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The Whole Story’s David Orr Directs a Bowl Full of Jellies

New spot produced and post produced by The Whole Story promotes a new exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium.

LOS ANGELES, CA—It’s not easy directing talent that has no bones, no blood and no brains. But the results can be magical.
At least that’s true if you’re director David Orr and the one-stop production house

The Whole Story

who recently created a commercial for Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and its new temporary exhibit on the mysterious world of jellyfish. The disarmingly minimalist spot for


reveals the puffy, translucent sea creatures, styled in bright, iridescent hues, floating elegantly in space. Simple graphics invite viewers to “encounter their mysteries.�
“I wanted to communicate a sense of wonder and fascination,� says Orr. “I wanted people to really see how fantastic these creatures are.�

Orr and The Whole Story produced the spot in conjunction with the Shedd’s in-house creative team. Orr shot the jellyfish in a tank at the aquarium, working with a team of aquarists who encouraged the tiny animals (some not much bigger than a contact lens) to hit their marks.
“Because they are transparent, they are tricky to shoot,� explains Orr. “We shot most of them against black and inverted it during post production.�
Great care had to be taken to ensure the animals were properly handled while encouraging them to move. “Fluctuations in water temperature can affect them in various ways, and each type of jellyfish has a specific water temperature that it prefers,� Orr notes. “There is a limit to how much you can manipulate them. In the end, the creature is going to do what it’s going to do – the trick is to anticipate their behavior and determine what ‘encouragement’ is going to get you the shot.�
In post production, Orr worked with The Whole Story editor Brian Clark and visual effects artist Chris Ryan to design all the transitions and animations, then make the jellyfish look and move the way he wanted them to. In some cases, they used still frames to lay out their movement sequentially.

“We wanted everything to feel effortless,� Orr says. “We wanted all of the action and movement to originate with the jellyfish so that it all appears natural.�
The Whole Story is represented is represented on the East Coast by Laura Zinn (212) 741-0909; in the Midwest by Dawn Ratcliffe 312-491-9194, in the Southeast by Miller Associates, (954) 563-6004; in the Southwest by Gossip!, (214) 288-2813 and on the West Coast by Kelley Class, (310) 823-9808.




Client: Shedd Aquarium.
Agency: Shedd Aquarium (in-house). Andy Park, Artistic Director; Tynnetta Qaiyim, Exhibit Director; Elizabeth Nelson. Director of Graphic Design; Kara Kotwas, Senior Graphic Designer; Amanda Enser, Licensing Manager; Zoe Hagburg, Erika Lawrence and Malissa Bruno, Aquarists.
Production and Post: The Whole Story, Chicago. Mark Androw, executive producer; David Orr, director; Brian Clark, editor; Chris Ryan, visual effects artist and compositor.