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:30 Animation Color Samples Social Storyboarding Synergy Uncategorized VFX

Dove and Twitter #SpeakBeautiful

It’s a brave new world out there folks… a brave new social media world, full of funny cat videos and epic fails.  It’s a force for good AND evil, as we’ve all experienced, no doubt.  A double-edged sword, if you will.  You can say anything to anyone and everyone, practically anonymously, and lets just say, some of us are abusing the privilege.

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On the social media network known as Twitter, the web is a curated place and everyone’s a critic.  Dissenting opinions can be found about everything under the sun- even glamorous televised events like The Academy Awards.  It’s common, apparently, for people to live-tweet these kinds of shows and talk doody about the appearance of whatever celebrity happens to be on TV at the moment, or, negatively compare themselves with said celebrity.

Every single tweet has the possibility of causing a rampant internet meme, or unstoppable viral hashtag, or self-replicating social media germ.  As humans, we generally sort of assume that when we see something happen, and nobody calls it out as bad, then it must be acceptable behavior.  As such, we might repeat it ourselves and thus pass it along, and reinforce it’s power.  So its easy for the negativity to get out of hand.

As a countervailing force, the megabrand Dove and social media platform Twitter have kinda partnered up to encourage Twitter users to tweet nicely in regards to each others’ appearances.  No need for snarky hashtags like #uglybutt or #nicedressNOT.  Replace them with #SpeakBeautiful and we’ll all pass along the good vibes and help shore up some corporate branding while we’re at it.  Nothing wrong with that.dove1a_web_0012_Layer 13

To introduce this #SpeakBeautiful message, Dove and Twitter used a commercial, and I storyboarded it.  In this spot, we see a negative tweet, and then we corkscrew out to reveal that it is printed on a domino, and further reveal that a long line of dominoes is behind it.  A negative chain reaction is pending… but a POSITIVE tweet comes out of the blue and sets it in motion.  From there, the dominoes fall along a different path, a positive one, and from a nice overhead resolve, we see the fallen dominoes spell out “#SpeakBeautiful.”  Here’s the boards:


I’m overwhelmed with all the feels, man.  Real feels.  Here’s the final spot- click the pic and it’ll open a new window to check out, and you might have to scroll down a bit to find it- I can’t imbed the video, as it’s not available on youtube (its a Twitter campaign).

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My boards look pretty close, the biggest differences being the more simplistic arrangement of the overall domino setup in the final spot.  And I feel like the stainless steel flooring is a little bright, and makes the hashtag hard to read at the end.  They changed the color of the positive tweet; we used a bright pink in my version.  Makes sense, since blue is a Twitter color.  And my version contained some optional angles that weren’t used in the final- no problem, there’s never enough time to show all the interesting angles anyway.

One remarkable thing about this project was the mountainous levels of approval it had to summit to be produced- it had to meet the approval of the Director, the Producers, the Creative Agency, executives at Dove, Twitter, the Academy, and the Broadcast Network.  Wow!  Anyone along that path could have nixed it.  But, conceptually, the idea was strong, the goal laudable, the storyboard flawless.  When something positive comes your way, you pass it along 🙂

That reminds me, I’m actually on twitter, and it’s a good way to stay in touch with my latest project updates and network with other talented artists.  So, follow me if you like: @max_forward.

Thanks!  See ya next week.


:30 Animation Color Drink Food Humor Internet iOS/Mobile Males Mobile Pitch Boards Products Samples Shoot Boards Software Storyboarding VFX

Taco Bell commercial pitch- Rubik’s Cube

Here’s some storyboards I did for a pitch for a recent Taco Bell spot.

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The premise is, you can use an app to order whatever kind of taco bell food item you want, encouraging you to try new items and new combinations.  It’s like having a Taco Bell Rubik’s cube!

And here’s the final commercial.

The interesting this is, we didn’t get the job- another production company (who is also a client, but not on this job) was awarded the work.  Nevertheless, you can see how close my boards are to the final work- just a natural side effect of the clear, concise nature of the project, with the “winning” idea being somewhat obvious.   I wonder what their storyboards looked like?   Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

:60 Animation Color Uncategorized VFX

“What is Smart?” Vizio

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So this was a great project to be a part of.  The producer at Mirada knew me from my time at Brand New School and recommended me for the storyboards on this spot- :60 commercial introducing the “Smart” TV from Vizio.  This was another one of those “come up with something nobody’s ever seen before” projects that usually make you want to stick your head in the microwave.  This time, though, I was up for the challenge, as I had just finished storyboarding this Brain Games spot and thus my mind had been primed for some mental heavy lifting.

Conceptually, the spot was simple:  We move through fields of colorful pixels floating in a void, and within each field is an icon of creativity and humanity.   Nice, but how do you storyboard that?  Clearly, typical black-on-white line art is not going to cut it.  No, instead the script called for millions (seemingly) of points of vibrant color on a dark background.  I had to rely on some rarely-used Painter brush settings and paper textures to achieve the pixelated look, but before long we had established a quickly-executed visual language that had the client excited and from there it was just a matter of specifying the camera moves and transitions.

Luckily, since we were basically dealing with globular star clusters of pixels as the subjects, we didn’t have to be constrained to traditional/rational sense of up, down, left, right, big, small, or whatever.  There was a lot of freedom with the camera moves and in the end it resembled a free-floating feeling akin to what you might see in a film like Gravity.

Here’s the boards.

Probably the trickiest thing was getting a good sense of the anamorphic imagery reveals within the pixel clusters.  Anamorphic images are pictures that are “out of shape” until you look at them at just the right angle, and then you are delighted because you have sort of “solved the visual puzzle.”  So for these board transitions I had to draw frames that showed seemingly random fields of pixels, and then fields of pixels that seemed to be coalescing into something that might resemble something familiar, and then the perfectly aligned image made of pixels, and then the reverse of that process as we transition to the next pixel field.  It was really fun challenge to basically come up with optical illusions to keep the audience interested.  Below is the final spot.

:30 Campy Color Family Females Humor Males Money Samples Storyboarding

Visa “Nuts-ish”


It’s what happens when you get a new Visa card.  You go a little “nuts-ish”.  You’ve got all this newfound spending power, and your imagination goes kinda nuts, to the point that your living room is transformed into a playden of impulse purchases.  You’re camping in the woods with your buddy, backpacking in the Himalayas on an alpaca, taking rock climbing classes from Hans, eating a million hamburgers, and canoeing the colorado river… poof!  Your wife shatters  your dreams, as usual- to make room for Hans the lifeguard.   The Visa spending meter (on the right side of the screen) allowed your wife to monitor your insane purchases and nix them before they got out of control.  Too bad… those scuba diving classes looked promising.  Here’s the full sequence:

So was is a day’s work.  The loose color was by request of the director- it helped play up the comedy and perhaps the drawings read better for it.  But in order to make time for that, I had to compromise the drawing detail.  Overall I think it works very well.

You’ll notice I used a few arrows in this spot.  Generally I use as few arrows as possible- they are often used as a crutch by artists who are unable to convey a sense of natural movement in their drawings.  In this case, the movements are wholly unnatural- as the canoe and waves slide in from the sides in a campy fashion.  So, they are warranted here.

Wish I had a link to the final video. Sadly, I suspect the project was killed shortly after these boards were completed.

Merry Xmas, and Happy New Year.

:30 Animals Animation Cartoons Color Females Humor Medicine Skating VFX

BENGAY Storyboards


Here’s some storyboards I did a few years back- 2011 or thereabouts.  Very humorous story- we see a young woman suffering from a sports injury apply a little BENGAY to the site of the pain- and we zoom in and provide a visual explanation of how the product works to cool and numb the affliction:  millions of tiny snowmen bombard the sore muscles and knead them to relaxation, as a yeti ice-skates majestically and judges the ice-sculpting competition being held at an arctic research facility.  That’s cold!

You’ll notice there’s a spot of color in these boards- that’s not something I’m usually asked to do, but sometimes it helps the boards read a bit better with these far-out concepts.  Obviously, I didn’t have much time at all to color them, but did my best in the brief window they provided.

This was a cool project because of all the various artists that got involved to contribute ideas for character and set designs- I was involved very early in the process, and you can tell from the final product that a lot of work went into developing the animation and design work.  See the final video below!

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:30 Animation Color Drink Food Samples Storyboarding

Sparkling Ice


So if you’re in LA, you’ve probably noticed these Sparkling Ice billboards going up everywhere- I know I see three of them when I commute to the west side.

You might have also seen their TV spot as well!  Well, I storyboarded it.  First, take a look at the video, and then I’ll discuss.

Its just a fun, bubbly animation set to music, with creative transitions take us from one refreshing flavor to the next.  Conceptually, very simple.  But execution is key.  For spots like this, you have to really elaborate the storyboards, because “key frames” won’t cut it.  Luckily, I very much appreciate the challenge of animation and, also luckily, I had a wealth of previously developed concept art and style frames that I could look to for inspiration.  Check it out!

All those little bubbles just flow from the custom made “bubble” brushes I designed, to save time.  In storyboarding, you pretty much have to rely on every shortcut you have available.  And the lovely color is really just a photo filter I added after the fact.  With those technical hurdles cleared, it was easy to experiment with various compositions and choreography- it’s a dancing bubble after all.  I’m a fan of the original Fantasia and this project had a lot of parallels – and so I just had fun with it.  I watched a bit of the Pink Elephants sequence from Dumbo for inspiration as well.  AMAZING movie, btw.

You might have noticed that the final version of the spot differs a little bit from my boards.  Hey, it happens.  But I don’t mind. That’s an important bit of feedback that often gets overlooked.  I’ll talk a little bit about that in a future post.




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