Take a look at our latest and greatest work.
We’d love to see your next project in our reel as well. Give us a shout! We’d love to connect!
Take a look at our latest and greatest work.
We’d love to see your next project in our reel as well. Give us a shout! We’d love to connect!
Sometimes, clients just tell you to “Cut loose.” That’s the kind of relationship we have with Lokey’s Body Shop, a locally owned and family operated auto-body shop in Amarillo, TX. Their trust in us as well as our understanding of their target market and DMA really helped to allow this project to thrive.
“Fierce and Forceful” is what you get when you take the wild elements of the Texas Panhandle, the drive and work ethic of Lokey’s Body Shop, and give award-winning Director, Matthew Rojas, a blank canvas.
How much do you think about a body shop until you have to go to one? Maybe not a ton, but once you need something, the only thing you care about is that it gets done and get’s done well, on time, and within budget. That’s what Lokey’s Body Shop brings to the table; The work ethic, the know-how, and of course, the same built-for-anything mentality that Amarillo is so accustomed to.
Read the Q & A with Director, Matthew Rojas below and browse the BTS Photos! And if you need work? Just shoot us a contact form! We’d love to work with you!
Q: What was your inspiration behind the creative on this piece? Why did you go in this particular direction with this commercial?
MR: Up to this point I was making commercials that were more narrative driven stories, which is fun and challenging, but this time I wanted to make a Ad. There’s a difference between a commercial and an ad, a commercials sells a product but an ad sells an emotion, a feeling, an experience in and of itself.
This meant creating something that was fast, lean, mean and sexy. (Visually speaking)
As a student of Fincher, Glazer and R. Scott I wanted to add a mixture of texture using earthly elements and mix in some VFX to add to the kinetic energy of the piece.
Q: We take pride in doing great work for clients that might not necessarily be the biggest named brands. As someone who’s worked for national brands and local ones alike, what are your thoughts on being able to do national looking work in a place like Amarillo?
MR: Regional Brands, National Brands. At the end of the day, good work is good work. My perspective is no matter how big or smaller the project is I’m going to do my absolute best to create something I’m proud of and that the client is happy with.
I believe that if you’re a good steward over the little projects, when it’s time to do the big spots, you will be more prepared and set up for success. I often refer to the scripture Matthew 25:23
Q: Could you speak to your creative process? What all does it take to pull off a project like “Fierce and Forceful?
MR: With the success last year’s commercial spot (with the same client) and the support of Lemieux Company, the sky was the limit as far as concept goes.
We had less than 2 production days to get this thing done. So over planning and over communicating with my team was key. Everything had to have intention and it started with the script.
From there I created a very detailed shot list. The shots derived from the edit that I already created in my head. I am definitely a director that shoots for the edit. Anything else that we get outside of the shot list is icing on the cake.
A great crew is also absolutely crucial to the success of any project. Working with John Carrington as the Director of Photography, the Speed Patrol team for our car footage, and the rest of the team made it very easy to show up, turn the camera on each day and just get some amazing footage.
Need work done? We’d be happy to oblige! Giant brand or local mom-and-pop shot, we’re equipped to do it all! Fill out the contact for or shoot us a note, we’d love a shot at your next video!
“Amarillo by Morning.” That’s probably the most recognizable line about this big-little city on the plains of West Texas. Frankly, to many people across the country, that’s all they know about the place. Amarillo is just a stop on the way to “someplace better.”
But if you live here. If you’ve taken the time to see what this city has to offer, experience the community and opportunity and fruits of its toil, then you know that Amarillo is so much more than a stat on a news cast or a line in a song by Mr. Strait. There’s what others think of Amarillo and then there’s what we know about home. That was the genesis for the creative on this project.
In late August, local business leader Alex Fairly approached us with an idea. He wanted a piece that inspired those abroad and here at home to see Amarillo for what it really is. Not some dot on the map, not just this place with some cows and some oil and crops and a couple hundred thousand people; but rather the lynchpin of the American Midwest.
“I Am Amarillo” was born out of the desire to showcase the grit, tenacity, and character of our home on the High Plains.
So we got to work, and it had to happen quickly. If you care to know the details, get ready for quite the read as we line it all out below.
Given the charge from Alex to quite literally “Inspire Amarillo,” the idea presented itself in various ways in the beginning. “Amarillo is More” was one, “We’re More” was another. Both of these concepts floated around, both born out of this initial thought that Amarillo needed to request recognition for who it was. But those early ideas died quickly.
I’ve lived in the Texas Panhandle for the better part of my entire life, we’re humble folk. We’re taught not to brag. Just do your work, do it well, and to move right along. But I’ve also worked in Advertising long enough to know that if you don’t tell your story, someone else sure will.
Amarillo has had enough outside people try to tell our story. It’s time Amarillo spoke for itself.
And there it was. Amarillo needed to set the record straight. Amarillo needed to speak for itself, and speak directly to the audience. So we created a project where Amarillo did just that.
We partnered with local poet Seth Wieck to craft the words. The direction was pretty straightforward. “It needs to kick like a mule. It needs to be gritty and poetic. This copy needs to come from a place of great pride and self-recognition. As if Amarillo is finally voicing what it knows about itself.
What came from that call was a poem packed with passion and metaphors. Lines like “Lights burn from the wind that I breathe” and “On your commute to work you drink my gasoline” both nodding toward our energy industries. “When the breakfast bell rings and your belly growls, your plate is not empty.” A reference to our abundant agricultural markets. “When the sun rose, I saw America’s waves of grain filling my cathedrals of bounty.” – I mean, come on. It’s beautiful.
With the words locked in, we wanted to make sure we had a voice that matched the passion. Bringing in long time collaborator, Rob Ricotta, was essential for this project. An award winning vocal artist, Rob was able to give us the same grit and “what for” that underlined the words in our script. There’s a growl there, an authoritative tone that brought the words to life. His cadence and rhythm, almost as if we’re marching to the beat of our own drum, brought a unique sound to the words written with Seth that felt distinctly Amarillo in this project.
Having the tone of the piece verbally sorted out, we moved on toward what we visually wanted to accomplish. We focused on what visual elements we felt represented the words of the script the best. The metaphorical nature of the copy lent itself to strong visual representation.
We wanted to showcase the vastness of West Texas. Amarillo’s wide open nature and “bigness” was important to communicate visually. This piece had to move quickly to allude to progress and this march toward an even greater future. We made a point to wink at even some of the more common things we face as Amarilloans like the wind or the dust. All of it is intentional so as to give the viewer a true sense of who/what Amarillo is. As you watch the piece, you’ll notice a lot of wide-angles, quick moves, fast paced edits. All of it tells a story. Amarillo is showcasing some of the best parts of itself. This isn’t a love letter, it’s a “bull in a ballet.”
And then came the pre-production. This project was shot across 21 different locations containing approximately 36 different set ups, all shot in five days during one hot week in early September. To be able to make that happen, it’s imperative to have a killer key production team. You cannot pull off production at any scale at a high level if you don’t have the right leaders in place to help move the project forward. The amount of attention to detail, casting, location scouting, light plotting, direction, etc. that all took place before the lens cap ever came off was pivotal to the success of this project.
This was pre-produced in a week, which in and of itself is a testament to the community of Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. The cooperation from so many different locations and production partners like Boys Ranch, Owens Corning, The Globe News Center, BSA Hospital, Red River Steakhouse, Reiter Trucking, Hodgetown and so many more connections was the only way this could have been accomplished in such a short timeframe.
Having all the pre-production in the can and a strong plan in place, we set off to (finally) shoot this monster. This job took us on a tour across Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle that felt in the best way as if it were never ending. Concert halls and factory floors, open highways and country roads, inside of glass jars (we’re not kidding) and right next to the only skyscrapers West Texas knows. We shot on a helicopter runway and in a rodeo arena. We hit home runs (almost) in Hodgetown, and tiptoed around a sleeping baby as we set up a scene in his parents’ living room. We went everywhere the project led us.
The production ended on a Friday evening with a cowboy named Sticky riding three bulls to the whistle back to back to back. Just an hour before we’d put some fake blood on his face and had him wipe it off six times. A ballerina twirled under a spotlight while we used high powered leaf blowers to create a dust storm around her. We had three 18ks on cranes overlooking the arena, a medical team on standby (provided by the fine folks at Boys Ranch), and an army of a crew that had spent most of the day before setting the place up. It was a movie set. That’s what it felt like.
It was Amarillo.
Post production came with a quickness and with as much intention as the words, the shots, or the voice over. There were several versions of the piece that eventually met the cutting room floor. Cut this, tweak that, make the VO louder here, bring the music down there. All of it to get it to a point to where it is now.
The music that drove the piece needed to be intense, fast moving, but reprise at the end so as to close it out and give the viewer a sense of quiet pride after a whirlwind of energy and motion. The sound design and color processes also required a tremendous amount of detail and focus. Manufacturing and blending the noises to give another layer of depth and life to the production, pulling out the perfect color to make Amarillo feel cinematic and beautiful. No stone was left unturned in making this piece worthy of its tribute to our home town.
And to the Lemieux Company team, that’s what it is. Because of Alex Fairly’s vision to create something truly inspiring about Amarillo, we were able to make a piece that I feel we’ll hang our hats on for a long time.
After we’d shot everything, after all the dust had settled, after the piece had been finalized and was ready to show, I couldn’t help but think about all the work that went into it. All the cool footage we grabbed. Sticky, the 18 wheeler and motorcycle, my sons and daughters, the half eaten steak and glass of tea, or ol’ Johnny Gaines, that forever super stud from Clarendon, Texas who hit dinger after dinger in a Sod Poodle uniform. It was all phenomenal. The most ambitious work of LC’s existence. But what I think distinctly stands out. The one shot that represents Amarillo – to me – more than anything, is that ballerina on the rodeo ground.
Amarillo is beauty where so many would have told you it couldn’t exist. It’s Emily Wallace spinning on that piece of plywood at the fairground. It’s a 19 year old kid with dreams of being a bull rider, it’s a young family and single momma. It’s the cook at your favorite restaurant. It’s the heroes working in the hospitals and in public service. It’s those that haul cattle and refine oil. It’s a cellist and those that get up and go to work every single day. Amarillo is home. And the folks here are damn proud of it.
Do you want to tell a story, or build content that separates yourself from your competition? Give us a holler! We’d be happy to work with you.
In West Texas, one thing can be certain. Cattle is King. It drives the economy, it provides jobs to so many around this area, but most importantly; our little corner of the world is responsible for countless meals.
Quite frankly, if you’ve eaten a steak, hamburger, had some cheese, drank a glass of milk, sat on leather seats in your car… odds are that the Panhandle of Texas had something to do with it.
Enter our friends at Caviness Beef Packers. Last February, CBP approached us with news of a lofty goal; to roughly double their workforce over the next year and change.
One more clear piece of the puzzle needed to be added, however. What’s the banner flag we wave to consolidate our messaging? What’s the mission that future and current employees can get behind?
“Feeding the Word.” was that piece.
There’s a firm mission across the agricultural industry as a whole to meet the needs of an ever growing world population. The fact of the matter is, by 2050, the human population of our planet will be 9.8 billion. In order to serve that demand, Caviness has always had a consistent mission to efficiently and sustainably process beef products to feed – the – world.
That mindset informed every step of our process on the production side of this project.
We needed to show scale. We needed to show scope. We needed to show the family environment. We needed showcase the true diversity in the Caviness workforce. We needed to ensure potential employees that working at Caviness didn’t just ensure that their families were fed, but that they were a part of a mission to feed families all over the world.
We worked with local Amarillo (and Texas Panhandle) advocate Jason Boyett to help create interview questions that would guide this story. His unique perspective and overall view of this region really helped to tap into authentic answers from the Caviness team.
Our strategy in interviewing subjects was simple. We wanted to interview as many members of this company from the top down. From the owners, to the workers on the floor, we were able to cover a wide range of perspectives when it comes to the CBP operation.
It was also important to bring in experts in economic development. Any time an approximate increase of 600 jobs comes to an area, waves will be made. We wanted to thoroughly communicate that what Caviness is doing with recruiting is no small feat.
It was important to convey this sense of “it’s time to go to work” on this project. The video need to move quickly, and we had only 1 day to gather b-roll. We used two cameras to capture various operations across the Caviness complex. Director of Photography, JP Summers was instrumental in game planning best practices with regard to capturing all footage important to executing Director Wilson Lemieux’s vision. His team of Blake Cartrite on B-cam, Jake Colletta on Steady Cam and Kyler Kuykendall as 1st assistant camera were flawless in making sure no stone was left unturned.
Our Grip and Electric team was top notch. Led by Richard Porter, we were able to accomplish so much more from a logistics standpoint because of his willingness to “do the hard thing.” Getting a Fisher 10 and 18 feet of track through a continuously operating processing pant isn’t an easy task. He and David Hammer were truly the hands and feet of this project on the capturing end.
The interviews were lit by Mike Calcote, one of the best filmmakers in our area. It truly helped to place the viewer into the thick of the conversation. The challenges with capturing audio in a busy facility won’t go without mention, either. Tanyon Allison did a great job of getting us clear takes to put into the edit.
Bella Barnett was also key in making sure all of our surrounding environments looked up to snuff.
Assistant Director and Editor Matthew Rojas was instrumental in keeping the show moving. His laser focus and ability to pivot on the shoot days was vital to the success of this project. His edit helped to take the project to a completely different level.
The stills were captured by Gunnar Widowski. His ability to tell stories in a single image was also important to this campaign. Outside of the single video, we provided Caviness with photos across their entire facility. Those photos can be seen across their marketing presence as well as the main production.
Special thanks to Bradford Nyght for creating the custom score. The track was intended to compound the feeling of “mission” and “vision” across this project. His keen ear also helped to create a sense of urgency throughout the film.
Editing and post was spearheaded by Matthew Rojas. Bringing Brad in to do audio mix and master along with music as well as John Carrington for color is an important reason this video looks and feels the way it does.
Take a look at all the BTS photos to get a window into our workflow. Need work? Send us a contact form. Better Content and Better Stories is what we’re here to help create.
There are some projects that come around that are just different than others. There’s just
something about them. Something special you can see and believe in when it comes to the
client, to their product or offering, to their mission or vision. ThinkUp! was one of those projects.
When Jennifer, VP of Marketing & Brand Strategy at Mentoring Minds, approached us with this project, the challenge was clear. Communicate what ThinkUp! provides, make it engaging, and also
“This was an ambitious project for Mentoring Minds. We’d worked with LC in the past, but never on something of this scale. But this project—how to show critical thinking in action—had been on my mind for a while. When I called Wilson to talk to him about it, I knew right away that he could take my vision and transform it into something real and tangible. [The Lemieux Company] team worked with us from start to finish.”
– Jennifer Hoitsma, VP of Marketing & Brand Strategy.
“Yes ma’am!” we said with hearts full and brains buzzing. We were off to the races.
We were given a month from that first meeting to completely create the concept, clearly communicate it, get it approved, lay the groundwork in pre-production, book the talent, find the location, build the sets and get this sucker shot. So let’s start at the beginning.
Mentoring Minds is a national K-12 publisher. They’re leaders in their industry, true trendsetters and at their very core—champions of a market that truly serves students and teachers in schools across the United States. ThinkUp! is a curriculum that helps students build critical thinking skills and connect math, science, and English Language Arts to the real world. It also unpacks and explains all the standards and gives teachers access to proven instructional strategies for planning content-driven lessons, differentiating instruction, and creating thinking-centered classrooms.
So how do we tap into that? So often we’ve found that all the information you need is right in front of you.
What was so impressive about [the LC team] was how they took a great concept and made it even better through each step. We were so pleased with how LC understood our story and brought it to life in both a meaningful and creative way. We also experienced how their attention to detail in both the big and little things provided the depth and authenticity we needed in this project.
—Christopher Perry, Creative Director
Mentoring Minds’ tagline is “Critical Thinking for Life!” Core to Mentoring Minds and the ThinkUp! product line are the 9 Traits of Critical Thinking. By incorporating these research- based nine traits – adapt, examine, create, communicate, collaborate, reflect, strive, link and inquire – into the classroom, educators can guide students towards more successful thinking and learning outcomes.
We knew the students were ultimately the heroes of this story and we knew that the teachers needed to be the guide. So, the idea that was ultimately pitched and accepted was to create a world featuring two students and a teacher. Using the nine 9 separate traits of critical thinking, these three main characters could change an everyday classroom into a fantasy world that fosters sound education.
Exploring the worlds of Science, Math, and English Language Arts led us down the path of a science lab and black holes, a library turning into a jungle, featuring all manner of dinosaurs, and finally, a math class with a recreation of the Empire State building. As film nerds we also wanted to loosely tie these scenes to movies we love and grew up loving.
The space scene was inspired by Interstellar, the jungle/dinosaur scene was influenced by Jurassic Park, and the building scene leaned on our love of Good Will Hunting. “Your girl here is wicked smart.”
“It was never a thought to make ThinkUp! seem as though it was a product not available to all schools or students. The decision to take out extras, to make the fantasy worlds so whimsical and charming by using animation and theatre-like practicals for production design, to put the focus on the students and teacher rather than just the product itself… all of those decisions were made intentionally so as to have teachers see themselves in our teacher. To have them see their students in the students on screen. The entire concept was to display ThinkUp! as the extra step, the extra tool in the tool box that could turn any school room into a stage for critical thinking.”
– Wilson Lemieux, Director/Executive Producer.
In the weeks leading up to production, it was important to both the client and us that our instructor come across as a young, hip Ms. Frizzle. Tapping into the nostalgia of Mentoring Minds’ audience as well as showing someone who was relatable was paramount to the success of the project. Enter Venessa Pierre Pierre, an up-and-coming star who is undoubtedly destined for greatness.
That sounds silly at first glance but finding child actors who are well trained and can still provide an authentic performance is no easy task. Emori Raja and Sophie Proctor were the perfect fit for the project. They showed up ready to roll every morning and were able to pivot when needed.
This entire brand film and supporting campaign was shot over the course of three days at a private school in Tyler, Texas around mid-November. School had not let out yet, either, so it was crucial to plan around and not to interrupt students learning on a day to day basis that week. It took precise planning and tons of communication back and forth with location to make it all happen.
It is important to note as we wrap this lengthy blog up that none of this is possible without great people and great culture. Mentoring Minds has a long track record of being incredibly fun to work with and for, so we knew that would be a given. What was the most exciting about this shoot, given its baked in difficulties and long hours, was how much fun the crew had together. That’s something we take great pride in. Creating a great deliverable is one thing, but having fun doing it in stressful conditions for close to 36 hours? That’s a challenge in its own right.
[Lemieux Company] was an incredibly talented and experienced crew for this project. Despite the long hours and logistical challenges that came with filming during school hours, it was an absolute joy to work with every single member of the team. My team at Mentoring Minds learned a great deal just from being on set and watching them work. The creative energy on set was palpable.
All of that to present ThinkUp! Our most ambitious project to date. We’ve been sitting on it since January and it’s so great to see it out in the wild. The relationship we’ve had with Mentoring Minds over the years has been one we’re very proud of, so to take the next step in the evolution of our company with our friends in Tyler, Texas has been a gigantic opportunity that we were happy to be stewards of.
When I saw the rough cuts of the videos, I was astounded. And when I saw the final outcome? It exceeded my expectations.
– Jennifer Hoitsma
Take a look at the BTS photos and video while you’re here!
Want to turn a hallway into a jungle or a science lab into outer space?
Okay that’s fine, there are plenty of other things we’re happy to tackle with you. Drop us a line through our contact form or give me, Wilson Lemieux, a call at 806-502-8383. We’re dying to do something fun like this again.