Production Notes

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New York animation/design shop Psyop - whose claim to fame, according to CD Todd Mueller, is having the only Flame east of Avenue B - recently undertook the task of transferring a highly stylized print campaign for the Partnership For A Drug Free America to the small screen. The original campaign, created by Atlanta agency Sawyer Riley Compton, discouraged kids from huffing inhalants with messages tied to Ralph Steadman-esque illustrations by Todd Akita. Psyop's challenge was to get these moving, something right up the shop's alley according to Mueller. "We like to create interpretations of reality rather than iterations of it," he says. To that end, Psyop shot ink and water swirling on glass etched with the original illustrations, and manipulated the footage with 3-D editing. The result is a charred cautionary tale that feels like your brain on drugs. Ka-Chew, the newly launched live-action sister of animation house Class-Key Chew-Po, has announced its roster of directors. The list includes: Clark Andersen, who steps down as creative director at Rhythm & Hues Studio; Sugar and Spice director Francine McDougall, who leaves Chelsea Pictures; Lori Precious, who folds her own Wild Canary production company to join Ka-Chew; and Class-Key director Bill White, who recently directed the animated orange-and-black campaign for Earthlink and TBWA/Chiat/Day/Los Angeles. Kevin Smith of Backyard Productions/Venice recently lensed a spot under some, uh, unusual conditions. The boards, from agency JC Advertising for Yard Fitness in Los Angeles see Work, p. 20), called for a man to play pickup basketball stark raving naked, a setup for the tagline: "Feel comfortable in your own skin." The comic spot turns on the opposition's problems, and apprehensions about, covering the playground nudist. But how was it to shoot? "It seemed doable and it seemed like it might be pretty funny," says Smith. "But it would be very easy to take it over the top." The result is pretty far over the top as it is, but Smith says he got the shots he needed just by letting things unfold; one man wearing nothing but "a small device" against a team of flummoxed competitors, shot in six hours next to, of all things, a daycare center. As for the acting performances, Smith says, "That's pretty much the natural reaction someone would have playing basketball with a naked guy."
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