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Daft&Real: Production House with Creative Priorities


Small Beijing-based production house Daft & Real always tries to stay true to its core values. Their name and strong reel is a reflection of this. Being based in the capital, away from the country’s commercial industry filmmaking epicenter of Shanghai, the small team carved out an impressive path without much marketing effort. The quality of Daft & Real’s work is what caught SHP+’s attention, and it’s not surprising once you get to know the story of people behind it. So, we sat down with the production company’s EP, Bi Ran to find out all about it.

作为一家位于北京的小型制片公司,德融(Daft & Real)做到了不忘初心,一直在努力地守护着自己的核心价值。而他们的名字与高质量的作品集也反映了这一点。虽然定位首都,远离中国的经济中心与商业广告中心上海,这支小团队却在市场营销有限的条件下,打出了一片自己的天地。他们质量上乘的作品,也让SHP+眼前一亮。不过,在知晓了作品背后的故事后,你就会明白优秀的作品的诞生绝非偶然。此次SHP+有幸采访到了这家制片公司的监制毕然,让我们一起来一窥他们的成功秘诀吧。

Daft & Real’s DNA is woven of stories and vision from its two partners – director Li Hailong, and EP Bi Ran. Li Hailong established the company in 2013, when his career reached a critical point. Working freelance at the time, he felt that the creative needs of a director clashed with “business at any cost” interests of the production houses he worked for. Daft & Real Production emerged out of his pursuit of creativity. A year later, Bi Ran joined him. “It seems everybody in this industry harbor a dream to one day become a director. “When I entered the industry, there was no shortage of talented directors. A professional producer, on the other hand, is a different story”, Bi Ran shares.



Bi Ran learned the ropes of production in a studio, at Motion Logix, where in the early 2000s he met his mentor— director Zhang Xianfeng. An advantage of learning from and working alongside a director for a long time allowed Bi Ran to distinguish himself early on. Unlike producers who approach things mainly from a business perspective, he’s always been more inclined to put the director’s point of view and creative result as the priority.

毕然是在Motion Logix工作室开始进入制片行业的,在21世纪初,他在那里遇到了自己的导师导演张险峰导演,和导演长期的配合让他学会站在创作的角度思考问题。他不像那些以商业角度作为唯一标准来处理事情的制作人,他更倾向于把导演的观点和创作成果放在首位。

The majority of the work of Daft & Real is shot by the founder Li Hailong, but as their work load has expanded so is their need to sometimes bring on other talent. The result of this diversified approach has not produced a mismatched compilation of work, but instead has built a reel that feels very relevant and on current trend. As the company’s 2014 commercial “Inside Tattoo” for Intel proves- Daft & Real work generally stays contemporary and timeless.


McDonalnd’s FIFA

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific genre or style for the production house, as they shift gears effortlessly. Known for exploring emotional storytelling as seen in their McDonald’s, Kuaishou, or Yearcon spots, they also have produced some spots that highlight Chinese traditional culture elements in DELL or Douyin campaigns. And of course, they have created trendy worlds for smartphone and e-commerce giants like Huawei, VIVO, and Tmall. Their reputation of producing good work proceeds them. The word of mouth has brought them directly to clients, not to mention recommendations by celebrities they’ve worked with before.


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When we ask about differences between Beijing and Shanghai in terms of commercial filmmaking, Bi Ran notes there are of course variances. “When I just started in the industry, the best advertising directors were big names movie directors, all based in Beijing. With the clients, the agencies and the development of the local production system, Shanghai gradually became the center for commercial filmmaking. Countless commercial industry professionals emerged in this city”, Bi Ran says. Beijing, naturally, remains the heart of the country’s filmmaking world. But in the past few years, the advertising market in the capital continues to shrink. From an operational perspective— it doesn’t matter that much, as Daft & Real can shoot anywhere. However, as the company gets nearly half of their projects from Shanghai based agencies, expanding the office geography is a logical next step. This year, Daft & Real is preparing to establish its Shanghai Office.


Douyin x DeYun 抖音X德云社

Whichever direction the production house will go in the future, here’s hoping that they’ll remain, by Bi Ran’s description, “professional craftsmen, who help clients enhance the value of creativity”. After all, it’s in their name. As Bi Ran explained: “We wanted a name with character. In everything we do, we stay realistic and transparent. We’d rather promise the client we can do 70-80% while trying our best to get 100%, instead of promising them the moon and underperforming in the end. Creative stuff can’t be copied or mass produced. We also treat every project as unique, it should be treated thoughtfully, and polished thoughtfully. Maybe, from the outside it looks stupid and foolish. But these two words, Daft and Real reflect our identity”.

但无论这家制作公司未来走向如何,我们都希望,像毕然告诉我们的那样,他们都是用“自己的专业和匠人态度帮客户提升创意的价值”。毕竟,这是刻在他们名字里的信念。正如毕然解释的那样:“ 在我们做的每一件事上,我们都希望保持务实和透明。比起夸下海口,我们更希望用70-80%的承诺,去做100%的努力。创作的东西很难复制和量产,我们认为每个项目都是独特的,必须用心对待,细心打磨。也许,外人看来,这样很傻。但这两个词,愚蠢(Daft)和真实(Real)却是最能代表我们本心的。”

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Weekly AD|「黑鲨手机」OGILVY 北京奥美 x 德融制作 DAFT & REAL x 邹飞


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