When it comes to solving complex production challenges, some projects present unique opportunities to explore our playground. From the jump, our friends at WB Discovery made it clear this project would test our mettle with details and unique logistics. This branded integration had an important extra stakeholder, HGTV's Dream Home, so we would be not only working to serve a WAYFAIR sponsorship, but we'd be featuring the finished Dream Home while also promoting the upcoming Puppy Bowl. To truly understand the challenges, breaking this down into the parts is where the paws meet the pavement.
By the numbers, there were five unique pieces of content that all featured dogs and only two production days to work through about 23 setups. And when we say unique, we mean every concept was a custom script instead of trying to lift or cut down from a hero spot. Additionally, all of this creative had different uses, from traditional linear spots to social media content to custom advertainment content that would be part of the Puppy Bowl pre-game show designed to feel like a live cutaway to a family getting ready to watch the event, which meant multiple ratio changes for 1:1, 9:16, and 16:9. This entire project from concept through post allowed us to demonstrate what we think makes SPILLT a fun studio to play with.
VP Branded Entertainment
Senior Writer/Producer - Branded Entertainment
Manager - Integrated Ad Sales Marketing
Account Executive - Ad Sales
Manager - Branded Content Marketing Wayfair
Executive Creative Director
Director Live Action - Senior Creative Director
Alex Miller, Herman Nieuwoudt, Brian Eloe
Design, Animation & Compositing
Adam Schmisek, Samantha Mireles
Executive Producer - Waypoint Films
"Dream Home Inspector" was all about promoting the giveaway of the HGTV Dream Home 2023. To do this, we built out the creative to feature Dan Schachner, best known as the Puppy Bowl Ref, playing a custom home inspector. This part of the creative required seeing several areas of the house and having it staged precisely as a potential winner would receive it. Moving quickly was the name of the game - which isn't easy when one of your stars is a pup. Thankfully, we found very capable set dogs and had animal handlers who allowed us to get our moments quickly.
In addition to showcasing the 2022 HGTV Dream Home with the help of Dan the Ref, we also had to turn the space into "Anywhere USA" where the partnership with Wayfair and Puppy Bowl could shine as "The Best Seat In The House." This concept imagined some "surprise" house-guests dropping by to catch the big game with their fur-friend Yogi. Of course, comfort is the name of the game, so interwoven in the story-lines were custom pet furnishings available on Wayfair that had all doggos cozy up their pet sofas. Now, if only Bill wasn't such a nerd and could vibe better with Yogi's friends.
In all, there were four pieces of content produced under this concept of "Best Seat in The House" to support the co-branded partnership between Wayfair and Animal Planet. Totally PAWESOME!
While preparation is the name of the game for any production we do, this one had many moving parts and a very tight window, so all of the details mattered even more. Plus, with multiple stakeholders and different brand agendas, presenting those details needed to be first-rate and clear. From scripting to storyboards, we had to have a tight picture of how we were shooting each scene for each spot, and since they were each unique creative, keeping dialog and actions straight was critical.
Then it came time to cast human and canine talent, and we had to be sure we were hiring the best. Our animal talent would be working close to each other and being asked to do some tricks, not typical of dog behavior (Hello?! dance party). Thankfully, the animal trainers got an early jump, teaching our dogs and acclimating them to each other so that when shoot day came, we could work with them and avoid doggie conflicts.
The proof is in the pictures. Our meticulous preparation led to enhanced on-set communication, and the moving parts, like a fine-tuned watch, brought the overall "temperature" down. Plus, the delicate dance of multiple cameras, a pack of pooches, and all of the human circus behind the scenes was on full display. The result? The shoot days were full of confidence, calm, and fun doggone it! That was critical to working with animals who have keen senses regarding nervous energy or stress.