21 Apr Tongaler of The Month
Tongal who we have to thank for all of our latest work chose to recognize us this month as the Tongaler of the Month. We couldn’t be happier to be a part of such a supportive creative community. Check out our interview with Team Tongal after the jump.
Congratulations to our latest Tongaler of the Month, La Di Da Films! Leah McKissock and Adam Blake Carver teamed up to produce Videos three years ago and have taken Tongal by storm! Here you’ll read about their success with stop-motion, their favorite work and the unique way in which they met!
Izzy Francke: What’s your filmmaking/production background? Did you go to film school?
Leah McKissock: I grew up in Northern California and was always really passionate about art in general. I loved pretty much everything creative, but especially music, films, photography, and dance. In high school, I started getting really hands on with filmmaking and focused a lot on directing music videos and learning how to edit. After that, I studied film at Long Beach State and continued to direct music videos and short films while I was still a student.
Adam Blake Carver: I grew up in San Diego where I was really involved in theatre from an early age. In high school I began directing short films, staging full-length plays, and also worked for a commercial producer. I moved to LA in ’07 and went to Santa Monica College while directing films outside of the curriculum. I later transferred to The New School and studied the business of film, which is how I started producing films for friends when not directing myself.
IF: Cool, it seems like both of you were destined to be in the Arts from a young age! How did you find Tongal?
ABC: I had some close friends who were doing very well with other commercial competitions. After researching those contests I could tell the filmmakers were getting shortchanged and that the budgets and prizes were quite low. Tongal was a breath of fresh air, not only for the budgets, but also because of the organization of the website and clarity behind each brief and client objectives.
IF: Why thank you, we’re very grateful (and flattered!). We’ve noticed a “stop-motion” trend in your work lately, such as It All Started With Coffee for Splenda Sweet Swaps Video Project. What inspired you to work in that medium? Any tips for others just getting started?
ABC: The funny thing is, we started out as beginners with stop-motion. Somehow since last October, we’ve made 21 videos that feature this technique. We’re really narrative people at heart, but both of us had tried stop-motion as teenagers so there was an element of nostalgia in it for us. Lately we’ve also seen a huge trend of stop-motion in commercials so we’re really happy that Tongal has helped us try our hand at that style (over & over again).
LM: The best part about doing stop-motion is the initial joy you feel when you see something that was so time-consuming to create, finally come to life.
ABC: Another fun part is eating all the leftovers.
IF: I bet. If you ever need a hand with those leftovers…feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org! One of my favorites is your Video “Graham Cracker Village” for the Honey Maid Holiday Recipes Video Project. Can you tell us more about the process of making that Video?
LM: Yes, it actually was a lot harder than we expected and we ended up failing pretty badly on our first attempt. I initially used Graham Cracker pieces for the houses that were too large and they all started collapsing on me while we were filming (I guess the frosting couldn’t support the weight). So the next day we tried it again and it became a very mathematical operation. Each house had to be plotted in the right spot, the pieces had to be pre-made, and all the decorative candy was laid out. I was animating it by myself while Adam was shooting each frame, so it ended up taking us 8 hours to shoot a 15 second video, which was crazy!
IF: Wow, that is true dedication! We also admire your live action work. One of our favorites (for which you won $19,000) is Classic Glow for Olay Glow in the Moments That Matter Video Project. What was your favorite part about making this Video? Did you run into any challenges?
LM: Thank you! We had a lot of fun doing that Project. Our favorite part was shooting the singing performance that ended up getting cut from the final version. It was our fault though because we went a little overboard with that shoot … we had some really talented musician friends write an original song and our lead actress sang on the track. The scene just looked so cool and I really wanted to make the Video about how this woman glowed when she sang on stage, but at the end of the day the Project still turned out great without this footage. We’re really proud of how many setups we pulled off and Adam found those incredible locations including the rooftop location for the end, which I love.
IF: It’s a beautiful Video. What’s your favorite work you’ve done for Tongal?
LM: Definitely our Montejo spot we did recently.
ABC: I love our Tide spot (fingers crossed that you’ll see it soon).
IF: Can’t wait! What would be your dream Project on Tongal?
IF: I’d love to see your work for any of those Sponsors – we’ll have to get on them to work with Tongal! What are your daily must-reads?
LM: NPR and the trending articles on Facebook
IF: Tell us a fun fact or surprising hobby about yourselves.
LM: We met at a Hanukkah party.
ABC: We’ve been dating as long as we’ve been in business together. Our first Project together was Leah’s short film Crazy Like Me, which we produced three years ago.
IF: Mazel tov! Do you have any advice for other Tongalers?
LM: I’d say, only go after the Projects that you really want and take a lot of time with your Pitches. We‘ve also had good results from changing the idea in our Pitches because sometimes the Ideas aren’t developed enough for on-screen execution. I say get as creative as you can and be passionate about the Projects you’re pitching on.
ABC: If the Project calls for it, put extra money into your work. You’ll probably showcase this work longer than most of the clients will, so make sure you’re producing something that you’ll want in your reel for years.
IF: What’s next for you, on Tongal or otherwise?
We’d love to continue finding work on Tongal, but in the meantime we’re trying to buckle down on a feature-length film we’ve been developing for awhile.
Thanks so much for chatting with us. Team Tongal is so glad we got to know more about La Di Da Film’s creative process and work…we can’t wait to see your next Tongal Project!