Face-to-Face with iDidTht: Featuring Dani Hynes from Egg Films
Dani Hynes, from Egg Films, is an agency creative turned badass commercials director who is fiercely talented and incredibly hard working. Her wicked sense of humour, no-holds-barred approach and a deep understanding of the business of creativity has all contributed toward making her Egg’s busiest director last year. The last time we ran into each other was at the Loeries Egg Films party. 12 tequilas later we were dancing like Dothraki dragons in the middle of the day. We just weren’t ready to face each other in real life yet, Skype came to the rescue.
Dani: Hi, can you see me?
iDidTht: Please move your computer over, a little bit back, little bit back. The screen a bit down, the screen a bit down, the screen a bit down. Too much. Tilt the screen a bit up. Up. Just a little bit. Just a little bit. There. Stop. STOP! STOP! Okay. Hi!
Unidentified voice in background: Hi guys!
Dani: That’s my producer Mel, working at her desk.
iDidTht: Hi Mel!
The urge to recount the entire 3 hour Skype conversation word for word is real, but let’s move on…
iDidTht’s Director’s Chair for Dani Hynes
Dani’s very own iDidTht Director’s Chair is this Scandinavian Telephone Table. Congratulations! *audience ululates*
Dani is a creative with a keen business mind. Because of her background in the agency world, she understands that she’s not just making pretty pictures, she’s responsible for creating something functional. Just like her chair she brings a flair to her work, while being multi-functional – equally comfortable doing comedy spots or big financial commercials.
She’s focused on directing quality work and bringing the agency’s story to life, while keeping the client’s needs in mind. She is determined that her commercials have objectives and although she doesn’t get sidetracked, she always adds her own unique style to any project.
‘Being a commercials director kind of feels like being the person in charge of a museum trip, except everyone wants to go into a different room.
My job is to get everyone moving together. That’s when it’s amazing.’
Falling into directing…literally
After making a name for herself as a Creative Director and having always loved being on set, with a passion for all things radio and TV related, Dani’s peers began urging her to make the move from agency life to becoming a fully fledged commercials director. The anecdote of how it finally came to be is as wonderfully unique as she is.
Dani: ‘So I got a little drunk at a friend’s wedding and I had bought a really amazing pair of shoes from Nine West for the occasion. They had this weird back sole sh*t thing happening, which looks pretty cool but it’s a deathtrap. And I just fell on my arse. Mario Bozzone, who then owned Fresh Eye Films, came over to help and said I should join their team. Drunk and still recovering from the fall, I agreed that it’s a fabulous idea! Obviously if I tell my mother that story, I was stone cold sober. So yeah, basically I got into directing because of a pair of shoes.’
‘I haven’t worn them since I fell onto my ass in front of Mario Bozzone’
stalking researching Dani’s work, we spoke to some industry leaders to get the inside scoop. Johnathan Deeb, Chief Creative Officer at FCB Jhb dropped this truth bomb: “Dani loves films as much as she loves making them. A director that brings unbridled humanity and joy to the films she produces and collaborative excitement to the production process. Dani is an asset to our industry.”
The connection is briefly interrupted and we get a glimpse of Dani’s buffering face, which is also proof that the conversation seriously deviated at one stage.
Dani: ‘If you use that in the piece, I’m going to find you and get you drunk, just saying.’
‘When I was a child I used to look into the video machine when I rewound it to see if all the actors were running back to their places.’
In 2013 Dani and her producer Mel joined Egg Films, which by the way, which has recently been the most awarded South African production company coming out of Cannes #MicDrop We need to know, what makes Egg so damn great?
Dani: ‘There is an incredible focus on the work here and the support is tremendous. There’s just a level of finish on our reels that I am super proud of and we are always pushing for the best possible work, regardless of the idea. It’s the first time I’ve worked at a company where the brand is felt in every single decision. My dad would say to me ‘is Egg a big deal, because I was chatting to whoeverthef*ckitis at the Jewish club (we are not Jewish, we are Greek, but my parents love to hang out there) and he like totally knows what you guys do. And my mom came on an Old Mutual ad I shot and she was like ‘jeez it’s very professional’ and I’m like ‘ja mom, it’s a real job’.
Dani’s quirky sense of humour, which she shares with her brother, stand-up comedian John Vlismas, is incredibly refreshing. The two are both big players in their respective industries and even directed an adaptation of High School Musical together, entitled Naai School Musical. For more insight into their relationship, we ask her to send us a screenshot of their last WhatsApp conversation…
Apologies for the censoring but this is a family editorial piece.
Dani is a true creative who gets excited about a strong, clear idea. She genuinely wants to enjoy and believe in the script. Her eyes light up when she talks about work she can hashtag, commercials that can interact or live on more than one screen. Once there is a strong idea, once she has found the essence, Dani can shoot anything from comedy, more emotive work or the big financial ads.
Ingrams Roll-On ‘Make Your Mama Proud’
Wimpy ‘Mr Cuddles’
Old Mutual ‘Get Great Financial Advice’
First For Women ‘Nail Gun’
On Absa Moments:
The nine parallel stories from this campaign were seamlessly woven together to live in various forms on various platforms, but miraculously the idea never gets lost.
Dani: ‘The scale of this was ridiculous. I wrote and directed it. We shot with two cameras for ten days and had about 1038 minutes of footage. It was massive, but as I always say ‘it always seems impossible until it’s done.’ Okay maybe I didn’t come up with that, but it’s true.’
1. What’s the first film you remember watching as a child?
“Singing in the Rain. I was in Zimbabwe at the time and we had gone to the video shop, I’m really old okay. The video shop had about 12 videos and it was a room in a guy’s house and I was really small, like 3. And I remember watching it and thinking ‘why are the grownups singing and how do they all know which dance to do’.”
2. What is the one thing you wish an agency would say to you?
“I think the thing I like to hear the most, rather than wish, is…um, ugh, how do I phrase this without sounding like an arsehole? I like hearing ‘well you know what you’re doing, so we trust you to carry on’.”
3. What do you do to relax?
“I love a long bath, yeah I’m very rock ‘n roll. Long baths and long walks, and right now I sound like the Piña Colada Song.”
4. Tales of your epic party trick has traveled far and wide, show us immediately.
Dani: ‘I’m never gonna get laid again.’
iDidTht: Do it again!
Dani: No that was long enough…said no one ever!
We hear her producer Mel laughing and applauding in the background.
5. The Loerie inkblot test.
Having previously been to Loeries as a creative director hoping for her agency to win and recently as a film director, Dani knows the vibe. Still fresh from the traumatic hanogover of the Loeries Egg Films party, we ask her to share some of her psychological scars. What do you see Dani?
“Gin and tonic and some kind of weird pelvic muscle…that doesn’t go on at Loeries, just saying.”
“Holy shit, what is that even? Looks like people snogging. I imagine that goes on for some people at Loeries.”
“That’s how I dance at Loeries. Also if you ever see me dancing, send me home.”
“People trying to look not-disappointed that they didn’t get awards.”
“My hotel room after I put on my makeup. I’m just gonna make sh*t up now.”
“A double gin and tonic.”
“This is ridiculous. Batman. I don’t care what goes on at Loeries, that looks like Batman.”
“Oh no you guys. I am not going there. I’m just gonna say Uber taxis.”
6. If you weren’t a director what other job would you do on set?
“Mel is shouting from the other side of the room saying ‘producer’. But I think art department. Although everyone brings me tea and they don’t bring art department tea, which is pretty unfair.”
7. What industry advice would you give your younger self?
“If you can imagine doing anything else, don’t do this. When I was leaving school, this wasn’t really a job. I remember hearing about advertising and thinking ‘I like ads’. And suddenly I was in advertising college. I have friends with real jobs like lawyers, people who married for money and actuarial scientists, and they’re all equally smart. I didn’t know my job even existed. I think it’s about not settling. God I sound like my mom, but I think it’s about creating the job you want and not waiting for that job to exist.”
8. Obviously we
stalked researched you, but what are two things that Google doesn’t know about you?
“I was wondering why there were flashlights outside my gate last night. I’m very organized, pedantic and specific, which is not something you would guess about me. So the people that work with me all the time know that it’s fun and it’s a jol, but it’s only fun because we’ve had endless meetings and there are lists of things that need to be exact. I’m also a huge fan of hip hop, art and art history and of course gin and tonics.”
Please send a screenshot of your Google search history during Loeries…
Okay, we can all agree that The Loeries need to start offering some psychological support to the industry.
*Editor’s Note: Dani is safe and despite being cross in a car with a grumpy face, she did not end up jumping off a cliff into the ocean.
Although we could literally talk to Dani the whole day, data prices are real.
Dani: ‘Okay, you hang up.’
iDidTht: ‘No you hang up.’
Dani: ‘No you hang up.’
iDidTht: ‘No you…’
She hung up…
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio
Credits: Writer – Anne Hirsch / Art Director – Julie Maunder
*This content may not be reproduced or used in any part without the prior written consent of iDidTht. Reprints must credit iDidTht (iDidTht.com) as the original publisher of this editorial piece and include a link to this site.