Posts Tagged: advertising

NBCs Share the Joy: The Wiz and Reddi-Wip

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

HoMEGRoWN: Romancing the Bean

Special thanks to Kerry Krull for hosting the HoMEGRoWN exhibit at Romancing the Bean. You can check it out at 3413 W. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505

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In her honor, we begin sharing the individual small business stories, environmental portraits and conceptual commercial photos there.

When we first moved to Burbank, Romancing the Bean was a small shop on Magnolia. Kerry’s loyal clientele, fueled by great coffee, atmosphere and customer service, prompted her to open a larger shop in the media district. When the rent became too high, we were afraid we’d lost this Burbank staple. Lucky for old and new comers, Kerry has revived the place on Magnolia in an airy and welcoming space sure to keep the lines long.

I was honored when she agreed to be a part of the project, even if she didn’t exactly know what she was getting into.

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This conceptual image was one of the fastest to come to me… how else to describe Romancing the Bean, than with a couple spooning in a bed of coffee beans?

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PHOTOGRAPHER:  Jen Serena, Serena Creative

MODELS:  Elle Jane Hounsell &  Chris Pavlik

HAIR & MAKEUP:  Alexandria Storm & Miss Cassanova

WARDROBE STYLING:  Drelyn, Beyond Image

CONCEPT & SET STYLING:  Jen Serena

Learn more about the HoMEGRoWN project here.

HoMEGRoWN: Juxtaposing intimate portraits of 11 small business owners and conceptual, commercial images of their product or service, local photographer Jen Serena shares her view of Burbank with a nod to its creative role in the big picture.