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:30 Action Animation B&W Cars iOS/Mobile Nature Pitch Boards Shoot Boards Storyboarding Toys Uncategorized Vehicles VFX Video Games War

“Asphalt Xtreme” Storyboards

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Woohoo!  Here’s another fun project from earlier this year that I’m very proud to show- fun video game racing action! The “Asphalt” Series is well known in gaming circles as a premium racing product and I was very excited to be involved with my clients at PSYOP for their pitch and production of this great spot.

Conceptually, it’s very simple:  Showcase the main themes of the game series: Racing, Mayhem, and Variety.  Variety of cars, and variety environments.  Hate to say it, but this was kind of an easy one for me… A commercial like this has no room for subtlety, so it’s just a matter of attempting to give equal weight to the important elements (variety of cars and environments) and balance that with a ramping of the action to an ultimate climax, all within 30 seconds!!  EXTREME!!!

 

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It’s crunch time!

 

This project had two parts- the pitch and the production.  For the pitch (in which we try to “win” the job), we kind of had a looser goal- wow the client with, well, creative compositions to showcase the action and variety.  Promise them the moon and see if we can deliver. There were all kinds of different ideas being tossed about- mostly the idea was to bring a realistic visualization of the gameplay to the screen.  Also on the job were some very talented 3d and concept artists, and we all pitched in to contributed pieces of the final puzzle.  The pitch was won on the merits of this collaboration- some of which I’ll share with you below (they didn’t make the final cut, but helped advance the job along, and look cool, besides!).

 

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I liked the idea of a rally car using a hidden rope bridge to find a shortcut to get ahead of the main pack! Many video games have hidden passageways, and this was in that spirit.

 

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As above, so below; an early concept of the dune buggy jump- it was an earlier understanding that these cars would “find” the best route forward based on their natural abilities.

 

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I really liked the sense of speed in this early frame- many of which were drawn based on other artist’s tight compositions.

 

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Among the natural environments, we assumed there would be a mandate to have more urban or industrial environments as well, but not so much in the final edit. Nevertheless, we had prepared works in the case of that possibility. Here, the racers surge towards an active loading dock area.

 

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Again, we see the variety of cars and car abilities in their approach to surmounting the dynamic racing obstacles before them.

 

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Seeking to really emphasize the sense of racing through rally courses worldwide, we seized upon opportunities to utilize highly recognizable landmarks and locations.

 

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Concept for a “desert” title composition.

 

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Another alternate concept for a “Jungle” title composition.

 

It was a great team effort, and we won the job.  Now comes the hard part- execution.  They had me back to refine some concepts and nail transitions into something that hit all the marks.  You ready for the boards?  Here you go!

 

And here’s the final spot!

What a wild ride!  Soo….. Sometimes I have a massive amount of input on a job, and I feel like I get to pick all the shots, and control the pacing, and the visual storytelling (remember, for many jobs, and certainly in this case, I’m not even given a script or shotlist).  BUT in this case, much of the concepting was done by talented 2d and 3d artists working concurrently- and so about the only idea I want to point out that I specifically contributed was the opening transition where the camera appears to be POV from the view of the bumper, but pulls out to be the POV looking into the reflection of the bumper.  As far as I know, I “invented” that, at least in this kind of car/racing/bumper context.  The thing about that kind of camera move is, it’s something you can only pull off in CG, so you’d never see that in classic cinema- since you’d have to magically “erase” the reflection of the cameraman.  So, there you go, I did something cool.  But even so, just as much if not more credit goes to the director and the CG artists for actually pulling it off and making it look amazing- you never know with uncharted territory, but that’s life… TO THE XTREME!!!!

Thanks for reading, see you next time!

-Max

 

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2:00 Action B&W Cars Females Nature Pitch Boards Samples Sport Storyboarding Synergy Travel Vehicles VFX

Red Bull / Audi Storyboards

 

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Here’s a very fun spot I did a while back for Red Bull/Audi;  a little cross promotional effort to reinforce mutual branding and associations.  Basically, it’s a mini-documentary of an extreme sports spectacle: a never-before-seen coordinated group of stunts with multiple flight technologies being expertly demonstrated, and beautifully shot.

This kind of event is more “captured” than executed according to shot list, so there’s some amount of looseness between what’s intended and final outcome- but I was able to help out by drawing up some nice presentation-style frames to help sell through the concept- and these shots were detailed very specifically by the director, who included great references for the planes, vehicles and locations.  That helps a lot in making the boards come through as intended and being the most helpful in terms of advancing the production.  I like that storyboards can be useful in a production like this, even though it’s also a known thing that on the day of the actual shoot, they’ll have to just roll with however things come out.  If you ask me, that’s the REAL stunt!  Ha!  Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot:

Very cool!  Thanks for checking in.

Max

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:30 Action B&W Drink Females Hip Humor Males Nature Samples Sport Storyboarding Vehicles

Labatt Blue “Epic” Storyboards

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I had a good run a couple of years ago getting hired to draw storyboards for an ad campaign for Labatt Blue, a Canadian Beer brand.  They have a Bear character (just an actor in a bear suit) who is their Party Champion – a “Duff Man,” if you will- who shows up at opportune moments to take the party to the next level- and make it EPIC.

I think I’ve detailed before that I prefer commercials that don’t rely on dialogue or voiceover to convey the narrative- and so it is in these commercials that all the entertainment and message is contained the fun, active, silly visuals.  In this campaign, I was called to draw sexy girls, sports, action, humor, nature, and of course, beer.  It was very fun.


Spot 1 – “Wakeboard”

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Here’s the first spot!  For all the spots, we start on a great beer/branding lineup.  Always good to have some clear branding, but it comes at a cost- it clearly shows the viewer that they are watching a commercial, which is often something we’re called to make less obvious- but owning it upfront and then making a spectacular entertaining spot immediately follow is also a great strategy- either way, your mission is to keep them watching for what happens next.

We open tight on a lineup of the Labatt Blue beers, which are lifted from frame to reveal an awesome wide shot of a beautiful blue lake, and sport boat with wakeboarder coming right at camera- after a series of tight shots of boating and boarding, we reveal the Bear in a frozen epic moment superimposed with the message “Get Undomesticated”.  This is their slogan/call to action/mnemonic – a brand message to reinforce association and clarify intent- this beer is for wild and crazy Canadian party animals and the sexy girls who love them!

We see more shots of extreme wakeboarding skills, and some party shots, and it’s on!  Labatt Blue is the choice of the truly undomesticated.  Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot!


Spot 2 – “Pond Hockey”

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We open tight on a lineup of the Labatt Blue beers, cold as ice, which are lifted from view and reveal a frozen pond- and a bizarre sight- a bear in hockey skates and stick doing perfect puck handling and closing in on us- it’s our Bear hero and the message is clear – Get Undomesticated.  He crashes the pond hockey game and single-handedly schools the other players, deft skills outclassing these hopeful amateurs.  He shoots, he scores, they celebrate!  It’s a hot time on the cold pond tonight! Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot!


Spot 3 – “Dune Buggy”

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We open tight on a lineup of the Labatt Blue beers, which wipe frame, revealing our dune buggy race- a sexy flag girl starts the race and they’re off!  We have fun action shots, quick cuts of dune buggy racing action, and we catch a frozen moment glimpse of the absurd- the lead buggy is driven by our hero, the Labatt Bear.  He wins the race, the crowd goes wild, and it’s a fun, sexy part to celebrate right after.  Win!  Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final commercial – or at least, it would have been here- I can’t find it online, and I’m not sure if it was even made, or made but never posted, or posted but then removed.  Probably the latter.

Sometimes things get muddled after the fact – as an example, limitations on music licensing, or perhaps more likely, revised guidelines on advertising standards and practices, or perhaps most likely, maybe it was “tested” by a focus group of viewers, and tested poorly, for whatever reason, and thus was cut.  It happens all the time, and it’s expected.  I’m only speculating, but maybe it was a bit of a conceptual reach to go with the Baja Beach / Sand Dune scenario- its kind of a disconnect from where you would normally think a Canadian Bear would spend his free time.  So, maybe someone had a concern that this spot wasn’t as relatable to the target demographic as the other spots were.  Just a guess!

Thanks for reading!  See you next time.

-Max

 

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:45 B&W Corporate Females iOS/Mobile Mobile Nature Samples Shoot Boards Sketch Software Storyboarding

Intel Series pt 6: “Kayak”

 

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Our last one for the Intel series!  What a journey.

Starting out, we see a typical video conference.  Our high profile businesswoman is kicking corporate butt.  But then we reveal that she’s actually lakeside- using the power of Intel to convince her colleagues that she’s all business, but actually keeping a great work/life separation.  Neat!

Here’s the boards:

 

And here’s the final spot!

 

Finally!  Done with Intel!  I’ll take a small break and come back with new spots soon.  Thanks for hanging in there!

-Max

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:45 Action B&W Males Mobile Nature Samples Shoot Boards Sketch Storyboarding Tools Vehicles VFX

Intel Series pt 3: “Drone”

 

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Lost in the woods?  Panicked for your life?  Hunted by bears?  No worry, Intel is there with a superintelligent rescue drone to track you by your heat signature and lead you back to civilization- capable of dodging trees in it’s path as well.

This board continues the Intel Series I knocked out a while back- shoot boards for 6 separate spots, all drawn in a day and a half.

I like the panicked shots of the hiker in my boards- seems like it got tamed down a bit in the final version.  See for yourself!

Here’s the boards:

And here’s the final spot!

More to come!

-Max

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:45 iOS/Mobile Males Mobile Nature Samples Shoot Boards Sketch Storyboarding Travel

Intel Series pt 2: “Cliff”

 

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Just a quick post today – I’ve got quite the backlog of great boards waiting to go up but I have been too busy to make posts!  So I’m just going to kind of rush through the rest of the “Intel” series- after all, I did them all in one day (practically) and no reason to draw them out for all eternity.  Looking back, I like the loose style I drew them in.  Necessary, for the tight turnaround.

The director for all these Intel spots is a longtime regular client, and is always very clear on specifying exactly the shot he needs to tell the story- so it’s no wonder the boards look great and so does the final spot.  A little preplanning goes a long way!   And even so, there’s always some sort of surprise on the day of the shoot, so it’s fun to see the differences from the boards and the final spot.

Here’s the boards:

And here’s the final spot!

Simple concept, strong execution.

There’s 4 more “Intel” spots to go.  I’ll try to get the rest up before next week.  Got a lot of great stuff to come after that!

-Max