Rookie director Kate Magee, who was recently signed by The Firm in New York, has never shot a job for an ad agency, but last year she managed to direct almost 50 spots. As part of a trial period with the production house, she shot all the promos for Macy's East (advertising handled in-house), an experience she describes as "production boot camp." "When we shoot, we shoot three a day," she says. "It's definitely baptism by fire." The former production designer is continuing to shoot everything for Macy's but she's also put together a comedic spec reel that features some tasty spots for Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. "Comedy and performance-driven work is the direction I'd like to go in," she says, but the spec reel went a little slow by her usual standards. The six spots took three days to shoot. MacGuff Ligne, the Paris-based effects shop that reinvented the Pillsbury Doughboy, recently did a series of spots for FCB/New York featuring surrealism worthy of the Teletubbies. Animated Jell-O butterflies and brooks populate a dreamy gelatin landscape, a setup for the tag "Make some magic." Ron Soodalter, who reps and executive-produces the firm's work in the U.S., says MacGuff Ligne now does 25 percent of its work for Stateside firms. "When I went international three years ago, it was a very hard sell to convince people to do the same," says Soodalter who works with a number of overseas firms via Ron Soodalter Associates, International. "And then the strike came along and the whole world started going to the whole world." New York's Manhattan Transfer changed its name to Riot/Manhattan last month to take advantage of synergy with its new corporate sibling. Riot/Santa Monica parent Liberty Livewire acquired the Manhattan post house last year. Santa Monica managing director Richard Cormier says the idea is to create a brand to "offer a global presence to our global clientele." In addition to creating a single identity, which may be expanded into more markets, Cormier says newly bicoastal Riot will take advantage of synergy by sharing talent between facilities.
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