With Spotlab, Group101Spots Has a New Name and a New Format

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Welcome to

Spotlab

, a concentrated program for commercial directors in which each participant will shoot three original spec spots in three months. If the endeavor sounds reminiscent of Group101Spots, it's for good reason: founder Dina Mande and Production Advisor Steven Gould have rebranded the program. "Originally, Group101Spots welcomed mostly brand new directors but we're finding it no longer accurately reflect the level of professionalism of the members," explained Mande. "It's not film school, but it is a laboratory, and it's a place from which directors can launch or transform their careers." According to Gould, concentrating the program is a function of the end goal. "On average, three of the spots would convey a director's style and end up on the reel," he said. "We're really excited to get the program up and running again," said co-founder Campbell-Ewald LA VP/ACD Jeff Nicosia, who has served as the program's Creative Advisor since its inception. "We've had so much interest from promising directors and creatives that we knew it was time to ramp back up." Applicatiions are currently being accepted for the first Spotlab (the deadline is March 25), which gets underway in April. The program will take place in Los Angeles; Mande and Gould are entertaining the possibility of expanding the program to other cities for subsequent labs. Perhaps as well known as the spots it has produced, the Group101Spots Wrap Party had reached epic proportions by the conclusion of the most recent session. "We'll still do a party for Spotlab," Mande said, "but rather than unveil the new spots then, we'll be doing a series of video podcasts during the program to feature the directors, explain their process and get them more exposure throughout." Since Group101Spots was founded in 2003, 70 directors have built showreels, with 43 subsequently signed to production companies, among them rosey (@radical.media), Theodore Melfi (GARTNER), Jeremy Russell (tight), John Osborne (anonymous content), Matt Helfgott (Dektor Film), and David Schulhoff (Tate USA). Mande and Gould founded their own commercial production company,

Subliminal

, not long ago, and just launched

SHADOWCORP

, specializing in new media entertainment. The Subliminal roster includes two Group101 alumni, Mark Lyon and Melanie Mandl. In addition to Group101Spots' impressive track record launching directors, Mande added, "One of the things we're most proud of is that we are not only bringing up the directors, but all the dps, editors, producers, production designers, and other artists who collaborate with them." "We've heard of many people working in the industry getting their first agent, or getting bumped up from assistant editor to staff editor, as a result of the work they've done in this program," Gould recalled.

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