Factory Studios is (ahem), a regular hit factory in terms of its much-loved TV, film, online, radio and commercial work. Headliner visits the award-winning sound design and audio facility behind the iconic John Lewis Christmas adverts to talk friendly competition, personal favourites, and the gear that makes it all possible.
“Nobody expected it to become what it's become, and the pressure gets a bit bigger every year,” admits Anthony Moore, Founding Partner of Factory Studios and the Factory Family – a multi award-winning sound design and audio facility with projects that span TV, film, online, radio, and some of the most heartwarming adverts to grace the small and big screen – including pretty much every high profile Christmas ad of recent times.
“Exactly – and especially with John Lewis, there's more expectation every time now! When you go online and you see the amount of people that have viewed each ad, I think, ‘Oh God...this thing has come out of my studio, and 30 million people are watching it!’ It's pretty mind blowing, but I'm so proud, because we put so much love and effort into them.”
It seems to be up to the UK public to decide which ad is crowned the best Christmas effort each year (the Brits love a good vote), it now being commonplace for corporations to ramp up the budgets to filmic levels (Sky roped in E.T himself and a grown up Elliott (Henry Thomas) this year). Who will produce the winning ad? John Lewis? Waitrose? Sainsbury’s? Moore dubs it the ‘Christmas Super Bowl’.
“I love it because it's the one time of the year where people actually want to watch an advert, and go out of their way to watch them. I think sometimes commercials get a bit of a rough deal because they’re trying to sell you stuff, but a lot of what we do is about telling amazing stories. Yes, there might be a brand at the end, but they're engaging and there's so much talent that and craft that goes into making these films. For me, some of the sound design in commercials is right up there with the best feature films – there is amazing talent in our industry."