Posts in Category: commercial

Kevin Can Wait

Ric headed to NYC to co-direct the Kevin James’ spots for CBS’s Kevin Can Wait featuring former character Doug interacting with the “new” Kevin. Good stuff.








Directed by Ric Serena & Andy Fickman Client/Agency: CBS On-Air Promotions CBS Creative Directors: Matt Hernandez, Chris Cranner & Ron Mulligan Producer: Romi Laine Director of Photography: David Waterston Art Director: Niamh Byrne First AD: Christopher Bicknell Production Company: Moving Parts, Inc. Editor: Ric Serena, Serena Creative Compositing & Rotoscoping – Susan Yoon

Nickelodeon: Danger & Thunder

Check out Ric’s latest directing gig for Nickelodeon: a promo for the cross-over shows between Henry Danger and The Thunderman’s.

Perfect mix of polish and fun.


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Directed by Ric Serena

Nickelodeon’s Danger & Thunder


PS: As an added bonus, I was asked to grab BTS of the day. Good times watching Ric work.




Behind the Scenes with Pretty Little Liars

It was such a blast to be on set for Day 2 of Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars key art shoot.

An incredible team photographing these beautiful ladies… how could you go wrong? I spend quote a bit of time for my regular shoots in post, so it’s rather refreshing to just pull these straight outta Lightroom.

A few of my favorite BTS shots of the day…

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    Pretty Little Liars BTS by Jen Serena
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    Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
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    Shay Mitchell - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
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    Shay Mitchell - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Troian Bellisario - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Troian Bellisario - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Troian Bellisario - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Troian Bellisario - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
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  • Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Troian Bellisario - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Troian Bellisario - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Ashley Benson - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
  • Shay Mitchell - PLL BTS by Jen Serena
    Shay Mitchell - PLL BTS by Jen Serena


CBS ACM Awards promo directed and shot by Ric Serena





Ric’s unique talents as both Director and DP were put to use creating fun, driving promos for CBS’ airing of the ACM Awards. I think the following BTS shot (by Cliff Lipson) beautifully illustrates his ability to engage with the talent, (Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley) even while juggling two roles and a setting sun on set in the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas.





Director’s cut for CBS and the Academy of Country Music Awards. The spot features hosts, Luke Bryan & Dierks Bentley. Client: CBS Promo Produced by Moving Parts, Inc. Music courtesy of Emoto Music, Santa Monica First AC: Ian Barbella Color Grading by Sparkle Shot on Red EPIC with Zeiss CP2 lenses Location: Las Vegas Neon Sign Museum Director/DP: Ric Serena

Brand Update: photography, website and graphics

Julie was approaching her 10-year anniversary and wanted her visuals to reflect the modern, tech-savvy clientele she’s recruiting. It’s not often that I get to create/update a brand identity with design and visuals, so I jumped at the opportunity.

We systematically upgraded her logo, website, social media channels and print materials to reflect her bold, clean, professional but personalized style. We blocked out a day to shoot 5 different setups as well as city backplates to incorporate quotes for a cohesive, bold look.


  • BES Website by Jen Serena
    BES Website by Jen Serena
  • BES Website by Jen Serena
    BES Website by Jen Serena
  • BES Design by Jen Serena
    BES Design by Jen Serena





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  • Julie Ballard-Lebe by Jen Serena
    Julie Ballard-Lebe by Jen Serena
  • Julie Ballard-Lebe by Jen Serena
    Julie Ballard-Lebe by Jen Serena
  • Julie Ballard-Lebe by Jen Serena
    Julie Ballard-Lebe by Jen Serena



Composer: Gray Bashew

Collaboration with musician/composer Gray Bashew.

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BEHIND THE SCENES note: I built the prism out of 3 small mirrors so we could visualize the complexity/multiplicity of the composer’s process. (And it looks pretty rad too.)



Will Work for Food


We’ve enjoyed many celebratory beers and tasty lunches at Tony’s Darts Away.

But one of the unexpected bonuses of setting up shop right next to your favorite bar (besides the obvious) is getting to know their amazing staff.

Their award-winning chef, Caroline, needed a professional portrait / headshot that she could use for publicity and personal work, so of course I was excited when she asked me to take them.

We wanted to keep it stylized but simple – to reflect her openly friendly, no-nonsense personality, and the tasty cuisine featuring simple elements that combine for an amazing meal.


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The first setup (natural light with strobe fill) was shot in our back area and features the wood fence that separates our two properties. The second, brings in texture and depth. No hair and makeup, just fresh – like Caroline, and her food.

We had so much fun, I asked if I could follow her around the kitchen for an hour, so we could share some of her amazing food in photos as well. My first foray into food photography, my main job was to stay out of her way. (easier said than done in the tiny galley kitchen.) The results showcase some of her culinary skills in the unexpected environment of a local bar. And my mouth waters just looking at the food.

They do it right at Tony’s, as many of us can attest to… from craft California beers to vegan food options.. you’ll find lots to love there. Plus, they have the BEST CHEF OF BURBANK working hard for you.

(And don’t forget to give a shout of thanks to Caroline when that delicious meal is served! )


Read more about Caroline in this LA Times article.


NBCs Share the Joy: The Wiz and Reddi-Wip


A few years ago, NBC took a big risk with their live broadcast of the musical, Sound of Music, featuring Carrie Underwood. The gamble paid off with record numbers that justified a follow-up broadcast of Peter Pan and most recently, The Wiz, featuring Queen Latifah, David Allan Grier and Shanice Williams. For the most recent musical, Reddi-Wip came on board as the only presenting sponsor for the broadcast event. One of the branded spots NBC’s Creative Partnerships set out to produce was a documentary-style piece focused on a public school benefit concert aimed at raising money for the arts. The concert, made up of 30 students from around the Washington, DC area, featured music from The Wiz.

This was not my first job with the NBC Creative Partnerships team. Over the past two years, I’ve directed branded spots for The Voice & Sprint as well as Parenthood & Lowes; however, it was my first time working with Creative Director, Joseph Kanellitsas. After a couple initial meetings & calls, we easily agreed on the look and began zeroing in on the approach for the piece. The biggest challenges were 1) documenting the preparation and performance of an event as it was happening, and 2) incorporating the product in a way that felt authentic and did not trump the true heroes of the spot, the kids and the staff that helped provide this opportunity.

Weeks before we were scheduled to document the event, Project Manager, Mallory Norton and I had a call with Sherion & Shawn Cosby, a mother-daughter team who worked with hundreds of children at multiple schools in the area, providing the extracurricular opportunity to learn musical theater. The call put any concerns I had at rest. Their energy & passion let me know they would be great on-camera, serving as the thread of the piece.

From there, Moving Parts, Inc. Producer, Warren Farnes, began putting together the pieces to make for a smooth shoot. As is often the case with travel jobs, we hire mostly local crew; however, I was able to bring Director of Photography, Byron Shah (with whom I’d shot previous jobs for Esquire Network as well as NBC Sports’ behind-the-scenes for the NFL Sunday Night Football open with Carrie Underwood. What I love about Bryon’s approach is his ability to be a minimalist when necessary. We had a lot to shoot in one day and in multiple spaces throughout the school, so it was necessary to limit how much we were lighting the space. Byron and I both tend to use that limitation as a challenge and seek out the most cinematic ways of capturing a given moment.

There were, of course, instances where extensive lighting was absolutely crucial, and we focused our crew hours on those scenes. The biggest example was the stage performance. There weren’t enough lights on the stage to expose all the kids, so our plan was to have G&E spend the morning setting up a lighting grid above the drop ceiling and light the stage evenly with KinoFlos. While they were doing that, we spent our time capturing natural light scenarios throughout the rest of the school.

I had a great AD on the shoot with whom I shared a list of what was absolutely necessary for us to capture.Not just moments, but specific shots I wanted. But capturing a day as it happens also means you’ve got to be willing to adapt. He was able to keep me on schedule, roll with the punches and give me the freedom to change the game plan on the fly when necessary. I really value having a strong AD on set. There are times I have to do it for myself, so I feel like I have a solid understanding of what he/she is trying to accomplish in helping me make my day. However, releasing that responsibility to an AD allows me the opportunity to focus on the creative and be more present in the moment.

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The shoot went incredibly well. The kids were absolutely delightful to work with, and the crew moved so efficiently that I walked away knowing we had the makings of a great spot. I was fortunate to be asked to cut this spot as well, which is very helpful in a shoot like this… I knew exactly where all the moments were because I was there.

I’m very proud of how the spot turned out.


The Huffington Post wrote:

The primary advertisers for “The Wiz,” Reddi-wip, is using the format to its advantage by featuring students from the Excel Academy Public Charter School in Hyattsville, Maryland, a public school for girls, taking a crack at a tune from “The Wiz” that appears in a segment that precedes their spot. The tie-in is flawless, the press has taken notice, and this live musical formal could ultimately become a “Super Bowl” of sorts for the client. Future sponsors could use this to their advantage.

As always, this is the result of the contribution of many. I’m grateful to work with a solid team that provides the resources necessary to tell the story as I see it.




MANMADE: craftsmen on Esquire

I’m not gonna lie… my husband is a REALLY talented guy.
His lifestyle pieces go beyond honest and thoughtful; they make you want to be there.
It probably stems from from the fact that he truly cares about his subjects (whether it’s a person, a product or a place) and will spend countless hours figuring out the best ways to tell their story (on budget and in time) in a unique way.

That’s why I was thrilled (and thought him the obvious choice) to be tapped as Director for Esquire Network’s MANMADE pieces.

Sharing other artisans’ stories… it’s obviously his passion as he’s created several award-winning shorts as personal projects. Check out his Ahrtuh-zen pieces: Dave Lefner and Jeremy Thomas where he explores the process behind their art and CZAPPA: a discussion about what it takes for one man to be an artist. In each of these pieces, like in MANMADE, the artist and their work helps dictate the story. Layering stills to show linocut in Lefner, using the deliberate pacing of the artisan and his craft in Thomas, and building stop motion segments to honor the builder in CZAPPA.

True, the MANMADE spots were different as each piece had to meet client needs as well as tell the story, but that’s also what makes them so great. To create compelling, creative stories in a quick, commercial environment, now that’s special. Ric is able to help these artisans share their craft and present them all in unique ways – just like the artists they’re portraying.

I know I’m biased. I not only get to see the beautiful end product, but also all the time, care and expertise Ric puts into each project – for the client, the subjects, and the creative team working with him.

…and maybe it’s just me, but I think it shows.

MANMADE: RISING SUN: Brought to you by Esquire Network & Samuel Adams, this sixty second on-air spot features Mike Hodis, owner and designer of Rising Sun & Co, as he discusses the importance of craftsmanship.


MANMADE: DEUS: Brought to you by Esquire Network & Samuel Adams, this sixty second on-air spot features Michael Woolaway, Design Director at Deus Ex Machina, as he discusses the importance of craftsmanship.


MANMADE: WHYRHYMER: Brought to you by Esquire Network & Samuel Adams, this sixty second on-air spot features designer & woodworker, Brandon Morrison, as he discusses the importance of craftsmanship.



Presented by Sam Adams & Esquire Network, these sixty second on-air spots features Michael Woolaway, Design Director at Deus Ex Machina, Mike Hodis, Owner and Designer at Rising Sun Denim and Brandon Morrison, Owner and Craftsman at Whyhymer Furniture, as they discuss the importance of craftsmanship.
Directed by Ric Serena
Creative Director/Writer – Patrick Condo
Produced by Moving Parts, Inc.
Producer: Brett Marx
Director of Photography: Chuck Ozeas
Edited by Jack Douglas (Rising Sun & Wyhymer) & Ric Serena (Deus)
Post Production Sound Mix by John Kelly
Titles by Chris Arens
Location Sound: Durand Trench



I SCREAM for ice cream: photography campaign


“I SCREAM” was created for a Quenelle, a boutique ice cream shop that has been expanding their presence with new locations – and thanks to the quality of their product – has limited marketing efforts.

This creative commercial photography campaign would give them a high-end polished look worthy of their product, infused with the delight that ice cream brings. We were ultimately able to create a campaign over many different mediums from one half-day shoot. A delicious success!


THE SHOOT: We invited Quenelle customers (and brought in a few select models to round out the diversity) to join us for a day of screams and smiles in front of the camera. It was an infectious day of fun – and we added the element of animated GIFs to the setups to 1) expand the marketing usage and 2) increase the “fun” of the piece. The great side effect was that it helped the non-models feel instantly more comfortable as they had an action to complete.

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We felt the GIFs captured the energy so well, that we used them to animate the main tiled images, which was an added benefit as so many of the shots were worthy of publishing, we needed 3 groupings to accomplish it.









ON THE TECH SIDE: In order to quickly accommodate 32 people of varying ages and group sizes, we shot on white sic – enabling me to manipulate the color schemes more quickly in post for each setup.

THANKS: Huge props to Producer Pam Elliott for seamlessly scheduling model and non-model alike, and keeping the atmosphere fun and friendly. Thanks also to our intern Trevor Dalton and to Ric Serena who assisted on set, ran B camera grabbing some video footage of the fun, and were both forced to eat a few servings of ice cream as well. Kudos to Bobby Lory who quickly drew the Quenelle logo so that all participants could leave their mark .

And it couldn’t have been possible without Quenelle, the models and John, who hand-scooped each artistic serving.

A delicious day!