real. Of
course streaming, VOD, SVOD and the whole fragmented viewership plays a
massive role in our communications and that will be the main points that people will
MONARCHY TOOK HOME SEVERAL AWARDS AT PROMAXBDA LAST YEAR – ALL FOR
YOUR REBRAND OF A&E’S CRIME AND INVESTIGATION CHANNEL. CAN YOU TALK US
THROUGH THAT PARTICULAR PROJECT, YOUR APPROACH TO IT, AND WHAT, IN
YOUR VIEW WERE THE MAIN ASPECTS THAT LED TO IT BEING DEEMED WORTHY OF
A&E’s Crime and Investigation network wanted to rebrand not only in one or two
sectors of their global reach, but wanted to have a uniform rebrand across all 102
countries that the channel is broadcast in. So to come up with a rebrand that talks
across culture, language and borders we went through a three- or four-round pitch
process over about eight months. And with the incredible creative leadership, ideas
and executions of Monarchy’s incomparable Executive Creative Director, Nicci
Hattingh, we came up with the concept of “Converged Timelines’. This led to an
imaging that was very footage-heavy, with amazing design elements and comp’ed
logos that communicated the TX-information and branding. The approach of having
the victim, criminal and authority figures in the same idents, lead to a great
opportunity to shoot amazing setups. That, together with macro-shot setups, really
gave you a stylised and 360-degree take on what crime can potentially be on a
channel that specialises in the subject matter.
In terms of awards and recognition, it is always great when your peers find it
justifiable to give you recognition for work that you do because it is your passion.
We had incredibly knowledgeable clients, that were an absolute pleasure to work
with, and making them look good is just the cherry on top.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE COMING UP FOR YOU THAT YOU FIND PARTICULARLY
EXCITING AND/OR SCARY, AND WHY?
That is always a very interesting and sensitive question. There are a few big local
and international projects in the pipelines, which I cannot talk about just yet. But we
just finished launching the amazing M-Net Edge, as well as the new campaign for
American Idol for Fox in America, and we are about to deliver the latest season’s
marketing campaign for ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. We are also doing some
interesting things with Zeiss in Germany. Although we love the American work, in
the last year we have grown incredibly passionate about what we can bring to the
South African market, be it on broadcast (our first passion) or advertising, with our
WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS A STORYTELLER AND A CREATOR OF IMAGES?
This is one of those questions where you can come across as a real obnoxious
creative that tries too hard. So I’ll just be honest. If I can make someone feel
something, if I can give someone goosebumps, then that is enough inspiration for
me to do the utmost best I can do. The people that make me feel that way, are my
absurdly talented and beautiful wife (business partner and incredible CD) Nicci and
our 9 month old son Benjamin. Damn, if you can’t draw inspiration from the people
and things that are closest to you, then you might need to change those things.
– Warren Holden