"Dear Marc,

What can I say? Working with you on Stand Up Planet, the documentary project in Johannesburg was a truly amazing experience. Whenever I have to work in city or country that is unfamiliar territory for me in the world of film and video production I try to find the best person/company to partner with that will make me feel comfortable and as if I was filming at home in San Francisco. For my shoot in Johannesburg, you and Underdog Productions were that person and company.

From the moment I had my first conversation with you about the project, I knew that we would work well together. You discussed all details with a methodical approach making sure that all aspects of the upcoming production were thoroughly considered. Once we agreed on a budget you immediately went ahead and did a pre scout of all our locations in Soweto, Orange Farm and all parts of Johannesburg. Not only did you photograph the locations you also met with some of our subjects and made them feel at ease about this American film crew coming to visit them with comedians. You secured the proper accommodations for our crew making them feel at ease so they could focus on the project.

The South African crew you hired and organized for us could not have been better. Every position was well thought out from 2nd camera operator to production assistants. Each person was selected to fill a spot in the crew that would enhance our traveling crew to achieve a higher level of production. The local crews knowledge of several local languages was integral to our success of filming in areas that were not usually open to foreign crews filming there. One production assistant in particular was able to get personal video releases from every person she spoke with, which is hugely important when working on documentary and reality projects. We had the finest security team. They seamlessly kept us protected in a way that there was never a barrier separating us from the city of Johannesburg, but they were always right there ready to help or act.

But Marc the most exciting part about working with you was your knowledge and depth of contacts in South Africa. No matter where the location was or what the production issue was, you knew who could get us access or solve the problem. When I found out at the end of my day that my camera man was limited to two bags on his flight on the national airlines, when he was suppose to travel with eight camera cases, I emailed you with an urgent message. When I woke up the next morning there was a flurry of emails in my inbox and the problem was resolved. When we needed access to Freedom Day festivities in Pretoria, no problem, media passes for the full crew. You secured a film permit that allowed us to film all through out the Gauteng Province for our complete stay. When we needed to make last minute arrangements with a famous South African comedian, no problem, you called and since you had worked with him in the past it was handled flawlessly. The reason why all of these things are possible is because of your wonderful reputation that you have built over the years of your working in film and video and involvement in endless organizations in South Africa. For me traveling to a foreign country to work on a complex project that involved comedy and NGO’s it was all a beautiful thing.

Kevin Hayes
Freelance producer, San Francisco

"Marc, Thank you so much for all the great work on the South Africa portion of our shoot for Stand Up Planet. Your professionalism, attention to detail and flexibility were integral in getting our shots. And your hospitality made us feel right at home. I think you may need to change your company name from UnderDog to TopDog. Sincerely, Mark"

Mark Decena
Owner, Kontent Films
"Heading to Joburg, we had some trepidation about the random crime, hold ups and the fact that we wanted to go into some tough territory. We knew we were in good hands with Marc Schwinges and Underdog. Not only was our large production team safe--we were able to turn to Marc for advice on locations, local staffing, logistics, the works. We didn't lose a single piece of equipment or a minute's sleep because we were in such good hands. Marc put together an on-the-ground team that was simply terrific! We are still in touch with many of our PA's today. To top it all off, Marc even hosted a “braai" for us on our last evening in town...and a safari for our talent/host! That's great producing. We'd work with Marc again in a heart beat."

Wendy Hanamura
Exec. Producer, Stand Up Planet
“It was the best! The people could not stop talking around how professionally it was done and that it was a resounding success is an understatement! Thank you very much for your contribution to our overall successful evening. The DVD most certainly worked well, no glitches and the guests were all in awe.”

George Allen
Head: Fleet Operations, Standard Bank Fleet Management
“It is with great appreciation that I write this letter to you.

I would like to thank the Underdog team for their professionalism, creative approach to work and above all, efficient delivery on each and every request – no matter how small or ridiculous it may seem.

Over the past eight years, loveLife has built a solid relationship with Underdog – a relationship which has extended beyond creative designing, production, maintenance and competitive pricing for the loveLife websites - but a relationship that has contributed to changing and shaping the lives of young people across our country.

Since loveLife’s first contract with Underdog in 2001 with the international programme, S’camto groundBREAKERS going Global, we have never looked back and are up to date still constantly reassured that we can entrust Underdog with all our new media needs.

It is due to your hard work and contribution that we receive emails from young people like this:

Sender's comments: Wha--aw what an amazing website, great job you guys, this time you really made a huge difference in my life. May God bless you in every way possible because you helped me in a way that impacted my life positively. BIGGGGGG-UPS!!!!! U GUYZ ROCK.

I look forward to a great working relationship for many years to come.”

Botha Swarts
Head of Communications - loveLife
"Just want to express my appreciation about the way Underdog is conducting business with us. It’s refreshing to deal with a company that delivers to us what we pay for and does this in a pleasant , professional manner."

Walter Hauser
Owner - Comfort Creations and VIA LA MODA

“Wow I am impressed thank you so much for your innovation and quick response highly appreciated.”

Marliza Valkenburg
Client Service for Email Connection
End Client: Standard Bank Fleet

“Have to share this with you – I have just received a call from a guest who wanted to know who has done our web. Said it was absolutely lovely!!!!!!!”

Vida Basson
Londolozi Private Game Reserve

“As we approach the holiday season and the end of 2007, I just wanted to write this letter of appreciation to Underdog for your commitment, dedication and work this year in maintaining and managing our websites – www.broadcasthivafrica.org and www.itbeginswithyou.org.

Your reliability and responsiveness to our needs and requirements cannot be overstated. Over the year, the traffic to the websites has steadily grown and this is due in no small measure to the design and attractiveness of the websites. We truly recognize the dedication and creativity of Underdog staff and the valuable role you play in all our efforts in reaching for an HIV-free generation. We look forward to a productive 2008.”

Michael Sinclair, PhD
Senior Vice President
The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation - Washington

“It is ALWAYS a delight to work with Underdog – “The Shoprite Checkers SABC2 Woman of the Year Awards” has for the past four years, commissioned Underdog to produce the sponsor inserts, finalist profiles and promos. Their professionalism is superb, their creativity innovative, and the standard of delivery and expertise is exceptional. The Awards have truly been enhanced by Underdog’s contribution.

On the strength of this execution, Underdog continued to amaze us with beautiful touching stories about the Community Builder of the Year Finalists. Underdog is all about great teamwork, hiring the right people and doing it with passion!”

Lynn Chasan
Producer: SABC 2 Special Events

“Just a brief note to you and the team at Underdog to express my deep appreciation for everything you did to make Woman of the Year a success. The inserts this year were beautifully crafted and told the various women’s stories with elegant simplicity. Congratulations!”

Ed Worster
SABC 2 Programme Manager

“You are the best!”

Eno Isong
The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation - Washington

“Thank you for doing such a great job with our finalists. We really do appreciate it.”

Wendy Vester
Client Liaison Officer
Communications and Marketing Directorate
Department of Social Development
(Community Builder of the Year 2008)

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for making the 27th of October a successful day.[…] I thank you all for your hard work, we are very proud of you guys, keep up the good work. May God bless you in whatever your hearts desires.”

Bongani Diko
Ikhaya Theatre Company
Finalist – Community Builder of the Year 2008

“[…] I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part and creating one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”

“[…] Thank you to the wonderful Underdog team, […] for sharing my workplace for a day, the passion that has gone into it and the beautiful clip that was produced to reflect the essence of my business so well .It made my staff so proud to be part of Keedo. Thank you too for the DVD’s so beautifully packaged. I treasure it.”

Nelia Schutte
Keedo Kids Clothing
Finalist – Woman of the Year 2008

“I would like to say a particular thanks to Underdog Productions who managed their task so efficiently and professionally and who showed a great sensitivity to those they were working with.”

Prof. Claire Penn
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology
University of the Witwatersrand
Finalist – Woman of the Year 2008

“Just a short note to thank you and the entire team from Underdog for all your effort and hard work - and to congratulate you on the brilliant footage you put together and in particular, for the patience you had with me. […] I realise that it must have been a bit of a nightmare for some of the team as I realise that motorsport is not exactly everyone's favourite sport, but you guys really did a brilliant job.

It really was great meeting all of you and I am keeping your business card and will definitely contact you when Motorsport S.A. (MSA) needs some coverage.”

Beulah Schoeman
MD – Motor Sport South Africa
Finalist – Woman of the Year 2007

“Thank you so much for […] all the hard work that you are doing to make the shoot the success we know it will be. […] Look forward to seeing the end result and thanks again to the Underdog Team for "trying harder".

Bronwen Shaw
Avis - Marketing Services Manager


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