Summer 2013  

Opening Number

First and foremost, here is to wish you a barking mad, totally rewarding, and entirely enjoyable 2013! The dogs are back at the Kennel early, to tackle the year and all it has to offer… BRING IT ON!

So you thought you were safe and would never hear from us dogs again… WOOF (WRONG)!

We have been running on all fours for more than a year… ok, two years. Wait has it REALLY been three years since we bombarded your inbox? Boy, do we have a lot to catch up on, thus this BUMPER issue. New to Kennel Talk? That means you are new to Underdog… and may be wondering why you are getting this LONG e-mail? If you never want to get such a cool newsletter ever again… do read the bottom of this newsletter under the heading: "Stop barking at me!” and we will stop it immediately - but be assured that either you gave us your business card in person, requested to be added via our super sexy web site (, or dealt with us in some way over the years we have been in business.

The world is still here, we are still here - and more connected than ever. 19 years ago, we came up with a concept: to create a company, which merges marketing and entertainment; television and the internet, print and multimedia. Today everybody is talking “cross media” and “trans media”, something we at Underdog have been living, breathing and producing for almost two decades.

We want to say a special thank you to our loyal clients, many of whom have been with us for many, many years!

Remember, by looking at your communication strategy holistically, and getting one trusted cross-media outfit to handle it all, you are truly gonna stay ahead of the pack! See… it’s always your best option to stick with THE UNDERDOG.

We now have a new, ever so sexy “Infoblast” bulk email/sms system for you, our fantastic clients and friends to say, anything you wish to say, to a whole bunch of people– responsibly of course.

Check out more on our super sexy “Infoblast” system that even lets you track who has read your mail, and who deleted it… at… By the way Keren thanks for reading this far - we have a gift for you if you read till the end (seriously we do!)



Rough or Smooth- Global Distribution & Season 2!

Over the last two years, we produced Season 1 (13 parts) of a super sexy, ground breaking, high quality travel, lifestyle and food documentary series called “Rough or Smooth”. Some of you may know it as “Rof of Spog” which was the Afrikaans version of the same series. Can you imagine every peep, squeak or is that squeal, made by SA’s soap slut extraordinaire Terence Bridgett, in partnership with his co-creator for the series, the very sexy Paul du Toit, in English and then again in Afrikaans! Who ever heard of shooting a travel documentary, in two languages on set, and cutting two versions at once? Paul canoeing down a rapid screaming in two languages, or the guys hurtling from an aircraft in a parachute multilingual… its just so strange.

Well that was only the beginning of the groundbreaking deals for this project that saw its creators, Underdog and Fanagalo Films produce and direct a series using licences and the DTI rebate and hold on to all rights. Within a few months it will be travelling abroad! The series was picked up for global distribution by Toronto (Canada) based Kelen Content. As a result of a trip by Underdog’s CEO, Marc Schwinges, to HotDocs (North America’s largest Documentary Market) in May this year, a distribution deal was signed with Tanya Kelen. She won the bid against 3 other distributors because she was able to also co-produce a second season and is busy redeveloping it to work in the global market with us.

Watch out for season 2 (which just got the first TV Series development grant from the NFVF - and if you live outside of SA, where the show has already been seen in prime-time slots in English on Mzansi Magic, and in Afrikaans on SABC 2, it is coming to a TV near you, as well as VOD (Video on Demand) platforms across the world. Check out more on the show at: where you can also BUY your own copy on DVD of the 13-part season 1 of the series and pay with PayPal or your credit card! If you buy one within the next week, and mention “Kennel Talk” in your order comment we will get Terence and Paul to sign the DVD box for you! See… already a bonus for reading this mailer… more to come… woof woof.

If you are in the USA, you can see the series on Hulu for free now (, and from April you will be able to see the show on the in-flight entertainment system on SAA's long haul flights!



Marc attends HOT DOCS in Toronto, Canada, and third year at Durban Film Mart a success, and DISCOP Africa

It’s a global world, and when you are dealing documentary (as we are well known for) and do trans-media work, you need to travel the globe a bit! While in Canada Marc also did a lot of work for South Africa generally in his elected position as vice-chair of SASFED (the South African Screen Federation) and even presented formally with the National Film and Video Foundation on why doing business with South Africa is such a sweet idea! The massive SA Delegation that attended HotDocs this year got a lot of buzz!

No sooner had the ink dried on the distribution contract for Rough or Smooth, and Marc was off again, this time to attend his third Durban Film Mart (well in Durban by the sea obviously). DFM takes place in combination with the Durban International Film Festival in late July every year, and this year it took place in a hotel directly at the seaside, just a quick walk to the main cinema venues. It was a great opportunity as the DFM Finance Forum provides selected African filmmakers with the possibility to pitch film projects to leading financiers. The Durban FilmMart also facilitates networking opportunities in order for African and international filmmakers to form alliances for future collaborations. And networking is what Marc did, with round the clock meetings as well as managing to attend a few premieres, his trip to DFM was very successful indeed. Meow… (just checking you still with us… dogs don’t Meow). DFM is also where Marc met and partnered with the brilliant new director Leli Maki, who will attend HotDocs 2013 for Underdog, but more about him later!

Next stop together with Leli was to attend DISCOP in early November 2012. This massive market of African television buyers and sellers proved a run-away success in its first year to be hosted right here in Johannesburg. Marc was honoured to be invited to speak at both the opening and closing sessions, and the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) and Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) hosted an amazing stand at which Underdog was based for the three day market for a total of 25 one on one meetings!



IDFA Film Festival- Amsterdam

To add the cherry on top of a good networking year, Marc traveled to Amsterdam on 13 November 2012 to attend the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (idfa), again with the prospect of setting up further deals and developing all his projects. Since its launch in 1988 idfa has been one of the world’s leading documentary film festivals, dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of groundbreaking creative documentaries. It has consistently served up the latest works of the world’s leading documentarians to a discerning and discriminating audience, and has dedicated itself to the task of devising innovative funding structures to ensure continuing production of top-level documentary films.

In addition to Season 2 of Rough or Smooth, and his catalogue of completed work for sale, Marc has a slate of 10 documentaries he is developing with three different directors! Marc is also working on a project with colleagues Michael Lee and Mayenzeke Baza called African Eyes (, a massive Pan African project with huge international support, which was born from the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) SA Delegation to Hot Docs, and which was further developed over idfa with its respected European co-producer.


African VOD – Global Domination and the Mokolo's

What is African VOD? Is it some new African Veterinary Optical Disease? And what on earth has it got to do with Global Domination? What is a Mokolo? VOD is Video on Demand - so African VOD is VOD targeting a growing global audience of people keen to see African content, and using VOD to get it! Underdog is excited in that a large collection of its work is now available on VOD platforms including:, who feature much of Underdog's work in various regions based on rights available. You can pay for and view on demand or download to own using your credit card and view many of our titles instantly. is presently available in the USA Only, and is linked to Hulu. It also features some of Underdog's titles, and in addition to: is proving to be a great platform for Underdog's work.

Look out for Underdog's own VOD store launching soon.

With so many places to look for African content, and more on the way, it makes sense Underdog is part of the exciting Pan African initiative to bring them all together, it’s called Mokolo, and Marc traveled to several African countries in 2011 and 2012 to help structure this exciting initiative presently supported by the German Goethe Institute. Marc is now on the Executive Committee with more to be seen at:



Some Sensational Solutions

You know Underdog is “transmedia / cross media” right? These are just a few highlights of the multimedia and especially web based solutions we have crafted for our clients. Please take a look at the following page for a larger sample of our web specific work ( Trust the original Underdog to give you the best web presence you will ever have. Please remember that we offer best value when we take care of all marketing needs in multiple media. Let us do your: television, radio (yep we do that too), interactive presentation, web or print work and make it all work together seamlessly…

Tri Continental gets a makeover!

Underdog’s long-time CSI client Tri Continental Film Festival decided this year to freshen up the site with a new look. Underdog takes pride in working for such an important human rights focused documentary film festival. If you are not aware of the festival, check it out, it has screenings in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Soweto every year in September, and always has an amazing collection of films to watch!
Take a look at

Rivonia Media Group – New Web Site.

RMG is a brand new and exciting multi-media platform company, which has chosen Underdog as its branding partner. They pride themselves in telling real African stories that inspire and motivate. Underdog not only designed the logo for the client, but rolled-out a brand new Corporate Identity for them, set up e-mail infrastructure, and created a custom based Wordpress site for RMG, giving the client full control of their site and its content, within a completely custom look, that won't match any previous Wordpress template!
Take a look at

APPLY Ethics– New Company, new logo, new CI with great Ethics!

Ethics is something that’s hugely important to Underdog, so what a privilege to be asked by our newest client Susan Stos to design branding and roll her new logo out into various platforms including a new web site
APPLY Ethics is an Ethics training program developed by a qualified Ethics professional.


Flash becoming obsolete

Apple has said NO to Flash, as have many others. This “vector based” browser plug-in, which allowed animation in vector form to be sent to a browser is simply too buggy, too insecure and is seen by many as one of the biggest causes of system crashes. The iPad, iPhone and similar tablet devices do not support Flash at all and never will. This often causes a less than satisfactory browsing experience when you visit Flash sites on such a browser. “How unsatisfactory?” we hear you ask…. Well completely unusable or even blank in some cases! The good news is that if you trusted the Underdogs to do your web site, we have for 7 years at minimum created a “fail over” for Flash components on any site we have done. That means it shows a still image in place of any animation to users viewing your site without Flash.

Now we have started to advise clients not to use Flash at all! But how do you do dissolving images we love and other sexy things? You can yelp for joy, as HTML 5 is becoming the industry standard. Using tricks within programming languages like J-Query etc. we can get a lot of what people saw in Flash to happen, and make it work faster, and it works on all the cool gadgets and iDevices Apple, Samsung and others create. What’s more, you are doing your part to stop system crashes! Now does that not make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

So if you have horrible Flash (so last year) on your site now, talk to Marc and let us help give you a turbo-jump forward away from the ugly old, and into the sexy new HTML5 world of tomorrow… YAY for the future dogs!


Custom Skins for Wordpress!

Underdog offers several “Package” websites, which it developed to make website choices easier for clients since as far back as 15 years ago. Ever since then it has been providing its clients a combination of its custom design and Implementation “Static HTML Package” websites, and custom Content Management System (CMS) engines. Each of these sites enjoy the very best in graphic design, client service, and implementation, and where required the added experience of a high level developer to create pretty much any easy to use back-end.

In recent years the “Off The Shelf” back-end products have also seriously improved, to the extent that as of late 2012 Underdog has started offering an option to create a “custom template” for the leading of these systems “”. This exciting new advancement offers you the opportunity to update content and maintain content yourselves. It will also significantly save in updates of content for future years, and allows for the look and feel to be “updated” independently of the content. Till April 2013, Underdog is offering a Word-Press custom skin at the same price as its web site packages! As such you get a site you can update for the same price as one you can't - WOW! Contact us for more detail, but HURRY as the free Word-Press implementation within the cost of a static site, is only valid till end April 2013, and will be on a first come first serve basis!



Underdog is 20 years young this year!

Can you believe in October this year we will be celebrating our 20th Birthday? Few first time companies survive 10 years, let alone 20, while Underdog continues to evolve, learn and keep with the latest trends, so who says that you "Can't teach an old dog new tricks"? All our close friends and clients will get an invite later this year to join us in celebrating in usual "Underdog" Style.




2013: A year of much activity.

2013 will be a BUMPER year for Underdog. Here is a taster of what’s on offer:

We are thrilled to have partnered with Leli Maki of Jack & Jill Productions. Together we are working on many projects including two Drama series and an amazing feature documentary called Impepho. See the stunning teaser for this film at:

We have received two development grants from the NFVF for projects. One with Leli and the other is for Rough or Smooth Season 2 with Terence and Paul via Hound Films, so we will obviously be busy on those projects.

Other bigger projects we are working on with teasers so you know what they are about include:

Double Life with Dr. Roy -
Highway Vultures -
African Eyes - (detailed above)



In closing

Wow, what are you still doing here? Thanks for reading ALL that, you certainly deserve a drink… on us. Many Woofs!




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