Industry production vets Jerry Solomon, Eric Tu and Peter Friedman have launched Persuade and Influence, L.A.-based partner production shops tailored to addressing the evolving content needs of the ad industry. Persuade serves as a live-action short-form company with a roster of directors including Martin Aamund, Alain Briere, Mark Jenkinson, Danielle Levitt, Michael Marantz, Leigh Marling and Albert Uria. Influence is being billed as a media-agnostic "contemporary content" studio to produce brand-driven work other than traditional spots, ranging from long-form to digital and experimental.
"I just didn't want to grab directors and start a new traditional company," said Mr. Solomon. "We're doing that, but what we also wanted to be able to say is that we can solve any problem with any client on any platform -- whether it's a TV commercial, a long-form doc -- and do it concept through delivery. So we decided to start two companies -- Persuade, with the traditional model and Influence, where anything's up for grabs -- technology, experiential, events." Beyond that, the company also has backing from production shop Psyop, and with which it will also partner with on various projects.
Mr. Solomon most recently served as managing partner at Epoch, an award-winning production company behind high-profile campaigns for clients such as Apple, Allstate, Heineken and more. Mr. Friedman had been exec VP-head of creative content production at McCann Worldwide and a global head of production at Nike. He went on to oversee the full-service studio of PGA Tour Entertainment as its general manager and found creative content studio F360. Mr. Tu previously served as a content director at 180 Amsterdam and Michael Bay's the Institute before partnering with Mr. Friedman to launch F360.
Supply and Demand has added filmmaker Amy Nicholson to its roster. Nicholson worked as a creative at agencies including Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners, Fallon, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Wieden & Kennedy and DraftFCB before becoming a director. She has helmed commercials including a series of web films for Nokia, spots for Pilsner Urquell and the Ad Council plus work for Howard Stern On Demand. Her film work includes "Beauty School," a portrait of the New York School of Dog Grooming, and "Muskrat Lovely," a full-length feature exploring a small community's annual muskrat skinning and beauty pageant competitions.
SoundLounge's video-production arm, Mister Face, has launched a live-action production company which will be led by founder and CCO Tony Mennuto. Its roster includes directors, comedians, improvisers and producers including Todd Beiber (director of content and production, Upright Citizens Brigade), Jim Biederman (executive producer/director, "The Kids In The Hall" and "The Whitest Kids You Know"), Brad Hasse (an ADC "Young Guns X"-winning director), Tim Bierbaum (director/animator, Above Average Productions) and Unbundled Underground (branded content filmmakers). SoundLounge executive producer Vicky Ferraro, executive producer Michael Glennon and new director of business development Shirley Ramos will also work on the team.
New York- and Philadelphia-based ShootersINC has added John Romeo to its directorial roster as food director/DP. Romeo works exclusively with Nir Adar, a food stylist, chef and artist, and the two have partnered together for over 10 years in the still-food-photography market. Romeo joins ShootersINC's production division, which also includes directors Robert Adamo, Kris Magyarits, Rob Markopoulos, Ira Rosensweig and Scott Whitham.
Framestore has hired Dennis Hoffman as senior VP of its film studio in Montreal, where he will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the facility. A founding member of the Visual Effects Society, Hoffman has held executive positions at VFX facilities including Digital Domain, Cinesite, Method and Dream Quest Images. He has been involved in projects including VFX Oscar nominees "Mighty Joe Young" and "Armageddon," VES nominee "Invictus," and "Earth 2," an Emmy award winner for best VFX.
New York- and Los Angeles-based NuContext Creative has added comedy writer-director Vinny Lopez to its roster. Lopez has had a long-standing collaboration with VH1, writing and directing a series of TV promos for "The Jenny McCarthy Show," "The Soul Train Awards," "Do Something Awards," as well as "Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular." He also writes, directs and stars in the web series "Two Jasperjohns."
Nice Shoes has formed a partnership with Volt Studios in Minneapolis. The partnership will offer Nice Shoes' Remote Color Network services to Minneapolis agencies, and the two studios have already commenced work on projects for agencies Martin Williams and Fallon. The move is a result of the NYC-based studio's addition of Ed Koenig as executive producer for color and finishing, as Koenig has enjoyed a long relationship with Volt partners Steve Medin and Charlie Lach.
Canadian production company Radke has signed director Michael Clowater for exclusive Canadian representation. His first commercial as a full-time director with Radke was "How to Dad" for Cheerios through Tribal Worldwide Toronto which broke earlier this year. He moves from the agency world where as a copywriter/CD he has won awards at Cannes, One Show and D&AD. His commercial directorial debut, "Pyramid Scheme the Rainbow," for Skittles was also shortlisted at Cannes.