01 March 2013

Damn, I Wish I'd Written That

By 'that' I mean this:

But I didn't (dammit), Max Joseph did.

For that matter, I wish I'd handled that direction. But, (dammit), Max Joseph did that too.

Why?  In the writing, it's the little things, which, when treated with importance, become the best parts:

  • "Always send a card on Mother's Day.  [MUSIC STOP:  BEAT]  Always."
  • The premise:  "This is what you're not going to do."
  • The "take me to the heart of the Rain Forest" app.
  • "Two twos missing on your left foot."
  • "...a guy named TJ."

Max D. Joseph
3 guesses what the 'D' stands for
You can't make this stuff up.  No, wait... you can.  Provided you're very, very good at what you do.

And the directing?  Here's the mantra all great ad directors (it's a compact club) know & respect-  and pardon the deja vu:  find little 'moments' and make them the best part of the film.  I give you:

  • 29 SHOTS IN 20 SECONDS.From the "I quit" line to our hero finding the heart of the Rain Forest 20 seconds later, we're vaulted through 29 separate, comically charged shots.  Ever hung around for a setup at a film shoot?  Someone begged, pleaded w. Mr. Joseph not to spend days getting shots- some lasting much less than half a second.   Yeah-  Mr. Joseph (dammit) edited too.  
  • "THE CLICHE GRINGO FANTASY of becoming an honorary native and leading the resistant forces" against a rapid fire slide show of visual icons, including Lawrence of Arabia, Avatar, Costner's Lt. Dunbar from Dances with Wolves... then our hero.  Every look up the word 'gringo'?  Bet Max Joseph did.
  • THE DISTANT DESERT HIGHWAY SHOT with the arrow pointing at our guy.
  • THE KID'S GIGGLE when Dad is decked.  and-  my favourite moment-
  • RECOGNIZE THE GUY WHO'S TAKEN UP WITH OUR HERO'S WIFE?  Go back to the :05 mark.  Aha!  Brilliant.  And finally:
  • THE TURN- the moment you must pay the piper for all the preceding entertainment.  The explanation of "Follow the Frog."  By then you've been entertained for 3:30- and in return, are likely happy to offer your time and attention to the final 30 seconds. Mere mortals, in lesser works, pummel you with the 'sell' from the get-go, and sprinkle entertainment moments in between.  The "Follow the Frog" message requires discipline, guts, a courageous client, and talent.   So hard to make those planets align.
You know the old story about the secret of carving a marble statue of a horse- you start with a block of marble, and carve away everything that *doesn't* look like a horse.

So it is with an ad that works.  It's not that its content feels right- it feels more like it was there, waiting to be discovered, and all someone had to do was chip away the pieces that don't belong.