SARAH MONSON

BEVERAGE: Coke Zero [Opening]

When you want more... just add Zero. I really like this idea. It’s strong, simple and to the point.

The test film captures this concept perfectly. It merges all of these honest and believable moments found in really great commercials, films and music videos and, to me, creates the perfect foundation for Coke Zero to really build a strong voice for their target audience.

For this film to be successful, we must similarly inspire, excite, and make our audience feel like Coke Zero understands just what it means to be young today. Young people want to party. They need to party. They need to fall in love, be a rebel, experiment, dance, skate, look hot, be a little crazy, start a band, rock it, break it, jump into it, be creative, party all night, sleep in, and bend the rules. You add Zero to push life further. Zero gets it. We get Zero.

We’re dealing with a highly savvy target audience. These kids are so tuned into a visual world. It’s how they were brought up. They can smell bull**** a mile away. So our world and characters must come across as fully real and authentic. You did it really well in your test film – real moments capturing real emotion. This cannot be faked. So my goal and our mission with this film is to cast and capture a crew of beautiful, hot, truly creative and inspiring young people – people our viewers fully resonate with – whether they feel they are like them or aspire to be like them.
CARS: Hyundai [Opening]

Road hog. Sitting duck. Jackass. There’s a reason these idioms exist. Animals have a way of pinpointing the human condition so succinctly. Especially our flaws. And more and more it seems that when we get behind the wheel, we literally become “as dumb as an ox” or hit the road like a “bat out of hell.” This, in turn, makes for some really crappy drivers. And although we’d never admit to being one ourselves, we all know someone who fits the mould. We’ve all shared the road with optional indicators, snail’s pacers, lane dodgers and premature brakers.

It’s just the way it is. We’ve grown to expect them. And to avoid them. And while most people are savvy enough to get out of the way when a bad driver encroaches, sometimes their car is not. Which is where the new Hyundai i40 and this incredibly clever campaign comes in.

I think that assigning an animal to match the attributes of each of the three bad drivers is a brilliant idea. It takes the familiar of what we know and experience every day on the road and comes at it in an unexpected way. These animals literally embody an entire culture of bad driving. The cheekiness of a monkey, the maniacal laughter of a hyena and the domineering presence of the large, but dim-witted ox. We don’t need to explain why because the audience will instinctively pick up on it.

There seems to be this collective consciousness that we’ve all agreed upon that says when we get behind the wheel its fair game to devolve into a sub-prime species and act like wild animals behind the wheel.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: John Deere [Opening]

For over 175 years, John Deere has consistently proven its commitment to making great things. It’s a brand that everyone knows, and more importantly, one that clearly stands for quality. It's a company committed to the basic tenets of what makes America great: hard work, honesty, authenticity, and a never-ending passion for doing things right; which has created die-hard loyalty by both the people who use John Deere’s as well as the people who hand-craft them. If you want something that runs right, you want something that runs like a Deere.

But making the best products is about a lot more than just the results; it’s about the company behind these results. Now, it's time to show everyone what John Deere means and "How We Run."

“How We Run” is a simple idea, with profound implications. It presents the passionate and dedicated team housed within John Deere itself and the people who depend on their hard work everyday. This campaign closes that gap between these two divisions, and proves that behind every weld is a person who takes enormous pride in what they do, and is the true definition of a craftsman. We’ll take our audience from the factory to the proving grounds, highlighting the faces and places that proudly craft the best of the best at this iconic company.

FOOD: 5 Gum [Opening]

Building off of pre-existing footage from The Wolverine, we will create our scenes to reflect its tone and style – all while radiating the raw emotion, mystery and sensorial exhilaration of what we’ve come to expect from 5 Gum.

Popping a piece of 5 Gum Adamantium into your mouth transforms your taste buds. It heightens every sense, amps up every nerve ending, and mutates your emotions. It changes you. You become different – bolder, stronger, braver – than you were before, which is why I can’t think of a better brand to represent The Wolverine than this one.

You’ve envisioned a really slick spot here and my goal is to maintain the spirit and integrity of The Wolverine film while capturing the intensity and mystery behind the 5 Gum brand.

FINANCIAL: HSBC [Opening]

SERIOUS v. PLAY.

I really like this idea. It’s strong, simple and to the point.

To me this is a film of contrasts: one depicting the SERIOUS hard work it takes to be the best Rugby Sevens team, mixed with images capturing the extreme PLAY and fun that fanatical sports fans have at these epic events. The idea of bringing this all together in one explosive spot, in an underground secret mint no less, is something that is not only exciting, but entirely creative and cool.

This is a film packed with heightened ideas – ideas that must be relevant, while inspiring and engaging, to make audiences believe and be drawn into the stage we’ll set it in. The Rugby Sevens are games that move faster, and with much more intensity than their bigger brother games. So I want to create an exhilarating, powerful film that illustrates how HSBC deeply understands the games’ loyal and intense fan base. These are people who need to have fun, hit hard, move fast, be a little crazy, train hard, be creative, jump right in, think out of the box, dress up for their favourite team, and push it further – all for the love of Sevens. And the HSBC coins are the perfect symbolism for this passion.

HSBC gets it. We get HSBC.
BEAUTY: Olay [Opening]

For decades, Olay has been a trusted ally in the ongoing battle against aging by continually offering a dynamic range of groundbreaking skin care products.

This commercial, however, is intended for a more youthful audience. We want to appeal to women who are less concerned with anti-aging treatments and more focused on finding a skincare regime that helps maintain their already radiant, beautiful skin. Women who perhaps have yet to forge a lifelong relationship with Olay.

Almost like a movie preview, my goal is briefly but beautifully capture a vibrant, joyful experience of three young women embracing life while looking and feeling beautiful, in a way that a new, youthful audience can relate to. By inviting our audience into our colourful, captivating world, we can artfully explore the unique stories behind our three unstoppable heroines and the Olay products they favor.

Our heroines each possess a particular reason for picking their favourite Olay product – and my plan is to let each woman’s story unfold, revealing her special beauty secret as it suits her unique, yet relatable story and lifestyle. Through these particular stories, we will clearly demonstrate how Olay provides each and every woman with the perfect beauty solution for any scenario in life.
FINANCIAL: ANZ [Tone]

With these commercials, we will revitalize, rehumanize and rebrand ANZ to show how they are different from the other guys in the care they take to advise, support and back the many talents of Australians and New Zealanders. We will show that when a great idea stirs our inner genius, ANZ nurtures those inspirational moments and shepherds them into reality.

We are expressing intimate moments we all aspire to have. We are showing people we aspire to be. The tone is human and filled with empathy; because we all want to come up with a great idea that can make a difference. And ANZ supports those ideas, backs them, guides them, and helps them grow into something that’s got value for us all.

While these films will appeal to everyone, my cinematography and visual approach of the mind will be geared toward the forward thinking, creative people who want to make Australia and New Zealand a better place through design, farming, architecture, engineering and all the other thousands of creative fields ANZ can help with. So, basically – the people ANZ most wants to work with.

These films will look cinematic and beautiful, with well thought out composition. They will feel honest and human, set in a world feels genuine. This is the ANZ world. We want it to look believable and comfortable, not sterile or forced. These are real people living real lives. All characters and settings should reflect a modern, contemporary style – one that’s aspirational yet attainable.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Martha Stewart - Avery [Approach]

When you’re the CEO of a household, as our mom is in this story, her home is her office. If she could, she might allot just a single room to contain all that she has going on, but that isn’t the case here. Activity is everywhere in this house, and our mom’s job is to stay on top of it all times. She works where she eats, sleeps, cooks and cleans. Her work follows her everywhere outside of the home, too. To her kids’ activities, on errands, to the gym. Needing to be organized wherever she goes, these products provide her the tools to keep life under control.

Let’s show how these products seamlessly integrate into our family’s busy lives, rather than just displaying them as static, cold merchandise. They are part of this family in a practical way, but there is also an emotional benefit, too, and we really want to address this in how we approach every frame. For example, there’s joy to be found in spending more time with your kids – as we show in the scene with the chocolate cake – because our mom didn’t have to waste a half an hour searching online for a recipe. She simply found it right where it should be – next to the ingredients, clearly tagged with a Martha Stewart label!

This film should evoke the feeling that when you have a busy family, you come to accept at least a little bit of chaos in your world. Yes, you love your kids, but they can be messy and mischievous at times. And you love your husband, too, even though he might help out a little more around the house.
BEVERAGE: Coke Zero [Tone]

We’ll set up real situations in real locations to create fully energized and authentic scenes. This is not a glossy, contrived bullshit world here. This world is grounded, honest, and real. I truly believe that for films, art, and commercials today to transcend others, they have to be completely believable to an audience. The days of flashing pretty image after pretty image or propping up some glammed up movie star are gone. Audiences want a world that they can relate to, while still being inspired and aspiring to be a part of it.

This sense of unspoiled realism is something that I work very hard to create within my work. And my premise for this treatment – for this already stellar concept – is this: I want to set up a series of real, exciting, visually beautiful moments, and make them really pop and resonate on an international level so that they expand to more people.

I want to load each frame with a lot of information. I want two tracks driving this film: a visual world track and an emotional track. Both bound together by the music, both building up uncontainable momentum, ending in a celebration where they smash together on the last shot in one epic moment, when the passion of our heroes comes to a simultaneous climax with the visuals of our world – all because we added a Zero.

The driving factor for our film is that we must believe each moment. It’s vital that we capture and translate onto film honest actions and activities of young people being youthful and energetic.
BEVERAGE: Lipton [Look & Feel]

Not that this film is anywhere near as dramatic as Saving Private Ryan, but I immediately though of it when visualizing how we can shoot this. If you recall how, in the beginning scenes, as the soldiers were trudging through the water towards shore, it was loud and disorienting. Then, the camera would dip under water and it was instantly calm and quiet, almost serene for a moment. For our purposes, we’d reverse this effect, creating the still world on top of the water and the wild world underneath. We might also consider bobbing the camera – it could go up and down to hear and accentuate the sound differences in the two worlds.

I’m also really drawn to David Lynch’s style of slow-moving camera work to create surreal, dreamlike scenarios. Without pushing too far, I’d love to explore this concept for our underwater scenes. Let’s add a dash of the slightly bizarre in the way we shoot and light this spot to infuse a unique and memorable flavor.

I also see this film having a really distinctive look through colour and light. Sunlight will saturate this world from above, and the way it filters through the surface of the pool will create an ethereal, dreamy feel. We’ll also play with shadow to create a more dramatic look in spots. Colour is key here, too. While our backdrop will most likely be a light blue, we’ll use natural sunlight to accentuate the golden hue of the Lipton Ice Tea bottles.
FOOD: Rotel [Style - humor]

A small crew is the way to go for these spots, as it will allow for ease of movement and also give the spots more of a home spun feel, which adds to our Duo’s overall charm. Plus, keeping the crew light will keep the energy of the surprised queso novices’ reactions high. Not in a frenzied Publishers Clearing House way… but face it – where camera crews abound, excitement builds. People from all around will want to come over and be where the action is. Or run screaming from these overwhelming invaders. Neither reaction will help our cause.

To get two killer spots that will help our dynamic queso duo really shine, I would say we need four shoot days and two travel days. This allows us to add in any fun, off the cuff scenes like the ladies getting pulled over, or having to eat dinner in a hard core country roadhouse, or asking for directions at a strip joint, etc… all while espousing the joys of queso to these hardened, “eclectic” groups. They are our Blues Brothers, and on a Mission from Gooey God. While our duo will most definitely be put in compromising situations that will rattle them, the one thing they will never falter on is their passion for queso. For they are on a journey to enlighten and will never judge a soul for their lack of queso knowledge... or clothing, but they may save a soul or two via queso. This will all work and be hilarious, because we have cast and created two ladies who are so funny and so sweet and so charming, who can’t wait to hit the street.
BEAUTY: Olay [Tone]

One of the reasons why this script is so captivating is that we’re breaking the rules about how beauty commercials are traditionally shot. Instead of focusing solely on static close-ups of skin and product shots, we’re telling a fluid, cinematic story about three relatable women on their respective adventures through life.

We should feel as if we are viewing clips of a much larger movie – only catching a glimpse into the lives of our heroines and how they use Olay products to embolden them with the confidence to conquer any adventure, while keeping them looking radiant in the process.

Though we are only privy to a brief moment in each woman’s life, we’ll be left with the feeling that there is a much bigger story unfolding here. A story we are drawn into as we experience, just as our heroines do, the benefits and beauty derived from each Olay product.

To achieve all of this, I’ll employ many of the techniques one sees in a full-length feature film. For example, the use of gorgeous scene-setting wide shots will establish each moment in a genuine and authentic way. Extreme close-up photography will feature and highlight the beauty and product shots. One of my specialties is shooting vibrant and colorful imagery and stills, and I’ll do so here in the overall film grading of this shoot. We’ll capture emotional performances from our cast, seek out the most stunning locations, and create a relatable look and feel through set design and overall styling – thus ensuring that we maintain an exceptionally high production value throughout the entire process.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: John Deere [Approach]

Even with a presence all over the world, John Deere, at its heart, is just a small town company run by humble people with unwavering determination to be the best at what they do. Though our aspirations are grand in scale, everything we shoot will underscore this idea.

We’re opening up John Deere factories and testing facilities to the world to show that, while nothing runs likes a Deere, nobody works harder for you than a John Deere employee.

To authentically accomplish this, we’re planning on filming in three John Deere factories located in Greenville, TN, Horicon, WI, and Augusta, GA, where we’ll film real world, authentic and beautifully detailed portrait shots of Deere’s true craftsmen and craftswomen. We’ll spend time focusing on the details – the way they handle their tools, work the machinery, and inspect items to ensure the utmost quality.

We’ll capture intimate moments of real workers and as they operate machinery in tandem with high tech robotics, and then watch with reverence as a sleek new RLE Z235 rolls off the assembly line, where it joins its brothers - a brand new D105, x300, and x500 - to pose for a heroic family product shot, backed by gorgeous lighting to enhance the majesty of each masterfully crafted machine.
FOOD: Yoplait [Approach - humor]

Yo! First of all I want to tell you what huge fan of Yoplait I am. And GoGurt? Don’t get me started. I’m a busy guy. Squeezing one of those bad boys into my mouth is the most efficient form of food to mouth transfer in recent history. I wish all my food came in a tube. How did toothpaste corner the market on that?

The hits keep on coming from Saatchis! – two hilariously clever campaigns that convey the craftiness of kids and the charming clunessness of moms. Yoplait gets it. People are busy. Kids, especially, are busy. Doing what, I have no idea – but they need to be fed, fast and without fuss. GoGurt gets the job done. We’ll see in these spots, that while moms may not always be completely hip, they have big hearts and are always looking for a way to fuel their kids with a quick, fun and healthy snack that tastes great and can also double as a miniature light saber.

I can tell you had a lot of fun with the Yoplait spots, too, showing how conniving and clever our offspring can be. Looking to outsmart mom at every turn, these are kids who can smell mom’s strawberry-banana scented trick a mile away, and frankly, want to show the world that two can play at that game. Oh, the fruit of our loins.

You guys have all the ingredients here to whip up a series of fresh and funny spots. Let’s go gurt ‘em. Yes. I said that. Don’t hate.
FOOD: Rotel [Tone - humor]

The ultimate goal here is to give the feeling, nay, the belief, that roaming out there in the U.S., are two women, our Dynamic Duo, who at any moment might show up in your town and knock on your door with a beaming smile and a big bowl full of queso. They are like the Flying Dutchman of delight, because they’re that enthusiastic about spreading the word. Their mission is to get people excited about queso, and they won’t stop until it goes from a regional treat to iconic status, where everyone knows what queso is and how to make it in a jiffy. I see these women as becoming a modern-day “urban legend,” but in a cute, charming way…zealously promoting queso one bowl at a time.

I also think that we can create a really endearing character with the Queso-bago, so that people get excited to see it, a la the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile. I may be getting ahead of myself, but I am positive we can build such enthusiasm for the two women and their yummy “Batmobile,” that they can show up to a variety of events, from tailgaters at the Super Bowl, to the red carpet at the Oscars, and everyone will be thrilled to see them and hear what they have to say about queso. Then even more thrilled to gobble down said queso.

And why stop there? This campaign has legs and I think it can really travel, even internationally, once we build our great duo, because seeing them introduce queso to someone in South Dakota can be just as great in London, or beyond. Northern Canada, maybe?
FINANCIAL: HSBC [Look & Feel]

Attempting to steal the attention away from the field of a packed stadium of over 40,000 rugby fans is no easy task. It was accomplished so cleverly last year, and what I envision for this new spot will entice, entertain and engage the audience even more because this time around, we’re introducing a tangible way for fans to engage with what’s happening on screen. The SERIOUS/PLAY coin.

This coin is a currency for fun. And our spot will reveal the story behind it. We want each and every person in the stand to explode with energy every time this spot plays during the Sevens.

In our opening shot, we start by flying over Hong Kong. This bird’s eye view is detailed, warm, unfiltered, natural and quiet. Hong Kong is a textured, modern city, bustling with passion and excitement. Then, as we gather speed, we quickly shift towards the ground where, suddenly and without warning – Boom! – we are smack in the middle of a heated Sevens match. Here we’ll have longer shadows, stronger light. We are now in the strong backlight from the warmed day sun.

As an explosive, epic tackle happens, we smash right through the ground, where we reveal our first of the six distinct zones mentioned earlier.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Matchbox [Look & Feel]

The film noir genre allows us to utilize some really cool techniques that we otherwise wouldn’t have available to us in a more traditional toy spot. We want the overall look and feel to come across as dusky, dark and menacing. Picture a streetlamp reflecting off the wet asphalt of a deserted city street as an unsuspecting dame clicks down a sidewalk, looking over her shoulder, jumping at her own shadow. I’ll look to films like Asphalt Jungle or The Maltese Falcon for inspiration, as they both have a certain grit and moodiness to them.

Though leaning towards these highly styled visuals, we still want to ensure that we maintain the Big Boots brand into this spot, so we will incorporate identifiable elements from previous spots – namely the asymmetrical rooflines – right into the miniatures.

We want the viewer to immediately recognize what they are watching – a thrilling Big Boot spot – but be drawn in further through this added layer of cinematic graphical elegance. It’s an infusion of filming style that will set it apart from past spots, making it that much cooler and more captivating.
BEVERAGE: Lipton [Story]

This film resides in a world of extreme contrasts. It plays tricks on logic and challenges reason. But not at first. Though a bit empty and a little too quiet, it seems as if there’s really nothing much out of the ordinary going on up above on dry land. This top level is still, quiet, and rooted firmly within the confines of reality and the rules of gravity.

We see a girl take a swig of a Lipton Iced Tea Virgin Cocktail and dive into a pool. No big deal, right? Not really, until she doesn’t come back up for air. She disappears without a trace, leaving nary a ripple of water in her wake. Like the mystified maintenance man, the audience will undoubtedly wonder: Where on earth did she go?

This intro opens us up to our slightly askew fantasy world. Once inside, we quickly discover that this new world is packed with color, light, music and dancing. It’s bursting with energy and enthusiasm. All who enter this space are possessed with an eagerness to have fun, exude positivity, enjoy life and live a healthy lifestyle.

Suddenly, in this space, the rules of gravity and movement no longer apply the way they did on dry land. They bend and twist at our whim, and we can create some truly special moments with incredibly dynamic and energized party people.
BEVERAGE: Coke Zero [Cinematography]

To achieve that true film look, I see us shooting with anamorphic lenses, along with a mixture of handheld camerawork; tracking shots from vehicles for the skateboarding and bike shots; and lots of POV shots of our heroes. To ensure that the camera is constantly filled with energy and movement, we’ll film some shots slightly off speed – slowing them down a bit to see the detail of our dancers or the flip of a skateboard.

For the day scenes, we want to get a lot of coverage to really set get in deep in this world. We want to capture the people, places and things that move them. Let’s shoot cool people on bikes, skateboards in action, drummers on the street, kids jumping over fences and hitching rides in convertible cars; lovers kissing, a hot girl on back of a bike, and a pack of people jumping into a roof top pool.

We’ll shoot light hitting the lens, light hitting the textured buildings, birds taking off, and trains hurtling by. We’ll get close ups of good looking tats, small groups people running, dancing on the street, maybe even a couple on horse.

For our scenes at the end of the day, we’ll shot guys and girls looking over the city with a look of ownership, turn tables been plugged in, people running up stairs towards the party, doors flying open onto a rooftop, a DJ spinning records, tight shots of people dancing, speakers pumping, people jumping.
FINANCIAL: HSBC [Cinematography]

I see us shooting with anamorphic lenses, for that true film look, with a mixture of handheld and tracking shots from small, tracking vehicles, and lots of POV of our heroes. The camera work will be packed with energy and movement to really draw the attention of our audience and hold it there. We will use some shots slightly off speed, slowed down to enable us to better see the details of our world and the events taking place within it.

We spoke on the call about the ways Danny Boyle inspired this spot, with how he transformed the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremonies. I envision the look and feel of our film having similar textures, colours and lighting. But this will be a sleek, modern day take on Danny Boyle’s Industrial Revolution sequence – instead of beleaguered men working their knuckles to the bone, we’ll see hardcore rugby Sevens players, sexy dancers and costumed fans.

But before we dive into the mythical world where these HSBC coins are minted, we’ll first fly over Hong Kong, quickly establishing where we are, before blasting into Hong Kong Stadium where a heated rugby match is already underway.

This is a serious domain. I think a slight infusion of a similar style will further ground us in reality as we explore this fantastic realm under the stadium where these coins are being so cleverly crafted.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Martha Stewart - Avery [Cinematography]

My background is in documentary filmmaking, and my goal is always to capture the spontaneity of real life through elegantly crafted visuals. I want every scene of this film to be shot with an observational quality – one that’s artful, authentic and intimate. By combining well-composed frames with a gently moving handheld camera, I’ll capture genuine, spontaneous and unguarded moments of the natural interaction between our characters. However, within this spirit will be the more constructed transitions from scene to scene, which will give a fun counterpoint.

The clever use of couplets creates a playful rhythm to carry us through each frame with a tempered cadence. That said, I’d like to work against any predictability in the pacing – keeping in mind too that some moments might take longer than others to achieve an emotional connection and practical understanding of each products’ utility with the viewer. The goal is to showcase the products through real life integration, so we’ll spend as much time as we need, without losing momentum, and never forcing any action.

We’ll capture this story with a level of cinematography suitable to the marriage of the iconic Martha Stewart + Avery brands, but with an unexpected dose of docu-style spontaneity, allowing us to weave in intimate hand held moments, some of which could bring us in closer to the products in a very natural, intimate manner. Something like the Arri Alexa will give us a nimbleness that absolutely suits the nature of this shoot, allowing us to capture our characters in their familiar environments. The look of the finished pieces will be elegant, cinematic, and barely discernable from film.
CARS: Hyundai [Cinematography]

Along with bookending this spot with gorgeous establishing shots on either end – I’ll also find moments within each scene to show off specific safety and design features.

We’ll start the spot off with an establishing shot using long lenses to highlight the Hyundai i40 as the main focal point of our story. To really show some love to this exquisite piece of machinery, I’ll glide in and around our vehicle as it’s put to the test out in the field – be it a dramatic swerve to avoid the falling debris or a quick veer to evade our clueless monkey. I’ll use long shots to showcase the grand overall design of the car, and then go in for close ups with focus shifts that will allow us to examine in detail the gorgeously sculpted lines of the sheet metal and the refined interior.

With the angling in on the functionally and innovation of the exterior, we might also consider taking the viewer behind the wheel to see just how smooth the Hyundai i40 runs and how it expertly handles itself in moments of duress. This is a gorgeous car and I will give it the space it needs within the spot to really show off.

While we will make sure show serious car love in this spot, it will never be at expense of the story. They will be filmed in a way that seamlessly moves from the features of the car to the wider story and back again.
BEVERAGE: Coke Zero [Casting]

Casting will make or break this film. Although our cast will be gorgeous, we’re looking for more than just models. These young men and women are of great significance to the visual world of the journey of passion and desire to add Zero to their lives. They must look like they really know what they’re doing with their lives and where they’re going with it. These are people who are in total control of their destiny.

Young audiences really respond to this and are inspired by like-minded people’s passion and desire to live life to the fullest. It inspires them to seek out their own passion and follow their destiny. A destiny that says, “We are all born to do something great!” So go do what you were born to do – be it dancing, skating, riding.

This is why I believe the “Just Do it” campaign resonated for so long for generations of young people. “Just Add Zero” has the same potential. We can help it rise to an epic status but to do so, we must show real talent and serious skills of people who have it all and are willing to share, teach and live by their own example.

This is the talent we’re seeking for this spot. These are the young people we want to cast. Not just actors or models, but amazing creative, expressive, grounded people who just happen to be really good looking and have an enviable zest for life. They get Zero, because Zero gets them.
FOOD: Yoplait [Casting]

Casting is not important on this one guys. I know you think it is but it ain’t. Let’s just get our cousins, uncles and family friends to play the roles and then they will owe us big time for the rest of our lives.

Zing! Just making sure you’re paying attention. As much as I’d like to be contrarian, when it comes to casting it really is everything. I’m a freak about casting and callbacks are my favorite part of the entire process.

We’ll start by finding fresh faces with a plucky demeanor, finely tuned acting chops and white hot improv skills. The key in casting kids is finding kids who are actually kids. Yes I said kids three times. It’s that important. It’s less funny when you see 20 year olds playing the recently Bar Mitzvah’d. An air of innocence in the physicality of each kid will make their shenanigans more charming and real. At this age they naturally hold nothing back and the humor comes from the looks on their faces. I have fortunately worked with kids like this before and have a few in mind already.

Our moms will be a friendly mix of supremely-talented age-appropriate actors with enviable improv skills and a solid “mom” look that is both relatable and somewhat aspirational. She’s the type of person you want at your next game night. She brings a fun side dish, kills at charades, and never overstays her welcome.

I’ve worked with babies, zebras and LeBron James – but there is nothing like working with tweenagers. They are so precocious, endlessly entertaining and are usually all too smart for their own good. And I totally get them because I was just like they were once.
BEVERAGE: Lipton [Casting]

Our partygoers are real people playfully interacting with one another, while enjoying an authentic, albeit aquatic, experience.

We want them to be attractive, charismatic characters with undeniable chemistry, brought together to heighten the spontaneous nature of this gathering. Vitality is key, and each actor will embody this fully.

It’s also essential that our cast can swim. Perhaps we can hold callbacks at a pool. While we aren’t looking for synchronized swimmers, we do want to find people who possess a certain elegance in the way they move through water. Working underwater (if that’s how we end up filming) may create unexpected, spontaneous moments that will enhance the direction of the spot, taking it to the next level.

The dynamism this aquatic dreamland creates will lend to some really fantastic moments with our actors, as well, in they way interact within this space and to one another.
FINANCIAL: ANZ [Casting]

This is such a strong performance piece that requires the skills of truly talented actors. If the audience doesn’t register their inspiration immediately, the sudden shift of an idea coming to light on their faces, the story won’t make sense, and the whole film crashes and burns. So we must find gifted actors that can deliver powerful performances with radiant, authentic emotion in just a couple of beats.

We’ll look to cast actors who inhabit each role with truth, giving life to their characters, as well as a sense of sincerity and relationship to each other. These are people who know what it is to experience surprise and inner joy and can relate that kind of spirit with a simple look on their face. The audience must instantly recognize, relate and feel empathy for the leads, and be excited for what’s to come.

This calls for extensive casting. My team and I will work hard finding these actors and I’ll work with them in both callbacks and rehearsals to really craft and finely tune their performances. To keep takes from getting stale, we’ll encourage talent to improvise and try out new ideas on set. This will ensure that we get takes that always ring honest and true.

Speaking of talent, our three young professionals are smart, stylish and have a lot of things figured out. They each love their chosen career, they love what they do in their lives, but they are endlessly curious, growing.
BEAUTY: Olay [Casting]

Casting a dynamic trio of incredibly charming, charismatic young women who radiate beauty and carefree energy is key to the success of this campaign. Our free spirited heroines are endlessly stylish, incredibly confident and truly gorgeous, but not so much like models that they become unrelatable to our audience. These women should have an aspirational vibe to them, but still feel sincere, like they could be your best friend.

It goes without saying that our heroines must be very attractive, have glowing skin and an inherent “joie de vivre,” so seeking out aspiring young actresses instead of models might add more emotional depth to each role and deliver more convincing performances. Also, since this film is intended for a North American audience, we want to reflect diversity in the way we cast our roles. This can be achieved through different hair colours and skin types, as well as through each heroine’s individual clothing, style and attitude.

Let’s bring in a broad range of ethnically diverse women for a round of initial auditions and, through callbacks, narrow them down according to how they best fit together. Though these ladies are never in the same frame together, this spot is an ensemble piece and I want to make sure our cast has visual and energetic chemistry with each other, while feeling distinct from one another.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Martha Stewart - Avery [Casting]

Our cast consists of a mom, dad and two kids, ages five to seven. These ages make sense as it’s a time in a child’s life when mom might be heading back to work after her years as a stay at home parent. Ideally we’re looking for a boy and girl, but if we fall in love with two exceptional boys or girls that could really make these moments pop, I’m happy to hear that you’re open to that.

We’ll find actors who inhabit each role with true authenticity, breathe life into their characters, and evoke a sense of sincerity and relationship to each other. As I do with every film I shoot, I like to infuse characters with an unspoken sense of back story to add more depth to their performances and connection to their choices, and to each other.

In terms of performance, our cast of course needs to function as a family and play off of each other in a natural and believable manner. I always go into production with a clear road map of the shots and performances, but I like to stay flexible within that plan to make room for unexpected moments that might crop up organically within a scene, making for an even more authentic experience and a more memorable result. Magical moments can happen once the camera starts rolling and I provoke things, mining what surprising or endearing scenes might emerge.
FINANCIAL: ANZ [Locations]

Each scene begins in an environment that feels familiar to the viewers – a farm, an urban downtown office, a comfortable home. To avoid typical clichéd looks, I’ll really zero-in on rarely emphasized details of these spaces to show the positive and textured aspects in all – always with an unexpected and artistic eye, and never judgmental. I want to really look for locations that represent ANZ from coast to coast, yet show these familiar spaces in a different light.

Ultimately, we want the worlds our characters live in and all the textural elements within them to speak for themselves and tell as much of our story as possible. This creates another layer of authenticity and humanity to these films. With that in mind, all set décor and art direction will feel lived in without ever feeling messy or detracting. We’ll make sure even the smallest details clearly define the identities of each location, giving the sense of a distinct place along our journey.
CARS: Hyundai [Locations]

We have three distinct roads to travel down in this spot. We start smaller in suburbia, move to a busier but still pretty two-lane highway and then finally out even bigger to a multi-lane freeway. We encounter the monkey in suburbia, the hyena on the highway, and the ox on the freeway. Many people might find themselves on a variety of roads in one day, but for our purposes, we don’t want to make it seem as if this is one hellish drive for our couple – one peppered with bad drivers at every turn.

So we’ll make it look like these incidents happen on different days over the course of, say a month or so… as they would in every day life. We’ll find appropriate roads to convey each area – suburbia is quieter, with more stop signs than lights. As we encounter our surfing monkey in this neck of the woods – it should also have a slightly beachy vibe. Let’s make the highway a pretty highway – one our couple might be journeying down for long weekend somewhere nice – which is why it so unnerving when the hyena nearly runs them off the road. Our freeway should feel a bit starker, more impersonal – as they tend to be. It’s every man for himself out on these roads and the ox makes sure you know it.

I’m thinking that a slightly idyllic quality to each location will give the campaign a polished quality that keeps in alignment with the sleek new features of a Hyundai i40 and spurs your desire to drive one. All locations should feel believable and reflect distinct areas, but never look or feel overly complicated or cluttered.
BEAUTY: Olay [Wardrobe]

Just like our dynamic trio, we have a nice opportunity to infuse individuality and forward thinking fashion into our wardrobe styling. With all this blue sky and desert heat, I think there should be an element of dressing for summer here, so I’d like to see some breezy dresses with narrow shoulder straps combined with twin sets and scarves. Our aim is to appeal to younger skewing viewers, and this needs to be reflected in our trio’s fashion – but it should not be high fashion. It still needs to be attainable to a wider audience. I’m feeling a cross between Teen Vogue and Self or Glamour.

Our wardrobe also performs another, more subtle function in that the colours will mirror the colours of each of the Olay product packs. For example, we’ll cleverly use a scarf to provide a flash of colour that picks up a particular colour on the heroine’s product pack of choice.

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