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Telly Awards & Upcity Excellence Award!

Bottle Rocket Media Wins Telly and UpCity Awards

Season 40 Telly Award Winners were announced this week, and we’re super excited to announce that we took home SIX! Clients include Dyson, Kenmore, Centro, The Peninsula, and The Chicago Cubs! View the winning videos below.

We also received UpCity’s 2019 Excellence Award and were named Top 20 Marketing Service Providers in Chicago – Thanks Upcity! Check out our listing here.

Thank you to all of our stellar clients for allowing us to do what we do all day long. Thanks also needs to go out to our incredible team – the BRM gang and every crew member, cast member or freelancer that continues to support these endeavors.

Though we cannot share the Cubs 360 Gameday experience at the time, check out the response to the 360 video experience:

https://www.facebook.com/Cubs/videos/524138164762495/

The Bullhorn| Meet Director Kristina Perreault

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Director Kristina Perreault

Kristina Perreault has been everywhere, man. This world-traveling lens master brings both a breathtaking portfolio and endless vision to Bottle Rocket Media’s growing roster of creative talent. Discover the inspiration behind her work!

What got you into directing?

I have always had visions—even from a young age, I was able to make them happen. When I was 14, I began making up random stories and I would enroll my friends to act them out. It was a blast! I guess I naturally fell into that role. It was never a goal of mine—it’s just who I am.

How/why did travel become such a big part of your work?

The world is magical, and I want to share that with people. Travel opens our eyes to different ways of life and takes us out of our little bubble of reality—it expands consciousness. That’s what I’m here for.

How does your style/technique tie into creating successful brand videos?

My work is an extension of the way I see things: full of wonder, excitement, sensuality and grace. I want people to feel how I feel about the subject through my work. With every project, I am focused on connecting viewers to a real emotion that brings them further into the message—one that hopefully stays with them long after.

https://vimeo.com/236951722

What unique element(s) will you bring to BRM’s portfolio?

With all the dudes around here, my style definitely brings a much-needed feminine touch. That said, I feel my contributions nicely complement their existing slate.

What types of projects are you looking forward to in 2019?

More festivals and more travel!

What video technology/storytelling technique are you most excited about right now?

360 VR is finally on the rise in the travel industry. It’s the closest you can get to experiencing something new, somewhere else, without leaving your seat.

Favorite movie of all time and why…

Avatar really knocked my socks off when it came out. I love the story, the vibrancy, the world the characters live in, what they value and all the messaging throughout. It also looks a lot like my dreams – which is fun to see on film.

The Bullhorn | Meet Director Joel Kapity

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Director Joel Kapity

There is no shortage of creative talent at Bottle Rocket Media these days – emphasized by the onboarding of longtime Chicago-based director, Joel Kapity, who has been telling stories through the lens since childhood. A love for the human experience guides his creative sensibilities, while his fearless outlook helps him accomplish what others deem “impossible.” 

Here’s what Joel had to say about his rise as a successful storyteller:

What got you into directing? 

As a kid, I was always the guy with a camera. While others were hanging out, doing what kids do, I would be shooting little shorts with whomever I could wrangle on any given night.  

What about the craft moves you?

I think I’m terrible at a lot of things—directing is not one of them. There is no other job that comes more naturally or brings me more joy. One of my favorite aspects is working with professional actors to bring a story to life. As a director, I have a very specific task of pulling emotions out of others, and I love playing with framing, lighting and camera moves to help draw the audience further into the worlds of the characters.

How did you hook up with Bottle Rocket Media? What drew you to the company?

At my last studio, I was given the opportunity to direct a commercial with Bottle Rocket Media staff as my crew. It was a great experience. During the shoot, I had some solid conversations with Dan and Brett, and felt very in tune with their passion to produce great video content. It was a genuine connection. Bottle Rocket Media and I shared the same creative thoughts and direction—very refreshing. My gut feeling was that I could produce some truly incredible content with this studio.

What unique elements do you bring to the portfolio?

My most unique slash powerful element as a director is my love for people, and how that translates to my commercial work – whether it’s a tv spot, a feature film or social media content. The material I am most proud of almost always involves storylines driven by human relationships.

Also, big ideas with small budgets don’t scare me. I honestly believe I can accomplish what others deem “impossible.” 

How does your style lend itself to brand videos?

Shock and awe. I am obsessed with creating cinematic visuals to support brand awareness in new and exciting ways. For every project, I try to think about that one extra visual effect, shot or action that creates a video people will remember—one that stands out in a flooded market.

What can we look forward to from you in 2019?

So far, 2019 has been jam-packed with creating content for different brands every week and there are no signs of slowing down. I’m currently finishing my third film, I AM YOUR KEEPER, while working on several big client videos for Bottle Rocket Media.  

What industry techniques/technology/methods are you most excited about right now?

I am really excited about all the cameras and lighting tools we didn’t have 20 years ago – when I was still cutting my teeth as a director. A couple of months ago, I directed a Phantom high-speed camera commercial shoot with two of the best hockey players in the world—I was blown away by what we were able to capture. High-speed cameras can bring such an incredible value to a project that no other piece of equipment can. I’m also obsessed with the use of robotic arms in production, which is becoming extremely popular for capturing food and sports commercial imagery.   

What is one of your proudest accomplishments? Why? What obstacles did you have to overcome?

Directing and producing my second film, Dreams. It consumed my life for three years, three to six days a week, and roughly 15-20 hours a day. The movie involved a huge cast, with thousands of extras, and a limited budget. It’s a film I’d wanted to make for about 10 years and it ultimately involved flying in actors from all over the country. Considering the huge job at hand every day on set, it was definitely the most complex thing I have directed to date. 

Any words of wisdom?

Don’t listen to others who tell you what to be or what to do.

The best decisions I have made in my life were the ones that didn’t make sense to others. When you feel like being a part of something, just do it. Don’t think about the money or what you think you deserve. When you are a part of a project you love, you will perfect your craft. And that always leads to something bigger and better. Don’t wait to have what you think you need. If you are truly meant to do something, take a leap of faith and people will follow you.

Favorite movie and why:

One of my favorite movies is Crash. As far as films that tell multiple stories go, this was one of the best.  

What Is Your Brand Tone of Voice?

Brand Voice and Nailing the Right Tone With Video

Can you imagine any of your favorite movies, tv shows, or web series with a totally different soundtrack-like, what if The Sopranos’ theme song was switched with the one from Friends? Or, what if all the ROCKYs were suddenly stripped of music and replaced with canned laughter? Think about it. Sound can be just as impactful as visuals when it comes to almost any video production. While SFX and complex scores have been traditionally reserved for the most prominent in entertainment, marketing teams now use the same tools & techniques in setting the right tone for their own brands.

At Bottle Rocket Media, we have great admiration for the maestros that have given us so many audio-visual experiences to remember; John Williams rocked us in Star Wars, Hans Zimmer took us into a dream world in Inception, and Danny Elfman creeped us out in Beetlejuice. And wanna talk amazing SFX? How about every Pixar Toy Story installment – featuring crack teams of specialists just to ensure Woody’s spurs sound ‘authentic.’

Well, here’s the good news.

Thanks to the digital age, the same intense aural impact can now be made without the need for an orchestra, a recording studio, or a team of Foley artists with horns and blocks in tow. Modern technology has gone light years beyond what we imagined only 10 years ago. With small-footprint crews manning 360-video, VR, and drone technology, brands in almost every industry are dropping cost-effective music video-style presentations that move fast and send the right messaging; carefully selected sound solutions are more accessible than ever before, helping to bring tons of new products & services out of the shadows and into the light.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the power of sound in video:

  1. Dexter Gives Us the Chills

Have you heard of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response)? It’s a lot more interesting than it sounds. AND it’s a technique that won’t break the bank. In this example, featuring the talented Zoë Kravitz and an ice-cold bottle of Michelob Ultra: Pure Gold, we can almost feel the whisper of her voice, her fingertips against the glass, and the sounds of the pour – awakening our tactile senses and creating a spinetingling experience that’s both captivating and memorable. Never underestimate the power of giving your audience real goosebumps!

  1. Tom Cruise Terrifies Us in SFX-less Trailer

We’re not quite sure if this almost soundless trailer for 2016’s The Mummy was a major league screw up or a brilliant publicity stunt. Without traditional SFX to back up the action, audiences are left to fill the void with their own imaginations. For some of us at Bottle Rocket Media, it made the video more profound – especially when hearing Tom Cruise scream for his life, unaided and unenhanced. No SFX, just pure human terror!

For others, the unorthodox style detracted from the weight of the scenes – creating more of a ridiculous or unintended comedic feel. What do you think?

  1. Sounds of Space Give Theme to Promo Video

At Bottle Rocket Media, we are committed to ensuring our own brand familiarity through consistent themes that help hit target audiences, yet remain in line with our unique voice and mission. So, it stands to reason we would attempt a promo piece incorporating the sounds of satellites, NASA dispatchers, and of course, the earthshaking feel of a blast-off at Cape Canaveral – all while prominently displaying some of the valued clients that have helped us reach the stratosphere of 360-degree video production and soar beyond it.

Ready to Sound Off to the World?

Getting your brand to sound just right is not necessarily a quick process, and it can lead to a lengthy, frustrating wild goose chase across the endless chasms of the Internet before anything promising sticks out. So, for those of you eager to dive in, we highly recommend taking a gander at KillerTracks.com, one of our main sources of music. Also, for decent SFX, check out MotionArray.com. Finally, there is always YouTube, with many amazingly FREE options to explore.

Still stuck? Click here to find out how Bottle Rocket Media can help your brand get heard.

On Set with Bottle Rocket Media

From two-day shoots featuring free ice cream for the cast & crew to a series of really cool 3D models being designed in-house for a client, spring has officially sprung for the team at Bottle Rocket Media.

Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to the past few weeks!

We shot a series of videos for Dyson at two Chicago salons over the course of two days. Each location provided its challenges (hellooo mirrors), but the team overcame each one gracefully – making for a fun, rewarding shoot.

Director: Dan Fisher | Producer: Siobhan Summers | DP: Andy Stegmeyer | Assistant Camera: Nick Silva | Audio: Tyler  Lang | HMU: Jayciee Ganek | Set Design: Jim Lichon | Stylist: Becca Nino | Script PA: Jack Cronin | Camera PA: Corey Henderson | PA & BTS Photos: Amy Davila | Editors: Dave Sarno & Tre Manchester 

We also did a two-day shoot in Gurnee, Illinois, for Second City Works. It happened to line up perfectly with Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, which some of the cast and crew have dubbed “the best day ever.”

This unique, vlog-styled shoot allowed us to shoot around 20 pages of script per day! Yep, the crew killed it every step of the way – even burning off calories from all the free ice cream while chasing after kids and running across the resort for gear (at least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves).

Director: Brett Singer | Producer: Siobhan Summers | Assistant Director/BTS Photos: Dan Fisher | DP: Josh Tallo | Audio: Tyler  Lang | AC: Jordan Kantola | Grip: Adrian DiGiovanni | Set Design: Jim Lichon | Stylist: Becca Nino | HMU: Jayciee Ganek | Production Assistant/BTS Photos: Amy Davila | 

 

Last year, we were fortunate enough to work on a campaign for a very popular appliance brand. Guess we did a good job, as they recently contacted us to shoot some pickups! In no time, we got the team back together, rolled into Oakbrook Center in Chicago, set up the jib and did our thing.

Director: Joel Kapity | Assistant Director: Dan Fisher | DP: Josh Tallo | AC: Erik Bjella | Producer: Siobhan Summers | Art Director: Jim Lichon | HMU: Jaycie Ganek | Production Assistant: Jordan Kantola | BTS Photos by: Dan Fisher | Editor: Dave Sarno 

Client Spotlight | Carol’s Cookies

Meet Carol’s Cookies

Bottle Rocket Media offers a taste of what it’s like to work with one of Chicago’s most in-demand purveyors of all-natural gourmet eats. With almost 40 years of operations under its belt, Carol’s Cookies met the production team with both a seasoned “understanding of marketing and video,” and a monster success story to share with the world. The end result is an intimate portrait of a family business – and a slightly heavier crew.

Bottle Rocket Media founder, Dan Fisher, spotlights the added value of working with a vice president that “gets” production: “Our partnership with Carol’s Cookies wouldn’t be nearly as productive without direct collaboration with Jeff Goldman – son of Carol. He is one of those rare clients that holds a true understanding of marketing and video, and how to maximize his spend. Plus, his passion for the family business keeps him engaged, which makes working with him and his team a lot of fun.”

Like many other creative adventures in video, Bottle Rocket Media’s work with Carol’s Cookies took a few twists and turns along the way “to become even more impactful than originally conceived,” adds Fisher. What initially presented itself as a company overview became more of an intimate portrait once the team arrived on site and “felt the love” for Carol and her 30-plus employees all with the same mission: to make the best cookie, by hand.

After a concept was pinpointed, a few technical hurdles remained as they almost always do in the world of video production—this is where Bottle Rocket Media’s collective shooting knowledge shines through: “We thrive on overcoming obstacles and coming away with new ideas on every project,” Fisher continues. “The big challenge on this one was shooting around a giant Cookie Monster mural that took over almost the entire background at the brand’s HQ. The interviews had to be extraordinarily coordinated. Thanks to Brett’s [Brett Singer, Co Director and Business Partner] ingenuity there’s not even a sliver of it in the final video.”

Framing aside, the experience’s overall smooth tone was set from the very beginning: “We sat down with the client and got to know more about Carol’s Cookies by asking questions and soaking up the history,” Fisher says. “Because of Jeff’s open-door attitude, our team was able to gain valuable insight into the how and why behind the brand. Once we started filming, we let the story lead the way.”

This was not the team’s first engagement with infamous Chicago cookie queen; Bottle Rocket Media has also partnered with the client on a series of videos in which Carol surprises people at work. “Both engagements were a pleasure,” Fisher adds. “Especially since Jeff allows us to be creative and always use our expertise to up the ante and upgrade the content.”

According to Goldman, the feelings are mutual: “People always say that you can have it done quickly, cost effectively, or have high quality – but, you can’t have all three. Well, Bottle Rocket proves those people wrong,” he asserts. “[Carol’s Cookies] searched for a firm that could communicate the handmade beauty of our cookies without breaking the bank—you have to sell a lot of cookies to pay for a big campaign. Bottle Rocket was able to meet a strict deadline, stay within budget and create material that is relatively timeless. They made us feel comfortable on camera – which helped it feel natural, yielding an excellent end product. We can’t wait to do another fun project like this with their team.”

“We also look forward to more projects in the future with Jeff and his team,” Fisher concludes. “The cookies are amazing, by the way. Our next challenge will be figuring out how to not gain weight during production.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsY_CYon_FB/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

The Bullhorn | Meet Director Mark Cwiakala

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Director Mark Cwiakala

In the first installment of our Bullhorn series, we meet director Mark Cwiakala – who comes to the Chicago-based production team with a passion for storytelling, documentary-style video and a lot less “confusion” than when he started out.

Here’s what Mark had to say about his 25-year journey as a professional creator:

What got you into directing? I got into directing out of a sense of confusion. When I was working as a creative director, it perplexed me that I would hand off storyboards to another person who would then direct the spot I had been working on for weeks – sometimes for months. Not that they couldn’t do it, but why wouldn’t I do it?

How did you connect with Bottle Rocket Media?I met founder, Dan Fisher, about eight years ago while working on a pitch for a series called No Chef’s Allowed. I was introduced by a mutual producer friend who thought Dan would be perfect for the project. We clicked! He was a great addition to our team and an overall joy to be around. Years later, when I was looking to branch out and focus more on directing, I figured enough time went by that he’d forgotten how annoying I was. So, I dropped him a line.

What draws you to documentary-style video? I love a good story. That’s it. Listening to real people tell you something interesting, shocking, thoughtful, weird, obscene, sad, or exciting, is performance art.

How does the medium lend itself to brand videos? I’ve always felt the best way to communicate is to show someone something authentic that they can relate to. No one likes to be told what to do or what to buy, but if you can expose an audience to something that hits home – especially something they have never seen before – it will be contagious. Getting people to relate is the best way to make an impact.

What will you bring to the portfolio in 2019? I hope to work on a few new docu-series projects and expand into different industries that Bottle Rocket Media has yet to tap. Currently, I’m working on a documentary that spotlights the recent explosion of combat-art, and why we are seeking out violent outlets in a time when humans no longer need to be physically aggressive to survive. In the end, I love shooting anything that’s thrown my way, while challenging myself to make it better than expected.

What video techniques are you most excited about right now? I don’t get hung up on technology too much. I keep aware of it. But, even if the tool itself can facilitate the creative, the creative should always dictate the tool. Content comes first. That being said, I really want to shoot a moving bullet probe lens through a big pile of fruit, or cakes, or even water balloons.

Favorite movie of all time and why:8 ½ by Fellini. If you can’t relate the opening scene, I’d like to be on what you’re on.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvz3fernXaq/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Client Spotlight | Nicholas Brinley

Featuring charged crowds of glowstick waving fans, today’s top artists dropping it like it’s hot, and a cameo from DJ Diesel a.k.a Shaq (Yes, THE Shaq), Bottle Rocket Media’s promotional video for Nicholas Brinley puts the viewer in the center of the action with a heart-pumping soundtrack to match.

Meet Bottle Rocket Media Client Nicholas Brinley

In the first installment of Bottle Rocket Media’s Client Spotlight series, we take an inside look at the production team’s strong relationship with prominent Chicago events curator, Nicholas Brinley. Over the last year, the two companies have collaborated on a series of shoots as well as a branding initiative, featuring the likes of PitBull, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg – a success that can be attributed to the “gift of creative freedom.”

Founders of Bottle Rocket Media, Dan and Brett (read more about them here), pinpoint the relationship’s origin. Through a mutual acquaintance – a satisfied client – they were fortunate enough to snag a meeting with Brinley’s co-founder, Marc Halpin, at the Chicago Soho House. They talked everything Chicago, video and bourbon. A few months later, the call came in and the team went to work.

We have since traveled to both Las Vegas and Orlando to cover a variety of Nicholas Brinley live music events, each sponsored by data storage powerhouse, Cohesity events. The result is a fast-moving, 57-second promo video, created by in-house Creatives, Dave Sarno and Dan Wulfing. It includes a mixture of exciting performance footage alongside eye-popping, motion graphics.

View the video.

From the onset of any project with the Nicholas Brinley team, there is a great deal of collaboration. They start us down a creative path, but there is enough respect for the creative process to allow us to explore and take their ideas to the next level.

“We really got to flex our creative muscles on this one,” adds Fisher. “Nicholas Brinley is a dream client in that they are open to collaboration and open to allowing Bottle Rocket Media the gift of creative freedom. We were able to carefully explore multiple concepts until we found the right tone and look. For example, what started out as more of a concert montage and highlight reel, turned a corner when we pushed to make it shorter and high impact.”

Featuring charged crowds of glowstick waving fans, today’s top artists dropping it like it’s hot, and a cameo from DJ Diesel a.k.a Shaq (Yes, THE Shaq), our promotional video for Nicholas Brinley puts the viewer in the center of the action with a heart-pumping soundtrack to match.

Bottle Rocket Media’s Site Redesign | First Look

Website Redesign Launch By Creative Director, Dan Wulfing, Spotlights User-Friendly Experience

Bottle Rocket Media is evolving – fast. New directors, editors, producers, freelancers, and clients mark a video production company with no signs of slowing down. So, why not redesign the website to prove it!?

Creative director, Dan Wulfing, who oversaw the development of the new site, could not be more keen on keeping an online presence that stands out among the rest: “Considering our growth as a Chicago entity, we needed our branding and marketing to match. So, we took a deep breath and dove in to create a much more engaging experience that integrates all areas of the site into one crisp, seamless flow.”

Simple, bold copy and user-friendly tabs and links on every page help visitors get up close with the entire team (newbies included), its clients, and of course, mind-blowing clips from their latest projects:  “The site is easy on the eyes, with a darker, cinematic aesthetic that feels like an escape rather than another cookie-cutter online sales pitch,” adds Wulfing. “We want visitors to stay, watch, have a great experience, and come away with video possibilities they might have never imagined.”

Our website will now showcase its portfolio in sections – PROMOTIONAL, DOCUMENTARY, EXPLAINER, CORPORATE, 360 VIDEO and MOTION – spotlighting the ability to meet the demands of almost any type of business, large or small.

Our newest feature is the CASE STUDIES page. Viewers can see for themselves just how impactful video and/or 360-degree video can be. According to Wulfing, from working with the Chicago Cubs to Dyson and Epsilon (and more), there are tons of success stories to be shared: “The case studies are a true gateway into our world and how we operate. Visitors can better visualize exactly how we approach every challenge, overcome obstacles that are unique to the project, and create beneficial outcomes for our valued clients.”

While Wulfing’s design style takes the site to a whole new level, visually and technically, he has also helped imbue a “virtual vibe” that fits perfectly with the collective personality of Bottle Rocket Media’s staff of professionals: laid back, down to earth, efficient and, most importantly, geekily passionate about video production.

“The bottom line is that we are not just another production house trying to turn a buck—we are real people who want to help share positive messaging through what we love and through the most creative and groundbreaking solutions,” Wulfing concludes. “We can’t wait to sink our teeth into the next project and the new website is designed as a reflection of that. I couldn’t be prouder of the launch, or more excited to share our work with the world.”