Like working the field during the Rolling Stones Super Bowl XL halftime show, filming inside Nelson Mandela’s jail cell, or kicking it with Leo Messi… but Project Evergreen potentially takes the gold.
Imagine getting a call from one of the most distinguished natural science, geography and educational society in modern history and they say, “We need some gorgeous footage from around the world, are you guys in?!”
Long story short, our friends in the Integrated / Branded & Ad Sales group commissioned us to produce & deliver a massive custom stock film library, code name “Evergreen”.
Before the scope of work was defined, as we usually do, there were numerous ideation conversations about how to best maximize the resources allocated with their team’s needs (and potential new needs / opportunities). We consulted with them heavily about several approaches that would give them an “Evergreen” library of footage to use for current & future projects, and creatively give them something fresh to add all new brand value.
When the pre-pro dust settled, the plan was massively ambitious. NG’s team had established a big wish list of scenes that would be useful and have broad application for various editorial needs. There were some specific requirements, both creatively & technically, but after locking down the scene needs we were left to prep & execute the plan solely on our own time & schedule. This was a dream, as we were not limited to timelines, locations, deliverables or any traditional production constraint! “We’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand.” That dream became a reality! (And for the record, NZ has the most diverse landscape options in the world, all slammed into a tiny little 100,000 square miles). With principle photography primarily in New Zealand and also pickups in Scotland, New York, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mojave, Grand Canyon, Utah, Chicago & across other West/East Coast locations, this was a google maps extravaganza!
The traveling filmmaker road show really forced us to get stingy & strategic about moving gear, setup time, feasibility of pulling off high-end National Geographic quality, and using only what we could carry. We developed unique camera builds & technical support systems. We pushed the limit of how many scenes / setups we could bag in a given day, or in a multiple day road trip.
No timeline, no major constraints = higher production value & more deliverables. During the course of the film catalog’s acquisition (over 6 months) we had several other productions that provided travel to some of the other hit list locations; we stayed additional days (piggy backing off of travel / production resources) to shoot additional scenes / content for Evergreen. The project received un-charted amount of extra investment & attention. All for the love of the game.
We didn’t know it at the time, but this project transformed our company’s DNA. It defined the way we plan & produce low footprint, high value documentary film. It helped us work smarter and more efficiently on larger, more comfortable projects. It started to build us into a more versatile content studio, not just a sole proprietor director’s production company.
National Geographic trusted us 100% to plan, produce & execute everything on our own. Because they know we have developed a keen process of diving in deeper to their needs, understanding their perspective and asking, “What would we do if we were in their shoes? Well… instead of endless expensive work for hire, a custom library would cover so many holes..” We weren’t just thinking about how many production days we could book, and how much money there was to make. They know our intent to continually over deliver & create a thriving, more-than-a-one-off project partnership. They know us.