Wingstop. The name alone conjures up images in my mind of Mango Habanero chicken wings. So, when called upon to produce a Valentines Day spot for WingStop, I was fired up. What I found was a brand that wasn’t afraid to challenge themselves, think differently and had no fear in being quirky.
There were a couple of takeaways from our first meeting. One – they wanted us to produce a spot with a drone delivering wings. “You do that? That’s awesome!” I asked. Actually, they don’t do that. But they did have their own drone and it looks really cool. Two –they like funny. This will be for social media (no TV), so funny and memorable is important. Three – short deadline.
But here is where the challenges really began. Challenge one: The project called for two actors. The client informed me that two people from their corporate office who would be the actors. “Bad idea,” I said. Funny is hard to pull off. Challenge two: we would shoot with a two person crew and only four hours to shoot. Challenge three: the final project called for a shot in a house. Surely, someone knows someone who will let us film in their house. We didn’t find our location until two days before the shoot.
I felt at ease about two things on shoot day. I had a really experienced Director of Photography, DHD’s Jose Medina, and a really experienced drone photographer, Payne Wingate.
At 9:00 AM on a partly cloudy day in Frisco we set up our first shot. Very simple. Drone taking off from the Wingstop. It had to be simple, because we were meeting the actors at a different location in one hour. By 9:20 we were set up. By 9:40 we were done. By 9:55 we were at the next location. Right on schedule.
At 10:00 AM the two actors – Maggie Garcia and Daniel Franey – walked onto our set. My biggest fear was that they wouldn’t look like a real couple. They looked great together. To be honest, there is a look and feel to funny. Maggie had the PERFECT look and most amazing personality. I knew this was going to be good. Daniel, meanwhile, was really fun and game for anything. From 9:00 AM to 12:59 PM we breezed through the shoot.
On the way back to the office, Jose told me the footage was ready. I watched the video of Maggie and Daniel and I absolutely was rolling. Crowds started gathering around my desk. They were also rolling. There is something about laughter that is contagious. Our team laughed at every joke, every sight gag. Now I felt really good.
You would think that if all the individual shots are funny then editing the entire video would be simple. Not true. Jokes have to develop and breathe. Peter Johnson did a really nice job putting the piece together. One of his challenges was making text bubbles on screen appear to match the finger pace of our actor fake texting.
I look at a video production as being similar to kicking a field goal in football. You need a good snap, good hold, good blocking and a good kick. Producing content is about execution as well. The snap is the idea. The hold is producing. The blocking is the photography. The kick is editing. All in all, this video definitely scored the extra point.