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!
I’ll leave out the specifics on what product/company these frames were advertising for; suffice to say, it was a collection of short spots of families and loved ones reflecting on the nature of their relationships (with some product placement tastefully featured in the periphery). Rather, Let’s consider these boards an example of how I really try to bring a sense of acting and characterization to my drawings- bringing forth a sense of deep human connection when called for. I think the work speaks for itself.
Just as often as I’m called upon do depict amazing action scenes, or elaborate fantastic worlds, I’m then called upon to draw a tender moment of kindness, or humor. That’s the world of Storyboarding Commercials- you draw everything and it’s thus I believe it’s the best artistic training ever. The work demands you never get too comfortable drawing the same thing every day- I draw vehicles, animals, people, places, animation, live action, humor, horror, sci-fi, and even in new media like VR! It’s a new challenge every day and I love it.
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.
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!