Click to watch Pringles
Click to watch Ted Baker
Writer - Brian Engleman
Cast: Kenna Roubicek, Talitha Hanks, Naomi Winders
Director: Kade Atwood
1st AD: Garet Allen
DP: Sam Sargeant
Production Designer: Cassie Powell
Script Supervisor: Lucie Riddell
Gaffer: Robert Chuck
Key Grip: Josh Miller
Best Boy: Steve Butler
Grip: Zhiyang Tsai
1st AC: Ryan Nordgran
Audio Mixer: Ike Flitcraft
Colorist: Keyhan Bayegan
Writer: Dan Sorgen
Cast: Arvin Mitchell, Megan Rico
Director: Kade Atwood
DP: Josh Miller
Gaffer: Zhiyang Tsai
Key Grip: Vincent Pelina
Production Designer: Megan Rico
Why this script/concept? How does it reflect your vision as a commercial director?
I like to find comedy in unexpected places. A lot of spots today go for the obvious or safe option. These scripts stood out to me because they’re not a “typical” ad. Who would think to make a Pringles spot in an operating room or a fashion brand at a funeral? For me, those are the types of ads I remember because they do the unexpected.
What was the casting process like?
Most of the cast I already work with on a sketch comedy show, Studio C. Kenna and Talitha were recommended by the other cast members. Casting is such a crucial piece and I was lucky to have access to an extremely talented pool of comedians. They brought so much life to the roles and a lot of what you see was improvised.
How did you search for/lock a location?
Google maps! I wasn’t too picky on what they needed to look like because we did a lot of set dec. Rigging the 40 feet of sheers in the background of the funeral spot occupied the entire crew for almost an hour. It ate up a lot of our schedule but looking at the shot, it was totally worth it. It’s amazing how a little set dec can transform an otherwise empty space.
How did you select your DP, crew?
These are people I’ve been working with for a very long time. Sam gave me my first ever role on a film set back in college and now he’s my go to DP. I’m picky when it comes to finding collaborators. My crew isn’t just talented at their job. They’re my close friends who I can spend all day with… because I am in fact spending all day with them! Their positive attitudes mean everything to the production, it’s the foundation of a successful spot.
How did shooting go? Any challenges?
The Funeral was one of three spots we shot in two days. It was difficult to keep track of everything at times. But our prep work was very thorough and I’m happy to say we made our days!
Pringles was a standalone shoot, making it much easier to coordinate. My main concern was the schedule. We had the actors for a very short time frame without a minute to spare. A couple problems came up along the way but we were able to make up time later and finish on schedule!
Tell us about editing and finishing.
Editing took a while. Not because of the cuts but because of the tag. The Funeral spot was originally an ad for shoes. On set we found out the bottom part of the coffin didn’t open, killing the original branding. I thought the spot was ruined because it didn’t tie into a specific product. Luckily that’s when we learned about X4Y and realized the general branding increased the amount of companies the spot could be purchased by.
In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?
In the Funeral, there’s a cut from a medium wide to a medium. We couldn’t adjust the angle as much as I would hav liked so it feels like a jump cut. The solution was to have an extra cross frame to cover the cut. But we only had one extra and she was part of the beginning, to help us get into the scene. In post we cut that beginning segment and I should have changed her blocking on set.
Any other thoughts.
It’s great that Spec Bank has created a place for directors and copywriters to create work that would otherwise remain on a page. It’s equally exciting to see the emergence of X4Y and be able to produce spec work with a greater chance of selling it.
There remains a huge barrier of entry to the commercial production industry. I’ve been fortunate enough to have jobs that allow me the time and financial stability to create spec work. I imagine for every director like myself there are many others that don’t have that privilege. The ability to direct is not correlated to the amount of money you have in your bank account. I hope to see agencies and production companies begin to form programs that allow unestablished, underprivileged director’s the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.