In Los Angeles, Christmas starts in September. If you work in commercial production, that is! Indeed it takes a couple of months for projects to get greenlit and produced in time for airing during the holiday season. So it was that last year I was working on a fun Christmas project for my clients at PSYOP- storyboarding the delightful tale of Kevin the Christmas Carrot- a character conceived for an Aldi holiday commercial. Aldi, if you don’t know, is a popular European supermarket chain.
The commercial is really sweet and funny- a plucky little carrot just wants to meet Santa, and must brave the dangers of the Christmas dinner table in order to do so. He dodges hazards of all kinds, and collapses next to Santa’s mince pie and brandy (it’s a UK commercial, so no cookies and milk in this one… in fact, it’s not Santa, it’s Father Christmas!).
It’s all self-explanatory and I’m really excited to show you the boards:
And here’s a link to the final video!
It turned out so great! Looks like they opted NOT to go with the full widescreen aspect ratio. I think it might have looked more epic if they did, but I can also see where the 16×9 is a little more suited for a sense of comedy, which was just as important.
There was a lot of brainstorming and tossing out all kinds of ideas that might work as potential hazards for the ‘journey’ montage. Here’s a few that I thought were really clever (and well-drawn by me!)
What a fun project! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. This campaign tested so well, the client decided to make a sequel! I storyboarded that one too, so I’ll post that when I have more time.
Woohoo! In addition to the previous Nutella spot, I happened to do the boards for the most recent follow up- “Spread the Happiness!” Once again produced by my great clients at Brand New School.
They are playing this spot a LOT on TV right now- which is great, since it rocks! It’s fun, it’s pop, it’s delicious.
The challenges involved in this spot were finding a fresh take on simple transitions and how best to style them in an appetizing way and choreograph them best to the music. I drew a LOT of frames for it, as we would build many animatics to see what worked best- there was a lot of experimentation with different kinds of wipes and reveals. But that’s the best way to get things perfect!
I always enjoy drawing families having fun. It turns out though, one thing that is hard to draw is people sitting around a table. It sounds simple but it’s really tricky because you have to draw in near perfect perspective just to get the height and distance relationships right between the chair and the table, and then again for the people who actually sit in them. If you draw it wrong, all your chairs will look like they are different sizes, or even like your actors are sitting on phonebooks or booster seats. It’s tough! One of those things that you only notice if you do it wrong, and since I think mine turned out pretty decent, I have to make a point about it 🙂 I left the extra “empty” space at the top of the frame because at one point we weren’t sure if there would be text, logo, or slogan superimposed there.
Here’s a great drawing of a product shot- always important to draw the product really well!!!
Here’s the full board sequence:
And for comparison, here’s the final commercial! Turned out pretty cool!
It’s a fun song, but when you work with the editors and animators that have to cut the commercial together, you have to listen to the song over and over and over and over again until it loses all meaning. Yup, there’s a limit to how much happiness one can take! Ha!
Here’s a fun quick one! I boarded out this spot for my great clients at Brand New School– they do great work and are always involved in fun, whimsical, creative projects. Nutella was no exception. The concept was clear and well developed- and they had great designers on the project, so I was able to reference lots of design frames and draw with confidence that my boards would look accurate.
It’s a simple spot- Our hero son comes down for breakfast and greets his mom, who is opening a jar of Nutella. In the background, the son’s backpack comes to life with some very cleverly blended stop motion and cel animation interacting together to represent a fruitful creative young mind, powered by Nutella, and ready for a great day at school. At the end, our animation pops back into real life, with Mom presenting the breakfast treat, and a great bite-and-react shot to follow, finished with a mandatory Logo and Tagline scene.
The biggest challenge on spots like this one is probably making a clear distinction between “drawn” elements and “real” elements- obviously, I’m drawing this by hand, as usual, so everything is a drawing by me, but parts of the storyboard are “drawings of childrens’ drawings.” How do we show which is which? In this case, we used a different color and texture of linework to show the difference, and it worked out great!
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of doing a BUNCH of shoot boards for my clients at 29 Black on their Clorox spots, among other things. Four spots in total, and they are pretty simple, so not much explanation needed, but they all go along with the theme of “Your house gets messy and Clorox is there to help.” We set the scenario- a typical family scene breaks down into messy chaos, and then our hero Parent swoops in with hero Clorox Product to solve the situation- with some charming color commentary and a nice product shot to finish it off.
In our first spot, “Big Meal, Big Mess,” we see our Hero Mom and Son realize the folly of a home cooked meal… the horrible kitchen mess! But never fear, a few swipes of Clorox Scrub Singles and the counters are as good as new. My boards first, then below those, the final spot.
Here’s our next spot, “Hair,” starring our typical hopeless Mr. Mom type fellow- poor thing, just can’t keep up with the household dusting, and all the animals running about shedding layers of hair. Well, Clorox Triple Action Dust Wipes are just the thing to mop up all that disgusting hair. One less thing for the missus to complain about.
Here’s the boards, then the final spot.
And here’s another spot, “Cooking and Cleaning.” Momma loves baby- even covered in baby slime. Doesn’t mean she has to tolerate it on her kitchen surfaces, though. Couple pumps of the Clorox Pump n Clean to the rescue. Even baby likes it! Boards first, then final spot below.
Here’s our last spot- “A Family of Five.” Tough to clean those toilets with so many people trying to poop at the same time- that’s why Mom sneaks in while the brood grooms their hair. Very clever of her. I remember this spot being a little tricky to block out because of the narrow shooting space and the mirror- obviously you can’t shoot into the mirror unless you are willing to fix that in post (you’ll see the cameraman otherwise). So you invariably have to bias the angle off to the side a bit, and I also staggered the kids a bit on the side angle, so they wouldn’t screen each other. Of course, I could only guess what things might look like on the day of the shoot- I remember the original casting called for an older sister, but they look almost the same age in the final spot. Looking at it now, I think they made a good decision to put the girl closest the to mirror, on the left; it looks good the way they shot it. In both cases, I remember that, although definitely a subtle detail, we knew that it was best to put the boy closest to the toilet. Why that should be a rule, I suppose, is debatable, but it was just one of those things… some things are just accepted as natural and thus we reenact them faithfully in advertising. Boys don’t mind icky things, I guess. Boards, then final spot below.
This is one of my favorite recent projects- a great concept, flawless execution, and I got to have a lot of creative input.
The concept is really simple- a Corona can is situated in a dreamlike beach scene, and transforms into a palm tree, and from that palm tree sprouts another palm tree and between them appears a hammock, and upon the sand beyond it we see shadows of a man relaxing in that hammock, invisibly- and then the scene transforms into a transistor radio, and nearby shadows of people playing beach volleyball are visible, having fun together, and a ball is knocked into scene, and we follow that ball, and the ball transforms into a grill and chair and umbrella setup, and then that transforms into a sailboat cutting across the seas, and that transforms back into the Corona can, all in a single unbroken camera move.
Wait, that’s not simple. That’s ridiculously complex and difficult! But I love a challenge, and I have a pretty good mind for this kinda stuff- moving the camera around in 3d space and whatnot. I also do a pretty good job of making animatic frames, and basically, this thing was right in my wheelhouse. There were a lot of minor revisions, I’ll admit, but the boards were strong from the get-go and I’m thrilled with how it turned out.
I colored these boards quickly with the help of another artist Sean Streeter, who was freelancing at the studio on another project and finished early, so I roped him in to help on this one. I’m grateful for his help on it, and he’s really talented artist, here’s his website: http://scstreeter.blogspot.com/
On with the boards!
And here’s the final spot:
So proud of everyone who worked on this spot and made it look absolutely perfect! See you next week!
We’re all just simple farmers, right? Well, even if you don’t swing a hoe, you might enjoy these simple storyboards. Simple drawings to tell a simple story of a simple farming family- passing on the tools of the trade to the next generation of farmers.
Here, we use a juxtaposition of shots of dilapidated tractors and sheds, setting us up for a bit of nostalgia- and then bring our audience into the 21 century with shots of a state of the art farm tractor with all the fancy modern tools and attachments. Too bad we must leave the past behind- but some things never change- like the need of a son to listen to his hardworking father’s advice. Given enough time, we always learn, in time, that Dad was right. So, when he recommends you use Hypro products, you take it seriously.
I love these commercials. No special FX to distract us, and it taps into our collective consciousness to create a simple, clear message- you use what works, and leave the rest.