The Slicker and The Snake: A Tale From Two Weeks of Texas Production:

Today, we’re happy to welcome Patrick Brennan, Canice Neary, Adam Samara and Josh Witherspoon back to the agency.  For the past two weeks, they’ve been galavanting all over Texas with director Jeff Bednarz, capturing authentic sights and sounds for a series of Wolf Brand Chili commercials.

Production has many uniquely wonderful joys: the discovery of location shooting, the challenge of designing shots on the fly, the plentiful gums and mints on the craft service table.  But best of all are the stories; the hilarious, ridiculous, remarkable stories that crop up any time a team of creative people work together for any length of time.

The following came verbatim via an e-mail from Creative Director Canice Neary last week.  Enjoy, won’t you?

“When Patrick Victor Brennan awoke at 4:45am on Tuesday, May 25, at the Holiday inn Express in Mineral Wells, Texas, he had no idea that this was the day he’d (almost) be a hero.”

Element 79 Chicago Advertising Dennis Ryan
Patrick V. Brennan, Producer/ (almost) Cowhand

We were setting up a shot where the director’s kid was to throw rocks into the Brazos River.  Young Josh Witherspoon was the first to spot a water moccasin, sunning itself on a river rock with a very full belly, right next to the area in which said youngun was to hurl the scalloped stones (being an art director by trade, Josh’s keen eye shouldn’t surprise anyone).

One thing was certain; that snake had to go.

After one of the ranch hands initiated the battle. brave Patrick began looking for boulders that would (almost) put that serpent out of it’s–and our–misery.

One after the other, rocks pelted that poisonous beast.  After about the fifth stone, it appeared the job was complete.  Until the ranch foreman lifted up the largest stone with the biggest walking stick these slickers from Chitown had ever seen.  Jaws agape, the snake prepared for it’s final defense.

Well, lemme tell ya…  They don’t call it ‘the Wild West’ for nuthin’.  With one whack, the moccasin slid into it’s watery grave for good.  And we got the shot.

And that my friends, is the story of how Patrick V. Brennan (almost) killed a water moccasin.”


There really is no greater joy in this business than making stuff.  And when it’s great–when it inspires and surprises and sells, the reward is the opportunity to go back out and make even more stuff.  Here’s hoping those two weeks provide nothing but good things for Wolf Brand as we go to edit.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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