Five Star Franchising And Ambient Skies Team Up For Hilarious Flagship Commercial
View full case study here.
Hmm Five Star Franchising, what’s that all about?
That’s what we asked ourselves when Lawrence, our SEO guru presented an opportunity to get a little goofy with this unique Utah based company. They needed a funny flagship commercial and they needed it yesterday. So we were like, “Let’s do this!”
But we still needed to understand their offer.
Five Star Franchising? What is it?
So we dug a little deeper and realized these guys and gals were doing some nifty stuff out there in Salt Lake City. They created a company that offers sole proprietorship franchise packages that run as low as 100k to get up and running. The other genius part of the equation, all the franchises they sell are within the home services industry. From painting and bath solutions to biohazard remediation and personal property insurance, there’s something for everybody between the seven different franchises they sell. And if you have plans to grow and hire employees, they can set you up for success. How cool is that?
We loved this business model. It was disruptive in the best way. Offering a light at the end of the tunnel for people experiencing corporate burnout. So needless to say, we were game.
This opportunity presented another great opportunity for us. Being able to create a comedy narrative that was to be a top-of-funnel call to action that we could construct from the ground up. That means no overt sale, no god awful voice over, this was to be pure entertainment that spoke to the target demographic in an indirect way. And we get to be stupid and film some hilarious content. What’s not to love?
So we were able to define “the offer”, which was breaking free from corporate monotony and working for YOURSELF! But the approach had to be right. More like a magician and less like a used car salesman.
So next step, gather the key players together and cook up some ideas to present to FSF.
And that’s what we did. But first things first. We had to know where to aim. What are the expectations?
So we moved into the discovery phase. After hours and hours of meeting, we found our direction. Five Star wanted to walk away with some funny and efficient content that had viral potential, as well as content to drive traffic to their site, generate intrigue and introduce FSF to a wider audience. Main takeaway, they wanted to connect and relate to people feeling major FOMO in their current mid-life.
Sam Lowy of Amanti Creative stepped up to the plate to crank out some amazing scripts for us and he knocked it outta the park! After some internal finagling, we felt strong about the three ideas he brought to the table. Now the tricky part, packaging it all up with a fancy bow for the client.
Well, often we turn to our friend from the norse lands, Mr. Erik De Jong, to provide very polished storyboards for various productions of ours. That mixed with mood boards and a ton of lengthy paragraphs, we put together a pitch deck and jumped into our virtual meeting. It went swimmingly and we walked outta the meeting with one idea that they narrowed down. And it was the one we really wanted to do! Which happens rarely.
2nd Phase Of Pre-Pro
So we gathered as a team and we defined everyone’s marching orders and sprinted off in different directions, scurrying like mice to get at it.
We were now in the second phase of pre production, my favorite part. Because now you really get to start putting stuff on paper and getting boots on the ground. That deliverable starts to take on more shape and dimension in your mind and you’re able to visualize it.
As a DP, I like to put together principal storyboards if I have the luxury of doing so and that’s exactly what I did. And I can’t tell you how helpful this is on set to get the director/producers and the DP on the same page before stepping one foot onto a location. You’re just so much more efficient on the day and you can pack a lot into the hours, because there’s no long breaks to figure shit out or moments scratching your head. You’re always moving—and moving quick!. We’re talking 50+ shot setups in 10 hours. That’s not easy. And to walk away with what we did, you gotta execute on that pro level son!
So anyway, script breakdown, crew hire, casting, location, props, VFX meetings, shot list, scouting, etc.
Our team slayed it all…
Teddy Sorensen pulled off the impossible once again: not only was he able to help us transform a totally blank space into a working office with wildly decorated cubicles, but he was able to help build not one, but FOUR breakaway walls. Yeah, we got to slam our lead actor through a wall four times. It was glorious.
And Matt Vojacek was very involved from the get go to make sure our vision was achievable with the budget allotted for VFX. We had lengthy discussions on the best way to approach the face replacement since Johnny our lead actor is, after all, only one person. But beside that, since we were were surrounded by glass 360 degrees in this location, crew reflection was a concern. So on the day, we had to place precise tracking marks around the room. But that was minimized with some practical camera tricks. You’d be surprised what you can hide with a rota polarizer and some floppies.
Production Day 1/Prep
So Day one was officially a prep day, but we like to squeeze content into the can if we can… or if we have to (the latter being the case here). So certain things needed to happen in order to make Day 2 happen. Gaffer needed to cover all house lights with 1/4 CTB gels as they were coming in at around 3900k. The architecture of the lighting fixtures themselves made it a 6 hour job. Art department needed to buildout and decorate cubicles, we’re talking 30+ cubicles, and we needed to install our first breakaway wall. This task was only possible with the help of over 15 art PAs that came in like a troop of eager green warriors looking to get their hands dirty. We always love that energy and we love being apart of their growth as filmmakers.
But as far as principal content, we needed to walk away with two things in the can. One, we needed to get Johnny in front of a white screen for social content, but we needed to film him in two roles. Future You and Present You which required a “split-screen” effect to pull off. And we also needed to get motion and stills of Johnny and daughter at the park. Which we pulled off with some overnight magic manifested by Phil from the Phoenix film commission.
Production Day 2
Ah, it’s here. Principal shooting day 1. We all got up way too early and got all bundled up as we were shooting in the middle of December. Crew showed up to a fully formed set and got to work instantly thanks to our prep day. Talent and background showed up and got in line for makeup. Camera department got prepped. Lighting got ready to move quickly for key and backlight repo. VFX and production team placed trackers. Art department made last adjustments to the cubicles and it was off to the races.
My good ol’ partner in crime and director on this shoot, John Schaus, and myself had all of our ducks in a row and we were watching our shotlist and schedule very, very closely. It may be a luxury, but holy smokes do you move quicker! To have all principal shots storyboarded in our production booklet is so much different then having just a shotlist that’s drastically open to misinterpretation. We were knocking down setups right and left and walking away with GREAT content.
We had to be very strategic when it came to the order of shots and when we filmed what. Certain portions had to be shot in sequence. Since we were dealing one actor playing two roles in the same scene, we had to consider time for wardrobe changes for our lead and our body double and we had to be conservative about how many times we had them switch looks. So we shot all of Johnny’s scenes pre wall break as well as his scenes post wall break with the body double. Our first wardrobe swap happened with our single most expensive shot, the face replacement shot where Future Johnny carries himself out of his workspace.
To accomplish this shot we had to shoot things three ways. One way with our body double wearing a chroma key green head mask and carrying Johnny is his arms. Another way with just Johnny walking as Future you and a grip hollywood-ing a 4×4 chroma key blue screen behind him. And lastly, we grabbed a clean plate of our background with no talent. Our VFX team was tuned into every shot, via a livestream of A cam. They approved every shot and were vocal when we needed to make an adjustment for their sake.
And at last, the wall break scenes. We all watched in anticipation as Johnny prepared to launch himself through drywall. The guy who constructed the walls tested them out and we all saw the end result and approved it. But we were all anxious to see if it was going to be a good sell, because you never know. Johnny launched through the wall and the crew erupted in laughter. It worked! But you know us annoying filmmaking types, “One more safety!”
So every time we’d setup the next break away wall, we’d shoot inserts of the co-workers around the office and we were able to not lose that time during re-construction.
Next, we moved outside where we were fighting daylight to grab our conclusion to the narrative. We had a lot to shoot and no time to grab it. We tried our best and were able to walk away with some usable stuff in the can, but as we ended the day shooting at night under street lamps, we knew another half day of shooting pickups was in our future.
Production Day 3
So good ol’ Phil from the Pheonix film commission was able to help us secure permits to shoot on the streets of downtown Phoenix again. And this time we were able pull the drone out and grab some great aerial footage that really heightened the effectiveness of the ending. As we wrapped shooting a few inserts and our epic aerial shot, we packed it up quickly and moved miles across the city to grab our closing shot, an aerial of Present You and Future You driving off into the sunset on the freeway. Remind me to never shoot an aerial shot at 4:30p in the middle of rush hour in December at one of the most complicated freeway intersections ever.
Wrapping it up
We dove quickly into post so that we could get our VFX team what they needed pronto because they had tight deadlines to keep. I literally had 80% of the our first internal WIP done by 3a the next morning after our main principal shooting day. But it took weeks of going back and forth with the team to get it right and dial the edit in. We were to deliver 3x versions (30,60,90) and all needed to take a different approach.
Five Star Franchising – Nobody Does You Like You :90
Five Star Franchising BTS – The Making Of “Nobody Does You Like You”
Johnny (Protagonist) – Johnny Kalita
Greg The Boss – Steve Briscoe
Janet – Becky Jo Harris
Daughter – Azra Kearns
Body Double – Beau Yotty
Casting Director – Bella Hibbs
Casting & Talent Agencies – Good Faith Casting, Dani’s Agency, Ford Robert Black, Leighton Agency & Priority Talent.
Director – John Schaus
Writer / 1st AD – Sam Lowy
Head of Production – Rebekah Nylander
Producer – Heather Berry
ACD – Emerald Leong
1st AD / Copywriter – Sam Lowy
DP – Trenton Massey
Art Director – Teddy Sorenson
Steadicam Operator – Sammy Shelton
Audio – Nile Popchuck
Set Photographer – Brandon Sullivan
Drone Op – Josh Lambeth
Drone Assistant – Jeremiah Davis
HMU – Aeni Domme
1st AC – Said Ramirez
2nd AC – Vincente Ramirez
Gaffer – Mark Harrison
Best Boy – Tim May
Set Builder – Levi Lambert
Art Assist / Propmaster – Jere Salle
Art PA / Props Assist – Karla Sainz
BTS Cam Op – Logan Fetters
Dominique George “Nicolla”
Jared R Payan
Kathy Blaze Jefferson
Sonia Rhea Dunkinson
William Anthony Kenny
Berk Harrison Atmaca
Editor/Colorist – Trenton Massey
Sound Design – John Schaus
Social Editor/Colorist – Logan Fetters
Visual Effects Studio | Made by Things
VFX Artist – Matt Vojacek
VFX Assistant – Shelby Hagerdon
Agency/ Production Company: Ambient Skies
Client: Five Star Franchising