Gandy's Dairy TV Spot

in 2003, we had the opportunity to re-launch the 80 year-old Gandy's Dairy brand. The tagline and direction was based on the theme of "It's That Good." For the TV, we set up the extremes of a food fight erupting in a school of etiquette. At peril is the milk that wobbles precariously until a valiant young student dives in to the rescue.

I've included some production spots as this kind of shoot is a rarity these days. First, we had a generous client with a strong budget. Next, we shot on location using 35 mm film and a large cast. Production-wise the shoot was a challenge. Not only were we staging a food fight in a historical mansion, we also had to tell the story in a 30 second window. Once the food was flying, there was no going back and reshooting. In the edit bay, we had to play with the grammar of visual storytelling to contract and expand time. See captions below for more detail.

Agency: Kinara Advertising
Creative Direction: Sean D. Young
Writing: Sean D. Young
Art Direction: Oscar Arvizu
Production Company: Motivfilms
Producer: Jim Rutherford
Director: Eric Bute
Director of Photography: Brian Capener
Editing: Sean D. Young
Coloring: Bob Festa
Editing a 30 second spot is more involved than editing longer pieces, at least in my experience. Since I was in the driver seat actually editing this one, it was challenging to tell the story visually. It was only after I locked the ending from when the milk starts tipping that I knew how to set up the rest. It was really challenging to pace the action and at the same time give the viewer a sense of space in the room. The ending is crucial in understanding how leaving out some of the action allows the viewer to connect the dots in their mind. Especially on the save at the end. The cuts don't match, but our mind connects the action. One thing that was missing was a more concise reason for the fight to begin. Since I was still getting my sea legs as an editor, another editor came in and found the "whatever" clip in the beginning to help set up the adversarial relationship between teachers and students.

The location was the beautiful McCune Mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah. How they allowed a food fight to be shot here is still beyond me. They were very supportive. The only stipulation was that we couldn't get any of the tapestries messed up. For more info about the mansion visit the McCune Mansion website.
Director Eric Bute. Eric and I worked closely together on the spot. It was his genius idea to stage the food fight in an etiquette school versus a public school.
Assistant camera was none other than Mike Lookinland, aka Bobby Brady. It was great to work with him and he had a gracious attitude about his celebrity. I had a nice conversation with him about what it means to be recognized and approached everyday as a celebrity. He mentioned that until you accept that, it can drive you crazy. He mentioned that as time goes on, you learn to appreciate how something like The Brady Bunch can affect so many lives and through that you can meet so many different people.
A camera on a jib was used to capture food fight action and to help open up the space of the dining hall.
This was a gag that just didn't work. We shot several takes of the teacher's wig being knocked off and it just didn't sell on camera. We had an elaborate gag set up with monofilament line to pull the wig off and it just didn't work. 't moved on so we could capture the rest of the action.
Assistant camera Mike Lookinland and DP Brian Capener working the camera remote for the wider jib shots.
Here's the main shot. This shoot was an AD's nightmare. You had a large ensemble to work with as well as navigating the logistics of the food fight. In another room was tray after tray of food to throw in the fight. Here the food is more decorative as we're still shooting the earlier shots.
Some more storyboards on the milk wobbling and spilling. We had a lot more going on and ended up compressing this section to get to the rescue quick enough.
In the middle of the food fight. After getting wide shots of food fight action. We then got medium shots like this one. As you can tell the cast loved this part.
Some of the storyboarded action. On the right you can see an idea for a shot where a girl is running and gets pelted with food. As she leaves, she leaves an outline of her body. You can see the shot below on how that was looking. Sadly, this didn't make it into the spot.
This was a complicated shot that didn't make it in the final edit. As mentioned above the idea was a girl running and being pelted with pastries. Then she would leave the shot leaving an outline of her body on the door. In the edit, it came down to time. There was so much going on that we had to focus on the main action. Also, It came down to matching shots in the edit didn't sell this idea well enough. As you can see we mad a good mess of this room.
The carnage of the food fight.
Gandy's Dairy TV Spot

Gandy's Dairy TV Spot

TV spot produced for Gandy's Dairy.