Having worked on several immensely successful projects, Sant has shown audiences all over Canada and the world what he is capable of. He is well-known for his work on the national CFL campaign What We’re Made Of, TELUS’ #TheGivingEffect resulting in massive charitable donations, and his award-winning film The Bear. The highlight of his career came when making the first Westjet Christmas Miracle commercial for the Canadian airline, that not only went viral, but was a pioneer for real people/real time ads.
“It’s always a relief going into a project knowing Kegan is a part of the team because he never does just what the position calls for. He goes above and beyond what is required to push his crew to do their absolute best work. He imparts a sense of pride into the crew to motivate those involved, to take a sense of ownership in their craft. This comes from Kegan’s incredible passion. I always know that if Kegan has accepted the job, he’s done so because he sees something in it that connects with him; that he knows he can bring something of himself to the table and take the commercial, film, whatever it may be, to the next level,” said Chris Lew, Cinematographer. “One of Kegan’s strongest qualities is his no-nonsense attitude. He always runs his sets with a positive energy, but he also will always get the job done, and do so in a direct manner. Speaking with Kegan in his working environment or otherwise, you know that you’re hearing a true, honest opinion, and that takes a lot of guts in this industry. Ultimately, he always does everything he can to make the best possible end result and it continuously shows.”
Last year, Sant partnered up with the Canadian camping and outdoor retailer, Woods. Sant spent March and April of last year working on the project, and the Is There campaign was distributed nationally on television to advertise the camping brand being under the umbrella of a new parent company. Woods had recently been purchased and the company wanted to do a new brand anthem spot that celebrated the company’s lengthy history and contribution to some pretty major world events with their products. It was also used for Canada’s 150th birthday through banners and online platforms.
The commercial was shot over three days in British Columbia in 12 locations including the top of mountains and the middle of rock quarries. Sant and his team developed period pieces for wardrobe and did large art department builds for Woods’ look back over their storied 100+ year history.
“I wanted to work on this project because it was with a production company I hadn’t yet worked with and was shot in multiple beautiful locations in Vancouver. It was the first time this director had worked on a national TV broadcast spot and the opportunity to work with her to help guide in that process was huge incentive. It was for a camping brand that is a staple in Canada and I had used their products as a kid, growing up – we all had,” said Sant.
In the beginning, when the executive producer of the commercial was looking for a producer that could help bring such a demanding project to success, he thought of Sant, who he had worked with previously. He knew of Sant’s versatility managing small crews and working with varying scales of directors. Knowing that the producer would be a good fit to help his director feel comfortable and that he had extensive experience shooting in Vancouver, the executive producer called Sant, who accepted the position right away.
Sant believes shooting this commercial was one of the tougher jobs in his career. There were budget constraints and missed timelines for deadlines due to unforeseen circumstances with shipping and period piece props, and wardrobe. Sant, however, would not let this negatively impact the production, and immediately began finding last minute solutions. He decided to build some fairly elaborate structures for the set, including digging trenches and setting up World War II scenes. He even recreated a base camp at Mount Everest.
The director of the shoot was a professional photographer, and it was her first time directing. Sant’s background in motion therefore became vital for the success of the commercial, as he could help guide the director and make the best decisions for the project. Sant prepared the director for success by setting her up with a great crew, beautiful locations and managed the agency and client when things got tough. He also helped executives at the production company understand the costings of the project and how best to handle any budget overages. His ability to adapt on the fly with very little reaction time was crucial to the success of the last-minute changes and requests. With all the challenges and last-minute changes, Sant still enjoyed every second of shooting the commercial.
“We shot in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, including mountains, large rock quarries and beside babbling brooks in the middle of the forest. I loved testing the crew’s limits and my own by making the impossible, possible. I like the challenge of travel shooting as there is always something unexpected that comes up and I pride myself on having been able to overcome some of those pretty serious production issues,” said Sant.
Sant’s work on the Woods commercial helped bring the campaign to great success and was admired by audiences all over the country. The producer takes every project as a learning experience, and this was no different.
“It is always a great feeling when a project is as successful as this was, despite the hardships encountered. I believe the director and overall crew learned a lot from this experience, everyone has a great showpiece on their reel and it makes me happy to know that we succeeded amongst all the adversity,” he concluded.
By Laura Lee