Nike asked me to come up with a short film for their secret retail store and gallery in Los Angeles.
I looked to the natural world for inspiration. Oxen, harpy eagles, and the giant squid specifically if you must know. Animals are designed to succeed. Failure for them means their genes do not get passed along.
No matter how clever, strong or agile the monkey, the harpy eagle's wings and talons will eventually win in the rain forest.
We humans openly flout Darwin's Laws of Natural Selection. Except in sport. Good genes (plus 10,000 hours of practice) make top athletes. And Nike gear helps too.
This is the first time ever that INTERPOL has let anyone film them recording and rehearsing. I spent three weeks with them in Brooklyn and Manhattan filming as they made their amazing new record "EL PINTOR." It's a document of process, made from the in between moments of recording, the negative spaces around the creative act.
Edited by Patrick Burns Jr
Sound and Color by Dungeon Beach
Yes, we made a whole campaign of car commercials with ballet dancers, nerdy dudes, and pastel colors. That's pretty badass if I don't say so. Plus lots of people loved it.
After our first couple of spots, word came down from the top executives at Ford: "great spots, enough with the ballerinas."
Co-directed with Benjamin Dickinson. Ben and I co-created and co-wrote the entire 2013 Ford Fusion digital campaign with Team Detroit.
Featuring Paul F. Tompkins, Reggie Watts, model rockets, and ballerinas.
I was supremely flattered when the NYT asked me to creative direct their first ever digital Newfront. It was an incredible opportunity to work with one of the world's great brands. I also took it as challenge to try to push them into someplace unexpected and bold while staying true to the brand. I think we succeeded on all counts.
Working with the fantastic experiential design company HUSH, we created a beautiful event that was edgy and still accessible, a bold delivery system for a tightly choreographed live event including ten executives and journalists from the Times and almost two hours of video content, motion design and sound design.
It was hugely successful event for the Times brand.
Someone at Ford once told me that this campaign saved Ford Motor Company. Hyperbole? Maybe. But Ford sure was having a bad time before we came up with this campaign. And now they seem fine. Coincidence?
Vincent Haycock and I created this campaign and now other people make the spots. But ours were the best.
The concept: at any moment there are thousands of people playing the same Rock Band songs, each feeling like a rock star, each realizing unique rock star moves. And as opposed to Guitar Hero, with Rock Band, you are a band.
This spot imagines peeling away the walls between the nation playing Rock Band. We see into their fantasies, the bands they would be: punk, funk, metal, new wave, no wave, folk.
A rock and roll priest acts as tour guide, though originally it was a priestess a la Tina Turner's Acid Queen -- but the client could not wrap their head around a woman lip-syncing AC/DC.
"The Flying Dutchman"
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It was almost too early in a World Cup for such a momentous piece of skill and finesse. Paired with the occasion—the Netherland’s brutal, symbolic destruction of Spain’s rule over global football—Robin van Persie’s flying header, powered by Daley Blind’s absurd floated ball, set the tone for what we now know is a special World Cup. The Dutch might remain the best national team to never hoist the golden trophy after their semi-final loss to Argentina, but van Persie’s enchanting goal will always remain as a silver lining.
"The Bite Seen Around the World"
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The World Cup is full of incredible moments. The hopes, dreams, and pressures of an entire nation weigh on every player every second they are on the pitch—great (and logic-defying) things are bound to happen.
Taking inspiration from this, we teamed up with 8by8 Magazine and produced dramatic reenactments (with a little extra mixed in) of the three moments that we felt best reflected the drama and story lines of the 2014 World Cup. Each moment is slowed down to illuminate and illustrate the pressure and drama that players endure as they perform on the world stage.
This love letter to Williamsburg stars the incredible Reggie Watts along with Julia Garner (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Perks of Being A Wallflower).
We made a conscious decision to do something different for Reggie by playing down the comedy. It's still there -- Reggie can't help but be hilarious -- but we also see Reggie's star power. He is leading man material, he could be the next Jason Bourne.
I put in as many 90s references as possible: Breakfast Club, Say Anything, 9 1/2 Weeks, Thriller (Thriller is from 1983 if you want to get all OCD), Mom jeans. Plus a spy music video is straight 90s.
"When you Wish..."
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When John Brooks became the first US substitute to score in a World Cup, he did more than put the USA in a favorable position in the Group of Death. Brooks’s header brought a nation to its knees, simultaneously exorcising the demons of two World Cup campaigns of Ghanaian-inflicted dejection and pain, and gave America a team—a new, exciting team—to be proud of. Brooks represents a new guard of United States soccer, ushered in by Jurgen Klinsmann. Born in Germany to an American serviceman, Brooks has two telling tattoos: a map of Berlin, his place of birth, on his left elbow, and Illinois, his father’s, on his right.
Two gymnasts on trampolines dressed in gilly suits made of videotape photographed at 1200 fps.
Cinematography by Sam Levy.
I have always found Paul's lyrics very literary -- the heart of an ivy league english major beats inside the black suit. So when the band asked me to write an idea, I decided to make it a fairy tale parable for love. I figured it was against type for cool, modern, angular Interpol.
The model might as well have been naked on a fifteen degree day in rural Connecticut. Her entire costume was created in post.
If I was able to do it all again, I would have had her costume even more alive, flowing and undulating. It's way too late...
This was my homage to one of my favorite music videos of all time, Duran Duran's Girls on Film.
Scantily clad supermodels toss their hair about in slow motion in front of a huge colored light panel, pink, yellow, white, black. Awesome.
Styled by Kate Young.
Starring the Abi Jacobson of Broad City (watch Broad City). We shot the entire spot in one take with only two cameras. We rehearsed it for four hours then had one chance at capturing a spontaneous reaction from our dude.
Jarrett had no idea he was going to be in a commercial. He thought he was coming to New York for a Ford marketing study. A Ford PR person picks him up at the airport, brings him to our studio, he's handed a helmet and the cameras roll.
We were making fun of the testosterone fueled idea that you need a big engine for a car to be fast. If you're driving a mid sized sedan, four cylinders are fine. You are not drag racing or chasing bad guys are you? No, we didn't think so.
Cinematography by Adam Newport Berra.
The video is about a band's everyday existence: practice, practice, practice, wait for a show, practice some more. We shot in the band's practice space and at Aaron and Bryce's homes in Brooklyn. Great guys and one of the greatest bands of our time.
I spend a lot of time rummaging through old book stores for inspiration.
For this video, I used a 1960s US Army self defense manual as storyboards. Juan, the late Jerry Fuchs and a cute girl act out all the imagery. I kept the aesthetics simple and clean but still a little dirty -- you can see door frames at the very edges of shots and the walls and floors were full of dirt.
Why military self-defense for The Juan Maclean? It's so incongruous it's funny. Plus Juan just looks like a tough guy.
The old Macintosh was DFAs, as was the 70s black and white video camera.
In retrospect, I should have had the three of them really fighting at the end. Or maybe drinking tea.
This video was inspired by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami especially Kafka on the Shore.
In the book, one character can talk to cats and I imagined an abandoned lot near the Gowanus Canal where cats come out to talk to the Ra Ra Riot singer. I threw in another character from the book for good measure: Johnny Walker -- literally the logo from the whisky bottle come to life, dancing a jig of triumph.
If you have never read any Murakami, shut off the internets and read one of his books, the printed version if possible. Kafka on the Shore, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Wind Up Bird Chronicles are all incredible. 1Q84 is great too but don't read that one first if you've never read any Murakami.
Funny story, the treatment for the band began with the words "Hundreds of cats appear in an empty lot." The band said they did not need to read any further, I had them at "cats."
Funny story 2: we hired a "cat trainer" who owned the very sweet, very cute cat. Her training consisted of a can of cat food and a roll of fishing line. I did not let her use the fishing line.
CREATIVE LESSON: Read books. And you cannot herd or train cats.
I painted him silver and asked him to play as fast as he could. Which is really fast.
The beginning segments were shot on location at a hundred year old pencil factory in Jersey City.
Steven wanted to make a short film to show his Spring/Summer line of clothes. Except he didn't want it to feel like a fashion film.
So we decided to make an short about a boy and girl and their first domestic experience -- a summer house. Where others are beautiful and cool, we wanted it to be real and awkward. But still beautiful.
Featuring Liane Balaban and Matt Creed from an original story written by Nadia Conners.
In order to get the most dynamic coverage possible, I had three cameras mounted on remote control cars and three huge tracks built encircling the band.
In order to maximize the light flares, each track had another remote control car with lights pointed into the camera lenses.
Then we ran the cameras and drove the cars and lights around in circles. The idea was so good these guys did their own version (mine is cooler).
We placed a new Ford Fusion on a busy street in Austin with a big button to press if you liked the car. And when you pressed the button, nothing happened... until you walked away. Then, great things began to happen.
First a pretty girl caught your eye and smiled. Then you are given a free ice cream cone, a girl gives you a puppy, a troupe of ballet dancers dance for you, a bluegrass band plays you a song, and finally a football team lifts you onto a golden throne and carries you down the street while cheerleaders cheer and throw confetti.
I had no idea how to turn an entire video into ASCii.
My plan was to shoot and edit the video, then turn each frame to ASCii manually. Luckily my friend Yoshi knew of an obscure After Effects plug in.
Beck was awesome to work with. The dancing girl was his friend, and he brought the hat and cape. The huge grasshopper visited us in the production office.
Beck and I worked together again on the design for Guero.
Regina's Mom is a music teacher in Queens. We shot the video in her Mom's school, with her students.
Cinematographer: Matthew Santo
Editor: Megan Brennan
Production Company: Partizan
Music & Sound Design: Yoshi Sodeoka
Choregraphy & Dancers: La Zampa
Cinematography: Ron Egozi
This is the first video I ever made.
The concept is simple: throw everyday objects at the band and have them try to jump out of the way. I heard that's how Robert Longo made his "Men in the Cities" series and thought it would make a great video. The objects are all mundane and non-threatening things that could be in everyone's house and/or school: folding chairs, houseplants, number 2 pencils, stuffed animals, jelly doughnuts.
I love the aesthetics of squash. The wood floors against white walls, the safety glasses, the red lines, the fact that the ball really does not bounce much. Squash is a little nerdy, and a little uptight. It was fun to mess it up.
When a douchy guy gets kicked in the face by a horse at 900 frames per second, he will need a good doctor afterwards.
Before I directed stuff, I designed stuff.