:30 Animation Color Samples Social Storyboarding Synergy Uncategorized VFX

Dove and Twitter #SpeakBeautiful

It’s a brave new world out there folks… a brave new social media world, full of funny cat videos and epic fails.  It’s a force for good AND evil, as we’ve all experienced, no doubt.  A double-edged sword, if you will.  You can say anything to anyone and everyone, practically anonymously, and lets just say, some of us are abusing the privilege.

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On the social media network known as Twitter, the web is a curated place and everyone’s a critic.  Dissenting opinions can be found about everything under the sun- even glamorous televised events like The Academy Awards.  It’s common, apparently, for people to live-tweet these kinds of shows and talk doody about the appearance of whatever celebrity happens to be on TV at the moment, or, negatively compare themselves with said celebrity.

Every single tweet has the possibility of causing a rampant internet meme, or unstoppable viral hashtag, or self-replicating social media germ.  As humans, we generally sort of assume that when we see something happen, and nobody calls it out as bad, then it must be acceptable behavior.  As such, we might repeat it ourselves and thus pass it along, and reinforce it’s power.  So its easy for the negativity to get out of hand.

As a countervailing force, the megabrand Dove and social media platform Twitter have kinda partnered up to encourage Twitter users to tweet nicely in regards to each others’ appearances.  No need for snarky hashtags like #uglybutt or #nicedressNOT.  Replace them with #SpeakBeautiful and we’ll all pass along the good vibes and help shore up some corporate branding while we’re at it.  Nothing wrong with that.dove1a_web_0012_Layer 13

To introduce this #SpeakBeautiful message, Dove and Twitter used a commercial, and I storyboarded it.  In this spot, we see a negative tweet, and then we corkscrew out to reveal that it is printed on a domino, and further reveal that a long line of dominoes is behind it.  A negative chain reaction is pending… but a POSITIVE tweet comes out of the blue and sets it in motion.  From there, the dominoes fall along a different path, a positive one, and from a nice overhead resolve, we see the fallen dominoes spell out “#SpeakBeautiful.”  Here’s the boards:


I’m overwhelmed with all the feels, man.  Real feels.  Here’s the final spot- click the pic and it’ll open a new window to check out, and you might have to scroll down a bit to find it- I can’t imbed the video, as it’s not available on youtube (its a Twitter campaign).

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My boards look pretty close, the biggest differences being the more simplistic arrangement of the overall domino setup in the final spot.  And I feel like the stainless steel flooring is a little bright, and makes the hashtag hard to read at the end.  They changed the color of the positive tweet; we used a bright pink in my version.  Makes sense, since blue is a Twitter color.  And my version contained some optional angles that weren’t used in the final- no problem, there’s never enough time to show all the interesting angles anyway.

One remarkable thing about this project was the mountainous levels of approval it had to summit to be produced- it had to meet the approval of the Director, the Producers, the Creative Agency, executives at Dove, Twitter, the Academy, and the Broadcast Network.  Wow!  Anyone along that path could have nixed it.  But, conceptually, the idea was strong, the goal laudable, the storyboard flawless.  When something positive comes your way, you pass it along 🙂

That reminds me, I’m actually on twitter, and it’s a good way to stay in touch with my latest project updates and network with other talented artists.  So, follow me if you like: @max_forward.

Thanks!  See ya next week.


Commentary Internet Social

New Website Layout!

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Time for a new look!  I’ve updated the site a bit and included a new theme, “Virality,” which kind of suits this format better, in some ways.  I miss some things but overall I think it will be easier for visitors to navigate and see more of my work at-a-glance.  The old posts are still there, but you have to click on the thumbnail links to get there.  This allows you to skip some entries and find others that may have been hiding at the bottom.  Theoretically, at least.  Probably got more than a few bugs to work out, but for now it seems to be functioning fine.  I was hoping things would load faster, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  I’ll have to investigate that in the future.  Alright, enough messing around, time to get back to work.


:30 B&W Family Females Humor Internet iOS/Mobile Kids Males Mobile Pitch Boards Products Samples Social Storyboarding

AT&T Family Plan Storyboards

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Here’s a quick one- a storyboard for a competitive pitch for an AT&T spot.  The idea is, everyone in the family has their own phone, and we see them coming together into a kind of “collage” that shows their connectedness- with a silly theme.  We didn’t get the job, but the boards are cool.  Enjoy!

I’ve done like 10 projects like this- I call them “iPhone commercials”.  Not because they are advertising the iPhone specifically, but because the iPhones invariably feature so prominently, it just registers to the viewer as another iPhone commercial.  This is actually an AT&T commercial, and the client suggested that iPhones would be used, and so that’s what I drew.  I eventually saw the final commercial (produced by another company) and noted that they used a variety of phone models.  Oh well.  And if you’re curious, here’s that final commercial– but I didn’t work on it.

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Pitch Boards – Living Social


Here’s some boards I did last year for one of my agency clients, presenting campaign ideas for Living Social, that cool company that sells discounted experiences to adventurous adults.  That’s the basic theme of these boards, to show people having fun doing things they wouldn’t normally do, like skeet shooting (for girls), painting nude models, riding segways, getting mani pedis (for guys), choir singing, and trapeze lessons!  And another idea of the campaign was to demonstrate that some of these experiences could make you feel like a kid again- so much so- that the commercial casts kids instead of adults!  So I got to draw kids having fun cooking, driving a racecar, and skydiving.

It was a fun little project.  I have a bit of a knack for finding the gag in a scene and drawing it well, so that you can look at the picture and say, “I get it, I like it, let’s do it” or “I get it, I like it, but lets do something else.”  These are essentially key frames, just 1 frame to tell the story of each vignette.  So everything has to be composed just right, and the characters’ acting needs to be spot-on.  These were fairly rushed, hence no shading or anything.  I think I did these in a day.  Here’s the boards.

I’m not sure if the campaign really went anywhere; concepts at the agency level have a tendency to mutate a bit, usually for good reason, by the time they make it to production.  So it’s possible that this campaign evolved into something that made it to TV that I didn’t recognize, or I just never saw the TV ad, or it never made it to production anyway.

But I liked these boards a lot, so I hope you enjoy them.

Color Humor iOS/Mobile Males Samples Social Storyboarding Uncategorized


So here’s a commercial I worked on back in April.  I usually like to wait a while before I consider it “safe” to discuss a project on this blog, because, well, it’s not a good thing to release production artwork before the commercial airs!  And even though I didn’t see this one air, I know its fair game after so many months if my own clients are posting the finished commercial on their website reel.  So, here we go.

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Here we see a Caveman, clutching the original hand-held device, a stone wheel.  He’s amazed with his creation and sets it to roll … ah, the beauty of it.  As it rolls, we track along with it, until it bumps into a wooden wheel, which takes off in turn.  And as it goes we see the “evolution” of the wheel, as it were, from stone, to wood, to iron, to rubber, to… what else?  The digital scroll wheel of the new Superpages app!  Naturally.

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And now I’ll discuss some of my artwork- First off, cavemen are fun to draw, and very forgiving, since they need to look all scraggly and ugly anyway.  And I loved drawing that brief glimpse of his facial expression- like watching his baby take his first steps.  But you know what are challenging to draw, and you wouldn’t suspect it necessarily, are wheels!  Wheels are tricky to draw because they are so regular and round and perfectly geometric. A wheel consists of no less that one perfect circle nestle concentrically within a larger perfect circle- and if there’s a spoke or hubcap involved, you must add even more circles.

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Most artists would either just draw a crappy circle, or use a “shape” tool to make an absolutely perfect circle and substitute that for a drawing.  Using shape or pen tools is useful but I personally feel that they look too computer generated (since they are) and are therefore unsuitable in a otherwise hand-drawn image.  So that’s no good.  Luckily Painter (the program I use) has a nifty “align-to-path” stroke feature that allows me to essentially trace the circle shape in a single stroke – kind of like using a compass or protractor to trace circles in geometry class.  It gives me the perfect roundness and also the variation in line weight and stoke feel that I need in my drawings.  So that’s how I make my wheels look so good.

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You’ll also notice that the spokes of the wooden and iron wheels are blurred when they are spinning.  That’s super important and a lot of artists make that mistake- if the car is moving, you don’t draw the spokes on the hubcap, nor the tire treads, since they both will blur when the wheel spins!  If you can see the spokes on a wheel, that makes the wheel look like it’s stationary.  Anyway you can tell when a storyboard artist just traced a picture of a car when he doesn’t bother to attend to details like that.

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It’s a goofy little commercial but my boards on it were great.  I can say that because they match the final product so well.  That’s usually the best indicator that I did a good job.  If you watch the final video you’ll see what I mean.  Click the link below to view!

For my part, I’m kinda over drawing iPhones, iPads, and Facebook this-n-that.  They all feel the same to me.

Something New:  I’ve decided to remove generally commenting on these posts.  Just getting wayyyyy too much spam and it was discouraging me from even doing this blog.  Jesus christ, over 4,000 posts advertising Ugg boots of all things.  Rot in hell you spammers.  I might bring back commenting someday but for now it’s gone.  If you would like to contact me, you can email me (if you know my email-its not hard to guess), facebook me, or click the Contact button on the upper right , you can even leave a reply there or contact my agent.


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One of my commercials airing now… NASDAQ OMX CENTURY

So, I’m sitting at home watching Mad Men, one of my favorite shows, and during the commercial break I see one of the commercials I worked on recently!  For those of you who don’t work in commercial production, it’s really a treat to see a commercial that you worked on, aired randomly, when you are watching TV.  To see it while you are watching one of your favorite shows is a double treat.  So when I saw my NASDAQ commercial air during Mad Men, I was over the moon.  I worked on these boards in February 2012, and saw them air in May, I think.  They still run sporadically, and you may have even seen them if you watch AMC at all (I haven’t seen them on other channels yet).  That’s the thing, had I not been following Mad Men on AMC (as opposed to Netflix) I wouldn’t have ever seen my commercials air!  That’s why I pay for cable, basically 🙂  To see my work in it’s natural finished state.

So these NASDAQ commercials were a little challenging but fun to work on.  The challenge was, we were advertising a company whose business involves listing other companies in their stock exchange.  Each of the two NASDAQ commercials featured 3 well known brands, so that’s like 3 mini commercials in one overarching commercial, times two.  Each brand needed equal screen time and presence, but needed to be subordinate to the main brand, NASDAQ.  Between two commercials, that’s 7 total brands, hard enough, but then you must realize that we need to also communicate with these 7 “clients” to make sure their needs are met.  So it was very challenging to keep a balance with it all.  As a result, the concept details were refined many times, and so the boards do look a little rushed, despite putting about three days of work into it.  What you see are about 12 frames per spot; however I drew upwards of 60 frames for the project.  So there was a lot of editing and refining. But I’m very impressed with the final outcome.

The first spot features Smart Technologies, Zipcar, and Hasbro.  These companies all list on NASDAQ, hence their presence in the commercial.  The story follows a day in the life of a young businesswoman/mother who relies on these companies to keep her life running smoothly.  The link under the boards goes to the final commercial.

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Click here to see the finished commercial!


This second spot features Tesla, LPL, and Zynga.  Same deal as before, only this time with a businessman, fairly typical day, running smoothly, thanks to the before mentioned brands.  Click the link below the boards to see the final commercial and compare.

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Click here to see the finished commercial!