Crispy Green's 2018 Social Media Content Campaign
Andrew K. Meyer // Co-Founder, StoneStreet Cinema
Shooting the Small Stuff
Chris and I work well with people. We get along with them. We enjoy spending time with them. And, most importantly, we are good at filming them.
Fruit, on the other hand… well that’s a bit more of a complicated relationship.
When StoneStreet was commissioned by Crispy Green, Inc. to produce over eight videos featuring their freeze-dried fruit product, I hadn’t quite registered the reality that the roles of the fruits would be played by themselves. This would be an endeavor that we hadn’t quite accomplished before.
As our business was growing, things were about to get REAL… small.
The 7 flavors and their 7 videos
We had one day in our Montclair NJ studio space to accomplish eight videos. Seven of them were to each showcase one of the Crispy Green fruit flavors, and they all had to be very, very short.
Somewhere along the way in our pre-production process, we were faced with the burden of trying to make seven templated videos unique, and someone had the idea of giving each video a theme. An environment.
For one of our first times ever, we contracted an Art Designer, the incomparable Ana-Miren San Millan, who also brought on an assistant, Bahar Baharloo. We told Ana our assignment and our idea, and before we knew it, she had already found a perfect variety of props and design elements for seven different themes, hand-picked across the tri-state area from small shops in Brooklyn to a prop rental farmhouse in “rural” New Jersey.
From scratch, Ana designed seven unique tablescapes: Classroom, Kitchen, Nursery, Beach, Campground, Office and Gym. She built seven worlds purely out of stuff, and those stuffs entirely influenced the little stop-motion narratives that we were ideating as we were shooting.
The Freeze/Dry one-take
The eighth video was an original concept that I came up with, one that sounded much easier in my head than it was on set. Go figure.
The concept was a whimsical play on the freeze-drying process that Crispy Green fruit snacks endure:
A person places down a pineapple and walks away, uninterested. Enter some cardboard mountains and fake snow- the freezing. Then, the sun pops out, the backdrop changes to a warm color and a hair dryer blows all of the fake snow away- the drying. The pineapple then bursts into a bag of Crispy Green, the person re-enters and exits with the snack, satisfied.
Besides that last sentence, we shot the rest in a good old one-r.
Ana and Bahar stood on one side of the table, Evan Daves and I on the other. In one concise and smooth take, we had to accomplish the elaborate sequences of both the freezing and the drying. It’s funny looking back, for as you can see in the final video, we end up punching in and out of that same one-take, just to add some energy to the rhythm, thus negating the need to get it all in one take.
Regardless, we got it and we were proud. It took a couple of tries. It was very hot and very messy and very late at this point, the end of our day.
But we got it.
The Crispy Green 2018 Content Campaign was the first of what would be many more in-studio product shoots. We learned a solid zillion things on all sorts of subjects, from animating stop-motion to the correct ways of slicing fruit. But the most significant lesson we learned was The Importance, Necessity and Sanctity of a Production Designer, no matter the scale.
Hire a Production Designer, always. Hire Ana.