A&E’s direction was clear: Be original. So when they came to us looking for an ad sales-focused branded content campaign, we gave them an entirely new way for sponsors to tell their stories through the A&E brand lens.
A&E In Focus is a series of mini documentaries featuring real people who embody what it means to be original, whether through their work, hobbies, or lifestyle. These are fascinating people: An ex-con whose prison cell workout routine saved his life and became the basis of a successful personal training business. A photographer who uses antique tintype cameras to create stunning portraits. Brothers whose skateboard shop trains underprivileged young men in woodworking.
Casting presented a unique challenge. In addition to embodying the A&E brand identity, the subjects of our spots also had to align with the network’s programming. This focus helped guide us towards some of our more unique subjects. For example, while searching for subjects to fit in with A&E’s ghost-themed shows, we discovered the LA ParaDolls, an all-female team of paranormal investigators.
We wanted our footage to have the feel of cinéma vérité, but with the style and polish of a high-end commercial, so we kept the crew small and unobtrusive: one Red camera, audio recorder, producer, and director. Using lots of shallow depth of field and slow motion gave the footage a unique look. And this established style, along with the small crew, helped keep the spots unified, whether we were shooting in New York or Nashville.
Speaking of Nashville… Our crew arrived in Music City, ready to shoot, when the news came in that the subject had dropped out. Rather than submit to defeat, the crew and client got on their phones and e-mail, and in a mere six hours had not one but TWO new subjects lined up and ready to shoot the next day. Thanks for the lemons! Would you like two tall, refreshing glasses of lemonade?
The shoots yielded a vast library of interviews and imagery. Working with A&E’s ad sales team, we organized it all by brand attributes and posted everything on a custom searchable website. Instead of just a simple series of promos, we created an entire toolkit that A&E’s sponsors could use to help them create custom spots to tell stories that aligned perfectly with their brands.
- Live Action
- HD Finishing