Production Notes from the Writer/Director:
The idea for the Lil Liberals came from the postman: my daughters were on the "American Girl" doll catalogue mailing list. The dolls were so garish and tacky to me I couldn't reconcile them as being American in the slightest. Which lead me to wonder what might an American Girl doll look like? Or better yet, and un-American Girl? With that angle I wrote the script and the Lil' Liberals were born. Tone-wise, we tried to ride that line right down the center of the blue and red state divide. The idea was too be edgy, but not offend. Depending on who you ask, we failed miserably, or did great. Which I guess about all you can hope for. That and a few laughs!
We found a box of dolls on clearance at a big toy retailer. The trick was to modify them enough to become the Lil' Liberals. eBay helped with some of the more esoteric props-like the gas mask-which was a vintage GI Joe mask. Patti, my partner at Remedy Pictures found the most glittery and sparkly fabric she could to decorate the set. I spent a long afternoon with Photoshop and my printer manufacturing the mini magazines, books, signs and TV screen. Starbucks even came through: a stir-stick proved to be the perfect size for Pro Choice Penny's sign. The real hero of the spots though are the wardrobe for the "tolerant of other cultures" bit. Victoria, a stylist we work with a lot on commercial projects, was mentoring a young seamstress in her spare time and they took up the task together. (I love the irony that in true socialist manner, we were able to employ child labor! And, wait for it... the 'seamstress' was a boy.) The detail on those is amazing. It was a shame they are on and off in a flash. We built a mini set in the conference room at our office. The actors had no range, but took direction well. Biggest challenge were getting them to stay standing. The "Gay Rightz Grlz" we're added somewhat spontaneously last minute. And so we did the haircuts on the spot after everything else was shot since there would be no-reshoots!
We all did our part with the audio: A friend did the main VO just for fun. Patti dredged up some Arabic from her studies abroad for "God is great" and did her best tongue warble. I chimed in with the legal disclaimer at the end. The early cut was missing the youth factor so I had my daughter read a few lines which she did not understand in the slightest, but added those vital kickers for the girls. "I love you Al Gore" seems to be a favorite. A motion graphics friend took us up on our challenge to dial up the pink, purple and glitter to 11. And we finally found a use for the trills, sparkles, and chimes that had been sitting unused in our sound library for years.
Since we make commercials for a living we wanted to turn the mirror on ourselves and lampoon the stock-in-trade tools of youth