grady hall - director
a uniquely inventive & versatile director
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#5 CELEBRATING NEXT

#5

CELEBRATING NEXT

 

If the opening visual hook is the catalyst that starts the chain reaction, then our “next” moments are the links in the chain – and the heart of our story. 

Each “Next” moment should have its own unique reveal that highlights the underlying change with a memorable shot or sequence of shots.

Simultaneously, we’ll kick the edit into overdrive, combining our “Next” scenes with lighthearted moments, quick character reactions, and cinematic portraits of key elements around each environment.

While the scripts only call out a handful of “Next” scenes for each spot, we should aim to shoot more than we need, so that we can create a fast-paced edit with a lot of variety and personality. In fact, more than that – we should even shoot the same scenes several different ways (e.g., a comedy version, a version with more life/movement in the camera, an option that features the characters’ expressions more prominently, matched-cut versions, etc.) so that we’ll more editorial options.

I’ve started to develop numerous additional “Next” concepts – to give us a working list that we can refine and improve in the steps ahead. Though I have added a couple more handfuls of “Next” ideas to the mix, I feel this concept development will (and should) continue till we’re done shooting!

One set of my suggested ideas seeks to elevate the sequence by revealing “NEXT” through camera movement, transitions, and visual techniques. (These are described below as “Next Concepts” 1-4, seen below in GIF and movie references.)

Again, the various references I’m sharing to illustrate these concepts are just a jumping-off point, and we’ll create our very own unique version of the concepts that best match each film.

 

NEXT Concept #1: Perspective Shift

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The camera starts on what initially appears to be unconnected lines, but when the camera moves around to the perfect spot, it reveals our “NEXT” typography written perfectly in an environment, e.g., the columns of our factory.

 

 

 

 

 

NEXT Concept #2: Cupcake's POV

In a single time-lapse shot, we see a cupcake go from raw batter to cooked and frosted (with perfect “NEXT” logo written in icing) within a few seconds. For reference, check out this Lurpak spot, which creates a playful journey out of ordinary food preparation. (The relevant scene comes at around 0:32 in the spot, when we see a series foods cooking up in time lapse in the stove. Again, it’s not a perfect match for what I’m proposing, but I like the clever cinematography throughout.)

 

NEXT Concept #3: Stop Motion

Overhead on a counter in our bakery, we see the NEXT logo built accurately with dozens of cupcakes, in less than two seconds. The reference film is far too simple for us, but starting at around the 0:06 mark, it shows the basics of the idea of cupcakes building an image. Our version would take place inside our bakery, signaling that the “NEXT” change is higher productivity. (Alternatively, a bar chart made of cupcakes could reflect the “your business is exploding” line.)

 

 

NEXT Concept #4: Multiplicity

The idea of multiple people or objects almost magically appearing from behind other objects. For instance, a dozen people could suddenly step out from behind a single customer, conveying the idea of “your business is exploding.” (The reference here has a couple moments of people almost magically appearing from behind others, notably at 0:09 and 0:16. Our version would be more like a dozen people emerging from behind one person.)

 

 

 

The second set of “Next” concepts are portrait-driven – i.e., finding the typography in surprising places that relate to the story of each spot. I like when these have some kind of movement, animation, or lighting – so imagine an industrial power button in the factory lighting up with “NEXT” instead of “START,” a neon “OPEN” sign (or store marquee) having our “NEXT” logo, or a bakery counter ticket that has “NEXT” instead of a number. In the house, the concepts could include “NEXT” on a light switch, thermostat, or plumbing fixtures – or they could be integrated into our model train set, e.g., on a model train crossing, or a miniature train car that passes camera.

I also like the idea of giving some “NEXT” concepts a handmade feeling, to continue to reinforce the humanity of these stories. So for instance, imagine the “NEXT” logo meticulously and beautifully written in frosting on a cupcake, made up of hundreds of tortilla chips passing by on the conveyor, or spelled out with a combination of train tracks and other miniatures.