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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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Hypro “Generations”

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.

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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.

Here’s the boards:

And here’s the final commercial.

Hope you like it!  See you next time.

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John Deere : Gator – Storyboards

You’re a manly man, and you need a manly ATV to help with all your manly tasks.  John Deere’s Gator is for you.

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I worked on this project late in 2013 as I was moving into my house- I remember that time vividly as it was extremely cold in my workshed studio and I didn’t even have internet access hooked up yet, so I was completely focused on the work at hand.

This project was 3 spots, :30 each.  That’s a lot of work.  But when projects are grouped together like this, I tend to work at greater efficiency, and get more frames done per day than I normally might if say, I was working on three unrelated spots.

What else…  I found the ATV’s very forgiving to draw, on account of their boxy-wireframeish design- not like say, a corvette, which has complex curves and an iconic silhouette.  And drawing landscape/wilderness backgrounds are pretty forgiving as well, since you don’t have to worry about perspective as much, and the locations can be much more vague.  You can see how I simplify my forests in the background using broad strokes, and even instill a sense of speed into the shot, using strokes that not only describe the product but also its kinetics.

This client (the director) always does a great job of writing detailed shot lists and describing the camera angles and compositions, and even specifies the focal lengths, which I strive to achieve in my storyboards, and the result is a very cinematic feel that most commercial boards wouldn’t quite have.  I really appreciate it when the directors I work with are passionate about the shots and the visual storytelling, and recognize the storyboarding process as an important step in realizing their vision.  The more precise they can describe what they need, the better the boards will be.

Below, you’ll find the storyboard frames alternating with the final commercial videos, for all 3 spots.  Enjoy!




That’s it!  See ya next time.

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Taco Bell commercial pitch- Rubik’s Cube

Here’s some storyboards I did for a pitch for a recent Taco Bell spot.

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The premise is, you can use an app to order whatever kind of taco bell food item you want, encouraging you to try new items and new combinations.  It’s like having a Taco Bell Rubik’s cube!

And here’s the final commercial.

The interesting this is, we didn’t get the job- another production company (who is also a client, but not on this job) was awarded the work.  Nevertheless, you can see how close my boards are to the final work- just a natural side effect of the clear, concise nature of the project, with the “winning” idea being somewhat obvious.   I wonder what their storyboards looked like?   Can’t win ’em all, I guess.

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Ugg Boots – Storyboards

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.

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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!

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T-Mobile/iPad Air Storyboards


This commercial apparently aired during Superbowl 2014, but I must have missed it.  The concept was, initially, to show closeups of iPad users of all walks of life interacting with their iPad Airs and eventually packing them up into various conveyances and resolve on a single user leaving his home and walking out into the world- unburdened by contracts and free to use his iPad Air beyond his home with the exemplary internet connectivity that only T-Mobile could provide.

So, my mission was to draw as many frames depicting options for the director as possible- these were shoot boards, and I was called in the day before the shoot, and had about 5 minutes with the director to discuss the project needs before he got pulled away to do other things.  I didn’t even have a full day on this- but I still came up with about 32 options and a total of 36 frames.  That’s a lot of boards on any normal day.  But this kind of project is right up my alley- I enjoy drawing hands, as I feel I draw them very well, and the rest was pretty easy too.  And, I don’t need much supervision anyway.  AND they had craft services (free food and snacks- the GOOD kind) so it was a win-win.  Here’s the boards:

The final commercial didn’t have the quick-cutting shot style that I was initially led to understand it would incorporate, but it still works.  See the final video below.