Our challenge....to create a fun, creative, and exciting campaign commercial for Donburi Ichiya, a Japanese-Indonesian fusion restaurant chain. Our client was eager for this commercial to highlight their unique and trendy topping options, presenting them in a fresh way.
Behind the Scenes Breakdown
Initially, as director and co-writer for this commercial, I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to pull this off. As many of the creatives reading this, I’m sure I’m not the first to feel this way. I scavenged my brain thinking, “How in the world am I going to do this?” and then suddenly I came up with a genius epiphany, the crowd cheered, and I saved the day again….I only wish it went that way. Concepting for this project consisted of many long stares out the window, nervous doodling, and the dreadful feeling that this was going to be the challenge I couldn’t conquer. This challenge, however, made me that much more determined to create something that pushed my creative muscle.
The Fellowship of Donburi assembled (sometimes known as my production team), and we began brainstorming; which consisted of more than one ice latte, food puns, and far too many egg jokes. Yet, somehow in the midst of this constructive procrastination, we started to think “What if you could play with your food in a sophisticated way?”. Thus began our concept forest fire.
Production day allowed the opportunity for a first time collaboration with a food stylist, seven personally given manicures (as I was the hand model) and to experiment with a massive camera JIB. Our producer and all around handy man worked in Arduino to program the garlic butter set piece, and spent most of the day hidden underneath the set table programming and wiring. Our art director set and reset each scene meticulously, while our assistant director brought all his stamina in order to bring all the elements to execution. The day went smoothly and was extremely fun, which sometimes in Film can be a bad omen. Yet, for us it meant that we could enjoy the playful atmosphere and dive even deeper into our process.
After taking a few crew boomerangs (are we millennial enough?) post-production could now begin. For this commercial, 50% of the art direction actually lived in the design of the animations. We wanted to make something clean and minimalistic, that enhanced the already vivid scenes. Our art director (and now graphic designer) was able to make sense of my chicken scratch storyboards, and formalized the animation designs even better than I had imagined. These were then passed on to our animator who brought everything to life, while I began to rummage through my foley sound archive for the perfect egg jiggle sound (weird work problems am I right).
From start to finish, our commercial for Donburi Ichiya was a success, and one of the only projects I’ve worked on that turned out almost exactly how we envisioned. Films often change drastically from the initial vision, which a lot of the time is for the better. But this project proved the essential nature of pre-production and how sticking with your gut is not a cliché statement but a necessity of creative instinct. Our Donburi Ichiya commercial allowed the negative notion of “playing with your food” to be viewed in an artistic way and bring new perspectives to the foods we love.