Who Wants to Be a Hero?
Our friends at Grenadier called us up to see if we could jump into a fast-moving project (isn't that always the case?) producing three thirty second spots for Einstein Bros. Bagels. The first thing I thought was man, I love those bagel sandwiches of theirs... and the coffee is good too! Comedy was the goal here and Grenadier knew we had the comedy casting and directing chops to knock this outta the park.
Pre-production & Planning
We were given 2 weeks to prep three commercials, each with a different cast and location requirement. That's a quick prep timeline as lots of decisions need to be made quickly between start and when the cameras start rolling on set. One of my main styles here at Image Brew is comedy. I love directing talent that are taking big risks with their delivery while improvising and trying to elevate the overall story.
Since we host a monthly stand up comedy show in the Image Brew Studio, called Power Move, I always have a list of fresh faces in my mind of stand up comedians I think would do well on camera, being funny. We quickly assembled our cast of 15 characters, three of which would be our leads, or in better terms our "bagel hero"! These guys would be "saving the day" with bagels, and it was our job to film these funny scenes without any dialogue on set, so that the dramatic voiceover narration could lead these spots.
Our budget had no room for error, so we had to shoot quickly and efficiently. As the Director of these spots, it was all about the right set etiquette, communication with my agency team and client, and most importantly, my crew. We shot all three spots over a 2-day shoot, with a nimble crew of multidisciplinary pros.
Having an Assistant Director to help manage the days schedule was essential, and although the amount of talent on set was daunting (24 total comedians and extras) for a crew of only 5 folks, an AD can really manage all that chaos and allow me to focus on the shot list and making sure we're actually getting material that's funny - that part is huge.
Since these were scripted spots, the edit was all about diving into the material quickly after the shoot, finding the comedic gems, and begin fine tuning and experimenting with timing. I was given the creative freedom by the agency to help lead the edits, which essentially allowed for my Director's cuts to be the sequences we finessed, and that were ultimately approved.
From the core material we shot, we delivered 18 different versions, all of which were used with slightly different timing requirements and art cards. Some versions for example, ditched the opening "smash cut" sequence, and started immediately with the "Adventures of a Bagel Hero" graphic. It worked well both ways.
Results & Client Feedback
The fact that we produced 3 of these videos really gave the social followers of Einstein's something to look out for, watch, and share if they previously enjoyed one of the others. Each of the three spots has averaged 1.7 Million views on Youtube alone, and was called Einstein's most successful video campaign to date.
Here are the other two spots we produced. Don't you want to be a bagel hero too?
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