Call for Walls: Mural Project Needs You!

June 27, 2014 by  
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Here at DL!, we have a pretty simple business model– 70% client work, 30% whatever. That’s a head scratcher, sure, but the “whatever” is what keeps the business true, playful and honest. The “whatever” has created some of our best work: the documentary After the Factory, the clothing line, posters on your walls, the remote-control race car track at Georgia Street and all the public art projects. In truth, the “whatever” is that thing we call the “social brand.”

For the last few years we’ve been chipping away at a mural series called MANTRACITY. The project is heavily inspired by the work that Stephen Powers started in Philadelphia with “A Love Letter For You.” We paint message-based murals in locations throughout the city that aim to uplift and bring a smile. It’s that simple. Here are some of them:

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We’ve done four murals, which is cool, with all of the labor and cost coming out of our pocket. Each of the murals still stand today, and each has taken on a little life of it’s own: the “Kahn” mural amidst countless “taggings” has been mysteriously cleaned up (fixed) by strangers, wedding photos have been taken in front of the Martian Mural, magazines have included photos of the “Dreaming” mural, etc. This is part of the whole process for us.

Thing is, we want to do more. A lot more. So, we’re making a “call for walls.” We need walls with permission to paint, and we’ll work on handling the rest. So, if you’ve got any ideas on locations, give us a shout (talk@detroitlives.com), send us a tweet, a FB message… or, hell, a smoke signal. The key is this: we need you.

Vote for DL! in the Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge

June 11, 2014 by  
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WebSizedVOTEHarlan

Click here to vote for Detroit Lives! in the Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge.

For the past few months we have had an absolute blast writing a story and film for Nokia as part of a campaign to support the release of a new smart phone, the Lumia Icon. We pitched them on a story we had developed, the main character of which, Harlan Ruddecksplainer VII, is pictured above.

The basic of the story: The life of a bathroom attendant… the love of the hospitality industry… Harlan Ruddecksplainer is a fifth generation bathroom attendant. His Great-great-great-great grandfather stood outside an outhouse with a bucket of water, and that level of Ruddecksplainer service continues today. In the face of flatulation and loud-mouth jerks, Harlan maintains his post with impeccable composure and sage like words of wisdom. But what happens when the ladies room across the hall gets a cute new attendant? Without the luxury of “a bathroom break,” Harlan will have to get crafty with his approach.

We are competing against four other filmmakers to be awarded the grand prize, and so we need your vote via Facebook every day for the next 10 days. Voting went live today and the winner will be announced next week.

The link to vote: Click here (no sign ups necessary, just click a button)

Thanks!

WebSizedURINALHarlan

Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge: Make a Video With Our Smart Phone

May 16, 2014 by  
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We recently learned via Rippld of a project that Nokia was launching across the US in promotion of their newest smart phone release: the Lumia Icon. The phone is being marketed for its exceptionally good video properties along with four onboard microphones for recording audio. So, naturally, the premise of the contest was to make a video with the phone: submit in 600 characters or less an idea for a story you want to tell with a video shot exclusively on the smart phone, and then another 600 characters of why you should be chosen. We submitted our idea and ended up getting selected as one of the five finalists. Then this Pelican road case showed up on at our office:

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Inside were three Nokia Lumia Icon smart phones, a tripod, a clip that would allow us to mount the phone on the tripod and some literature to read. We were kind of impressed.

Next thing you know, the script is written, locations are secured, we’ve got some folks lined up as talent and we’re ready to roll. Day one shooting looked something like this, kudos to anyone who can guess where in Detroit we are shooting:

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From here, we continue shooting and submit the video back to Nokia by the end of the month. We’ll keep our idea a secret until the official release :) But make sure to stay tuned to Twitter and Instagram as we’ll surely be posting some updates from time to time about the project.

Revealed! The Secret Weapon to Any Film

April 14, 2014 by  
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Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest hotel is a wonderful film. It seems that he has finally made the movie and story that perfectly encapsulates his signature style of filmmaking. All the quirk, style and detail in Grand Budapest Hotel is completely necessary to the characters and plot as compared to previous efforts (“Life Aquatic” comes to mind) where you’re left wondering if some of the quirk is just overkill.

One of our absolute favorite part of the film is the attention to detail. Anderson’s puts prop design front and center with GBH, and it really made the film that much more lovable. The letterhead on written notes, the packaging for a pastry, the mailing label on a parcel:

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And so it seems that sometimes, it is in fact all in the details.

Images taken from Annie Atkins’ full interview in Creative Review
Additional commentary in this months issue of Fast Company

5 Effortlessly Catchy Ads from 2014 Viral Video Awards

April 7, 2014 by  
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Practically every client wants their brand video to go viral. Well, here’s how you do it. Apparently. The winners from AdAge’s annual Viral Video Awards lend insight in to what the modern consumer is amused, intrigued and inspired by– from style to delivery. We’ve picked our five favorites of the fourteen in total. You’ll see why these are a fun representation of the power of video storytelling, something we love to do here at DL!:

Our very favorite, a fantastic story, and a deed worth noting that surely improved WestJet’s reputation in an industry that often isn’t so pretty with customer service.

Humor done well is just as effective as a tearjerker. Poo Pourri did just exactly that. Hearty laughs combined with explicit product information equals a job well done. Would you ever buy this stuff?

Disruptive advertising can also create some waves. Beer brand Newcastle did this by making fun of itself. And it was a smash hit (and cost much less than the Super Bowl ad buy):

Samsung, the world’s most viewed brand in video campaigns, tapped Jay Z and his new album release to expose a story of process that was just as much fun to discover as it was to experience:

Finally, our second-favorite, if only because it accentuates the real value of short and sweet, comes by way of Stuey from Family Guy and Google Chrome. It’s shocking to see what 16 seconds can do:

5 Effortlessly Catchy Ads from 2014 Viral Video Awards

April 7, 2014 by  
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Practically every client wants their brand video to go viral. Well, here’s how you do it. Apparently. The winners from AdAge’s annual Viral Video Awards lend insight in to what the modern consumer is amused, intrigued and inspired by– from style to delivery. We’ve picked our five favorites of the fourteen in total. You’ll see why these are a fun representation of the power of video storytelling, something we love to do here at DL!:

Our very favorite, a fantastic story, and a deed worth noting that surely improved WestJet’s reputation in an industry that often isn’t so pretty with customer service.

Humor done well is just as effective as a tearjerker. Poo Pourri did just exactly that. Hearty laughs combined with explicit product information equals a job well done. Would you ever buy this stuff?

Disruptive advertising can also create some waves. Beer brand Newcastle did this by making fun of itself. And it was a smash hit (and cost much less than the Super Bowl ad buy):

Samsung, the world’s most viewed brand in video campaigns, tapped Jay Z and his new album release to expose a story of process that was just as much fun to discover as it was to experience:

Finally, our second-favorite, if only because it accentuates the real value of short and sweet, comes by way of Stuey from Family Guy and Google Chrome. It’s shocking to see what 16 seconds can do:

Note to Self: Don’t make a video like this.. or maybe we should?

March 27, 2014 by  
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The company Dissolve released a (pretty great) ad building awareness for their service: inexpensive, visually appealing stock footage from $5 to $500 per clip. The ad is a home run as far as we’re concerned.

Two things to note:

1) It’s pretty effective in showcasing a tired style and visual that SO MANY companies are employing in their video advertisements. So it’s kind of a great one stop shop for what we should steer clear of for the next client. But we never did that awful of a job to begin with ;)

2) They seemingly have a pretty nice service, with all clips in HD and priced for purpose (client), not resolution (like the rest).

Puppies, Kids, Jennifer Lawrence Tripping… And Other Things That Get your Attention.

March 7, 2014 by  
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One of the subjects in the title of this article is the centerpiece for a new video we did for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. You should probably check it out here, and be a mitzvah hero in the process:

If We Were to Make a Super Bowl Ad…

February 5, 2014 by  
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We haven’t had the grand opportunity of even coming close to creating a Super Bowl ad or contributing to one. Nope. But one day– surely!– we will. And when that day comes, we would want the ad to be like these, our four favorites from the Super Bowl 2014:

And while the idea here was awesome, and expectations were high, we were just a tad shy of excited about the “Up for Whatever” Bud Light commercials:

DL! Featured in Crain’s Detroit Business

January 23, 2014 by  
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A special thanks to writer Amy Haimerl of Crain’s Detroit for a nice writeup on DL!, the work we are doing and our brand new office inside the David Stott Building in downtown Detroit. In the article, she discusses the humble beginnings that got the ball rolling for us– the shirts, the street art, the films– all the way through to us growing in to being a full service creative studio focusing on film production.

Click this link or the image below to read the article in full.

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