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Here’s a fun spot I worked on earlier this year for my great clients at Mirada.  It’s a charming commercial for lemon-scent Pine Sol, and to provide a brief backstory: the agency had “tested” a wacky concept of small soldiers and ballerinas chanting “powerful clean” and “lemony fresh” as they jumped into a Pine Sol bottle.  And it tested well.  Like, CRAZY well.  So we were asked to put together a pitch on how we might take that concept and flush it out into a fun character animation spot.

The concept is super simple so all the nuance and storytelling is in the directing and camera angles, and really making sure the characters are on target and doing their thing, and so the success here would come down to the execution of the concept.  Aside from the storyboards, there were character designers and concept artists working as well, but we were working concurrently so I didn’t have any direct reference for what anything should look like, so I had to charge forward as best I could.

We actually did have an “angle” if you will- the director was very interested in attempting to channel some of the very popular Taylor Swift video for “Bad Blood,” as in, to make sure we charged the lemony fresh ballerinas with a kind of kick-ass spin.  Something different!  I thought it was a great twist, and you can see in the frames, especially in this one:

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Hardcore Freshness Ballerinas and Scrub Soldiers (complete with assault mops), in Pine Sol style, and miniaturized, in a typical household kitchen.  I could picture that pretty easy.  Here’s the boards:

 

The client apparently loved the boards, because they were not only awarded the job, but they ended up not needing me to revise any of the frames- which is a pretty awesome deal!  Here’s the finished spot:

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Not bad!  Looks like they did away with the “Bad Blood” references- we are back to cutesy ballerinas, but I think that might be a good move, given the overall timing.  Spot looks great.  And I’m glad they kept in the “lemon” parachutes- that was my idea!

See you next time.

Here’s a quick sweet little project I boarded a while back – one of those synergistic multi-product subtle mega-mercials masquerading as a network PSA – tips for a fun “date night!”

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Here, a couple starts out there morning routine as usual- but then in a moment of whimsy, it strikes them to spice things up a bit and go on an impromptu date night!  All with the help the Hallmark Channel’s suggestion of a “Date Night” jar of fun date activities, and of course, great products from Proctor and Gamble, like Crest toothpaste and Pantene hair spray.

They dress their best, pick from the date night jar, and the winner is: ‘Rent a Convertible and Buzz up the Coast for some Seafood!’  Sounds like fun!  Here’s the boards:

 

What I like most about these boards is the great way I pulled off a natural depiction of the “everyday couple.”  The first couple frames of the pair brushing their teeth, being casual/typical/routine, and then simultaneously coming to the same notion- “are you thinking what I’m thinking?”  Blowdrying their hair, picking out clothes, checking their makeup- it’s really important to be able to convincingly draw the normal, everyday stuff, and making it appealing, and I was lucky to have this practice.

I don’t know if they ever did make this commercial, so I don’t have the final vid to show you either way, but no biggie, it’s all about the boards anyway!  See you next time!

-Max

Here’s one I’ve had on ice a while now- an old pitch, that we didn’t get awarded, and thus I’ve not really been able to present, but enough time has passed that we can risk a look at my work, and hope nobody minds.  It was a rare “throw your best efforts and time at this project” kind of assignment, and I had 3 days to turn around some serious quality work- presentation quality board for a pitch on Duracell, for an anthem-style spot, something epic and inspiring and durable- something to remember.

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The creative concept for this project is a little abstract but also very effective- the engineering and precision that goes into Duracell batteries on the micro scale goes on to influence the engineering and precision on the macro scale further down the line.  Through juxtaposition of imagery, micro and macro, we see point by point comparisons of how the dedication of craft is passed through from creator to creator.  The narrative is driven visually so I encourage you to view the whole sequence and see if you can pick up on the intent.  I’m proud of this work and happy to show it to you, here’s the boards!

 

Hope you liked it!  On this project, the direction for whole spot was detailed out in dozens and dozens of vignette descriptions as provided by the creative director- shot by shot, and so I just did my very best to draw what was written.  It’s always amazing to me how talented directors can see the entire spot in their minds, and when partnered with a talented board artist, can really put together something special.   I loved this job, and what a shame it never got made.  Oh well, that’s how it goes!

Here’s a very fun spot I did a while back for Red Bull/Audi;  a little cross promotional effort to reinforce mutual branding and associations.  Basically, it’s a mini-documentary of an extreme sports spectacle: a never-before-seen coordinated group of stunts with multiple flight technologies being expertly demonstrated, and beautifully shot.

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This kind of event is more “captured” than executed according to shot list, so there’s some amount of looseness between what’s intended and final outcome- but I was able to help out by drawing up some nice presentation-style frames to help sell through the concept- and these shots were detailed very specifically by the director, who included great references for the planes, vehicles and locations.  That helps a lot in making the boards come through as intended and being the most helpful in terms of advancing the production.  I like that storyboards can be useful in a production like this, even though it’s also a known thing that on the day of the actual shoot, they’ll have to just roll with however things come out.  If you ask me, that’s the REAL stunt!  Ha!  Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot:

Very cool!  Thanks for checking in.

Max

Here’s a quick one today- sometimes I get contacted at the last minute to quickly sketch up a concept for a pitch, and it’s just a handful of frames to run by a client, and see what might stick.  That was the case for this project- and I don’t know enough of the context or concept to really even say what’s going on here- I guess its about transitioning from being a baseball fan when you are young, to carrying that tradition into adulthood, while still retaining that childlike sense of wonder for our national pastime.  How’s that sound?

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Joking aside, theres a lot of difficulty sometimes in my job when the director briefly describes the shot but provides no context, like “A kid is facing camera at homeplate, about to swing at a pitch, when suddenly the screen splits with a bolt of energy and he becomes a professional athlete”.  That’s nice, but how old is the kid?  Is he in a uniform? Is it just him or are there many kids on his team?  Are they at a stadium or neighborhood field?  What’s the time of day?  Right of left handed batter?  Is there a PRODUCT or BRAND that I should be featuring?  I don’t have the answers to these questions, all I have is the shot description, which is pretty darn vague!  No background knowledge to fill in the gaps- I don’t even know if this is a humorous spot, or inspirational, I just have to run with it.  Amazingly, according to the director, I always seem to nail it.  So I have my immense work experience to thank for that, I guess.  At the end of the day, I can always make an appealing drawing, and sometimes that’s enough.  And I do like how these drawings turned out, even though I can’t explain them fully.  Enjoy!

 

Looking back, I really like how I handled the ambiguity of detail in these shots- there’s just enough information to describe what’s happening, but really nothing is specified at all – minus the Angels team logo.  There’s plenty of room for the client to bring their limited imagination to help embellish the concept- I guess that’s why the director finds my work so useful!

And I have no clue if these where ever used in a production!  Many times I just miss the final outcome entirely, if there even is one.  That’s life in the major leagues, folks.

Face it.  You gotta work out, and you gotta look good doing it.  Reebok’s got you covered- as evidenced by this fun spot I did a while back.

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It’s beautifully shot (and storyboarded) and since it’s visually driven, it’s my favorite type of commercial.  These aren’t shoot boards, so it doesn’t match the final spot exactly, but they door capture the concept very well.  It’s speaks for itself and looks great, so lets check it out!  Here’s the boards:

 

The challenge with this spot was there wasn’t a full day to spend on it, so I had to kind of keep things loose, but it was also important to get a close approximation of a cinematic feel- and I think it worked out great!  Here’s the final spot!

Fun, fit and fashionable.  See you next time!

Thanks,

Max