Mar 2 2022

Resident ‘Respect’

For many folks, the mention of Scranton, PA likely elicits thoughts of…paper. With Dunder Mifflin’s headquarters stationed squarely in the Electric City, ‘The Office’ brought a healthy dose of notoriety to Scranton. But despite the souvenir shop at Cooper’s Seafood, there’s more to be known for than Schrute Farm and Michael Scott.

Amid frigid temps and ice storms, I found myself in the heart of Lackawanna Valley last month. And while there are certainly warmer places to frequent in the dead of winter, I rather enjoyed my stay. Brought on to co-produce a commercial campaign for Pittsburg-based agency Brunner, it was hard not to warm to the city. The chance to collaborate with still photographer Vincent Dixon was an added bonus. Vincent’s Irish brogue is endearing, but it was his ability to find artistry in the ordinary that made him even more fun to work with.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer a heartfelt thanks to some local allies. Gus Fahey @ Valley In Motion was invaluable as a resource. The Scranton Cultural Center was a terrific find, as was Steamtown Yoga. And Zummo’s Cafe quickly became my second home while in town. Here’s one of the spots we produced for Lehigh Valley Health Network, announcing the opening of their newest location.


Nov 20 2021

Flu (FOMO) Season

Let’s face it…for the past year or two, it’s felt like we’ve all been living in the upside down! And with COVID hogging the spotlight, it’s easy for the average influenza to get relegated to the shadows. So when faced with the task of driving flu shot awareness, the Ad Council turned the whole Fear-Of-Missing-Out dilemma on its ear.

Teaming with multicultural agency fluent360, and the Conshohocken-based Bowstring Studios, the Ad Council added the FluFOMO campaign to its creative inventory. I was on board as Production Manager for all of the principal photography components of the job, and collaborating with Bowstring was a joy. Director/DP Enrique Mendoza, the head of the Bowstring machine, was efficient and capable while helming the days. He was joined by Andy Hayman for additional creative collusion, and the entire team was great. The positive culture extended to our set, and made for enjoyably productive days. Our crew, talent, and agency partners all walked away pleased, a rare but well-received win/win (win).

Here’s a link to one of several spots we filmed over multiple days.


Jul 21 2021

A ‘Fresh’ Perspective…

In 2019, a fan-made trailer took the internet by storm. The offering from Director Morgan Cooper was a bold reimagining of the classic ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. It quickly went viral, racking up millions of views on YouTube. The video also caught the attention of some high profile fans of its own, creating newfound buzz for the 80’s sitcom. And since the Fresh Prince himself was among the list of celeb’s that took notice, that interest spurred a bidding war and an eventual two season order. The dramatic ‘Bel-Air’ is the byproduct, and NBC Universal is running point on the reboot along with Westbrook Studios.

Now Cooper and company are heading to the City of Brotherly Love. The once anonymous auteur is set to direct the pilot for the upcoming streaming series. True to the original, young Will finds himself in hot water after an altercation on the basketball court in his Philadelphia neighborhood. And as Philly crewing efforts get underway, I’ll be re-teaming with Producer J Virdone to jump on board as the local UPM for the show. Should be a fun ride, with principal photography set to take place in early September. The show will launch on Peacock later this year.

You can check out the original fan trailer below.


Mar 26 2016

CoOperative Opp’s…

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Opulent estates…maverick CEO’s…impeccably dressed teddy bears.  So far so good for ’16, and I’m excited to add to Donnybrook’s growing setwork of production allies.

I’m wrapping up efforts on a follow-up Build-a-Bear shoot, having come on to Production Super another spot campaign at the Christiana Mall…this time for NYC production house Collective.  Producers Ivy Dane and Jo Till have developed a well oiled production machine for Director David McNamara’s creative efforts, and I’m happy to have been entrusted in to the fold.  Thanks as well to Producer Nancy Landesberg, for the ringing endorsement.

I’ve also been keeping busy with LA-based firm REP Interactive.  The production company recently opened a new headquarters in NJ, and has been keeping me out and about for clients Sotheby’s & Century-21.  I’m loving the creative collusion with Head of Production Mynor Sosa, and Creative Director Brian Johnson.  Brian is my favorite kind of Director, and wields equal parts artistic genius and pragmatic production know-how on set.  I’m looking forward to subsequent teamings with REP, as they continue to grow their East Coast presence.  Here’s a fun promo we produced with Century-21, for the upcoming One21 global conference in Vegas.

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Jan 29 2016

2016, ‘New Direction’

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With the new year off to a quick start, I found myself in Vermont to ring in ’16 with a chill.  Field Producing the television spot campaign for Governor hopeful Bruce Lisman kept me close enough to the slopes to wish for more downtime, but also busy enough to shake off the frigid temp’s that barely broke freezing during my entire stay.

Teaming with agency client Jamestown Associates, and Director/DP Kevin Hack, I was on the ground with the Lisman camp as we compiled footage for a handful TV ads.  And while initially skeptical that I’d be able to secure experienced crew locally, I’m indebted to Adam Lukens, and the entire Queen City Lighting clan, for all of their hard work and support during our shoot.

Here’s the intro TV :60 ‘New Direction’, that hits the air in the lead off spot.


Oct 11 2015

American Re-branding

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Over the past month, I’ve been collaborating with one of my regular agency clients on a comprehensive re-branding effort for the American Red Cross.  With ARC looking to update all of their existing first-aid course materials, Donnybrook and Agency Producer Michael DelPolito have been prepping for a handful of shoots in the Greater Philly region in the coming weeks.

With the need for first-aid training so pervasive, the shoots will represent all walks of life.  Our casting selects have been keeping our friends over at Philadelphia Casting Co on their toes, and Susan and Sam have been great to work with as always.  When all is said and done we’ll have booked nearly two-hundred talent…not to mention dozens of locations, a fleet of semi’s, and a school bus or two for added measure.  And we’ve amassed a fantastic crew once again, with a number of familiar faces and vendors in the ranks.  Thank you to Expressway Grip, DP Tom Fanelle, and Production Designer Mike Crenshaw for yet another stellar cooperative effort.  And a big shout-out to Erin @ the GPFO for all of her assistance along the way.

The fruits of our collective labors should hit the streets early next year, but here’s the Donnybrook produced spot that kicked it all off for these varied Red Cross co-op’s.  Directed by Josh Mawer, this one still ranks as one of my favorites.


Aug 9 2015

Free(lance) Labor

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This might put me in the minority of the self-employed, but over my first few years in business I’ve yet to be outright stiffed on an invoice.  Granted, I’ve had a bill or two contested, but ultimately an outcome was reached amicably and I wasn’t left completely in the lurch.  Nevertheless, there are many who have been, and in the coming months a noble undertaking will look to shed light on this demoralizing trend.

Drafting what they’re referring to as the ‘worlds longest invoice’, the Freelancers Union is endeavoring to thrust deadbeat clients in to unflattering cross hairs of exposure.  By providing independent contractors with an opportunity to tell their story, and add their outstanding invoices to a collective tally, the advocacy non-profit is hoping to curb this all-too-common fiscal evasion…and perhaps get a few folks paid in the process.

If the immediate gain is exposure, the long run objective seems to be enacted legislation that would offer more readily available recourse to freelancers that are due payment. Regardless, it’s an initiative worthy of publicity, and more information can be found on the Freelancers Union website.  #FreelanceIsntFree

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Jun 22 2015

A Dombinating Effort

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I recently partnered with one of my long standing agency clients, to produce the campaign spots for self-made real estate maestro Allan Domb‘s run at City Council.  The collaboration marked another successful foray in to the political production world for Donnybrook, and I’m happy to have been a part of the efforts.  Allan has a clear vision for the City of Brotherly Love, and one that could serve to right many of the educational woes that have plagued Philly in recent years.

The shoot also offered up a chance to work with Director Todd Wolfe, and both he and I were able to bring out our kids for a cameo opportunity.  His daughter Morgan is fantastic to have on set, and is a consummate professional already.  And my son Chase has been enlisted by me on more than one occasion, and has begun to develop an affinity for spending time on set.

There’s little chance I could have pulled things together without the support of Jeni Miller, local talent and casting aficionado.  Jeni’s call to action in support of the project yielded amazing results, and introduced me to a brand new pool of talent I’ll be sure to leverage in the future.  Here’s one of the finished spots, which features a bevy of tenacious tykes, Chase and Morgan among the bunch.  Also present is a coherent message for educational reform that has Allan putting his money where his mouth is.

 

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May 1 2015

Evoking Cooperation

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Closing on a highly productive stretch, I’ve been contemplating the perennial adage ‘no man is an island’ of late.  And while Donne’s sentiments at the time were likely far more rooted in the metaphysical, the statement nevertheless translates as effective business advice.  Cliché?  Well OK, perhaps a tad trite. Ill-founded?  Not by a long shot…and as a freelance professional, it’s stout wisdom worthy of adherence.

That said, when I first set out on my own back in 2011, after a long staff producing stint, the notion of avoiding ‘the island’  seemed daunting.  But over the course of my varied Donnybrook adventures, I’ve learned to adopt the cooperative spirit and embrace networking as a necessity.  I’m certainly better off, and thankfully busier, for it…maybe even a smidge less lonely in the process.

In recent months, I’ve been fortunate enough to kindle newfound CoOp’s with the likes of Philly pharma-force Evoke Health and respected ratings maven Nielsen.  I’ve also just wrapped another effective effort with Schott Productions, on behalf of Novo Nordisk, co-producing an inventive campaign for the Danish drug-makers.  So as I reflect on the first few years worth of freelance achievements, I’m grateful for the strategic partnerships forged along the way.  Collusion takes company, so here’s to many more creative undertakings as I continue to build Donnybrook’s diverse ‘setwork’.  Onwards…


Mar 11 2015

Off To Clearer Waters

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Let’s face it, this winter sucked…plain and simple.  Brutal weather, miserable commutes, and lest we forget another ‘Storm of the Century’.  It’s enough to make a fella abscond with his 5-year old to greener (and sunnier) pastures.  As a matter of fact, it was exactly enough.  So with my NY stint for ‘Deadbeat’ recently wrapped, I took advantage of the timing and set off for Phillies’ Spring Training with my little man.  Carpe diem, right.  As it turned out, it wasn’t any harder for Chase & I to trade the frozen tundra of the Northeast Corridor for the sunlit palms of Clearwater than it was for the Fightin’s to trade J-Ro11 to the Dodgers!  Not that I’m totally on board with the latter decision, mind you.

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Energized by the high-temps and crystal clear conditions, we took in the pre-season opener at Brighthouse Field against the dreaded Bomber’s from the Bronx.  And even though the game ended in a tie, which is allowable in Grapefruit League play, we still enjoyed front row seats behind home plate, fed our faces with hot dogs and pretzels (as any self respecting fans should), and finally departed late in the day, armed with plenty of spring-themed souvenirs for our favorite girls back home.

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Now having finally taken the trip myself, I’d encourage any fellow baseball enthusiasts out there, whether parent or perpetual bachelor, to make the trek at some point if possible.  They say that there’s nothing as inspiring as spring baseball, and it’s true.  But unfortunately, it’s the October baseball that will be depressing for Phillies phans this season.  Nevertheless, we’ll all still dare to dream, and come playoff time it will be up to the finicky baseball gods to dictate the fate of the mighty Fightin’s!

 

And because this getaway has me reminiscing already, here’s a quick throwback ad for the Phillies Majestic Clubhouse Store, shot in 2010.  It features a mini version of Chase, as well as several friends and family cameos, all of whom were happy to lend a hand…for the free Phillies swag, of course.  I managed and coordinated the spot, with Sue Redmond @ Rubberband Producing.  Watching it still brings back a wave of nostalgia…and little man still has the Chase Utley blanket.  We ‘share’ it, of course.