FirstPencil, 3 become 4 as Bryony Webster joins the team

It’s official, FirstPencil welcomes a new pencil, Producer Bryony Webster to the team. For over 6 years Director Justine Puren-Calverley, with Brenda Wilson and Lebo Mabuela as her Producers and Business Partners have run FirstPencil. The production company known to never compromise on production values. Over the last few years, the team has steadily been taking on bigger more complex boards and now it’s time to enlist another powerhouse of a producer to assist in handling the increasing production load. We got the scoop.

In this, the year of the new normal, Zoom pics are the new group photos: Line Producer Lebogang Mabuela, Director Justine Puren-Calverley, Producer Bryony Webster and Executive Producer Brenda Wilson

Let’s break it down

Fresh from the rollercoaster of the US elections we thought, like us, you’re probably also still seeing the world in numbers; so here’s what FirstPencil has been up to over the last 6 years.

3 Ladies
6 Years
1 BB BEE Level 1
73 Productions

259 Locations
23 of them sanitised
15 Data Scientists

41 Animations
13 Documentaries
5 Print Shoots
1 Fashion Show
29 Celebrities
6 Sport Shoots
24 City Data Designs
221 Children
154 Shoot Days
8 of them with food
5 Babies
51 Pitches
7 Bursaries
23 Charities Aided
206 Stock Shots
373 Temperature Taken
36 Agencies
2 International Shoots
49 Brands
57 Happy Clients
922 Crew that we love
600 Masks Supplied

Yeah, we can agree that it was about time they brought on an extra pair of hands, just look at all those children to wrangle!

Bryony is no newbie to the production game and has worked in production for 23 years. She started her career in the service industry in Cape Town and has also worked on numerous feature films. For the last 14 years she has produced TV commercials, music videos and documentaries big and small for some of the top directors and production houses in the country. She has spent the last 3 years as Head of Production at Gentlemen Films.

Q: Why make the move to FirstPencil?

Bryony: “I really admire the FirstPencil team. Besides their talent, they are just flippen great people to be around. Anybody who has worked with Lebo, Justine and Brenda before will want to work with them again. I also know good work when I see it and when I rewatched Justine’s reel I actually became emotional. Her work is evocative and I want to be a part of that.”

Q: Name a spot from the FirstPencil reel that you wish you produced?

Bryony: “What I often find is that when a director is good with performance, they’re usually not always great with communicating a powerful aesthetic. Justine handles both so delicately. She is so detailed and such a layered director and it was especially her latest piece for Standard Bank that just proves how talented she is.”

It’s been a wild year, so in case you need reminding, here’s Justine’s spot that Bryony just mentioned for Standard Bank. She directed this just before lockdown hit. FirstPencil collaborated with VMLY&R on this campaign, #RewriteTheRules, which posed the question, “Do the rules on how we treat each other feel wrong?” And, ahem, it was also awarded in South Africa most prestigious Craft Awards *drumroll please* our very own IDIDTHAT Craft Awards.

Standard Bank ‘HeforShe’

The IDIDTHAT Craft Awards’ guest judge, Marc Algranti, had this to say about the commercial: “Justine’s direction drew me in from the very first breath of this film. She takes you along the emotional journey. Her point of view puts you right into these women’s feelings. We never get to see their faces, the brave faces they need to put on every day. The shortness of breath upfront creates a sense of unease and this unease continues throughout the film. Justine has managed to portray a very uncomfortable reality that is very moving and has resulted in a powerful piece of work. Well done.”

While there is no denying that FirstPencil can handle ads with children, emotive boards, narrative spots, those bigger boards typical for financial ads or technically complex commercials, what will really draw you in is this team. As they grow from strength to strength, especially with the likes of Bryony Webster on their side, we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Why not (s)stalk some more? FirstPencil on IDIDTHAT and Company Website.

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Producer: Brenda Wilson
082 923 5762

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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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