What Is A Sizzle Reel For A TV Show?

CBSIf there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in the television industry, it’s that words on paper cannot convey an accurate sense of pacing, style, tone and excitement when trying to describe and more importantly – sell – a potential new show. The best way to pitch your new show idea to network or studio executives is to use a “sizzle reel”. A sizzle reel is usually used as a part of your pitch presentation, along with your log line, synopsis and budget.

I cannot stress the importance of a well-thought through, well-edited and well produced sizzle reel. A sizzle reel is basically a promo reel that features montage, clip-based, or segment footage (or a combination thereof) that clearly and efficiently outlines the concept for the show. The reel provides a visual shorthand for where the show is set, who the characters are, how it works, what the structure is going to be and the plot if applicable. The emphasis here is on efficient. You’re not going into a lot of detail on the reel. You’re demonstrating a visual shorthand, hitting just the high points of your idea to get across what it’s about across. The other important thing that your sizzle reel is doing is creating a level of energy and excitement (pacing, style, tone etc) that you’re going to use to help persuade the execs in the room that they want to see more of your show. It’s a critical barometer to hit in order to sell your project.

The sizzle reel is your first impression: the open window look into how the show will taste. A clear vision is critical. There are lots of different ways to structure a sizzle reel and we’ll get into that in a moment. A sizzle reel is an important part of a pitch presentation because when a new show idea is pitched using words alone, the show’s creators and the potential buyers may have very different ideas of what the show really is and what it will look like.

There are different types of sizzle reels that can be used to give buyers a clear vision of what your show is all about. Which type you choose, and the length you choose to edit it to has more to do with the show format that you’re pitching, how much footage you have to work with and how much time you have allocated for it in the presentation. Most pitch meetings are short, and I’ve been in the room with producers who mis-timed their presentations leaving little time to screen their reel. Consider all the pieces that you’re going to need in your pitch presentation, and how long each piece will take to present before making a decision about reel length.

A teaser reel is like a fast-paced promo. It’s all about the excitement, adrenaline, style and pacing. These are usually montage-based with or without clips or supers that support the show’s concept, idea or storyline. A tease is just that. You don’t have to explain every detail, you’re hyping it. Teasers are usually set to an aggressive music track and edited with a couple of changes of tempo. You would use a teaser to get people excited about your project when you don’t have full episodes in the can to pull footage from. I like them to be around the 1.5 to 2 minute mark if the editing is amazing and promises to hold an exec’s attention. While this example is selling a DVD season, it demonstrates how a big storyline can be simplified into a couple of sentences.

A classic sizzle reel is edited more along the lines of a movie trailer, using a combination of montage, clips and an overview of the storyline. It broadly establishes character and pacing. You can punctuate with supers providing they help to see the concept of the show. Again, editing is critical. I’ve seen so many pitches go out the window with badly edited sizzle reels. Music is critical. It’s a good idea to use different (2-3) pieces of music to help keep the interest in your edit via changes in pacing and energy. A classic sizzle has to hold exec’s attention while it sells them on your idea. I like to see these time out anywhere from 2 minutes to 7 minutes tops. But at 7 minutes, it had better be pretty slickly produced to warrant the time you’re asking these busy pros to spend watching it. Here’s an example from YouTube. And another example.

Talent reels are usually used with reality shows where the talent is critical to the idea working. It focuses on the talent in the show and should demonstrate the idea, a sense of structure for the concept, how the talent fits into the concept, their interview style, location segments and clips (if applicable). I used to see a lot of talent reels for daytime interview, cooking and competition shows. Usually 2-5 minutes is sufficient.

Finally, a presentation tape is used most often by producers/creators who have already gone ahead and shot footage or even a couple of episodes of their show. It combines the energy and excitement of a classic sizzle reel along with segments from the show that best helps to bring the show’s concept, idea, structure and format to life. This presentation is slick, well-edited and has beautifully art directed supers, GFX and possibly, professional voice over talent to help narrate if applicable. A presentation tape can be anywhere from 10-26 minutes depending on how much show footage you have to work from.

A sizzle reel not only makes sure that the show creator and the buyers are on the same page, it also demonstrates the tone and feel of the show. It’s imperative that your sizzle be as true to the vision as possible, and should accurately depict your show. The reel is a demonstration of how professional, prepared and committed you are to your project. And don’t forget, at the end of the day, this is the entertainment business. Make sure your sizzle is as interesting, riveting and entertaining as possible. This is your big chance … relax and enjoy the process of creation. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to create something that pays off with interest. Good luck and go for it.

Posted in entertainment, Network television, pitching tv shows, scriptwriting, television, television series, television show, TV, TVSeries, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How to Pitch a Reality Show or Series

Image courtesty of Top Chef

Image courtesty of Top Chef

Reality TV is television programming that features unscripted situations and actual occurrences. Reality usually highlights personal drama and conflict or competitive drama. If you have a great idea for a reality show you’re one step ahead of the rest of us. But you’re going to need to pitch it to a network or production company in order to get it made. Keep reading because if you’ve never done a pitch before you’re going to have to understand the process before you get in the room.

The first thing most network execs or producers will ask you is “What’s your format?”. Are you proposing a documentary style format or a formatted concept? What’s the difference?

A format is a production or story structure that doesn’t change from episode to episode. In a competition format, it’s a device that is used to intensify competitive drama … and is often used in shows where the outcome has an expected winner. Shaw Media’s Top Chef Canada is one example, as are “Survivor and “The Bachelor”. All these shows use different structures, but remain consistent within their own structure.

Image courtesy of @gordonramsay

Image courtesy of @gordonramsay

On Gordon Ramsay’s “Ramsay’s Best Restaurant” two restaurants in the same food genre (Italian vs Italian, Indian vs Indian etc.) compete against each other with 3 specific challenges that have to be met. At the end of the show, Gordon Ramsay has to decide which restaurant will make it to the semi finals. This structure is the same from episode to episode, culminating in a semi final and final restaurant cook-off. Networks LOVE competition formats because they easily lend themselves to being sold from country to country. Because the established structure remains the same, this allows for local languages, local hosts, experts and competitors. “Big Brother,” “Top Chef,” and “Chopped” are examples of shows that are produced world-wide. Even “Ramsay’s Best Restaurant” could have a UK version, an American version, a Canadian version etc. and could all be presided over by Ramsay himself … or not.

Competitive formats usually evolve and progress over the arc of the season (the episodes) ending with an explosive final competition. Some competitive formats like “Fear Factor” resolve the competition at the end of each episode. Shows like “Fear Factor” do well in syndication because audiences can watch them as “stand alone entertainment” meaning they don’t need to catch the full season to know what’s going on with new contestants and competitions each show.

Image courtesy of Bravo TV

Image courtesy of Bravo TV

In a documentary format, producers look for interesting and unique stories/situations in real life that are entertaining for audiences. This could be a unique profession or business like History Channel’s Duck Dynasty, an interesting or hilarious family dynamic Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, History Channel’s Duck Dynasty, a certain type of lifestyle, like Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules or History Channel’s Duck Dynasty, (yes, I’m joking with you) or anything that large groups of viewers could find interesting. One of the reasons Duck Dynasty was such a huge success is that it contained elements from all these criteria. Entertainment follows this simple formula for success: The more things there are for audiences to like in a show that they can relate to themselves, the bigger the audience that will watch the show if it’s good. It’s a numbers game first. A creative game second. Some of you reading this will cringe, but how many really great niche series have been cancelled after their first season because no one came to watch it? If your idea only appeals to a small segment of all people … no matter how great the show, the odds will be against your succeeding. A little tough love from yours truly.

To pitch a reality idea you need a Title, Logline and Synopsis (format).
The title should be clever or interesting. It could be a play on words like History Channel’s Pawn Stars or dead-ahead like Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing LA. At the very least, it should tell you something about what the show is about.

A logline is the two or three sentence pitch that communicates what the concept of the idea is about. Your logline will tell the folks in the room what the premise is and why it’s unique – the twist. The true test of a good idea is the logline. If you can’t describe what your show idea is about and why it’s unique in 2 sentences, it’s probably not a great concept.

Image courtesy of homeshowla.com

Image courtesy of homeshowla.com

Spend time on your logline writing, editing, rewriting and editing. It has to be tight. It has to be clear. It has to show that you know your idea and why your audience will embrace it. Bottom line: you are selling YOUR idea so sell it like you’re channeling Josh Altman from Million Dollar Listing LA.

A Synopsis for a reality TV show pitch is where you have the opportunity to talk about the dynamics and unique moments in the show. For a competitive format you’ll outline how the format works … the structure … how the story progresses, all within 4 pages max. If you’re pitching a documentary style reality show, your synopsis will outline what the show’s world is about, who the main characters are and what the dynamic is about. You’ll dig a little into the nitty gritty … talk about interesting situations, potential moments that will CREATE the drama and conflict. To a certain extent with unscripted series, the set up of those encounters is controlled by the writers and producers of the show. What happens next isn’t. The interest for those who could potentially make the series is in those sorts of details. Also remember, you’re pitching events and scenarios in progression of how they’ll happen … no one else in the room knows the show that’s in your head. Be super organized and clear but most of all keep it simple by really editing your pitch to essential information. Again … write, edit, write, edit … until your fingers bleed. Resist the temptation to bang on with flowery prose about details that are potentially confusing and unnecessary. Move your pitch story along at a good pace. These people are professionals and will grasp the concept right away if you pitch it properly, you don’t need to school them on human behaviour or how television works.

pitch-tv-show-movie-200X200Let’s say you met with the production head of a network, or an independent production studio and they love your concept, The production company will then want to pitch it to a network so they will want to “option” your idea. At this point it’s worth hiring an entertainment lawyer who will negotiate the deal on your behalf. Part of this will be for the financial side, but part will determine your involvement in production and what your “credit” will be. Producer, creator, co-producer are typical types of credits. In the case of the network, they will want to pick a production company to develop the show – usually one they have worked with before on something similar to what you have. Again, an entertainment lawyer is good idea to involve at this point.

Asking me about fees and income is like asking me how long a ball of string is. Ask the entertainment lawyer. Usually fees are negotiated based on your prior successes and how well the geniuses think your concept will do. If you’re just starting out with no credits to your name, you will get less in fees, a credit and will be in a better power position next season if your show is a hit. If you get lucky and are picked up for another season, fees increase, syndication gets thrown on the table (make sure your lawyer is all over International licensing etc) and you just might be able to buy a new house. Good luck and here’s to hoping that your next pitch is a success!

Posted in celebrity, entertainment, marketing, scriptwriting, television, television series, television show, TV, TVSeries, Uncategorized, web episodes, web series, webisodes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How To Pitch A TV Show

How to pitch a TV Show: You’ve just spent the last 10 years locked in your attic, perfecting the best comedy sitcom idea since “Seinfeld” and now you’re ready to pitch your television show. Before you take a meeting, it will help to understand what you will need to sell it. One of the best ways to break into industry is with a strong spec pilot script. A great idea for an original television series and a strong spec pilot script can open doors. Even if nobody ends up buying your pilot idea or script, you could find work as a scriptwriter for someone else’s television series.

In the US you will need to hook up with a good agent to help you get your foot in the door. These folks are connected … and lets face it, their network is most likely better than your network. And they might be owed favours. Favours come in handy when armed with a great script from an unknown writer.

Many TV shows in Canada are produced by independent production companies in cooperation with a network. If you’re new to the business, it might be worth your while to hook up with an independent to sell your idea. Once you’ve been around for a while, you’ll discover that many TV execs prefer to suggest which production company best suits your project.

TV Pre-Production Process

Pre-Development – The project becomes a fleshed out pitch and, where required, includes the following elements:
Mini-bible development
Show run down
Development Phase A – Project enters formal development: scripts, bible, additional research, detailed outlines.
Development Phase B – Project continues development and has further drafts of scripts, casting conversations and preliminary financial model and budgets discussed.
Pilot Production – Project moves into production of the pilot or one-off.
Evaluation – Creative evaluation process takes place at this stage. Testing, schedule placement, promotion potential, digital platforms, talent packaging, further creative development if needed.
Green-light for Production – Decision to proceed with production of the series, based on final the final analysis of the project’s budget, financing, digital rights, casting, distribution etc.

Now let’s break down some of the process pieces. After all you’ve got a such a great idea the thing practically writes itself!

What’s a Logline?

This is the one sentence that sells your show, it goes on the top of the outline or treatment, which is the 2-3 pages of pitching material you leave to prospective people. It could be something like, “It’s a show that’s about three muslim families putting down new roots in a small rural town in the prairies, and the hilarity that ensues when two cultures collide.”

What’s an Outline?
Before you begin your pilot script outline, you must have a strong idea of what happens in your pilot script and how many characters will be in it. Decide how many acts will be in your script and whether it will be an hour long or half hour show. Get copies of television scripts that are already on the air so you can compare your structure to theirs.

Step 2
Outlines for hour-long drama scripts can be anywhere from 7 – 10 pages long. Structure the outline into the appropriate number of acts and make sure you’re pacing your main plot story and subplots evenly throughout each act. Be sure to include cliffhanger endings at the end of every act and something compelling at the beginning of every act. The stories shouldn’t get resolved until the very end of your outline.

Step 3
To begin your spec script outline, start with a cold open (also called teaser), which comes at the very beginning of your pilot script – and before the opening credits. This is a great place to introduce your main character(s) and set the tone for the entire series.

Step 4
Every scene in your pilot script outline should have its own paragraph. Start the paragraph with a word or two about where the scene takes place. Then describe who’s in the scene and what happens. Include snippets of dialogue if it helps the reader imagine the scene better. Here’s an example:

The Bridle Path, suburban Toronto. Missy recklessly pulls her Mercedes through the iron gates, into the driveway of her imposing mansion with Baron in the front seat next to her. Baron is dumbstruck at the sight of the huge house and manicured boxwoods that define the gardens. Missy tries to reassure him; “Look – I know all this can be intimidating but this is me – it’s who I am – okay?” She looks at him a little more kindly – the reality that this good-looking man could really be her long lost brother dawns on her: “I thought we lost you.” She lunges to hug Baron but he shoves her away.

Step 5
Once you really love your TV script outline, show it to other writers and get their feedback. Ask them whether the plot lines were clear, whether the characters were interesting, and whether the story kept their attention. Keep rewriting your television script outline until the answers to all these questions is ‘yes.’

If you’re worried about someone stealing your idea, know that networks are in the business of protecting themselves, as well as your intellectual property. You should be asked (and if not, insist) to sign a release form that acknowledges your ownership of the idea that you’re pitching.

What’s a Mini-bible, Bible or Writer’s Guide?
Every TV series has one. But even if your own concept is still to be sold, the process of building a series bible for another series can be a giant step toward your goal of selling your own show. Here’s how to do it:
Write the concept of your series in not more than two paragraphs.
Write where your concept takes place.
Write a short bio of your continuing characters. Who they are and what they want. Define their relationships with the other characters.
Write the challenges that will be faced by your characters each week.
Write some sample stories that will be told in your concept. Do this in only a few sentences and a single paragraph.

The Wind-Up And The Pitch: Independent producer or TV network
Keep it simple
Your initial pitch should be simple and focused: just a presentation of your idea or concept and any additional supporting material that you think is needed – but – don’t just pitch an idea, pitch physical material. If you can’t shoot a pilot, shoot a short teaser to help people see your vision, make posters for the show, or some sort of gimmick. Producers and Execs are more willing to invest in something tangible than an idea on a piece of paper.

You don’t need to develop a complete series “bible” to submit a program proposal. Whatever best illustrates your idea to us is the golden ticket.

Sell it! Tell the producers/Execs why is this show perfect fit for their production company/network. (This is where your research comes in)

For network pitches:
Your proposal should briefly address the question of the business case. Why should your program be aired on their network? At CBC for example, this means that you should know what we’re looking for based on our corporate strategy (i.e. audience potential, supporting successes, distinctiveness, multi-platform potential, regionality, diversity, etc.). CBC’s business is “engaging, informing and entertaining as many Canadians as we can.” and therefore you should keep selling back to that.

Final Advice
Be on time, be brief, be open to change or suggestion, and give the independent producers or TV network reasons why they should buy your show idea. At the very least, you’ve created a new contact to bring projects to directly. At the very best, your project just might make it into production. And next year, when your name is called at the Emmys, don’t forget to thank me.

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How to Successfully Pitch A Radio Show

I’ve written about how to successfully pitch TV shows now it’s time to listen to something a little different since there aren’t any pictures involved. But just because the concept is sound-driven doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read this because many of the concepts in this blog article are going to be applicable to television pitches too (it’s all common sense really).

Public radio, such as CBC Radio, here in Canada, is unique in that they actively encourage pitches for radio ideas. Personally, there isn’t enough drama programming these days, and I would love to see a change in this area. But regardless of format, this program development pitch guide should help get you on your way … or at least get you a shot at pitching a radio show to CBC Radio.

What do program development groups look for?

New radio shows; limited run series; segments for ongoing programs. They also look for potential – not only in ideas, but also in people. They want to find the writers, hosts and producers of tomorrow. They want to develop a contingent of creative people, from all regions of the country, who have the confidence and ability to create new shows.

Before you send CBC your pitch, here are a few things to remember:

-CBC is committed to developing predominantly Canadian shows, producers and hosts.
-CBC Radio receives hundreds of proposals every year and only a very few are selected for development.
-Submissions are usually processed within three (3) months.

The Idea
Your proposal doesn’t need to be long and complicated, but it should be well thought out. Make sure you’ve taken the time to dream it, debate it, mull it and polish it before you send it to CBC.

To help you get your idea down on paper, here are some questions you should ask yourself.

1. When you tell others about your dream radio show, what excites them the most? This is often a good way to start your pitch

2. How would you describe your show’s attitude toward its content? Will it be light-hearted or more serious? Cheeky or respectful? Entertaining or informative? Probing or reflective? Is there anything new or different about how your show will sound?

3. Who is the host? Do you have someone in mind? If not, what qualities would your ideal host possess? What should they sound like? What’s his or her role on the show? Does he or she have a strong point of view?

4. What will we hear on a typical program? A list of segment ideas or interview guests is a good start, but it’s not enough. Help us
imagine what we’ll hear coming out of the radio. How will your show’s tone and attitude affect the content?

5. What is the online component? What opportunities do you imagine for the web and social networking? Does it make sense for your concept be expanded for multiple platforms? At CBC our shows drive people to our website … can you tell us how your show will do that?

6. What makes your show perfect for CBC rather than another broadcaster? Why should it air now? Does it take CBC Radio somewhere new? Does it do something that we aren’t already doing? Does it fit our values as a public broadcaster (high quality, distinctive programming that’s intelligent, insightful and entertaining)?

7. What format do you see your idea taking? Is it a one-shot deal, a limited series, a feature within another show, a summer replacement series, a full run show? Is it a half hour or an hour?

The Checklist

Once you’ve worked through your idea, here’s a quick checklist of other things you should include in your proposal:

1. Who You Are: Tell us why you’re the best person to do this show. If you’ve hosted, produced or written for radio before, let us know. Also: what led you to your idea? Give us a sense of your background, your passions.

2. Who is Who: If you’ve got people you want to work with, tell us who they are. Who’s producing? Who’s hosting? Assume we don’t know these people. Give us an idea why they’re the best people for those roles.

3. The Proposal: Do the tone and style of the writing in your proposal reflect the tone of show that you’re proposing?

4. Reach Beyond CBC: Do you have plans for using social media or other tools to attract audiences to your site, beyond those who already come to CBC Radio or cbc.ca?

5. Support: What kind of support do you need? Mentoring? Coaching on your performance? In-studio training? Digital audio editing? Don’t be embarrassed – we’re here to help and the more we know upfront the better.

6. Online Support: Radio production teams are expected to maintain the websites for their shows. Do you or any of your team members have digital production experience? Does your idea require a resource with specialized / advanced web skills?

7. Timing: Is your proposal time-sensitive? Are there times when you can work on this, times when you cannot?

8. How to Get Hold of You: Don’t forget to include your e-mail, home phone, cell phone, etc.

Proposals will be evaluated against the following criteria:
1. How original is the concept? If your show brings something new to CBC Radio, and if it is creative or innovative in its approach and treatment, then you’ve cleared an important hurdle.
2. Does the show have a personality? If your program has a distinct personality and tone – and if it has a host with a distinct and engaging personality – the pitch might move to the top of the pile. On the topic of hosts, you need to show a clear connection between the host and the content.
3. Is the proposal coherent? Is your pitch grammatical? Does it make sense? Read it over before you send it in. Remember: you want the program development committee to be able to “hear” your show. And your program should come across as more than a bunch of segments strung together.
4. Will it connect with a broad audience? How is your concept relevant to a target audience? What’s in it for that audience – why will they bother to listen?
5. Does the show have a strong identity? Ask yourself, why would a particular item be heard on this show? What can the audience expect to hear from this show?
6. Does the show contain diversity? Can’t put a fine enough point on this one. Reflecting Canada’s diversity is hugely important for the CBC. Diversity of region, opinion, ethnicity, economic class, age and gender. Show proposals that are diverse and regionally reflective are a priority.
7. Will your show help develop people? We want to discover great talent and put it to work. If you can introduce the CBC to new people and ideas, then that’s a point in your favour.
8. Does this show have the potential for “magic”? Will your show cause delight, ignite laughter, or inspire deep thought? Will it hold listeners captive in their cars in the Canadian Tire parking lot? With radio, that’s always the goal.

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If you want a job in commercial editing, become an assistant

Below is a blog I wrote for a client a few weeks back. I have been so busy this summer blogging for others that I realize that I am neglecting my own blog … a state of affairs that I will have to remedy.

A few days ago it was announced that celebrated creative cheerleaders/co-chief creative officers Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin would be stepping down from their long-time post at Ogilvy & Mather Toronto. Their new venture, Swim, is dedicated to helping solve the widely acknowledged lack of creative leadership in their own industry – and, they hope, other sectors as well. Mentoring – a role that Nancy & Janet have excelled at over the years, will likely play a big role at Swim. Reading the article the other day made us remember the importance of mentoring in the commercial editorial industry.

Rooster and Track & Field Assistants

Mentoring plays a critical role in the editorial industry. Editors might be born to edit, but before they are awarded a room full of clients, they must first get their feet in the door. Usually they are hired as editor’s assistants. As an assistant, their job jar is always full … and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. To succeed, assistants have to have a sense of humour, to put up with the demands that come with being the low man on the totem pole. They make coffee. They schlep pastries. They keep the edit suites neat and tidy. They work long hours, often turning tasks around on a dime. They have to be flexible, as issues like unplanned client meetings, last minute cut revisions and technical issues can throw a wrench into a carefully planned day. Having great organizational skills is a must … they’re there to help the editors, keep the workflow on track and to act as a 3rd and 4th set of hands. And if that weren’t enough, they have to have editorial chops. And love the advertising business.

In return, editorial assistants get the chance of a lifetime … to learn their craft from some of the best editors in the business. They get to meet those agency clients who will one day, hopefully, become their clients. They get a front row seat to watch the good-natured theatrics of presentation, and learn the diplomacy needed to navigate differing creative points of view. And if they are really dedicated and work hard … one day they get to join the ranks and become editors themselves. Very few industries promote this way anymore.

At Rooster and our VFX sister shop, Track & Field, our assistants are an important, but unsung part of our team. In the spirit of Nancy & Janet’s legacy, we’d like to say thanks to our Rooster VIP assistants … Candice Bowers, Deb Gurofsky, Nick Martin and Jesse Unruh, Rooster Exec. Assistant Yumi Suyama, and to our Track & Field assistants, Lauren Rempel and Greg Benedetto.

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Fragile Bird: City and Colour Music Video

Those who know me know that I’ve been doing a lot of blogging for clients these past few months. It’s been fun, but it’s coming to an end. And my poor blog has been ignored as of late. It’s time for an update. Here’s one that I wrote for a postproduction client of mine. The director, Michael Maxxis is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. He’s going places.

Fragile Bird: City and Colour/Shantal VanSantan Music Video Released Today

After releasing ‘Fragile Bird’ in April, City and Colour, aka singer-songwriter Dallas Green, along with director Michael Maxxis and Rooster Post Production editor Dave De Carlo, have just finished the video for the lead single off Green’s third album, “Little Hell”.

The video takes viewers to a dark brothel, similar to one that was once visited by Maxxis (by then a bar in Memphis). Green’s brief to Maxxis was “sexy & sultry” allowing Maxxis to recreate the brothel/bar, a location Maxxis calls “the coolest building ever.” The video, shot by DP and perennial Maxxis collaborator Adam Marsden, emulates an emotionally tormented woman as she flashes back through her past.

The video stars Shantal VanSantan of “One Tree Hill” fame. A longtime Dallas Green fan, VanSantan became friendly with Green and his wife. When VanSantan was suggested for the role, Maxxis jumped at it. “I wanted to shoot her in a timeless, Hollywood 30′s or 40′s way” said Maxxis, “She added a lot to the video. I didn’t realize how gorgeous she is. She has that X-Factor … that thing that she can turn on in front of the camera. It was a pleasant surprise.”

Editor Dave De Carlo cut the video in a very lean 3 or 4 days, working mostly in the evenings and at night owing to his busy schedule. In addition to cutting the video, De Carlo also did all the visual FX work on over 50 shots. Says Maxxis, “The edit was really intense but Dave lives for editing. I think sleep deprivation took Dave into another state of mind … a really interesting place. It’s almost like the less sleep he got the better the video got. Everyone was thrilled with it when he was done.”

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Props to Pirate Radio

Radio doesn’t hog the spotlight the way film, television and viral does. It’s not as glossy as print. Or as awkward as digital is with its growing pains on display. Radio is a horse of a different colour. And on radio, you can have a horse of as many colours as you like … without the expense of visual effects. Years ago, I saw an ad that had been made into a poster. It was an illustration of a banana with feet. The headline read simply “I saw it on the radio.” I still remember that ad going on 25 years later. That’s really something. I can’t remember who it was for, but it could easily have been describing the great radio work that Pirate Radio and Television has been producing for many years. Owner Terry O’Reilly is himself a legend in the ad business. He started out as a copywriter and quickly found his true love – writing radio commercials. He’s received just about every award and accolade there is in the business. And yet Pirate Radio is still producing award-winning radio spots. Just like they did for me when I was agency-side. This spot, for Phillips Body Groom called “Gardening Tips” was done a few years back, but it’s oh-so-good. Credits go to Tribal DDB New York. Enjoy

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