The Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Football Night in America teaser I Creative Directed and Directed has just won two silver medals at this year's Promax Awards (sports integration/editing). Thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly on this very challenging shoot. 12-year-old Alan is still a little giddy to have shot with a real droid. If you haven't seen the spot, scroll down a few posts. And be sure to keep an eye out for all the little Star Wars easter eggs throughout (yes, a promo can have easter eggs... there's even a Wilhelm Scream in there if you listen closely).
I still haven't directed a Super Bowl spot, per se. But this year I got close! These three spots for GEICO and NBC's Football Night In America ran during the GEICO-sponsored portion of the pre-game show of this year's big game. Like all commercials, this one came with its share of challenges, from getting the set built during the year's biggest snowstorm, to the breakaway pajamas not looking quite right and having to later be completely recreated digitally (thank you, Neil!). But like all commercials, we got through it. Big hats off to Tony Dungee and Rodney Harrison for doing some heavy lifting performance-wise considering neither one had ever acted before.
When the NBC Sports team came to us and said they'd like us to pitch a Star Wars commercial to introduce a new exclusive The Last Jedi trailer, I tried not to get too excited. In this biz, projects come and go, and more often than not, they go. But over the course of a few weeks, this particular project slowly started to become real. First, Disney liked the script... then they started figuring out dates that BB-8 was available... and before I knew it, I was face to face with a real life droid! It was happening. The biggest challenge was that in real life, BB-8 moves at a snail's pace (see the first shot for an idea of his top speed). So, pulling out every camera and editing trick in the book, we somehow made this 2'2" remote-controlled turtle look like was bookin' through NBC Sports. And in the process, made the 12-year-old in me straight up giddy!
Excited to share the new NBCU campaign I directed for the new movie Wonder. The spots feature NBCU talent Jane Lynch, Julie Chrisley, and Kyle Richards (as well as Wonder's own Daveed Diggs) talking about real life moments of kindness and how they relate back to the film. When interviewing Jane Lynch, I had to keep reminding myself that she's a real person and not a character out of a Christopher Guest movie.
I am very excited to share the latest (and personal favorite) JCPenney spot that I co-wrote and directed. Had so much fun designing and creating (with production designer Kris Moran) a practically-transforming lemonade stand that turns into a latte stand. Gotta love the old "flipping cups" gag!
Here's yet another JCPenney spot (the 3rd in a 4-spot yearlong campaign). This one has a slightly more serious tone since it's to introduce a promotion where JCPenney gives socks and underwear to school kids in need; however, that doesn't mean were weren't able to inject a little visual fun in the form of in-camera disappearing socks (a nod to Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie). Special shout out to the art department and colorist who managed to turn a small corner of a very beige and 80s midtown JCPenney into something that looked sparkly and new.
Here's a new commercial for dorm accessories that I wrote and directed for JCPenney. You may recognize the "mom". She my dear friend and very talented Marci Clark. She and I and the rest of the 'collars up' film collective (collars.com) used to make improvised short films years ago. When I was tasked finding a quirky mom for this spot, I knew I had to pull Marci out of retirement.
The Real Husbands of Hollywood Season 5 promo campaign "Trapped in an Elevator" that I wrote for BET just won a Promaxbda Silver Award! I can't take all the credit though. Kevin Hart did bring a little to it on set. To see the entire campaign scroll down to the original August 15, 2016 blog entree.
Earlier this year, my team at NBC and I were asked to pitch a campaign idea for the newly redesigned Jeep Compass. Jeep wanted something that highlighted how the Compass was designed for someone who has already found their passion in life, and uses their Jeep to help them on their way. So I came up with a character-based campaign about a terrible life coach named Kerry Swift who is always looking for new clients, but the one client he can never crack is the Jeep Compass owner. The pitch was a long shot as Jeep rarely does comedy. However, somehow the campaign made it through! Here are the two on-air spots (the first aired in the SNL finale) and the three social spots that complemented them. Oh, and a fun side note – the character was loosely inspired by my brother-in-law and sister who are business coaches, because, lets face it, the best comedy always comes from real-life.
"I need a latte in 5! Minutes? SECONDS!!!" Excited to share the new International Delight One Touch Latte spot I co-wrote and directed. The best part... I got live my dream of directing my West Wing-style "walk-and-talk"! Next on the directing bucket list... a period piece.
Here's a new spot I just wrote and directed for JCPenney. The spot features a mom who is wearing the same JCP "statement shirt" every time she visits the principal's office (where her son is constantly getting into trouble for being a little too imaginative in class. Such amazing comedic talent, and we turned a catholic school into a crazy stylized principals office.
Here are a few new spots I worked on as the Creative Director for NBC|Amazon Prime. The spots were written by Josh Meyers and directed by Cameron Harris. Happy holidays!
In January, my wife Ryan and I moved into a two-bedroom apartment in Crown Heights so we'd have a little more space for our baby-to-be. The apartment was a blank canvas, and Ryan and I (with the help of our talented woodworking friend, Ryan Luce, decided to turn our apartment into our own little "urban cabin". It was an ongoing process from building a knotty pine wall and teepee shelves in our bedroom, to designing Lumberjack wallpaper using art from our friend Scott C for our dining nook, to hand-painting a mountain mural in Sally's room; but 11 months later, it was finally finished! This week the popular lifestyle blog Cup of Jo (Joanna Goddard) did a "House Tour" of our finished home! Read the full article here.
Here's one of the campaigns I've been working on for the past few months at NBC as a Creative Director. Two words... 'Ted Danson'. Loved watching him act. Such amazing nuanced performances. Check out the little nose sniff he does when he's talking about his allergies. He came up with that and then did that same gesture in every take. Incredible.
The wife, Ryan, and I have been meaning to wallpaper our dining area since we moved in last January. We looked and looked and looked for the perfect wallpaper to no avail. Then we found spoonflower.com where you can actually design your own! After a bunch of designs, Ryan one day said, "If only we could make wallpaper out of Scott's Lumberjack painting series." So I asked Scott, and faster than you can say "axe", he and I were turning his Lumberjack series into custom wallpaper.
For the past month I've been working on the launch of Season 5 of Kevin Hart's BET show, The Real Husbands of Hollywood. After pitching creative to just about every executive at BET, we finally took a campaign to the big guy himself, well, the big little guy anyway, Kevin Hart. As things usually go with celebrity talent, you never know what to expect. Kevin loved the original creative, but one thing was missing for him – Kevin wanted to include the entire cast of Real Husbands (Nick Cannon, Nelly, Robin Thicke, Boris Kodjoe, and Duane Martin). So with only a few days before shoot, I had to come up with completely new creative which ended up being Kevin and his boys stuck in an elevator (careful what you wish for, Kevin). Despite their looks of utter irritation (it's called acting), the shoot went great! Editing six friends improvising in an elevator into 30 and 15-second spots... that's another story.
Recently, my dear friend and incredibly talented children's book author, Scott C. asked me if I wanted to help him create a trailer for his forthcoming children's book, Hug Machine. After playing with a few different ideas, Scott and I came up with this -- a parody of a workout video called 90-Second Hugs featuring Scott as a fitness guru leading a daily hug workout. In addition to directing and editing the trailer, I also composed the background music!
Last Memorial Day, my wife and I were married at the Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, in the heart of Adirondack Mountains. To be honest, I always dreaded planning a wedding, but once my wife and I started the process, I quickly realized planning a wedding isn't all that different than directing a shoot! So together, my wife and I transformed what was already an incredible venue (complete with views of Whiteface Mountain, beautiful timber beams and taxidermied moose heads) into an even more stylized summer-camp inspired lodge wedding. Some of the highlights included a trail map-inspired invitation (designed by me), a Hudson's Bay blanket-turned Chuppah and vintage record player for the ceremony, hand-made flower girl dresses made by our friend Annie, a young barbershop quartet in matching flannel shirts for the cocktail hour, and a 15-foot wood diorama-inspired backdrop for the reception (designed by me and built by me and our dear friend Lizzy). Specially thanks to Martha Stewart Weddings for featuring our wedding this week on their website!
A few years ago I came up with a party game called Wavelength. The basic premise is that party-goers are asked probing subjective questions and get points when people have the same answers. It turns out that not only was this homegrown party game a lot of fun, it was also a great way to get to know people – strangers and friends alike.
So my friend Carolyn (shortstackapps.com) and I partnered up and we developed what became Wavelength Party as an iPhone game. Carolyn and I modified the original game a bit and I designed the graphics. The rest as they say, is history. So next time you're at a party and things are getting a little dull, head to the app store (or click here) and give it a go!
I like to make stuff. All sorts of stuff. Isn't that what directing's really about...getting your hands dirty? So along with this new refresh of my website, I've decided to have a new section showcasing my various side projects. From building an iPhone dock out of a Rubik's Cube to designing a 15-foot wood backdrop for my wedding reception, to developing an iPhone game called Wavelength Party, this section of my website will be devoted to past and present labors of love. So check back often to see what shenanigans I'm up to!