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Gillette Venus 2015

I consider myself fortunate to have the pleasure of regularly working with very talented directors who appreciate my passion for good storyboards.  And so it is that I can look forward to, every year, working with director Katja Brauer on her latest Gillette Venus spot- you see, in Germany, they have the German version of America’s Next Top Model, and Gillette sponsors the winners to appear in their commercials, so on these occasions, I’m drawing Germany’s Next Top Models, with emphasis on their amazingly (and effortlessly!) well-groomed legs.  I’m always excited to draw some nice legs.  I wish we had more time to spend on this spot- I had about 6 hours or so, I think, from start to finish.  So I didn’t get much time to finesse the drawing, but as they were shooting boards, I couldn’t get too hung up on their presentability.  But they do look pretty good besides, so why not show them here?  Of course, we were not privvy to whom the actual winners of the contest were- that information was not yet announced as we were drawing the storyboards.  I run into this kind of thing all the time.  You just do your best and make sure you’re hitting the general ethnographic stereotypes- as long as they are pretty!

There’s no real narrative- Just a fun romp of beautiful German models roaming Hollywood boutiques trying on clothes- fearlessly showing off their legs as they go, empowered with confidence that only a compact, discreet, and convenient Gillette Venus razor can provide, for on-the-go grooming.  Boards first, then final spot.  Hope you brushed up on your German.  Enjoy!

If you are in Germany, you can see the spot at the link below!  If not, well, you can’t.  Oh well!

Thanks, see you next time!

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Olay “Red Carpet”

Another fun awards-season spot.  Seems like I had a bunch this year.  This was a fun concept- highly stylized shots of woman’s night preparing to walk the red carpet- shot in reverse- so we reveal the secret to her glamorous beauty- Olay Regenerist face cream!

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This spot was highly developed by the director, a very talented artist in his own right, and he provided very tight style frames that I referenced directly (not traced, but drew from reference) to achieve his vision.  So the polish on these is pretty high, but I still drew them quickly.  Drawing from reference is EASY, you see.

What else… oh yeah: Red accents thoughout helped to reinforce the branding!  And, this was another spot that had levels upon levels of executive approval needed- Olay, E, the Academy, all had to weigh in and approve, and they did.

The boards look great:


And the spot looks great- you’ll have to scroll down on their website to find it; or you can take my word, it looks great:

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Another one done.  See ya next week!

:60 B&W Celebrities Dancing Females Hip Samples Shoot Boards Storyboarding Synergy Uncategorized

“A Day in the Life” Storyboards

Here’s another one of my famous dancing storyboards.  I don’t quite know how I always seem to be drawing choreographed dances.  Ironically, I’m a terrible dancer.  Oh well.

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These storyboards are for a kinda companion marketed synergistic branding tie-in cross promotional effort between E! channel and Degree (the antiperspirant), starring that Famous Choreographer you recognize from “Making the Band,” Laurieann Gibson and Kat Graham, fairly fresh celeb actress/dancer/singer.

In them, we depict our Choreographer, starting her day early, alone, brainstorming her dance routine for the Grammys and scribbling notes, then tuning and fine-tuning the routine by drilling with her dancers, and then our Actress talent arrives to interview her and pick up a few pointers on how to stay cool… under pressure!  I’m sure Degree brand deodorant helps too.

It’s kinda shot like a documentary, so we have a lot of quick cuts and candid shots.  This is my specialty by now.  Bear in mind, these are shooting boards for a 60 second commercial, and I had 8 hours to draw them.  Here’s the boards:


Here’s the final spot.

Not bad.  I wish somebody told me that Laurieann cut her hair so short.  And it seems that they cut a section of our script which had Laurieann teaching Kat a dance move.  Otherwise, fairly close.

Before I go- for any producers out there- typical fast turnaround on a :60 commercial is TWO days, not ONE, so please budget accordingly 🙂

See ya next week!

: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.

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A Million Ways to Die in the West / Lizard Lick Towing

Here’s a quick fun one- my clients needed shoot boards for a promo synergistically tying in the Tru TV series “Iguana Lick Towing” with Universal Pictures release “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”  It’s like two commercials in one- hey, at least it’s efficient!

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Nothing particularly remarkable about this job, other than the timeline- I had to cram in 22 frames in 6 hours, which is pretty tight!  But they look pretty decent- the trick is to keep it simple and listen carefully to what they need!  I was lucky in this case to have a shot list.  That reminds me: Hey people, shot lists save time and money, and you get the shots you are looking for.  Most directors skip this extremely important step, and there ends up being a lot of unnecessary back and forth revising.  So, young directors out there, think about the shots you want, write them down, and you’ll get things done sooner and cheaper.

The plot of the story is pretty simple- we flash back with out Towing heroes to the old west, when their ancestors were repossessing horses.  Its a violent place, and they risk peril to accomplish their goal- much like the characters in A Million Ways to Die in the West- coming soon to theaters.

I’m happy that the boards on this project very closely matched the frames I drew- means I did a good job!  The final video is below.

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Brain Games – Storyboards

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Brain Games is back!  And I storyboarded the promos for the second season.  These were some of the most challenging spots I’ve ever worked on.  Brain Games is a show about the fun quirks of our minds, and many episodes focus on various kinds of optical illusions.  Well, for this project, we were tasked with coming up with something that nobody’s ever seen before… or at least, try to.  Problem is, there are only a few types of optical illusions, and all others are derivations of them.  So we had to put a spin on a few classics, and give it some zazz, and throw in some FX to smooth out the edges.

I worked on these spots for a few weeks, which is lifetime in the commercial storyboarding field.  It’s not like they were long spots, it just took a very long time to determine exactly what it was we wanted to shoot.  It’s a little terrifying to come up with something from scratch, and most of my early ideas went into the trash bin.  But it all came together at the last minute, as it always does.

I like the artwork on this first set, and I had a lot of input on the ‘illusions’ for this one.  These are set up to all be interesting sight gags that are surreal but done practically using camera tricks, elaborate sets, and forced perspective.  A little CG too 🙂  I really liked how this one turned out.  Here’s the boards:

And here’s the final spot.  I had boarded the “moving floor” shot, but I couldn’t find the boards!  So what you saw above was an earlier idea we had for the middle.  Enjoy!

This second spot is funny- we were bouncing so many ideas around, and I drew hundreds of frames, it seems.  The early work was well drawn- they were pitching to the client and so they had to look good. But things were still being hammered out and changing up until the actual shoot- and so I had to quickly revise a final version that looks about as rough as anything.  But simple drawings are often the only ones that are really needed.

The simple drawings did the trick and the production went well.  The final spot is looks great, and was apparently even nominated for an Emmy.

Thanks for visiting!