Lexus "Find Your Moment"
AGENCY / golin & zooppa
PRODUCTION CO / downtown reel
DIRECTOR / mike medoway
STUDIO PRODUCER & SOUND SUPERVISOR / hamed hokamzadeh
MUSIC COMPOSITION / grant cornish
SOUND DESIGN & MIX / thomas ouziel
SFX EDITOR / sean evans
We had a working relationship with Mike already, he has an eye for effective storytelling and a focused ear: he's a hybrid documentary/commercial storyteller. Our varied experience in narrative film, corporate, branded and traditional commercials helped with these spots because they're in a category all on their own. Since they're not quite branded content, and not quite commercial either, it offered a lot of leeway to go in any direction sonically. As always, we focused on the story and theme first, crafting the sound and music to fit that through-line.
Chris Staples (former Harlem Globtrotter and professional dunker) was the subject of the piece. We found that his experience and Lexus' brief both expressed the idea of artistic freedom and pushing your limits. We wanted to find a way to combine music and sound so they weren't playing their typical distinct roles, thus pushing the limits sonically. Engine sounds could be roars, dunking sounds could be tires on asphalt, crowd cheers could be the ambiance of a car revving inside a tunnel, fire could be the sound of water. It wasn't about realism.. or cars: it was about capturing the feeling of that split second when you're totally in the moment, pushing the limit of your art. Finding that moment.
We brought Chris to the studio to get an authentic narration. Nothing was pre-written because it was important to have him tell us how he feels about dunking in his own words. We treated it like an interview, asking careful questions to conjure an emotional response suitable for the tone of the piece, careful to never over-impose or crossover into traditional voice-over territory.
The spot was cut using a temp score for rhythm and pacing, Grant then started coming up with different instrument palates to show Mike. After several sessions we landed on an artsy, driving piano piece that could be seamlessly molded together with the other musical and sound design and effects.
The goal of the music was to help guide the story and create an arc throughout, since the other elements were so abstract. It was crucial to create moments of tension followed by moments of quick release; this balance, once blended with the sound design, defined the soundscape for the spot. A good example of this is at 0:28 when we decided to bring the music to a halt while the ball was floating in the air... time standing still. We then kick back in with even greater momentum as the pacing in the edit picks up towards the climactic end with beating drums. Initially there was resolution on the Lexus logo, a satisfying ending, but in keeping with the theme of the piece we decided to end on a non-resolution chord to musically represent the feeling of this itch we all have to pursue our passion and to keep pushing the boundaries.
From the sound design side, we discussed with our sound editor Sean how we could texturize the beautiful, compelling visuals they had shot. Sean used sounds that felt light yet forceful, to emphasize one of the core themes: the juxtaposition and synergy of 'power' and 'elegance'. It was also important that the quick-cutting edits flowed from one to the next in a way that was dynamic and seamless.
We then moved to the mix, where Thomas took everything and made it a singular voice. At the final mix session, Grant was ready to spit out any music changes on the spot. The mix itself was very detailed, making sure the energy of the piece was visceral and sustained, and the ebb and flow between sfx and music was dynamic and engaging, while never letting style trump the substance of the story Mike had crafted. It was a fun session, and it led to a piece everyone was really happy with.
We molded the piece into a shape none of us could have imagined: a higher level of collaboration made because the story always comes first in our eyes.
Source Creative: "Creativity Drives Us In New Lexus Film"
Little Black Book: "Creativity Drives Us In Gravity-defying Spot For Lexus"
2019 Telly's - Sound Design - Gold
2019 Telly's - Original Music - Silver
2019 Young Director's Award - Nomination