Sean Totanes's profile


For the Holiday season, ACTON Global wanted to push a Cyber/Holiday sale for their electric skateboards, the BLINK SR.  Previous social media assets and other marketing collateral for the BLINK brand were all made possible by fans of the product, and occasional freelancing videographers.  However, CTO and Co-Founder, Peter Treadway, is a cyberpunk fanatic (i.e. Blade Runner, the Matrix, etc.) and he always wanted that kind of aesthetic for the company and his products.  

As the In-House creative, my goal was to develop a social media marketing campaign that reflects ACTON's philosophies and also satisfies the Cyberpunk elements. This project would be the first step to a "redirection" of the BLINK brand, hoping audiences relate these boards to cool, but reachable, futuristic boards.

ACTON needed a minimal of 20 Photo Assets for the Social Media Campaign. The overall deadline was to have the marketing collateral ready by two weeks before Thanksgiving. 
This project involves photography, photo retouching and color correction; as well as illustration and super composition.
Camera used:  CANON 7D   Edited though: Adobe Photoshop / Adobe After Effects / Adobe Premiere Pro

Through Pinterest, I went into research on what it means to be "Cyberpunk".  Aside from the robotic subjects, a lot of Cyberpunk artwork uses a neon color palette; the lights in the artwork glow with hot pink, bright greens and blues.  Photographers utilized street neon signs to light their subjects, and their models' outfits were combinations of over-sized hoodies, masks, and tech wear.

This project would need to take place at an urban setting with a lot of neon/night lights.  Living in Northern California, San Francisco's Downtown was the best option. We had to schedule a night shoot with a minimal crew:  Myself the Photographer, a Camera Assistant, and a Production Assistant, and of course our talent. 

To minimize any obstacles, we would shoot Monday night;  hopefully where there are less tourists and less late night parties. 
I decided to travel to San Francisco at night, and started location scouting, writing down a tentative shoot schedule based on the locations found that would look great on camera.

This was a learning process; night shooting was out of my comfort zone and had to learn techniques to get brilliant shots despite low-lighting and added new tools to my arsenal to take my photography to the next level.

Once the location scouting, crew call and equipment was acquired, it was time to cast our "Halo Jen".
Based on the research here is an initial mock-up for the bosses/clients, 
getting approval to continue on the now called "Cyberpunk Ghost Project":
I decided to name our character internally, "Halo Jen", a play on words of "Halogen". A handful of talented models were interested. To help finalize our decisions, we brought our talent into the ACTON office for an audition/camera test. Actress/Model Vikki Beretta (@vikkiberetta on IG) brought experience in character modeling and tremendous costume options during her stay in the office.  

We eventually ended up meeting a happy medium between two outfits, along with her biggest costume contribution —  these cyberpunk glasses that lit up. It was the right place at the right time; a match made in Cyber Heaven!
We had our Halo Jen! Our night shoot was finally ready to go!
It was a very cold night at the financial district in San Francisco.  We traveled all over the Bay Area:  Treasure Island, Salesforce Park, Yerba Buena, and of course, Chinatown.  Our small crew had to remain mobile and adapted guerrilla filmmaking throughout the night.  Our camera assistant, stood with me to help light Vikki whenever needed, and was in charge of the camera equipment. Meanwhile, our production assistant was in charge of driving, lunch, firewatch and keeping up with our schedule.  Thanks to the previous location scouting, the process of finding the right shot was easier than coming in cold; no pun intended.
One of my favorite parts of this shoot was using a Amlong Crystal, a tool/technique I learned via YouTube:​​​​​​​
I can't express enough how productive the location scout turned out to be.  The scheduled 12-hour shoot was shortened to a 9-hour shoot.  The team was quick, collaborative, reliable and efficient. Our talent was a natural-born cyberpunk agent!  The actual production night was an overall success!  I was ecstatic to sit down and edit the assets we got throughout the night.

The editing process was pretty simple. Going through the RAW photos I realize I was mainly doing three steps: 
1. Removing a white label from the board.
2.  Emphasizing the glow of the board and glasses
and 3. Using color correction to emphasize the natural lighting from the RAWs.

And on occasion I tackled a more complicated projects: double exposure, video motion graphic etc.

Check out a chosen few of the artwork:

The Cyberpunk Ghost Project was an overall success! ACTON's redirection with the cyberpunk look had rave reviews among the team. The artwork is featured on the ACTON Global website, their Social Media pages and other marketing collateral. The assets are also currently being used for a Cyber/Holiday Sale that's resulting in exponentially successful sales.

On a personal note, this was an incredible project to flourish in.  I was stepping out of my comfort zone in learning night photography, and it helped me to continually practice running a team.  This was an important experience to evolve as a photographer/content creator/director.  As I continue to pursue my dreams in making beautiful artwork/media for everyone to enjoy, 
I consider Cyberpunk Ghost Project as a milestone in my career.

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A photoset to promote BLINK Electric Skateboards — following the company's desired cyberpunk aesthetic.