Coming off the heels of Behind The Mac and Mazda’s inspiration stories, I stepped in to help create yet another docu-style commercial, this time for Bonobos. By the time I got involved, the teams had sold through the concept, found the representative men and were headed into pre-pro. With a crazy tight turnaround, I thought the best way to help was to help write the interview questions for them to ask on set, and then (most importantly) listen back to the audio (and read transcriptions) as they were sent to then piece together what I call an “organic manifesto.” While the teams were still filming, I stepped into the edit and hit the ground running. By the time we had a rough edit, we also had a manifesto to go along with it. Sometimes staying behind while everyone’s on set is most efficient way to work. This spot stars a bunch of regular dudes from all walks of life as well as Andy Ruiz Jr--the first Mexican heavyweight champion of the world, and Lual Mayen a video game designer who learned how to make video games when he was in a refugee camp. Music assistance by the always amazing Buzzy Cohen, aka Teenage Diplomat.
Because I’ve done a few of these docu-style spots now, i wanted to offer up some protips:
1. Write more questions than you’ll think you need.At the same time, don’t be so beholden to the questions. Let the subject talk and steer them with prompts when needed.
2. Don’t step on the person’s answers. Invariably, they’ll say some gold while you’re saying “uh-huh, right, interesting.” This is harder to do than it sounds. Treat it like a one-sided conversation.
3. Get the agency to pay for a transcription service, so you can read while you listen. But always listen as well. What looks good on paper might not work if the inflection is off.