Aside from every Grammar girl featuring in the 2010 BGGS Spirit video, it is this song—Daryl Hall and John Oates’ You Make My Dreams—that comes to mind when I think about the now iconic video.
Chosen by the girls, the song provided a lively and catchy soundtrack to the 2010 video, an ambitious whole-of-school production designed to commemorate Brisbane Girls Grammar School’s 135th birthday. However, and perhaps more importantly, the video was an attempt to capture that intangible, but powerfully felt, Girls Grammar spirit.
Traversing the whole Spring Hill campus, and while doing so filming every student and many staff singing along to the 1980s pop classic, the inspiration for the Spirit Video may surprise.
Then Director of Communications, Ms Loren Bridge, explains:
‘At the time the Old Spice ad was the talk of the advertising world because it had been shot in a single take … which was a pretty amazing feat at the time. So we thought we could replicate this idea.’
While the Grammar video was not quite captured in one take, it was filmed in one (hectic) day—no mean feat considering the logistics involved! What made this possible, and what in fact makes the film so memorable, is its authenticity.
From the lip-synching that in some spots isn’t quite in sync, to the at-times very fast movement and messy background, the video is real. And because of this, it genuinely captures something that speaks to the essence of the Girls Grammar spirit—joy. Viewers can see the genuine smiles, laughter, and delight of the girls as they sing along.
As Ange Sweep (2011), who featured in the video noted:
‘… it was loads of fun and it didn’t seem like the end goal was a perfect performance so much as a reflection of the very fun-loving, sisterly and enthusiastic spirit of the students. When I see that video I’m struck by how terrible my lip-synching was, but also how I can perfectly recall how much fun that day was and how we all loved the opportunity to have some fun and show how much we loved the school, with this new and creative medium.’
The video had a long-lasting impact on those involved. In 2014, Year 12 students created a flash mob at their Valedictory Dinner. Spontaneously, 240 girls streamed onto the field at Suncorp Stadium to the sounds of You Make My Dreams. In the 2010 video, as Year 8 students, these girls welcomed audiences into the School, so this moment on the cusp of their graduation was a lovely bookend to their time at BGGS: a joyous beginning and end to their time as Grammar girls.
Fast forward to 2021 and the new School video, while not a traditional ‘spirit’ video, again aims to capture something special about BGGS all in less than two minutes (because we know now, that’s when people stop watching). Though, it took a lot longer than one day to film—there were some early mornings and late nights at Marrapatta, two trips to Rangakarra, and locations all over Spring Hill. If you look closely, we capture every campus and every faculty at the School.
While the similarities between the two videos are few—there’s no John Oates, a bit more post-production and, of course, many new buildings and spaces—if you listen carefully at the end, we throw to the War Cry, a nod to the original Spirit Video. Most importantly, that Girls Grammar spirit remains unchanged (and perhaps, a few of the staff in the video). There is always joy, and it is always easy to find (and capture) at BGGS.
Capturing that joy is what makes chaotic days of filming (be it one or four) worthwhile. These videos—spirit or otherwise—remind us of who we are, what we stand for and, most importantly, why we are here: for the girls.
Much has changed since 2010 but what has not is the spirit of our Grammar girls. And, that’s something that will remain the same whether a video is captured in 2010, 2021, or on our 200th anniversary in 2075.
Ms Veena Herron
Director of Communication and Engagement