So, it's been almost two weeks and I thought it was about time to log a 'Dear Diary' entry about my latest spot for Doritos.
Here it goes.
Making a Superbowl spot is a bit of a dream of mine and, in-fact, it's on my 5 year plan. And what better way to fast track this dream then to submit an entry for the Doritos 'Crash the Superbowl' contest.
The low down: Doritos gets suckers like me to make an ad for them at my expense and they award prize money to sweeten the deal - pretty decent money and some amazing opportunities for exposure.
I'd been wanting to do an entry for years and it was the second year the contest had been open for international entries ... the stars must've been aligned because I had one month of no work (commercial directors have lots of free time) to pull it all off.
Nothing lost, nothing gained ... right?
With a rough schedule in mind I knew I had 30-odd days from concept all the way through to delivery ... and damn it went quick.
Initially, the ideas poured in and between Christian Lyndon (Editor/ Self-Appointed Oddball) and myself. We wrestled with about a dozen or so ideas, but we couldn't seem to capture our intensely dark sense of humour in 30secs. I have a whole new respect for copywriters/art directors. I was now one week over schedule and after a serious session of concepting I knew I had to either pull the pin or make something I wasn't sure about.
I was broken ... almost.
So, I did what just about all creative people do when nothing is working ... I sulked. And after approximately 35 minutes, opened a couple beers and sat down with my creative life mate, Grace Cross, and brainstormed my little heart out. I wasn't going to give up, nor was I going to do something less than controversial. I didn't want to win the big money, I wanted to be the shit stirring winner of social media. I went back to basics; pulled out a pencil, a pad of A4 and refocused.
Within an hour I had my creative 'eureka' moment - that bold rush of typing furiously on the keyboard, not caring about spelling or structure, just getting the idea on the page for refinement later.
This was the birth of 'NSFW' ... an Internet acronym for 'Not Safe For Work'.
I didn't even bother to write a first draft and just sent a paragraph on to several key creatives (aka. my industry friends) that had signed up to the project. The idea was vague at best, but it was definitely something that would poke the bear.
It was received with cautious arms, but I knew it was a go.
Time cruised on and I went about what I'd normally do on any job ... researching, casting, storyboards, meetings, more casting, refine the script and made sure everything was going to plan and budget (I was also playing Co-Producer).
Due to some scheduling hiccups with our studio space D-Day was November 3rd; giving me exactly seven days from shooting to delivery ... I wanted to do it six.
Here's a few Behind The Scenes pictures courtesy of Roger Lau. Take a moment to appreciate Chris Randak (the hairless Scotsman) eye f*cking the lens ... solid gold.
After a Doritos-stained shirt, a bit of set shuffling, a glass of Tesco's Finest Sparkling Wine and full clean up we wrapped a meer 2 hours, or maybe 3 hours, over schedule. Sidebar: Overtime is not normal for me and after 12hours I usually turn into a pumpkin. We hung about waiting for the rushes to be backed up and the original plan of editing that night wasn't appealing to me. Odd.
The next morning I got the drive couriered to Absolute Post in Soho. Before Christian and I got cracking I had only two mandates: Firstly, the final piece must be funny. Secondly, we had to edit to the sultry sounds of Kenny G (Here's the exact Playlist) to get us in an elevator mood - we contributed to at least 483 hits on this video. I'd be lying if I said Michael Bolton was never played or even sung out loud at some point.
The next 5 days were a tidal wave of self-doubt, laughs, worry and eventually over-confidence ... might've had something to do with the numerous coffees, late nights and canned pints we endured.
Highlight: Christian managed to show it to a few colleagues and was received with the normal laughs, "can I watch it again" and "is that on the server?" remarks. But one individual (who will remain nameless) said he 'got it' ... it went something like this: "yeah ... I got it ... he wants the Firefighters to choke him while the other guy is blowing him ... genius.". I guess advertising, like art, is always open to unique forms of interpretation.
One of the several late nights in the editing suite. Cafetiere Coffee in hand and Kenny G soothing our souls.
By Friday morning the edit was locked, the grade and sound was smashed out and the final commercial was rendered off, compressed, uploaded and submitted late Saturday afternoon. Within moments I received a confirmation email that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside; Grace snapped that feeling in half when she coldly said, "everyone gets that email".
'NSFW' in the Doritos: Crash the Superbowl Gallery ... we look pretty smart amongst the others.
There were some serious high-fives and a canned pint of Kronenbourg 1664 was promptly opened and smashed once we saw it in the gallery - i'd spent too much on the commercial to afford sparkling wine at this point. I made a few posts on Facebook, Twitter and quickly sent out a couple of iMessages letting people know: this was actually happening.
For almost 30 straight days I'd poured myself into this little number and I needed a break, so Grace and I bought a couple more Kronenbourg 1664s, stuffed them in my pocket and headed to see Interstellar at the local Oden.
We returned 3 hours later, minds blown, and this is when I noticed something was awry ... the link provided by Doritos was no longer working.
I quickly whipped off an email to 'Team Doritos' only to receive this:
Correspondence between Moi and 'Team Doritos' ... deep down I bet they actually loved it..
Damn right we violate the rules and I took your tag seriously ... clearly a little too seriously.
Regardless, you have to love the fact that they 'apologised' (corrected to an 's' for my English readers) for the 'inconvenience' caused to us for breaking their rules ... that were clearly outlined in the T&Cs. Bless their cotton socks. Once again Grace reminded me that this most likely a generic email they send out to all banned adverts.
To be perfectly honest I wasn't surprised, angry or even remotely downtrodden about the fact that we got pulled after a glorious parade of 5 hours in their Gallery. You know why? Because of the whole experience - from the lowest lows to the highest highs it was a great lesson, a chance for me to exercise my pent-up skills - plus, I got to work alongside the people I love, doing what I love. If anything I owe to Doritos, The NFL and everyone else who submitted (see the Gallery) a big hug and a thanks. Sidebar: Some of the other entries aren't bad, but be warned that several of them are extremely demoralising to women, which in my mind is worse than implied inappropriate content - please don't let them win.
Anyway, it was a wild, toothless ride and I loved every minute of it ... my bank account says differently but f*ck it.
Enough about the 'experience' as it's time to moisten your eyes-balls and decide for yourself if the Firefighters were there to provide a little erotic asphyxiation or just fix a stuck lift.
Bet you watch it more then once.
The banned commercial living out its days on YouTube and Vimeo.
What's next? Probably another zany skit or ill-intentioned spec ad for the reel (ideas are already brewing), but if a sweet production company wants to sign me then I might be working on a ridiculous funny paid script (I need to start making some calls).
In the meantime I want you, the people of the Internet, to share this experience and more important the commercial to as many people as possible. I spent numerous hours, pounds ($) and people's goodwill to not let a few hundred thousand (cough) people enjoy the final product.
So, I implore you to share this post or more importantly the YouTube link (http://youtu.be/o5eeM7oYa14) in any way, shape or form. Say absolutely anything you want about it, hit the 'like' or 'dislike' button, leave a nasty comment or a compliment, but just say something. Hopefully, the fuss we generate will get Doritos to take notice that there's nothing wrong with a little sexual innuendo and reassure me that nobody's time was wasted on this pursuit of funny.
A big thanks to everyone (you know who you are) that helped make the final product possible, it would've never happened without your support, time and patience - I owe you one.
CREDITS (only you can make it scroll)
CAST Peter: David Brown Mr. Bill Stevens: Robert Carretta Firefighter One: Gerard Smith Firefighter Two: Paul Kerry
CREW Writer/Director: Jonas McQuiggin Producer: Mike Jones 1st AD: Greg Jordan Director of Photography: Gareth Ward Focus Puller: Chris Randak DIT/2nd AC: Ashley Hicks Gaffer: Barry Read Grip: James Davis Sound: Duncan Paterson Art Director: Michelle Sotheren Art Department Assistant: Chapman Kan Set Builder: Jaime Hind Wardrobe: Grace Cross Makeup: Chloe Gates Runner: Abigail Arthur BTS: Roger Lau Studio: Cloud + Horse Lighting: Panalux London Camera/Lenses: Brownian Motion