SXSW 2016

For the last three years Workhouse has been attending SXSW and working with brands to create inspiring films around their activations. The films have elevated brands presence and engaged their global audiences through social media releases. Last year we made our mark creating a series of micro-films following two of the bands McDonald’s sponsored at SXSW. This year we had the opportunity to work with Mazda one of the Super Sponsors of SXSW to create a series of 6 different films revolving around Mazda’s incredible activations, artists, Mazda owners and amazingly diverse talented group of attendees.

“SXSW is hands down one of the best festivals to be inspired, learn about emerging innovations and network with peers across all creative industries. This year was one of my favorite years yet. I made more connections, went to more events, and attended more interesting and inspiring panels than I have in the past. Some of my favorite panels revolved around the uses of Snapchat and VR in advertising. Both also happened to be the hottest topics this year atSXSW and happen to be new avenues we are developing for our clients. 10 days at any festival is exhausting but I can say I came back with a fresh perspective on emerging tech and more energized and excited to be a part of such a crazy ever changing industry.” — Eli Martin

“SXSW was a whirlwind of energy, people, music, interactive, networking, where my business cards ran out, where new films inspired my creativity, and where I felt like there was never enough time in the day, which is always a good feeling to have.” — Keith Rivers

Even though SXSW just ended, we are already excited for next years festival and all the amazing things to come.

With time comes wisdom, and after three years of experience at SXSW, we booked ahead to make sure we had an amazing home-base out of beautiful Clarksville that we outfitted with not one, not two, but three mobile edit suites, turning it into our production hub while in Austin. Check it out and all the other BTS photos from our trip by clicking here.

Check out the amazing content we created for Mazda below:

Announcing Our Seattle HQ

We are excited to officially announce the opening of our new two-story headquarters that we designed to redefine the traditional ad agency model, merging creative and production all under one roof. The renovation follows our rapid growth over the past few years and is a strategic plan to expand and enhance all our services into the global market.

Our renovated 8,200 square foot space is located in the heart of  Seattle’s Central District. It features the work of local artists, including a hand painted mural by Ten Hundred Art, which rests on the back wall of the office’s basketball court; Plank & Grain designed, reclaimed wooden tables for collaborative work sessions; and Ben Zamora, Seattle’s acclaimed lighting architect, designed the celestial fluorescent light sculpture hanging above the staircase. Eli Martin, Managing Director of Workhouse Creative, and Seattle firm, Shed Architects, led the overall design of the space.

Click here to see more photos of our headquarters on Facebook

We have outfitted the first floor of the space as a state-of-the-art post-production facility, including 8 VFX workstations with 3D capabilities, 3 edit suites, superior color and sound suites, as well as a monstrous server encased in glass monogramed with its nickname, Megatron. Additionally, the first floor includes a comfortable, homelike living room complete with a full, contemporary kitchen, bunk bed room, and even a boxing area.

Our main floor is designed to be a collaborative space, featuring high ceilings, natural light from surrounding windows, and an open floor plan that includes a ping-pong game room.

Formerly Seattle’s historic St. George hotel, the building was particularly noted as an important part of the Central Area’s music scene in the 1930’s, where community musicians gathered in the basement, which served as a speakeasy during prohibition.

Stylistic aspects of the space were designed with inspiration from our work on Microsoft’s Surface 1 announcement video, as well as other well-designed modern workspaces, including Red Bull and Google offices.

We built a space that brings people together and reflects our values as creators, and fosters a collaborative culture.

Check out all the news sites that have picked up the story of our launch:

Yahoo – Workhouse Creative Opens State-of-the-Art Headquarters in Seattle

Unlocking the Truth

These kids quite literally rock. #TBT to when we partnered with McDonalds and the sensational teenage (yes, teenage) heavy metal band, Unlocking the Truth for their set at last year’s SxSW. We had a blast making this video and we hope to work with these talented 14 and 15-year-olds again soon!

If This Is It

For four years Russell Wilson has worn our colors. For four years, he has led our team and maintained his humility. As one of the greatest quarterbacks the game has ever seen hangs up his cleats to retire, Wilson says “thanks.” From Seattle to Denver. From our legend to yours. Player to player, fan to fan. If this is it…it’s with love.

Russell Wilson’s letter to Peyton Manning in The Player’s Tribune.
“If This Is It”

written by Russell Wilson
directed by Keith Rivers
narrated by John Koenig

Batman v. Superman?

Batman and Superman put down their fists and embrace for a kiss in the new Coheed and Cambria music video, directed by Workhouse’s Anderson Wright.

Ahead of the release of Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, the music video for “Island” debuted today, and breathes life into a popular fan fiction theory in which the two superheros become romantically involved.

The video follows Batman, a member of the costumed characters clan that roams New York City’s Times Square, attempting to coax tourists into taking pictures with them for money. Nearby, Superman is offered $20 if he stages a fight with the knock-off Batman. The two throw fake punches and kicks, and even share an intimate hug while passerbys snap pics. The fight ends and Superman takes off, leaving Batman lonely for his costumed rival.

Batman continues to eat his microwave French fries and strike poses in Times Square while undergoing what seems to be an extensive existential crisis. As he sits, bathed in the artificial light of Times Square while the rain pours off his plastic mask, he notices a territorial dispute between two animal characters and Superman.

Batman swoops in and rescues his distressed superhero crush and the two embrace for a kiss, while onlookers record the moment that superhero fans around the world have waited for.

The video has already been picked up by Out, People, Instinct and NewNowNext.

Checkout the new video, here.

Introducing Fernando Lazzari

Lazzari is a man of many talents. From design, to animation, to typography, to film, Lazzari has a gift for melding 3D graphics and typography with stunning live action landscapes to create not just a film, but a robust and mesmerizing experience for his audience. Workhouse is stoked to announce that Lazzari has joined our growing roster of gifted directors for commercial representation in the U.S.

Lazzari hails from Buenos Aires, where he studied graphic design and cultivated his motion graphics skills before moving to Miami to shoot live action spots for MTV. He then moved to London to study film and work independently on motion design and music videos. Now a seasoned veteran with more than 10 years of directing experience, Lazzari has established himself by creating work ranging from logo animations and idents to longer, experimental videos in which he seamlessly integrates his technical skills with his knack for creative shooting. “I love seeing the different elements, live-action shots, CGI and sound, come together as a unit,” said Lazzari. Lazzari has produced work for clients such as Discovery, FOX and National Geographic. “For me, the biggest reward is watching the final spot after having it just in your head for a long time.”

While Lazzari is based out of London, he is excited to “do new things in the U.S. together with the great guys at Workhouse.” Well, we couldn’t be happier to have him. Some of his favorite pieces include: “The Slow Knife,” a music video for Reid Willis that is a perfect example of his unmatched ability to combine design work with live action shooting; “Discovery Street Magic,” which is a mesmerizing and incredibly intricate 3D logo animation for The Discovery Channel; and “Montserrat,” a tribute piece to both a typeface and the Montserrat neighborhood in Buenos Aires, which blurs the lines between natural and artificial. Check them out, here.

Make Your People Happy

A word to the wise: if you want to make (most) people happy, buy them pretzels.

I enjoy most types of pretzels (the soft ones that are honestly kind of crappy, and the honey mustard-coated ones), but in many cases, I don’t like them. They can be chalky and tasteless, have too little salt, and are often straight up garbage. I’m the girl who picks them out of Chex Mix; they distract from the real, quality stuff in the bag.

In my time at Workhouse, I’ve been very intentional about the variety of snacks I bring in for the people. I believe it’s one of the more important tasks that’s peppered among other production responsibilities that I hash away at on a daily basis. Snacks are important for any good office environment. It’s a social thing, really. We stand around and talk about our hopes and dreams while eating too small, poorly pre-portioned snack bags of Sunchips or Goldfish, or maybe an apple here and there when we’re trying to be “health-conscious.” We revel at the presence of a new keg and rejoice when the Costco truck rolls up to the loading zone on 14th Avenue. I’ve learned people’s tastes (some really covet cheese, others prefer a wide selection of beverages), but in 100% of situations, the pretzels disappear immediately (I really am actually not kidding). This genuinely surprised me. How can one snack food inspire such hunger and happiness at the same time?*

This discussion has become cumbersome and drawn out too long, it’s a topic that shouldn’t be meddled with much further. Thus, I’ll spare you and reiterate that you really, really should order your people peanut butter filled pretzels. I have watched this snack food light up my colleague’s faces with joy. Perhaps more joy than a full keg of craft beer. But that’s okay. If peanut butter filled pretzels inspire creativity, then they are certainly living up to something: delivering a punch of salt with a nice jolt of sweet. The perfect combination for anyone who can’t bear another second of compositing or editing or RFP-writing or whatever until they’ve had a snack.

This is my last blog post and day at Workhouse Creative. Not sure if the next stop along the road will have peanut butter filled pretzels. Bring your people the good stuff and they’ll be happy. Until next time.

-Rachel Liuzzi

 

*It’s probably the salt.

On Family

The final short film in our series on love, friendship, and family is by our Vancouver-based directing duo Salazar. In “Family,” Jeff and Nathan explore this essential part of life through a genuine and honest lens. We’re really excited to share this piece, which is now a Vimeo Staff Pick. Watch and read about the first two pieces here: “Tangents” by Matty Brown and “The Quiet Man” by Keith Rivers.

FAMILY by SALAZAR

SALAZAR ON FAMILY

Editor – What is your definition of family?

Salazar – Family is a fluid concept, and is defined by each person’s own experience. They are relationships in your life that in challenging times, instead of falling apart, deepen, gain strength and momentum.

E – How does your piece evoke your definition of family?

S – With this piece we really wanted to look at the different ways people come to define family for themselves and the events in their lives that brought them together. How they transcended the more challenging times of their lives and how these times have deepened their commitment to each other.

E – Can you elaborate on your directing style and how it shaped this piece?

S – We really love finding amazing stories and have developed whole processes around ways to find them. Our approach to interviewing our subjects is very conversational and natural. We stay away from structured call and response (Q&A) type of interviews and try to just connect with people and see what comes out of it. Instead of insisting they give us a certain answer to fulfill our script expectations they usually take us to a place of authenticity thats even better than what we had hoped for.

E – Will you share some thoughts on how family is present during the holiday season?

S – Our thoughts on the holidays? No comment 😉 (don’t let your crazy uncle’s conservative politics get you down, haha).

CREDITS
Written and Directed by SALAZAR
Production Company – Workhouse Creative
Cinematographer – Liam Mitchell
Editor – Jason C. Myers
Casting – Kris Woznesensky & Kara Eide Casting
Original Score – Edo Van Breemen
1st AC – Mikael Bidard
Production Sound, Mix, and Design – Eugenio Battaglia

On Friendship

Second in our new series of short films about love, friendship and family is a piece from our very own Keith Rivers. Next week we’ll release the last film in this special collection. Watch and read about the first film, Matty Brown’s take on love “Tangents,” here.

THE QUIET MAN by KEITH RIVERS

KEITH ON FRIENDSHIP

Editor – What is your definition of friendship?

Keith Rivers – Friendship is a mutual connection that unknowingly reaps happiness. Don, Nancy, and Vicki’s friendship healed the grieving loss of a loved one, brought back wonderful memories, and gave them a new-found purpose to laugh.

E – How does your piece evoke your definition of friendship, and can you elaborate on your directing style and how it informed telling this story?

KR – To be honest, I don’t believe I forced any deliberate vision into this piece until I reached the edit room. I like to approach a shoot very curious and uninhibited, keep things very relaxed, conversations agreeable, and bring in a sense of comfort and openness to the interview.

During movie night, I unintentionally found a parallelism that would mend these three friends together in an honest light. When I witnessed them watching a scene from The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, she kisses him and then closes the door, which felt like a last goodbye. Watching Don out of the corner of my eye, he seemed to resemble John Wayne, heroic yet human, and vulnerable. I think Don wants to mirror John Wayne’s courage against Maureen O’Hara who metaphorically represents Nancy, a whimsical soul that will eventually leave him. This scene communicated the grief and abandonment he feels, which I think is a beautiful and bittersweet part of life.

E – Will you share some thoughts on how friendship is present during the holiday season?

KR – The holidays are full of joy, love, family, and friendship, and because of that, it can feel very lonely if you’ve lost what you know is true. Friendship comes in the most unforeseen ways, from people you’d never think would make an impact in your life. For Don, 231Vicki sparked an unexpected friendship that he used to cope.

CREDITS
Director: Keith Rivers
Production Company: Workhouse Creative, Inc.
Producer: Lindsay Martin
Editor: Sean Kusanagi
Cinematographer: Antonio Cisneros
Composer: Reid Willis

On Love, Friendship & Family

At Workhouse we like to think that three things make the world go ’round: love, friendship, and family. In light of the holiday season, a time when many of us are surrounded by all of these things, we asked some of our directors to reflect on what they mean to them.  We revel in the beauty, laughter, and fun these essential parts of life bring forward with abundance, but it’s important to acknowledge that the road isn’t always easy and is often very complicated. Our directors have all brilliantly used story to explore some of the ways they resonate, both wonderful and complicated, in all of us.

This holiday season, we’re excited to turn to these simple things. They’re the rocks that keep us centered, the memories that help us persevere, and the people we turn to in times of need. Matty Brown, Keith Rivers, and Salazar have each shared their perspectives on love, friendship, and family, which we’ll in turn share with you over the next three weeks We hope you enjoy the way their films illuminate these parts of life.

We’ll start off with Matty Brown’s take on love, which is now a Vimeo Staff Pick:

TANGENTS by MATTY BROWN

MATTY ON LOVE

Editor – What is your definition of love?

Matty Brown – Love is like a roller coaster to me. It’s an intense, thrilling, unpredictable ride of life we are strapped down to, with somebody to share the ups and downs with. Even if the roller coaster makes them sick, goes through darkness, and flips them in all directions, they hold onto that thrill and want it to never stop.

– How does your piece evoke your definition of love?

MB – My film metaphorically, and literally, shows the roller coaster of love as it begins to spin out of control when we get lost in a married couple’s minds battling out who’s right and what’s what. We spiral down into the resentments, the exaggerated thoughts of each other and flip from one tangent to the next much like a roller coaster throwing us around with sudden jolts and chaos.

– Can you elaborate on your directing style and how it informed your piece?

MB – I have a naturally frenetic directing style that is perfect for going into the fragmented memories of a person’s mind. The movement, a quicker and quicker pace that builds and builds, and we get claustrophobic; the shots become more experimental to make it feel surreal and disjointed. I wanted to slow my jarring, fast-paced style a bit to focus on the narrative mad intimacy of Becky and Charlie a bit more. It was a nice challenge to tone it down a bit and let their energy lead the way.

– Thoughts on love and the holidays?

MB – For the holidays, I feel like the best thing you can do is GIVE. The best way to show love is by giving your energy, your affection, and your time to others that miss that connection of feeling from others. My goal every holiday season is to be generous in every way I can to others, and look for the ones who need that warmth the most.

CREDITS
Written, Directed, and Edited by Matty Brown
Production Company: Workhouse Creative
Producer: Lindsay Martin
Cinematographer: Ed David
Original Music: Reid Willis
Production Designer: Darcey Zoller

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