Intern Diary | Filming the Shortcuts App

Bringing the idea to life


As a fashion student, I came to intern at Anattic with the idea of completing general marketing tasks like running and updating their social media and creating newsletters – so I was excited when James and Dima invited me to join them on set to film a new advert for Shortcuts! With no background in film, I didn’t quite know what to expect from the day.  I had no idea about creating an advert, so I knew I had a lot to learn and I was just going to observe throughout the filming. Wanting to go into a career in fashion in the future, experience on set and with film would benefit me massively. Prior to filming, James assigned me the task of drawing a story board for the team

to pitch to the clients – bringing the idea to life. James gave me a list of scenes that would have to be drawn and all of the different camera angles that he was going to use. So, this set me up with a better understanding of what would be happening on the day of filming, the plot and general idea and aim behind creating the video. The objectives for the commercial were primarily to promote Shortcuts’ Barber software and app - the Shortcuts app helps individuals manage their business, taking bookings from clients, access their client ratings, manage reviews and more and so this would have to be reflected in the final advert.


In order to make this vision as authentic as possible, the team decided to cast Inky Steve for the leading role, a barber at Barber Barber UK. Steve embodied the aspirational barber lifestyle that would appeal to Shortcuts’ target audience. The advert would be shot in a documentary style to make the use of the app seem as authentic as possible and demonstrate how other barbers would use it every day. The advert length would be around 45 seconds long, and set across three different locations within Manchester; an apartment in Deansgate,

the Barber Barber shop in Barton arcade and Terrace bar in the Northern Quarter. On the day of filming I woke up at 2 am to make the shoot call time of 3am.  I managed to get a poor 2 hours sleep (after only falling asleep at 12 am). After getting a taxi to Deansgate, I met everyone at the apartment whilst it was still dark. We had to be there so early for the crew to capture the golden hour light from the apartment. As expected, everyone was still sleepy, so I did regular coffee runs to keep the team energised for the long day ahead.


The first scene began with Steve sipping on his coffee (he did a really good job at acting considering he hates it!) in the apartment in Deansgate and checking his app, preparing him for his day ahead. As the sun rose, I took behind the scenes images of everyone working on set for our social media and website. The lighting worked particularly well casting shadows on Inky Steve having his coffee by the window creating a silhouette against the pale blue and yellow skies. Taking advantage of this light, most of the behind-the-scenes images that I took were taken here. Manchester was pretty quiet at this time in the morning too so the sound worked well for the team.

One thing that I didn’t realise about filming was quite how much equipment was needed to make an advert, and having arrived at 3 am earlier in the day everyone else had already set up in the apartment. We had to begin packing up and carrying

equipment down from the 5th floor to the van parked outside and after my 6th trip we were finally all packed up and moved on to the next location!

We walked to Barton Arcade down the road whilst James drove all the equipment in the van. When we arrived we noticed that all of the entrances were closed and after me and Ben circled the building a number of times we finally found an open door. We then had to begin moving all the equipment in to the new set in the Barber Barber shop. We had to be quick and begin filming before Barton Arcade opened  and regulars started lining up outside of the popular barber shop! The lighting inside the Barber’s looked really cool, especially with all the mirrors along the wall reflecting the light coming from the bulbs, and this worked really well in the final video. Having been out for a few hours now, everyone began to get hungry so I collected everyone’s orders and did a breakfast run.


Following filming at Barber Barber, we moved on to the Terrace bar in the Northern Quarter. Inside, the lighting was very dim, so the team began trying to figure out the best way to create more light – trying everything from lighting more candles to reflecting the light coming from the open window at the front. Once it was all sorted everyone enjoyed a well deserved drink and jumped in as extras in the bar for the background of the shot. We finally finished at around 2 pm and we all went out for a meal in the Northern Quarter to celebrate.

My first experience assisting on set of the filming of an advert taught me a lot. Firstly, I now understand just how much background work goes into planning to

shoot an advert – from the initial idea, to story boards, considering camera angles and finding locations, to creating detailed timescale plans of what shots are needed and at what time. Secondly, just how much equipment is needed just to create an advert shot over one day! Thirdly, how the team must react to uncontrollable factors such as weather and lighting and make it all work in your favour such as sorting out the dim lighting in Terrace bar.

After seeing the advert for the first time, I thought that the end result was great. I was proud to have been part of the team that created it and it was amazing to see everyone’s hard work brought to life!