Meet the UniSA student who wrote and AD’d our latest ad

8 December 2022
By Vi Le

 

AdMental is an entertaining event harnessing the power of marketing and advertising to help grow South Australians’ understanding of mental health and wellbeing.

The Adelaide Advertising and Design Club (AADC) sponsors the event put on by SA Health’s Office of Public Health and the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia and this year kwpx partnered with UniSA student, Vi Le, to produce her winning ad concept: Piñata. 

Vi came to us through the AdMental competition but extended her engagement through UniSA’s internship program. Vi has a brilliant mind and a wicked sense of humour and we wanted to invite her back to our insights page to share her journey in her own voice.

Hi there –  I’m one of this year’s emerging creatives. I made an ad for AdMental with help from folks at kwpx. My name is Vi and I’m aiming to complete a Bachelor of Film and Television degree at UniSA by the end of 2022. 

First off, a shout out to my mentors Marine (Monbeig), Ella (-Maude Wilson) and Josh (Fanning) from kwpx – they were super nice and answered all of my numerous questions. I’m an expert on ads now. 

Now, allow me to squish everything I’ve experienced into a condensed blog. 

I was flexing my script writing muscles literally on the last day of the call for submissions. To elaborate, I found out about AdMental 10 days before the deadline, so I brainstormed a bunch of ideas, then I forgot about it. Then I remembered the challenge on the day of the deadline — I slammed out a 60 second script based on the idea that amused me the most and submitted it. That was fun. Then I forgot about it again. One month later, I see that I got an email stating my script is picked, that was sent a week after the deadline. Moral of the story — check your emails on a reasonably regular basis. I genuinely didn’t expect my script to be noticed, I had treated it as a writing exercise.  

As a not-for-profit project, it was understandable that progress would be staggered in-between projects. Like a train, it took a while to pick up steam, but it sped all the way to completion once the set-up was complete. As a project for an altruistic cause, it attracted many well-intentioned people who contributed in ways big and small. I admire every single one of them. 

The kwpx team helped so much, figuring out props and casting, convincing other people to lend a hand in all sorts of aspects. I genuinely couldn’t have done it alone. 

My involvement feels small as I have only made the script, but I am grateful to have received help for making the ad a tangible production. I contributed to mood boards to roughly convey what I imagined; it was an interesting exercise. It shifted from a vague, yet morbid Looney Tunes cartoon inside my brain, to a surreal Wes Anderson inspired aesthetic on a Powerpoint slide. Then that became further solidified as actual people to cast, costumes as dress and real props to use. The piñata head was handcrafted by Kayla (Bath) at kwpx, complete with googly eyes (this detail pleased me the most).  It was fun and enlightening to see what professionals can do even with a small team and minuscule budget..  

Shooting day was fun — I got to see a smoke machine up close. That’s my personal highlight.  

Other than that, I was impressed by the people-skills my mentors had; convincing a lot of people to volunteer their efforts, fellow professionals as well as technically “not professionals” who are equally amazing in my eyes. Director Aubrey (Jonsson) typically works in stills photography, and he was eager to improve his knowledge on producing moving images. That is so cool to be learning all the time and pushing one’s capabilities even whilst working as a professional. I got to meet Clara, a really cool audio technician who let me borrow a portable headset for the day — I greatly appreciated the sneak peek into how audio equipment is utilised in film shoots. In the afternoon, it rained briefly, prompting everyone to protect the expensive film equipment with large umbrellas.  I learned a valuable lesson from them — always bring umbrellas to outdoor shoots. 

Afterwards in the editing phase, it was interesting to see the multiple iterations of the ad to its final edit. There were some flaws that were apparent upon review (like being unable to get an actual first responder helmet/hat due to difficulties on their procurement) but I adore the final iteration — it is perfect in my eyes.  

Then comes the actual event of AdMental, there was a bit of downtime beforehand on sorting everything out. It was neat to see everyone I had only ever seen through a computer screen via Teams meetings. I got to meet Karen, the other person who wrote a neat script for this year’s AdMental — she found out about the call for submissions three days before the deadline! She’s so cool and stylish to behold. Her script has a more serious tone, it was pretty neat to watch that final ad. She got to work with the Fuller Agency to make an ad based on her script. I’m very curious on how they went about putting together their production, specifically on the differences and similarities between their and kwpx’s approach.  

Blurry selfie of Vi Le & her award (shiny resin slab) with Group Creative Director, Josh Fanning at the AdMental event in October.

In regards to the piñata ad, it is strange to receive so much positive feedback consecutively from friends and acquaintances, both in informal social contexts and from a structured judging panel. At least the opposite isn’t occurring which is a pleasant thought.  

Overall, I’d like to think I’ve walked away with plenty of new knowledge from the entire experience.  And a shiny resin slab with a tiny chair inside (Vi won the People’s Choice Award) that I have already chipped a corner off. Then fixed.

I wonder if piñatas can be similarly repaired… 

 

Vi Le  //  Uni SA student and AdMental 2022 People’s Choice Award Winner

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