How Mill Director Rauri Cantelo maneuvered global time zones and shoot restrictions to create EA SPORTS ‘FIFA Global Series 21’

Thought February 16, 2021

How did you find your commercial directorial debut?

Exciting, challenging – as every project should be, unrestricted and a proper nice time all round with a cracking team of creative and technical wizzes. 

My time in the commercial world before this, led me to believe that most commercial projects usually come laden with rules and restrictions – ‘FIFA Global Series 21’ however, was the complete opposite. It felt more like a promo in regards to creative freedom. And in the end, it kind of had to, after all, we were walking into a mostly live-action project… without a single DOP on the ground (although if anyone out there is looking for one, I can’t recommend Ruud Gullit highly enough).

Because of this, we had to be prepared, prepared to receive some great, and some not so great footage back from our talent. We also had to be able to react and adapt at very short notice, due to the scheduling minefield that comes along with getting our players on camera, people were coming and going left, right and centre up until the last moment – so all in all, creative flexibility was imperative.  

 

What was the brief? 

To show the global, immersive nature of the FGS, visiting players and gamers across the world, and ripping through time and space to do so, as they battle it out to ask our viewers the overarching question – ‘whose team are you on?’.

We needed visuals that grabbed first time FIFA players attention, alongside creating something that resonated with existing players who were looking for their next challenge.

 

What was it like working with such high profile talent?

Working with the players was a dream come true – having grown up watching and playing as Ronaldinho in early FIFA games made me pinch myself when I saw he had confirmed to be in the spot – special shout out to the original FIFA Street which influenced me here massively. 

 

How did you communicate what you wanted to players that were both in their own homes and were limited on time?

I filmed the entire thing on my own in my flat beforehand, which was actually insanely useful (and will probably be put on my Instagram at some point in the near future when I run out of #content to post). It worked as a previs and allowed me to test out dialogue and camera angles, to ensure that when a brief finally went over to the players there would be no question about what we wanted them to capture. It also meant that in the event of the players not being able to jump on a call, we could ‘package’ up their sections and send over to them to fit in around their super busy schedules. 

What challenges did you encounter?

The biggest challenge we faced was having one of our key players pull out due to lack of availability, about 2 weeks before delivery…it basically left a massive hole slap bang in the middle of the film. Luckily, we were able to find a replacement relatively quickly and due to the flexible nature of our design work, that Art Director Kwok had established and concepted before we started, we were able to erase any rough edges left in the narrative.

 

The spot has a heavy design element, what influenced this and how difficult was it getting it to fit in with the narrative and different mediums?

Kwok and I spent a good couple of weeks mood boarding and concepting a few different design techniques, and where we ended up was basically an amalgamation of different motifs, including old school 80’s travel shows and TikTok duets. Not only were these things that personally gave me a true sense of the word ‘global’, but they also allowed us the breathing room to incorporate the variety of different mediums that we would be receiving back from our talent – giving us a complete arsenal of techniques to apply throughout. 

 

What were some of your favourite design elements in the project?

It’s definitely a toss-up between the laser-firing satellite, Ruud Gullit’s camera pull out from in-game moment to dental moment (which can I just add is absolutely stunning, I never in a million years thought I’d get away with asking him to put his phone in his mouth), and Ashley Cole’s supersonic kick. They’re all champions in my book.

Check out more of Rauri’s work via his Creator Profile and follow him on Instagram @rauricantelo.