The Patient

Client: ESSE

Director:  Mark Gill
DoP: Fernando Ruiz

With the consumption of advertising constantly changing and evolving, we find ourselves questioning “what does an advert look like?” Since we’re narrative filmmakers at heart, we’re passionate to explore longer form, story-driven advertising; frequently experimenting with creative solutions in order to keep story at the forefront of everything we make.

Alongside our sister company, The Chase Creative Consultants, we set out to explore a different approach to brand films. We challenged ourselves by turning three anecdotes shared by Ben Casey, founding director of The Chase, into short films that captured the essence of the wit and charm of storytelling. Whilst the tales were circa 1960, we felt their relatability was timeless, not too dissimilar to one of The Chase’s clients.

ESSE has been at the forefront of heating and cooking innovation in Britain, beautifully hand-crafting cast iron cookers since 1854. ESSE as a brand is filled with pride and passion, heavily involved in every step of the process from manufacturing to marketing, developing the cleanest-burning, highest quality stoves and range cookers.

For over a decade, The Chase Creative Consultants have worked with ESSE to brand its cafes, popup shops, brochures, and website. Throughout the ten-year partnership, one observation has been key: ESSE lacks the recognition it deserves.

Director Mark Gill worked with Ben to adapt the stories for screen. Mark suggested focusing on subtle hints at the brand rather than a hard sell, with a desire to ignore the predefined time constraints of advertising and instead think about the time it takes to share a story with a friend to allow them to become engaged and interested. We never intended to make an advert, but instead craft our speciality.

After deliberation, a path was found that allowed us to explore our passion whilst simultaneously raising awareness for ESSE, providing an opportunity for both companies to benefit. A modern, advertising twist to kitchen sink dramas of the 1950s.

ESSE presents: kitchen stove dramas.

For Mark, casting was of utmost importance. He believes in creating space for actors to be comfortable and confident to embrace their characters and explore their own ideas, especially with comedic scripts. Due to the nature of the script, Mark and his director of photography, Fernando Ruiz, opted for an unobtrusive approach to the camerawork, allowing simply the performances to entice the audience.

It was important for Mark that the colour palette was reminiscent of the 60s, whilst also being consistent throughout the films to help them be recognised as part of the same series. In addition to a classically British set design, Mark and Fernando chose a camera, filter, and lighting setup appropriate for the period, including the decision to shoot with anamorphic lenses due to their textural familiarity; helping the audience to instinctively identify watching a film rather than an advert, therefore being comfortable to enjoy the story without worrying about a sales pitch.

Shooting took place over three days during the height of Storm Eunice. Battling the weather was a tremendous obstacle for everyone, particularly the lighting department who worked above and beyond to help achieve a natural look throughout. Overall, the crew worked tirelessly to ensure the dreadful weather wouldn’t be a distraction to the film.

Our primary objective was to do what we do best: make films. Delivering a series of charming stories that provided a mutual benefit for both us and ESSE, who used the films for a social media campaign across their 3 key western markets, with the goal of driving traffic to their website in a less conventional approach to advertising.


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