Safehouse director Charlie Watson recently collaborated with visual effects company Ntropic to create a PSA campaign showcasing the vast resources available at the new USA.gov website. From national park memberships to information on space, history, jobs and family, USA.gov is â€œGovernment Made Easy.â€?
The approach centers on relatable stories and an emphasis on humanity rather than function and forms. To this end, Watson directed documentary-style vignettes shot by DP Eric Saarinen with the Canon 5D that show people in a variety of situations from a war veteran seeking help with benefits to small business owners looking for a loan. The language of small cameras â€“ Watsonâ€™s term for the intimacy afforded by the smart phones â€“ was given a cinematic look with Canonâ€™s recent software release allowing for filming in 24p.
Key to the process was Ntropicâ€™s involvement, led by Simon Mowbray, which united the stories with seamless visual transitions. â€œWe were involved in the project in the early planning stages to unite Charlieâ€™s rich visuals with transitions that would connect the stories and enhance the notion that the USA.gov site is a resource for everyone,â€? says Ntropic Creative Director Simon Mowbray. â€œWorking with Charlie is great. He is immensely talented and really understands visual effects so his feedback is specific and always elevates the project.â€?
The project was emblematic of the way Safehouse Pictures and Ntropic often collaborate â€“ approaching projects as one team that is creative, fluid and extremely efficient. This integrated team also includes David inc. editor Jay Herda who worked closely with the Safehouse/Ntropic team and the agency creatives from Campbell-Ewald to deliver a series of versions that would air on various channels and appear online and drive traffic to the content-rich site.
â€œThis project was all about the people, both as a storytelling approach to the campaign and the incredible people involved in its production,â€? says Director Watson. â€œIt was great to work with friends on a project of such importance.â€?
Client: Federal Citizen Information Center
1 x :60, 1 x :30, 1 x :20, 1 x :15, 1 x :10
Advertising Agency: Campbell-Ewald Detroit
Creative Director: Steve Platto
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Simon
Producer: Laura McGowan
Art Director: Brett Warkentien
Copywriter: Patti Breen
Production Company: Safehouse Pictures, LA, CA
Director: Charlie Watson
Executive Producer: Stelio Kitrilakis
DP: Eric Saarinen
Producer: Sean Blair
Editorial Company: David Inc., SF, CA
Editor: Jay Herda
Assistant Editor: Matt Oâ€™Donnell
Executive Producer: Janie Ford
Visual Effects: Ntropic, SF, CA
Simon Mowbray, Lead Inferno Artist
Matt Tremaglio, Inferno Artist
Maya Korenwasser-Bello, Inferno Artist
Dana Townsend, Executive Producer
Kara Holmstrom and Melissa Warhaftig, Producers
Colorist: Marshall Plante
Audio Post: Crescendo Studios!, SF, CA
McKell Smith, Producer
Craig Helmholz, Engineer
Lucas Orion and Jon Shamieh, Assistant Engineers
Audio Post Mixing: Postique, Inc. Southfield, MI
Darin McGowan, Engineer
Esther Nevarez, Assistant Engineer
Music Production Company: Emoto, Los Angeles, CA
Composer/Arranger: Paul Bessenbacher of Opus Orange
Executive Producer: Paul Shultz
Producer: Carrie Lutjen