Ad World Layoffs Inspire Documentary

Please Feed the Animals Founder Produces Film on Execs Who Made Most of Pink Slips

By Published on . 13

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Seems that the drama and magnitude of ad-industry layoffs -- and stories of individual reinvention -- are the stuff of movies.

At least, that's what Erik Proulx thinks. The former Arnold copywriter founded a blog and soon-to-be full-service job-search site for recently unemployed advertising professionals called Please Feed the Animals in November 2008. Now he is putting the finishing touches on a documentary called "Lemonade," profiling 15 former creative and account directors from agencies including TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, Arnold, Boston, and Richards Group, Dallas. A trailer for the movie launched today on YouTube and on its own website. The movie itself will also air there once completed.

Lemonade documentary

Shot over three weeks in Los Angeles, New York and Boston, the movie features interviews with people who were laid off and have since started their own businesses or otherwise transformed their lives as a result of the change. For example, one former creative director is now making a documentary about surf camps that help kids with cystic fibrosis. A former account supervisor now owns a business-coaching firm. And one former copywriter found in his pink slip the opportunity to literally transform himself -- to a woman.

The movie's intended audience is those in the industry who have lost their jobs, and the message is that there are so many other ways to apply their creativity in addition to making ads. "My reason for doing this is to help people who have lost their jobs in advertising or in any industry to see that the door's always open, and that the possibilities are just beginning," said Mr. Proulx, 37.

Several companies and individuals contributed their services pro bono to make the movie happen, including Virgin America, which responded to an open letter Mr. Proulx posted on Please Feed the Animals requesting a donation of airfare for the production. Picture Park, a Boston-based production company, provided a director, production, cameras, lighting, makeup and crew. The director is Marc Colucci, who is on the Picture Park roster. Peter Nelson, who shot "Sicko" with Michael Moore, was the leading director of production. The movie's editor is Andre Betz of Bug Editorial, New York. Much of the post-production work is being done by Finish Editorial, Boston.

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