FOOD: Hellmann's [Overview]

These spots immediately grabbed me- they're funny, fresh, and have a charmingly unique point-of-view-one that I know will resonate with lots of people everywhere. There's a playfully self-aware quality to these spots that I love- a of Demetri Martin/Wes Anderson kind of charm and humor that you often see in indie films, in cutting edge cable comedy shows, but which you rarely encounter in advertising. It's a sensibility that is definitely in-the-know - and it celebrates a child-like quality in the details of its observations. It's very human filmmaking- nothing about it is arch. It's alluring and charming in its apparent precision. The care with which the frame and its subjects are composed makes you feel that a human did this- that it is bespoke, somehow, that the subtle imperfections of the human hand is detectable. The hand-done squiggle of a mayo heart, the perfectly retro curtains framing our sandwich heroine, the series of bold, slightly off-center tablecloth patterns which frame our plates...all these touches will be carefully considered to evoke a playfulness that is both eye-catching and memorable.
CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Guitar Hero [Overview]

There's really a whole world which surrounds Guitar Hero. It's a sub-cultural phenomenon not unlike skateboarding or surfing. It's deeply rooted in kid culture, both here and in Europe, and it possesses, pretty organically, a cool-factor that will be a lot of fun to build upon. I love the set-up and the simplicity of this spot. It has a nice music video-directness to it. The kids will contrast very well with the business people- small looks, small glances will speak volumes to the media savvy youth of Europe. A cool, contemporary, European feeling will be the general approach, one which will set us up nicely for the subtle mythology that surrounds the culture of Guitar Hero, and if we choose, some explosive rock star behavior to follow.
PHARMACEUTICAL: Lactaid [Overview]

This spot is very straightforward. It possesses a simplicity which makes it engaging and very appealing. There's often a tendency to over think spots like this, to overcomplicate it. When you have a piece that is as direct and well-written as this one, with a strong, relatable insight, it's best to tell the story as honestly and simply as you can.

Everything about "Here's To" will be beautiful and appealing, with clean natural light, great performances, and a gentle, engaging camera- but none of the creative decisions we make will distract from the basic tone of directness and honesty that is, at its heart, the spot's overwhelming strength.

On a more personal level, this spot really spoke to me. I'm lactose intolerant myself, and the honest tone of "Here's To" really brought home a central theme for me: Lactaid provides a simple, delicious way to deal with this pervasive issue, and dealing with it so successfully (and enjoyably), is most definitely something to celebrate.
STORES: Lowe's [Overview]

Lowe's is your partner, bettering your home, bettering your life, with you through all the important moments.

And what could be more important to a couple of life-long friends and rivals than The World Cup? Perhaps winning a bet?

This is a very simple script, and therein lies its strength. Like a great short story or a Chaplin film, every moment has its place, the characters are clear and recognizable, and the story turns on a simple event. This is a spot that needs to be told almost plainly, without fuss or ornamentation. If it's done straightforwardly, it will be very elegant, and quite memorable.

STORES: PetSmart [Overview]

Dogs have always been, and remain, a big part of my life. I grew up with a basset hound, have had several dogs since, and happily have two dogs in my life right now. They are a big part of my family. I am definitely a pet person, and I love filming them.

The scripts you've created are very straight forward, and I think this is great. They are simple, honest ideas. They get to the core insight of what it means to own and love an animal, and they do so really efficiently. There is no over complication, no staginess, just simple stories told directly. The people behind PetSmart are pet owners too, they get it, and they get their shoppers. When you have an idea that is as solid as this, it enables you to flesh out an engaging story, discovering along the way those magical moments of authenticity- moments which ring true, moments with which a viewer can identify. A meaningful connection with an animal is very simple and pure- you give to them, and you get back so much more There's a purity there, and the moments which illustrate this special relationship should reflect this.

PHARMACEUTICAL: Rexona [Overview]

The films for "Rexona Women", as well as "Karaoke" and "Volunteer", all offer us delicious moments of anxiety; each one frames for us authentic life-moments - moments where the world will either see our characters sweat with discomfort, or shine brightly with confidence.

Both "Karaoke" & "Volunteer" revolve around what seem to be moments of spontaneous, unexpected intimacy. There is a surprising physical closeness encountered by our characters, but also- perhaps more importantly- an emotional intimacy is also found, and this is where things can get really vulnerable.

These very human scenes will be shot with an eye toward keeping the performances spontaneous and very natural. The events should feel captured rather than staged, giving them a plausibility that we can immediately relate to. They'll feel full of energy and surprise- particularly "Karaoke", which is filled with laughter and teasing.

With "Rexona Women", "Karaoke", and "Volunteer", we'll take a very modern, graphic approach to how the locations and sets are presented, and how these memorable scenes are framed and how they unfold. We'll envelope our actors in cinematic lighting, with a distinct style and point-of-view, and we'll make wardrobe and art department choices which reflect a tight, elegant color palette, beautifully accentuating the performers and their very natural performances.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Guitar Hero [Look & Feel]

This spot needs to feel urban, of course. It is rooted in realism, with all the textures and detailing of a city. I want to instill, however, an otherworldly feeling- a sense that something subtle, yet magical, is afoot. Perhaps the bus stop is in a slightly remote section of the city- isolated and set apart somehow. This frames the scene strongly, sets us up for an experience, and makes the eventual arrival of the Guitar Hero tour bus kind of logical within this world. We can tell they're in a big city, but there's no big city bustle. It'll have an almost Godot-like quality that I think kids will respond to.

Of course, the kids should all be attractive and cool, but in a casual, nonchalant way. They should not appear as though they care how they look- none of them should seem primped or precious- rather, the natural, almost indifferent grace certain young people seem to posses will be important. Think Larry Clark without the drugs.

FOOD: Hellmann's [Look & Feel]

"Love Notes" is all tone, much of which will be established by the great musical choice you guys will make. It's wonderful how music can act as tonal shorthand for a piece of filmmaking. A charming, quirky song like "Friends" gets under your skin, it makes you smile, and it conjures up such an immediate sense of character. Beyond the music, the spot's art direction will be critical to conveying that upbeat, eccentric, slightly mad world we want to create. The details and textures of great production design weave together to make a series of almost unconscious associations: the colored rim of a plate, the contrast between the mom's shirt cuff and the broad stripe of the tablecloth, the stripe of the mesh wristband on her watch and the brown of the wheat bread... these deliberately considered touches will be well-mapped out to affect a tone that is at once fresh and eclectic, and filled with the charming character of a Jared Hess short. Rich with personality, breezy and alive and human.

Since humor and playfulness are at the heart of these spots, we'll aim for a light tone that's full of energy- a tone that perfectly conveys the confident lives we're depicting. Authenticity is an intangible feeling- it conveys something genuine and recognizable- a feeling you can relate to. Even though these spots are carefully considered, they are very down-to-earth. Depicting real personality- even through hand gestures or the positioning of inanimate objects- means allowing character and tone to emerge imperfectly. It accounts for nuance, for uniqueness, for the unexpected. This does not mean anything will be odd or out-of-place - far from it.

STORES: Lowe's [Look & Feel]

The feeling we will have when looking at this spot is that you're peeking in on a real life, an authentic series of events. If the world our characters inhabit is realistic, then the payoff will not be telegraphed, and will become all the more resonant and funny. We should not have a feeling of staginess, or even anticipation. There should be a tone of casualness in how we approach the filmmaking.

The environments of these two friends will reflect this level realism. Their homes will not be stylized or stark. Rather, they will feel lived-in, layered with great, authentic set dressing. There'll be visual cues of their vivid lives- lives filled with family, with wives and small children, and yes, subtle touches that speak to their absolute love of the game and their teams.

There is not a lot of dialogue in this piece, which I think is one of the nice things about it. Tone, then, is quickly established by sound design, and here we should remain true to the aesthetic of realism. Background noise will add dimension; of course there is the televised game and the announcer, but also the faint sounds of the outside world. It is as if, unconsciously, you sense the neighborhood's presence, as if The World Cup is important not only to these two guys, but that they are part of a larger tapestry of passionate fans. This is camaraderie, a spirit, unique to soccer fans all over the world, and this lovely microcosm of that insight perfectly illustrates how Lowe's supports us in celebrating the event in the perfect way.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Milk Bone [Tone & Approach]

Hitting the right tone for these spots couldn't be more critical. We have a great opportunity to show a lot of people how amazing these dogs are, and how deeply they touch the lives of those they help. There is a lot to this subject matter that's emotionally rich to begin with--that will easily touch many people--and this is something that'll help us in drawing a deep connection with our viewers. There is a risk to this, though--a big one--and that is allowing yourself to become sentimental or, worse, seeming to be manipulative. To avoid this, above all else, our approach must be thoroughly honest and up-front.

I come from a documentary background. Delicately entering a world and capturing what it means to be part of it, and doing so with respect--even deference--to our subjects, is something I am very comfortable with. I would bring this very same sensibility to our project. It will not only be cinematically the right thing to do, but taking a more documentarian approach (how we shoot, how we light, how we introduce ourselves into our subject's lives) will create a safe environment for our subjects. A disarming, engaging tone will be immediately apparent in the footage as a result. Action and emotion will not feel forced or manipulated. The relationships we see unfolding before us will feel earned and honest.

My hope is to formulate a preliminary connection with our subjects, both animal and human. A gentile, positive, safe introduction to Zoe, in particular, will be important...


I love this spot in particular. It's the most anthem-like of the campaign in that it manages to capture a sense of universality by speaking to several children, in different environments, who are all linked by a common experience. The fact that they speak plainly to camera creates a tableau almost about childhood itself. That they are linked, and that there is the feeling they can complete each others sentences will be really satisfying to watch and will be such a powerful and clear message. It's not a scary message, but it is a serious one These are real concerns, and to have the children themselves bringing this important issue to our attention makes the message all the more urgent.

In creating a broad, graphic tableau featuring the varying lives children, we should allow ourselves artistic license to expand our study of these kids. I think we should cut into small, very specific details about them as they speak--a punch-in to a boy's feet, his sneakers shifting in place while he talks, or a close-up of a little girl's painted thumbnail, or the braid her mother made out of her long hair. These details will make the tone epic with a graphic, editorial depiction of American kids, in all their glory and forthrightness. I also like the intercutting between kids in real environments with those shot more formally against a backdrop--it allows for more footage, more moments of nuance and performance that will add to the richness of the final cut. To create portraiture like this can be photographically arresting, but to do so with such down-to-earth performances, such simple, honest speaking, will be powerful also because of its emotional impact.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Guitar Hero [Story]

This is a wonderfully simple story. That really is its strength. You've done a good job in creating a structure that is uncomplicated and unfussy--just the things kids are wary of.

I would take this simplicity further, or rather use it to our advantage. Guitar Hero is a game which encourages some pretty dramatic expression--it pushes the player to act out his inner rock star. This mobile version, though, is a very different animal. This game is small, almost personal. It is to Guitar Hero the console game, what an iPod is to a big home stereo system. And in some ways, that is a plus-- not only as a device, but as a way of telling a story that will pull you in. Let me explain...

The kid arrives. He's doing his thing. Nothing elaborate, nothing show-offy. He just pulls the thing out and goes at it. Maybe his actions are small, almost private, as if he cares little about the people around him, who they are, or what they think of him. Because his actions are almost surreptitious--interest is piqued. The business person can't help but glance over. The older couple sneak a look. The other kids arrive, and they begin to play as well. They don't acknowledge each other-- don't need to. As members in an underground movement united by Guitar Hero and the Nintendo DS, they coolly bob their heads to Nirvana. The bus arrives--with Ghost World magic--and they're gone, leaving behind the slightly bewildered older couple, and the business woman to contemplate her dreary job. Across their faces flash a subtle question...what just happened? Was it real?

CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Disney [Look & Feel]

In terms of how the film will actually look, we must remain consistent with the banal realism we've established with our characterizations. This means that the spots are shot true to the methodology of the quickly grabbed interview; so, longer on the barrel, stick back, natural lighting, handheld--a shooting style that feels ultra-real. The style is photographically rather a throw-away--it appears, at first, to be nothing much to look at. But then, once you animate within the frame, matching the style perfectly, the characters become as real as the looseness of the photography. And this will make it extraordinary. Cinematically, it's a stolen-footage feeling. In terms of its subject matter, however, the feeling will be magical.

I like the idea of treating the material in a low-fi way--littering the footage with jump cuts, reframes, refocusing...even zooming. All the stuff you never do or get with animation. There are no accidents with CGI. Everything is pre-visualized, and usually it is very lit and ornately art directed. With this campaign, I think the mantra should be absolute, minimal simplicity. Shoot with available light, go to a real location--a studio in Brooklyn, for example. Film our actors there, give a proper sense of atmosphere to their performances--a sense of place that will come though.

The editing process will give us another opportunity to render a believable, unexpected, off-hand approach to the material...

STORES: Kay Jewelers [Cinematography]

I think the camerawork that will best serve our message is one which has a slight drifting quality, as if the frame feels like its subtly floating; this will give a human, hand-touched quality to the look of the film. It takes away the "slickness" of the spot, along with any staged feeling; instead it becomes graceful, almost unobtrusive, and subtle. It gives the film a very photographic look, feeling as though we are capturing real moments. When you create a scene that needs to feel caught or observed, the camerawork shouldn't draw attention to itself. Our attention must remain with the nuances of our characters, and the emotional pull of the scenes themselves.

PHARMACEUTICAL: Rexona [Cinematography]

Clean and crisp. The lighting will be sensual, generous to the actors and to the locations we select. The photography will be pleasingly modern. We'll be sure to maximize the use of interesting, eye-catching angles, better to frame and tell our stories with compaction and efficiency. Long lens work--frequently off of a dolly--will separate our actors from their backgrounds at key moments, giving an emotional beat to a scene. We'll stagger our actors strategically in their environments, enabling us to rack to them suddenly, drawing our attention to a gesture, or a telling detail. The use of diopters will be interesting as well allowing us to emphasize a moment, to really punctuate it. We'll also capture some iconic, heroic imagery where appropriate, shooting up towards our characters, giving them the cinematic stature that will make them truly memorable.

With "Volunteers", we will take a more natural approach to the look of the film; one which softens the colors, muting them, and rendering an overall natural wash creating a de-saturated tone to the film. We'll create a sensitive and poetic contrast to the harder, more vivid colors found in the photography of the campaign's other commercials. This filmic approach will vividly speak to the greater themes of community, volunteerism, and respect for the natural world found in "Volunteers".

Generally for all spots, we'll use two cameras, providing us with the best editorial coverage possible...

PHARMACEUTICAL: Lactaid [Casting]

Casting, of course, is almost always crucial to a spot's success, and in this case it couldn't be more true. It'll be so important to find the perfect mix of attractiveness, charm, and RELATABILITY. Again, apirational, but in an authentic way. You want to look at these woman and think, I like you, you're attractive and healthy, and you're also smart and upbeat. I want us to be friends. Fundamentally, these are real women-- lovely to look at, but not perfect as a model would be. They should feel relaxed and natural, and there should be the feeling of an instant connection with them, so that trust is earned easily. Their performances will be inviting, enabling us to create a close association between Lactaid and these self-possessed, confident women--women in charge of their lives, and proud of their choices.

STORES: Kay Jewelers [Casting]

I think the right approach to casting this piece is to use a real family. I have a wonderful casting agent with whom I've worked on many projects. She's amazing at finding highly trained acting families--actual families with history, with chemistry, and the kind of connectivity that is immediately appealing. I've done this many times with stunning results. If we cast the spot with a vivacious, beautiful, fresh family--a family whose members have an authentic intimacy with one another--then the spot will open up in very touching ways. It will become real and relatable. They are still well-trained, beautiful looking actors, mind you but they are an actual family, too, which has amazing on-screen benefits. There are three different families I'm thinking of who would be perfect--they are all gorgeous, healthy and confident, and they are amazing in front of the camera.

CONSUMER PRODUCTS: Guitar Hero [Casting]

As I've mentioned, these kids should be attractive--but not models. They must feel authentic. They must come across as the cool seniors in high school. They should be fit, but not particularly athletic. They should not be tanned or coifed in any way. I don't think they should be accessorized particularly, though small details of personality will be crucial. An interesting mole or tattoo. A cool piercing, a wicked dye-job. A downtown haircut--these are the casting touches that will speak to European youth.

The others--the business woman and the other couple, regardless of which direction we take the story, I want to be wide open to casting. Performance--especially if we go down the path of a bigger, funnier approach--will be absolutely crucial. We must cast for that and be thoroughly open and flexible with the actual look of the actors.

PHARMACEUTICAL: Rexona [Location & Set Design]

With "Karaoke", we want to feel like we're clearly in a city. This is a sophisticated, urban, elegant space. It should feel architecturally progressive, both sleek and subdued, with rich surfaces of glass, metal, and polished stone. A feeling of clean minimalism will pervade the look of all the spaces, creating a modern, beautifully designed background against which we can frame the natural, kinetic spirit of our performers.

With "Volunteers", we'll find ourselves at the edge of a natural landscape. Rows of saplings dot the horizon. Beyond the scene is a stunning vista. This is a unique natural environment, filled with old growth and new. There is a sense of preservation to this world; a feeling of harmony and quiet that acts as a resonant backdrop to the very real and spontaneous action that will unfold there.

The bathroom sets will feel airy, the windows blooming with bright morning light. The spaces themselves should also echo the architecturally minimalist tone we've set with the other locations, but it can feel even more neutral, with glass tiles and chrome fixtures, white on white textures of porcelain & linen. These want to feel like thoroughly modern bathrooms--elegant, clean escapes from the pressures of everyday life. It is in these pristine, tranquil spaces that we experience a moment where our character prepares herself privately for the pressures of the day. It is here, with Rexona, that she creates for herself a special kind of personal empowerment and self-confidence.

PHARMACEUTICAL: Lactaid [Locations]

As to the kitchens we'll feature, and their adjoining backgrounds, we'll choose modern, clean environments with open floor plans and big bright windows. Architecture that has a touch of the mid-century to it can be thoroughly contemporary, and have a little design attitude to it. Clean, contemporary environments offer us the most flexibility, and in this case will also feel tonally right. These spaces will be airy and bright, and engaging to the eye. They'll feel real, with layers of texture and fresh, spotless surfaces. They'll convey a lifestyle that is aspirational without feeling remote or cold. And we'll ensure that wherever we are, our color palette is pleasingly neutral, and will always enhance Lactaid's rich blue packaging.

Another thought I had was to connect the interiors to the outside world. I think doing this will subtly suggest a naturalness to the brand which consumers may not at first associate with Lactaid. I'd love for us to consider adding a couple of scenes outside, like in the backyard or on a breezy deck with lots of lovely green foliage; exteriors that are connected to the house, which may be, in fact, physically just off the kitchen. These settings will only enhance a positive message for people considering this terrific product.

CARS: Toyota [Look & Feel]

As with "Faces", "Showtime" is strong because of its directness. It is a straightforward character-study of an interesting, unique and complicated man.

In this spot, we establish the car first. We see it moving through a city, gliding down elegant, architectural streets, flashing by glass and steel buildings. The car imagery will be heroic, lit with the pale gray and blue tones of the city as it races by.

We then cut to inside our man's space. Once again, it is not overly opulent, but it is stylish, masculine, and unique. At first it seems to be a working studio environment, like a workshop. Eventually, we will realize that it's connected to a sleek living space. Initially, though, our only impression is that it is industrial, simple, and manly. This is a classic artist's living situation, one which immediately suggests a life that ignores boundaries and boring conventions. This is a life worth living, one without limitation.

FOOD: Hellmann's [Food Styling]

The food throughout both spots will be the center of attention. I love shooting food--it's a great prop and, with Love Notes, it will be more than something with which our characters can interact: it gives us the opportunity to really do something graphic, appetizing, character-driven and bold. The food will look fresh and delicious, and this will add to the spot's sense of magic and depth.

Whenever I shoot food, I try very hard to blend it into the greater fabric of the commercial. It must be great looking--really appetizing and appealing, but it should fit with everything else. With The Break-Up, however, I think it requires something a little different. The surroundings shouldn't be your classically clean, modern kitchen. If the environment is a little funky, a little bit downtown, then the beauty of the food will only be elevated, and it'll be funnier to boot. Perfect, delicious, camera-ready food, in a slightly retro Silverlake kitchen? Perfect.

STORES: Kay Jewelers [Closing]

This script has the potential to be a really powerful spot. As a woman, a daughter, and a mother, let me say again that all the right insights are there--all of the moments feel real. I'd love to flesh them out with honesty, and well-earned emotion--I think it is key to making this spot amazing. There are magical moments here--moments which will resonate for men and women everywhere. It's a great way to pay tribute to mothers. Thanks so much for thinking of me for this project. It really excites me.

STORES: PetSmart [Closing]

You guys have done some really nice work so far--it is genuinely written, and the past spots I've seen were all executed with honesty and simplicity. I look forward to building on this terrific foundation. The core insights are there, they work. We want to stay away from anything that is flashy or overly constructed in tone. As a person who has always had, and who always will have, pets in her life, I assure you that you've uncovered the right insights and raised the right questions. I look forward to fleshing these out more with you.

Thanks for thinking of me.

CARS: Toyota [Closing]

These are terrific ideas, and their simplicity and directness really excite me. They offer a great opportunity for some powerful imagery. Creating an atmosphere that communicates character is always a thrill, and perhaps even more exciting is the chance to explore a character study of a type of man that is not only stylish but also bohemian and artistic. I know we'll end up with some work that will be really memorable and striking.

I look forward to talking again once you have reviewed the treatment.

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