A Studio Day…

Element 79, Chicago Advertising, Dennis RyanSo we’re spending the next two days shooting at Chicago’s Essanay Studios for Cricket, our wireless client.  Back in the day–and by ‘back in the day’ I mean from 1907 to 1913–Essanay was a silent film studio that produced shorts and features for stars like Ben Turpin, Wallace Beery and Gloria Swanson.  Oh, and a little tramp named Charlie Chaplin.

Eventually, the studio wised up and moved to the sunnier climes of California but for a while at least, Chicago housed a major motion picture studio.

Our aim today is far simpler; to make branded retail ads.  Taking our cue from my favorite Chaplin quote– “All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl”–we’re hoping all we need to make engaging ads is a stage, some talent, and a Red camera.

We’ll see…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


Harris Bank, The Chicago Blackhawks and the Joys of Postseason Production

Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks come down to Chicago to kick-off the Western Conference semi-finals at the United Center.  Last year, the Blackhawks took this same series in six.

The timing couldn’t be better for Harris Bank, which has been a long-standing supporter of both the Hawks and the Bulls.  A couple of months back, hopeful that they would be making just this kind of running for Lord Stanley’s cup, we produced two Blackhawks themed ads for Harris’ “We’re Here to Help” campaign.  The Blackhawks did their part by winning the Central Division crown—their first division title in seventeen years.

Spots like this are a joy to make–you have a local location shoot in the main branch, you have the civic pride angle,  and you have a chance to produce something particularly timely.  It wasn’t a big budget, but it didn’t have to be: the Blackhawks promised us two players and we’d work with whomever they sent over.  Projects like these present a simple, honest challenge; as Charlie Chaplin wrote in his autobiography, “All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.”  Replace ‘park’ with ‘bank lobby,’ ‘policeman’ with ‘teller’ and ‘pretty girl’ with ‘bruising two way defenceman’ and that pretty much summed up the challenge for art director Lih Min Yuan, writer John Barry and producer Ali Dolan.  Working with the incredibly capable teams over at Resolution Digital Studios, they shot during business hours, juggling the constraints necessitated by bank security and NHL players closing out their regular season schedule.

Here’s hoping everything work out as well for Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and company as it did for us.  Go Hawks!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79