Caleb Light-Wills – Can you give us a little background about yourself?
Sean Lorton – I’ve loved movies since I was a kid. When I was young, I wanted to get into visual effects (practical & mechanical effects.) I also really enjoyed magic. For me, movies were exactly that…magic. In high school, my best friend’s parents got a video camera. We high jacked it and started making shorts & skits. That was it, I was bitten by the movie making bug and telling a story through images.
CLW – What is your production background like?
SL – I’ve been goofing around with a camera since high school. I have a Marketing degree and TV production degree. I was a promotions producer at the local NBC affiliate and a Creative Director for a very small ad agency. I wasn’t doing videos much at the agency so I decided about a year ago to go out on my own and do video production full time.
CLW – What was the first Tongal project you participated in and what was the result?
SL – My first project was Ace Hardware and I was fortunate enough to win 1st place.
CLW – You’ve racked up $25,000 in under four months, including two major 1st place wins from big time sponsors, that’s gotta feel pretty good right?
SL – Absolutely! I feel very blessed.
CLW – How did you come up with the idea/premise for the “The World’s Most Valuable Seasoning?”
SL – I saw a news article several months ago about a type of fungus that pound for pound was one of the most valuable foods on the market. I was amazed and filed it in the back of my mind.
CLW – It’s pretty rare that there’s completely vertical creative on a project. In other words, you placed in the Idea phase, pitched successfully based on that Idea and created one of the best videos we’ve ever seen. Did you always have it in your mind to shoot a video for Pringles even if your Idea didn’t place?
SL – No, actually I almost didn’t shoot my idea even after it was chosen. The original idea was just a mockumentary about the hunter tracking down the screaming dill pickle. The idea for most valuable seasoning didn’t come until later.
CLW – How long did it take you to produce “The World’s Most Valuable Seasoning” and what was your process like?
SL – I don’t believe you need all the latest gadgets to achieve great creative content. The overall process took about 3 weeks. It was shot on a 5D mkII with 2 lenses. I rented 2 kino 4 banks for lighting. Funny thing is most of the lighting was for the interviews and I think only about 3 quick shots made it in final product. I edit with Final Cut Pro.
The majority of the spot was shot at the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Reserve. The lodge we shot in was owned by Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips 66. I had to be careful not to disturb anything as it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places in D.C. It was such a cool place I wish I could have worked more of it into the spot.
There was much more of the story and little details that were shot that didn’t make it into the final spot. Like a black market for the seasoning and having to wear earplugs to prevent a headache when you get close to the pickles.
During shooting, the only snag was the rain. I had to schedule around the weather. Also, I wanted more people for the auction scene, very few showed up, so I had to grab people who were standing around. Luckily I brought plenty of releases. In post I struggled with finding the right type music for the tone I wanted.
CLW – Were you nervous about the competition in Pringles?
SL – Absolutely! I was very nervous about the competition. There are great videos from very talented artists. I really liked the SnapBrothers spot, and the Norman Invasion production value and shot execution was fantastic. I hope to work with some the great artists on this site for future projects.
CLW – Your other big win was for Ace Hardware. Can you talk a little bit about what went into creating “Soapbox?”
SL – Soapbox was a one-day shoot with a friend of mine and my nephew. I went to the local Ace store and asked if I could borrow a bunch of tools for the shoot. I had shot at the store a few days earlier for a second spot that didn’t make the final selection so they already knew me. Soapbox took about 3 hours to shoot. I usually make shot lists before hand so I can move quickly since most of it is in my head.
CLW – You also just clocked a win for your Benjamin Moore Pitch. Without giving too much away, what can we expect?
SL – There might be some skydiving involved. J But mostly a guy living life to the fullest.
CLW – Having been through both types of projects now, open and tournament, which do you prefer and why? What are you thoughts on the tournament / pitch process? Any advice you could offer those trying to break through and convince a sponsor to trust them with a budget?
SL – I probably prefer tournament style because I think you can better communicate your vision to the client. The pitch is not my favorite part, but I think it’s an important and necessary part of the process to explain how you plan to showcase a client’s brand. That’s what they’re paying you for.
I would suggest to people to keep at it and don’t get discouraged. Not every idea is pure gold and not every spot that you put countless hours into will be a winner. Don’t beat yourself, or others, up. And don’t be afraid to fail. I’ve done it many times. Learn, and keep moving forward.
CLW – What are some key factors you take into consideration when figuring out whether or not to participate in a project?
SL – Money of course is a consideration, but mostly I look at whether it’s something I can be passionate about and bring my best. The fact that companies are putting their trust in me to represent their brand is something I take very seriously and I have a responsibility to them.
CLW – Do you see Tongal as a viable avenue to further your creative career?
SL – Absolutely. I hope to continue to grow creatively and keep making bigger and better commercials. Tongal allow creatives direct access to major brands. It’s fantastic!
CLW – What have you spent your earnings on?
SL – Paying off bills and buying a few pieces of much needed equipment.
CLW – What’s next for you on Tongal or otherwise?
SL – Currently I’m working on the Benjamin Moore project, but I have some cool ideas for Nespresso, Lego and speed stick if I’m fortunate enough to get that far.
Outside of Tongal I have 2 short films on the horizon that I’m making with Jon Wilson. The first is a science fiction film set in one location and the second is another sci-fi film, but much more epic with heavy visual effects, set in a steam punk world.
SL – I’m currently in search of some solid 3d artists & compositors to help bring those worlds to life. If any members know of anyone, shoot me an email.
CLW – How can people stay up to date with your work?
CLW – Anything else you’d like to add?
SL – I’m constantly inspired by the work I see on this site. As I said before, I hope to work with some of the people on here in some capacity in the future.
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