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:60 B&W Cars Celebrities Hip Males Samples Shoot Boards Storyboarding Uncategorized

Proactiv+ Commercials

Man, pimples suck!  I still get pimples now and again, and I certainly had my fair share in high school.  Maybe it was all the soda and doritos and taco bell… nah….

Enter Proactiv+.  It’s the skin clarifying formula we’ve all been waiting for!  And it’s endorsed by mega-artist Adam Levine, among others.

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So this was a fun but stressful job to work on- my task was to create shooting boards that would inform the crew of the various ideas for options of angles to shoot the talent, aka Mr. Levine.  These boards were very much location specific- as in, they were shooting at his house, within a 3 hour window, and they had to be prepared for anything.  Nobody could really know exactly what shots they would use, as the whole concept of the piece was to shoot it fairly candid/documentary style.  That means, you have a couple cameras going and you shoot everything, and edit it down to something that looks natural and relatable.

So, I accompanied the crew on a Tech Scout to his house, to survey everything and get ideas.  I had my sketchbook out and sketched everything, just absorbing it all very quickly.  We had to be efficient with our time, out of respect to the talent.  I don’t really “talk” on these excursions, or offer my creative input- all the parameters and requirements of the task are already in place.  My job is to pay attention and take direction.

After that, I met again with the director and producer at the fancy Vista Del Mar hotel in Santa Monica to  go over the notes and make sure I had everything.  We brainstormed a few more ideas, as I could offer input at this stage.  To do so earlier could risk undermining the director’s vision in front of the crew.  We tacked on a few more shot ideas and I took the work home.  I probably put in a good 8 hours that night, and the final boards were approved the following morning, pending a couple small tweaks.

Conceptually, the shoot was simple- my boards needed to show various angles of Adam talking to camera, with various expressions, and then show many different options for B-Roll- shots that they edit with voiceover, that depict the talent being down to earth, and doing relatable stuff; like playing with his dogs, or jammin’ on his guitar.  Here’s the boards:

Trickiest part of this job was the getting his likeness within tolerance- I probably could have done better but luckily the expectations for shoot board drawings are pretty low.  Still, the talent might see them, so I couldn’t totally slack on it.  I think they look pretty good given the time constraints.

Oh, you want to see the final spot?  Here you go:

Looks pretty good!  See you next week.

:30 Action Animals B&W Cars Males Nature Shoot Boards Sport Storyboarding Tools Uncategorized Vehicles

John Deere : Gator – Storyboards

You’re a manly man, and you need a manly ATV to help with all your manly tasks.  John Deere’s Gator is for you.

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I worked on this project late in 2013 as I was moving into my house- I remember that time vividly as it was extremely cold in my workshed studio and I didn’t even have internet access hooked up yet, so I was completely focused on the work at hand.

This project was 3 spots, :30 each.  That’s a lot of work.  But when projects are grouped together like this, I tend to work at greater efficiency, and get more frames done per day than I normally might if say, I was working on three unrelated spots.

What else…  I found the ATV’s very forgiving to draw, on account of their boxy-wireframeish design- not like say, a corvette, which has complex curves and an iconic silhouette.  And drawing landscape/wilderness backgrounds are pretty forgiving as well, since you don’t have to worry about perspective as much, and the locations can be much more vague.  You can see how I simplify my forests in the background using broad strokes, and even instill a sense of speed into the shot, using strokes that not only describe the product but also its kinetics.

This client (the director) always does a great job of writing detailed shot lists and describing the camera angles and compositions, and even specifies the focal lengths, which I strive to achieve in my storyboards, and the result is a very cinematic feel that most commercial boards wouldn’t quite have.  I really appreciate it when the directors I work with are passionate about the shots and the visual storytelling, and recognize the storyboarding process as an important step in realizing their vision.  The more precise they can describe what they need, the better the boards will be.

Below, you’ll find the storyboard frames alternating with the final commercial videos, for all 3 spots.  Enjoy!




That’s it!  See ya next time.

:30 Action B&W Cars Males Samples Storyboarding Uncategorized Vehicles

Corvette Stingray Storyboards – “Machine”


I love doing car commercials- I feel like I draw cars well, and quickly.  Well, my speed was put to the test when I was called to board this commercial.

These are “shoot boards,” meaning these are the last draft of the storyboards before shooting starts. Often they are hurried, and rough, because at the last minute, things have changed, and boards must be revised ASAP.  I think this is the hardest job in the storyboarding field, because the director (whom you must confer with closely in order to make the boards accurate) is often unavailable, or sharing time with others, and is extremely stressed even when around.  And you are coordinating with other production designers and wardrobe and casting and location scouts so that everything looks right.  And you have producers that need an exact ETA on when you will have them done, because you are holding up the printing of the production book, of which storyboards make up an incredibly important part.

Most of what I just described doesn’t really apply to this commercial.  It was just me and two directors trying to come up with shots.  But they needed a LOT, and I only had 8 hours.  So it was fortunate that I have a pretty flexible style in terms of being able to draw very detailed and refined when needed, and also being able to create rough drawings quickly that still look good.

Looking at the final spot, it appears that not all the shots we devised were needed, which was not surprising.

This was my first look at this new Corvette, and I must say, I want one!

:30 Action B&W Cars Kids Toys Uncategorized Vehicles

Defiants 4×4

Having worked on both, I never cease to marvel at how car commercials are strikingly similar to toy car commercials.  They seem to need all the same kinds of shots, and both refer to each other, because many toy cars are sold on their “realism” and many cars are marketed to adults craving fun and excitement, and a return to childhood ambitions.  And of course, learning to draw toy cars helps with drawing real cars, and vice versa.

Defiants1_0004_Layer 5So I always have a lot of fun no matter what size the car.  And these Defiants 4×4’s pack a lot of car into a very small frame.  They’re tough.  They eat mud for breakfast and squish bugs for fun.  Only experienced stunt drivers, or 11-year-old boys can tame them.

The director on this spot, whom I’ve worked with regularly for 7 years now, gave me a mandate- use all my powers to make these cars larger-than-life.  That’s a challenge, considering the cars themselves are about an inch tall.  Here’s my boards.

And here is the final commercial!

:15 Animals B&W Cars Cartoons Humor Kids Storyboarding Uncategorized

Alamo: Meet the Getaways

Just a quick post today.  Here’s a campaign I worked on at Brand New School a few months back and has been recently been airing:  Alamo: Meet the Getaways.  You might have seen them!

And check out the other three spots here:

And here’s the storyboards!

So while the boards themselves were not challenging (very simple designs and setups) the very short time frame of the spots was very difficult to manage.  :15 is basically nothing and in reality you have to cut that in half to :07 because the client almost always wants a graphic lockup to dominate the screentime- as was the case in these spots, which always feature a preview of the revised Alamo deal-getting interface.  So its an incredible time constraint in which to be entertaining, and we had to focus on simplicity and speed.  If you’ve seen these spots before, I encourage you to re-watch them and maybe check out all that’s going on the backgrounds, we did our best to enrich them with as much visual interest as we could, without being too distracting.

I found this earlier commercial online- not to be cruel, but I think mine looks a lot better.

B&W Cars Humor Males Samples Sport Storyboarding Uncategorized Vehicles

Hockey meets Honda


Earlier this year I worked on a Honda commercial that featured hockey stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Corey Perry.  In the spot, the athletes leave the sports arena and head to their Honda Pilot.  Once inside, they are shocked to find hundreds of hats falling (as happens when an athlete scores a hat trick; 3 goals) on their car, out of nowhere.  They deduce that the fans approve of their choice in vehicle, as neither of them had scored a hat trick that night.  As a stinger, an octopus is the last to fall on their windshield, which apparently is some kind of inside joke.

Here’s the storyboards:

This was pretty straightforward.  I enjoy drawing athletes, due to the dynamic poses found in sports, but in this case it was more like drawing celebrities, since the drawings had to have a likeness, and that’s often challenging.  I also enjoy drawing cars because they look fairly impressive in my current rendering style.  I’ve had to draw the Honda Pilot on a few commercials, so I was familiar with the design.

But what was really interesting about this project was that I used Skype to communicate with the director.  Since it was a new client, it was very helpful to use the video chat function to get that personal connection and gain his trust.  And I also used the screen sharing technique to show the director my rough sketches as I was drawing them.  That was surprisingly helpful since he was able to give me instant feedback.  It can be stressful to have a director “looking over your shoulder” as you draw, but in the end it saves valuable time.  So thanks to these newfangled technologies we were able to work really well together.

So here’s the finished commercial.  The boards match pretty well, although I can see now that the director adjusted the angles to create a more voyeuristic/docu/candid feel.  They may have intended this to seem like a “viral” video…I didn’t know they wanted that, but now that I see it, it works for the spot.


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