Director Tim White was one of the creative minds behind Great Southern Rail’s newest TV commercial, “Journey Beyond”.

We asked Tim to tell us more about putting together the new campaign, which is airing on commercial television and in cinemas now.


Can you explain how you came up with the idea of the “Journey Beyond” ad?

The “Journey Beyond” film was a collaboration between myself, Great Southern Rail and the team at Clemenger BBDO Adelaide. I was a big fan of the previous Ghan and Indian Pacific videos by POGO and was thrilled to be invited to direct the follow-up. The Clemenger team wanted to continue the dynamic energy of the last ad and I was interested in weaving a simple narrative throughout the film. 


How long did the process take and what was the most difficult part of the shoot?

The process began back in July 2014 and ended in December 2014. There were a few months spent researching and conceptualising before my hard-working producers Jamie Houge and Jess Langley began the intricate process of planning and scheduling. We did a five-day recce with a stripped-back team followed by a nine-day shoot with full crew and talent. 

Shooting in outback Australia is always difficult due to the harsh light from the sun. Footage always looks best when shot in morning and evening sunlight. This meant we were up before sunrise every day and travelling great distances (by train, plane, helicopter, boat and car) to get to the next location for the evening light. By the end of the epic nine-day shoot, we were all sleep deprived and delirious. 


You travelled to a dozen different Australian destinations to film this ad. Which was your favourite?

It's really tough to pick favourites! For me, it would be a tie between Katherine Gorge and Coober Pedy. The boat ride down Katherine Gorge is mind-blowingly beautiful while Coober Pedy is like an alien planet.


As part of the filming, you had the opportunity to travel aboard The Ghan. What was that like?

Our crew had somewhat of an atypical experience travelling onboard The Ghan due to our 30 or so cases of camera equipment and luggage. We were lucky enough to have our own Chairman's Carriage on the recce and private lounge on the shoot. 

I was really surprised by the length of the train and how long it takes to walk from the first to the last carriage. I think my personal highlight was the quality of the food; every dish I ate was delicious and impressive considering those tiny train kitchens. 


The ad features a number of colourful characters – who stands out for you in terms of the people who were filmed for the project?

After seeing Jos in the previous GSR film, I knew we had to get him to cameo in this one - he's such a fantastic character! Marcus the Camel Man has such a great face and I'm surprised he hasn't yet been shipped off to Hollywood. 

The obvious stand-outs are Mary and Bill, the stars of the film - they were an absolute dream to travel with. Surprisingly, they're not professional actors or models and were cast on the streets of Adelaide. 


You’ve got a lot of experience creating short films for other companies. Can you tell us a little bit about other projects you’ve been involved with and also what’s on the horizon for you?

I've been directing commercials for a little over three years and in that time I've shot in more than 20 countries for brands such as Subaru, STA Travel & Keio University (in Japan). I also love directing music videos and recently completed one for (Australian actor and musician) Guy Pearce. 

This year, it's looking like I'll be spending plenty of time working in Tokyo, Los Angeles and hopefully my beloved hometown Melbourne.  


View the extended version of the “Journey Beyond” TV ad here:

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