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Xbox “Scorpio” Debut Trailer

Earlier this year I had a blast working with the good people at BLIND on their amazing project:  The Xbox “Scorpio” debut trailer.  This officially introduced the world to the Xbox One X, and it’s always an honor to be included on such high-profile assignments.  I’ve generously been given permission to show some of the storyboards I created for them- I think this is some of my best work!

Here’s a slideshow:

And here’s a link to the final video!

Thanks for checking in!

:30 Action Animation B&W Campy Cleaning Dancing Females Humor Males Pitch Boards Products Samples Storyboarding VFX War

Pine Sol Storyboards – “Powerful Clean, Lemony Fresh”

 

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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.

:30 B&W Cars Family Females Humor Males Pitch Boards Products Samples Storyboarding Synergy Vehicles

“Date Night” Storyboards

 

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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!”

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

:60 B&W Editorial Males Pitch Boards Products Samples Storyboarding Tech Uncategorized VFX

Duracell – Pitch Storyboards

 

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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.

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!

:30 Action B&W Family Males Pitch Boards Samples Sketch Sport Storyboarding

Angels Baseball – Storyboards

 

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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?

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.

:30 Action B&W Drink Females Hip Humor Males Nature Samples Sport Storyboarding Vehicles

Labatt Blue “Epic” Storyboards

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I had a good run a couple of years ago getting hired to draw storyboards for an ad campaign for Labatt Blue, a Canadian Beer brand.  They have a Bear character (just an actor in a bear suit) who is their Party Champion – a “Duff Man,” if you will- who shows up at opportune moments to take the party to the next level- and make it EPIC.

I think I’ve detailed before that I prefer commercials that don’t rely on dialogue or voiceover to convey the narrative- and so it is in these commercials that all the entertainment and message is contained the fun, active, silly visuals.  In this campaign, I was called to draw sexy girls, sports, action, humor, nature, and of course, beer.  It was very fun.


Spot 1 – “Wakeboard”

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Here’s the first spot!  For all the spots, we start on a great beer/branding lineup.  Always good to have some clear branding, but it comes at a cost- it clearly shows the viewer that they are watching a commercial, which is often something we’re called to make less obvious- but owning it upfront and then making a spectacular entertaining spot immediately follow is also a great strategy- either way, your mission is to keep them watching for what happens next.

We open tight on a lineup of the Labatt Blue beers, which are lifted from frame to reveal an awesome wide shot of a beautiful blue lake, and sport boat with wakeboarder coming right at camera- after a series of tight shots of boating and boarding, we reveal the Bear in a frozen epic moment superimposed with the message “Get Undomesticated”.  This is their slogan/call to action/mnemonic – a brand message to reinforce association and clarify intent- this beer is for wild and crazy Canadian party animals and the sexy girls who love them!

We see more shots of extreme wakeboarding skills, and some party shots, and it’s on!  Labatt Blue is the choice of the truly undomesticated.  Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot!


Spot 2 – “Pond Hockey”

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We open tight on a lineup of the Labatt Blue beers, cold as ice, which are lifted from view and reveal a frozen pond- and a bizarre sight- a bear in hockey skates and stick doing perfect puck handling and closing in on us- it’s our Bear hero and the message is clear – Get Undomesticated.  He crashes the pond hockey game and single-handedly schools the other players, deft skills outclassing these hopeful amateurs.  He shoots, he scores, they celebrate!  It’s a hot time on the cold pond tonight! Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot!


Spot 3 – “Dune Buggy”

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We open tight on a lineup of the Labatt Blue beers, which wipe frame, revealing our dune buggy race- a sexy flag girl starts the race and they’re off!  We have fun action shots, quick cuts of dune buggy racing action, and we catch a frozen moment glimpse of the absurd- the lead buggy is driven by our hero, the Labatt Bear.  He wins the race, the crowd goes wild, and it’s a fun, sexy part to celebrate right after.  Win!  Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final commercial – or at least, it would have been here- I can’t find it online, and I’m not sure if it was even made, or made but never posted, or posted but then removed.  Probably the latter.

Sometimes things get muddled after the fact – as an example, limitations on music licensing, or perhaps more likely, revised guidelines on advertising standards and practices, or perhaps most likely, maybe it was “tested” by a focus group of viewers, and tested poorly, for whatever reason, and thus was cut.  It happens all the time, and it’s expected.  I’m only speculating, but maybe it was a bit of a conceptual reach to go with the Baja Beach / Sand Dune scenario- its kind of a disconnect from where you would normally think a Canadian Bear would spend his free time.  So, maybe someone had a concern that this spot wasn’t as relatable to the target demographic as the other spots were.  Just a guess!

Thanks for reading!  See you next time.

-Max

 

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