Responses by Carlos Moreno and Denise Rossetto, chief creative officers, Broken Heart Love Affair.
Background: “Brand health studies showed that, while many people loved the experience of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), a significant portion of the Canadian populace did not see themselves represented or welcomed to the ‘governmental’ and ‘static’ institution,” says Denise Rossetto. “In fact, many felt that they had seen ROM and knew what it’s about: observing objects that will more than likely be around for the next 130 years.”
Design thinking: “We wanted to become a spark of culture versus a stodgy governmental institution,” Rossetto says. “We wanted to put a huge stake in the ground. Every single object is a portal to powerful stories that help us understand our history and make sense of our present. Most importantly, understanding these stories will shape a shared future for all of us. This is the role of a museum: to collect and house these stories and make them available, so we generate the necessary conversations for the betterment of our world.”
Specific project demands: “It was a large undertaking and big transformation for the ROM, and we knew we had to bring a lot of people along on the journey and our vision,” says Carlos Moreno. “This could not have been done without the relentless passion of the client and our team at the agency, as well as our director, editor, composer and producer. Everyone gave it their all, and the spot needed everyone’s all.”
Favorite details: “We’re most proud of the pure collaboration on this project,” Moreno says. “It was a completely fluid project, evolving all the time. Everyone had to be comfortable letting go of things that felt ‘set in stone.’ The script changed every day. We moved lines around. We had advisors on the cultural references. Everyone had to be OK changing it every day, and that felt a little crazy—but also creative.”
New lessons: “We did learn to let go a bit, try things and be open,” Moreno explains. “Originally, the script was just a baby floating. Director Mark Zibert had an immediate vision of how to make this so much more epic. And the whole underwater production was a learning experience because it wasn’t shot underwater: it was shot ‘dry for wet.’ Zibert and his team used a combination of lens effects, lighting and atmosphere to make the set appear underwater. The model of the unborn child at the spot’s center was only underwater for 30 minutes during the entire shoot.”
Challenges: “The biggest challenge is that we didn’t originally see this as a six-minute film, but anything shorter felt like we were short-changing the human experience,” says Rossetto. “We know attention spans are short. Finding a place for it to live is a challenge. But it is in the works to become part of the museum as an exhibition so that the film will become a living object in and of itself.”