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Mothership Director Nathan Love’s Whimsical Trip Inside Santa’s Beard for Oregon Lottery


Nathan Love

of production company


has ventured where few directors have dared gone — inside the depths of Santa’s beard! In a :30 spot promoting Oregon Lottery’s holiday scratch-off game “What’s In Santa’s Beard?â€? Portland agency Borders Perrin Norrander (BPN) tapped Mothership’s Nathan Love to create an animated world filled with kooky holiday characters and the potential winnings from playing the lottery game. “Beard Worldâ€? breaks today, Nov. 1st. To view the spot, visit:

BPN approached Mothership and Nathan Love with an open creative brief and script outlining the characters and action one would encounter inside Santa’s infamous beard. This open door gave Nathan Love director Anca Risca and her production team free reign to design the environments and characters to their fancy.

“Borders Perrin Norrander was incredible to work with — the agency shares the same sense of irreverence as Nathan Love, so we were a perfect match right from the start,â€? said Risca. “BPN gave us a lot of trust and was completely open to our interpretation of the creative and design – no matter how ‘out-there’ it was. Mothership provided fantastic creative support up until delivery. Everyone shared the same communication goals, allowing my team and I to push the spot to really fun and unexpected places.â€?

Set to a whimsical holiday track, the commercial swoops inside Santa’s beard to reveal a snowman in his kitchen, the sink running syrup from a candy cane wall. Next up, a pine tree decorates a man with ornaments, a walrus flosses his tusks, and French hens in red high heels gossip over wine in a hair nest café. The spot closes with a cameo of local Oregon legend D.B. Cooper, who in the early ‘70s infamously stole a suitcase of cash and parachuted out of a commercial Boeing 727, never to be seen again (the Oregon Lottery spot posits where he’s been hiding all along!)

The all-CG spot is rich in detail, with a handcrafted feel and stop-motion-style animation. Risca and her team imagined Santa’s beard as a clay-sculpted world inhabited by characters carved from wood and environments imbued with the look of miniatures. The one continuous camera move, which was inspired by Nathan Love Executive Creative Director Joe Burrascano’s recent trip to Disneyworld, plays out like an amusement park ride as it takes the viewer through the different “rooms� inside the beard.

To execute the concept, the team cut storyboards while character designs were being refined, starting with a timed :30 2D animatic, then moving into a more detailed 3D previs during which time they also placed all the beard hairs into the various environments and finalized camera motion. The seamless camera move was split into six different shots, which were edited together concurrent to the compositing phase. Once animation was finished, lighting, rendering and compositing continued until the final look was achieved. A core Nathan Love group of about 10 was tasked with the project, with an additional 20 extra hands coming on board during production. The project began in August and delivered in October.

Nathan Love also produced the audio for the spot, working again with sound designer and composer Drew Skinner. Together they have handled their clients’ audio needs for almost all of their previous work including the Pop Secret and Baskin Robbins campaign, and also their horror short, Blood Trail.

“Anca’s incredible design sensibility and awesome sense of humor were the perfect fit for this spot,â€? shared Burrascano, who was creative director on the project. “Everybody loved working with her. Besides giving our clients a very unique and beautiful commercial, she made the entire process a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Added Borders Perrin Norrander Producer Scott Fox, “The work that went into this spot far exceeded everyone’s expectations. Nathan Love blew us away from the onset of this project.�

About Nathan Love

Break out the crayons and beer, because Nathan Love is ready to play! This world-class animation studio is known for creating memorable characters, detailed worlds and engaging narratives, making it a party and inviting your whole crew. Driven by a passion for storytelling, their creative, technical and production capabilities are constantly evolving. Equally at home creating sensational 2D and 3D animation, the studio’s talents span all aspects of project creation and production. They are creators of commercial campaigns, original films, super-fun web content, video game projects, merchandise and more. Besides their extraordinary craftsmanship Nathan Love is also fun and inviting to work with, enjoying daily collaborations with leading creatives, live-action and CGI directors, sound designers, composers, web developers and other artists. So next time you’re dreaming-up a project, drop your briefcase and join the fun at

, or call +1.212.925.7111.

About Mothership

Mothership creates transmedia advertising, branded content, and entertainment. The creative studio represents top global creative talent—directors, designers, fine artists, animators, individuals and boutiques, who blend live action and computer graphics to create new visual realities. Founded as a sister company to

Digital Domain

, Mothership has access to the resources and expertise of a large, established studio. Mothership talent taps into these resources to develop the content, strategies and campaigns that take ideas from concept through completion, to roll out brand experiences across multiple media platforms.

Production Credits

Client: Oregon Lottery
Title: :30 “Beard World”
Airdate: Nov. 1, 2010

Agency: Borders Perrin Norrander / Portland, OR
Creative Director: Terry Schneider
Senior Copywriter: Rob Rosenthal
Producer: Scott Fox
Account Supervisor: Loralee Stapleton

Production Company: Nathan Love/Mothership
Director: Anca Risca
Creative Director: Joe Burrascano
Executive Producer: Mike Harry
Producer: Derrick Huang
Character Designer: Jessica Namnum, Morgan Schweitzer
Additional Designers: Sigmund Lamberto, Lizzie Nichols
Lead CG Artist: Javier Leon
Storyboards: Mario Menjivar, Sigmund Lamberto
Animatic: Kael Cabral
Animation Lead: Ryan Moran
3D Animator: David Han
Rigging Lead: Frank Naranjo
Additional Rigging: Atia Quadri
Lighting and Rendering Lead: Joji Tsuruga
Additional Lighting and Rendering: Isaiah Palmer, Jon Lee
Compositing TD: Joji Tsuruga
Compositing: Anca Risca, Herculano Fernandes, Isaiah Palmer
Texturing Lead: Javier Leon
Additional Texturing: Triston Huang, Roland Womack
Pipeline Lead: Stephen Mackenzie
Pipeline TDs: Mikael Spade, Joji Tsuruga
Character Modeling Lead: Mary Ibosh
Additional Character Modeling: Javier Leon
Prop Modeling Lead: Javier Leon
Modeling: Omar Sarmiento del Barrio, Arsen Arzumanyan, Jeff Lee, Bryan Eck,
Roland Womack
After Effects: Kristjan Zaklynsky

Sound Designer: Drew Skinner
Music Composer: Drew Skinner
Voice-Over Talent: Dennis Samatulski

Sound: Digital One / Portland Oregon
Sound Mixer: Chip Sloan
Voice-Over Talent: Mike Matheson In Both Ears