A couple years ago, I had a great time working on a series of spots for a very popular (in Korea) game called Lineage. The anthem spot was about a minute long and had lots of action and fun characters, and it’s the subject of this post.
The story goes- we find our hero protagonist “Bugbear” in the middle of a battlefield, who breaks the 4th Wall and calls out to us, the viewer, to witness he and his compatriots, with their powers combined, topple the evil Death Knight! Though victory may be short lived- that’s the law of the land around these parts. Witness!
And, here’s the final spot!
This spot had it all- fun characters, action, humor, sex appeal. I love the sense of escalation, and the the way the final product came out is just really awesome- you can really see the quality in the craftsmanship of the animators and designers. Such a great team! Here’s some cool detail shots before you go:
This is a quick job that needed 3 spots boarded, with COLOR, in half a day! Of course, I’m used to needing to draw quickly, but color usually really slows things down. Of course, being a great storyboard artist is all about adapting and turning weaknesses into strengths, and of course, being the total zen master, it’s all just flow anyway.
That’s mostly BS but there is some truth to the notion that when you are challenged with something that seems impossible, you start to think outside the box. I knew that my normal approach wouldn’t work, so, what kind of approach could? Since the nature of the spot didn’t require perfect color, that meant I could take a risk and try something new- and while I don’t really disclose techniques in this blog, i believe the frames speak for themselves when I say, this different approach turned out great. In this job, you really have to be able to use every trick in book, and then some.
If you look at the frames, I’ve managed to color them without coloring the whole image- leaving lots of white space in reserve as “highlights” and then as just negative space, worked out really well in this context. Saved a ton of time this way, and still looks good! Of course, the humorous, non-serious nature of the spots was compatible with this approach- but I wouldn’t be able to use this technique on just any project.
You might also notice- I recycled some of the poses! I had to, to save time. When your job is only 4 hours long, every minute counts. Oh, you didn’t notice? Neither did the client. Not that it’s unreasonable to recycle art when the client puts an unreasonable deadline in front of you. You get what you pay for! But in general, I nearly never recycle drawings 🙂
To provide some context for the boards, the spots involve a “mystery” to be solved, when a friend comes over, and helps her forgetful buddy remember what chore/product she was using moments before. Simple and Silly. Here’s the boards.
A while back, I got called in to my good clients at DirecTV (now AT&T) to work on a spot for their Adworks campaign- a commercial about commercials! How funny! But really, it makes sense to make sure your advertising dollars aren’t going to waste, right? That’s why you hire ‘Ol Maxy, right? and then you use Adworks to make sure the Ads go in front of your target audience! Otherwise, well… see below!
Our Hero “Ad Man” runs from setting to setting, doing his best to sell product to the most unmatched of buyers- with very predictable results. But the laughs are an easy sell! Lol!
Here’s the boards! I hope you enjoy them, this is some of my finest work!
Here’s the final spot!!
Yup, no matter how hard you try, Gladys at the nursing home isn’t going to buy your reduced price Lamborghini. You just have to face facts!
This project was a little more extensive than most and we had time to board out some “B-Roll” if you will, with options for other shots to help sell up the humor a bit. It was all optional and really, at the end of the day, humor depends on the performance of the actors and more, so you do a lot of alternative takes to see what works best. But I did my part and boarded it out my best, to give it a fair shot at success. So, next up you’ll see some boards that are disjointed in continuity but will hopefully spur a neuron or two and make you chuckle. Enjoy!
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:
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:
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!
We live in a pretty fascinating time- one needn’t even leave their home to shop for the rarified necessities! The selection available to us online is infinite, and it’s up to operators like Birchbox to curate the best of the best and bring it to our doorsteps. Meanwhile, the “old guard,” if you will, are getting a little desperate to make a sale. Best to simply run from them and slam the door on their backwards salespitches.
I did these boards for my great clients at Ammirati– they were kind of pitch boards, actually, and so there was just enough time to make them look very nice and present to their clients, and looks like they sold the idea! See, some things you can’t sell on the internet.
Since they were pitch boards, there are only a few of them, but kind of fun to see how well they sell the story! Enjoy.
When you see a snowy holiday commercial nowadays, bear in mind that it’s probably produced during the Summer season in Los Angeles, where it never snows. That’s certainly the case with these two spots I storyboarded.
This commercial campaign was produced by Timber, a great company and I love working with these guys, primarily because they really appreciate good storyboards and know where to get them- from me!
The story of each spot is the same, kinda: A crew of a dozen beautiful ladies in winder regalia and Ugg boots (of course) parade in front of the camera, shimmy here and there, playfully coordinating their efforts into a final snowflake structure that is slowly revealed at the end. Very fun.
Here’s the storyboards for the first spot, “Twinkling Lights.”
And here’s the finished commercial:
You know I did a good job when the boards look like the final spot! And here’s the other spot, “Passing out Presents.”
And the final commercial:
Two spots- two days- 16 hours- 56 frames. Two 60-second commercials in two days. That’s kind of a lot of work- but there are mitigating factors: It was helpful that one of the directors is a talented artist himself and could do some informing sketches of his own to help shortcut the storyboarding process. The downside was that both directors had to be away for most of the process at a Tech scout (where they and other production crew meet to discuss the shoot on location before it happens), so the sketches were pretty much what I had to go on. There isn’t much ‘story’ to these spots, as you’ll see, and no script either, so I had to sort of play choreographer to bring the appropriate sense of fun to these boards. Luckily for me, I draw women well, and quickly, and the backgrounds of the shots were basically nonexistent, so the sets were minimalist and there were few if any constraints in terms of camera angles and blocking. And finally, these were shooting boards, so while they didn’t have to be super perfect, it was worth doing as well as possible, since it would eventually end up as a sample on my blog, which you’re reading now. So it was a mixed bag, but not too badly tilted into either camp of hard or easy.
In the end, I love drawing cute girls and I love how these spots turned out- just like I drew them!