Our team of media maestros at IT Marketing were approached by local Portland, Oregon actor, John Steele. The task: create a 30 second video entry for the annual Doritos ™ “Crash the Superbowl ™” contest. The compensation: $1,000,000 if we won.
With only five weeks to accomplish this task our team immediately scheduled a meeting with John. After a few hours of discussing ideas and goals for the video, we decided to collaborate and considered ways we would help. We realized that by combining our creative efforts we could make something special. John’s original idea was discarded; instead we went with the basic concept developed by his wife, to create an advertisement that utilized the carrot and donkey theme. We updated her idea by suggesting 3D glasses to display the “carrot” instead of the stick and substituting the donkey for a selfish husband. The concept:
To fulfill the concept our team exerted a great amount of effort. We committed to making props, assisting in storyboarding, location selection, planning/editing, and assisting in production for the video.
Our team, with a burst of creative energy, created “real 3D Doritos ™ glasses” for the husband to wear, constructed an activation remote for his wife to use at her own discretion, and also built a 16 foot replica whale with a pressurized “blow hole”, to depict John sitting on a whale in the middle of the ocean. Additionally, we created a “Whale X-ING” sign to pull the final few scenes together and allow the audience to better follow our storyline.
As our props were being constructed, our team scheduled another creative meeting with John and his team: Shawn Sorensen and Andre Khrul who were to be the Director and Director of Photography respectively.
The team finalized the filming schedule by composing a detailed scene by scene outline of the concept with lighting instructions, camera angles, acting directions, etc. Next, we developed a comprehensive equipment list that would be needed to accomplish our task: cameras, lights, reflectors, audio recorders, and the individual props. Lastly, we concluded by scheduling filming dates and locations for each separate scene.
The first scenes took place in Shawn’s home as the proximity to the front door was ideal. The beginning and the end scenes were shot here over the course of a weekend.
Our next rendezvous with John, Shawn, and Andre took us to Pacific City, Oregon. We packed up our whale and the other props, along with propane heaters, spare clothes, and other various accoutrements that mimic a family camping trip. As well prepared as we were, most film shoots do not always go according to plan and this was no exception as we found out quickly as we arrived at the beach around nine in the morning. Apparently searching for locations on Google maps doesn’t provide all the information you need. What seemed like a calm shoreline ended up being a turbulent coast with a 30 foot sand dune blocking our access.
We knew that in order to simulate John actually sitting on a whale in the ocean we had to find a cove with smaller than normal waves. We asked around a few places and a friendly local woman in the small town told us of an inlet that would work perfectly. We moved all our gear there, placed the whale in the sand and waited for the tide to come in and cover the bottom portion of the whale. Although John understood he would be in 30 - 40 degree water most of the afternoon, our team didn’t realize most of us would also be chest deep in frigid waters to support and secure the model and our actor. With perseverance and good humor, we got the shots we needed for the commercial. Seven hours of effort plus two and a half days to build the model to get four seconds of on screen video. With cold shivers and chattering teeth, the shots were filmed and we were ready to go home, after a quick stop for some hot clam chowder.
Although the filming was finished, our team’s real work began. Our commitments took us into our green-screen room where we had to find a way to digitize a bag of Doritos ™ to be placed in the point-of-view of our actor. After trying various filming and editing techniques to accomplish the point-of-view scenes, we created a composite that achieved the effect we were looking for.
Our biggest challenge by far was in the editing room, reviewing hours of video to cut into a single 30 second clip. We took that challenge as an opportunity for us to show our skill. To make sure we hit our mark, we advertised an official screening. We showed three separate versions of our commercial to 50 select individuals and had them fill out critique forms. The screening was very helpful in giving us feedback to allow us to produce our best work, which our team takes pride in.
Ultimately, we were pleased with the project and hope that you reading this enjoy the commercial and are entertained by the experiences we went through to complete this project.
Our team at IT Marketing would like to extend a big thank you to our Portland actors John and Robin Steele. We would also like to thank the members of John's production team, Andre Khrul and Shawn Sorensen.
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