Hello, we hope this newsletter finds you healthy and safe during these tumultuous times.
You probably don’t need any reminder that we’re living through an unprecedented moment in modern history. The coronavirus crisis is, of course, bigger than advertising or any brand. But that doesn’t mean brands, creatives, and production studios aren’t also dealing with significant challenges.
At Hornet, we’ve done our best to manage the situation responsibly and proactively. Over the last few weeks, we’ve felt humbled by our team’s adaptability and ability to work remotely. And we’ve felt fortunate that our production capabilities haven’t been as badly affected as they could have been. With social distancing measures in place across the globe, most advertising film shoots have been put on hold for the foreseeable future. But animation has always inherently eliminated the need for large groups to congregate and oversee production.
Animation has been in our company DNA for the last 20 years, and now, more than ever, we believe in its power to tell great stories. Here are some examples of the type of work we can do.
From versatile character designs to quick & quirky ways to spread a message, 2D animation has always been an amazing way to communicate with an audience. With its illustrative, sometimes hand-drawn quality, 2D animation often imbues a certain warmth and humanity into the artwork, which is a great tool for storytelling. In terms of production, it also plays nicely with live action scripts, so for brands pivoting from live action to animation, 2D makes a lot of sense.
CG animation is known for its wide range of visual flexibility. Through the use of computer software and 3D modeling, CG artwork can be hyper-realistic and detailed one minute and outlandish and surreal the next. It’s great for immersive world-building and for emotive storytelling. Our ongoing work with Kroger and McDonald’s are great examples of how we’ve continued to deliver CG work for our clients even with our teams now dispersed.
But what about live action and mixed media—mediums that require shooting? This is where having directors in our roster lineup with access to their own home studios makes a big difference. Over the years, two of our directors, in particular, have steadily and steadfastly outfitted their studio setups with tools to tackle small and medium-sized projects on their own.
London-based director Kyle Bean—a mixed media maestro & paper-craft extraordinaire—has stockpiled his studio with a robust inventory of materials and resources, which have allowed him to deliver conceptual and tactile imagery for a variety of creative projects. From conception to fabrication all the way through to the final photographed image, he’s able to do everything from the safety of his own home.
NYC-based artist and filmmaker Andrew Myers has turned his Brooklyn home studio into a work-playground hybrid for artful live action. Within this space, he’s created a large body of work over the years—from an award-winning experimental short film to vintage frames for Vogue at the Met Gala. And he's done it all himself: from printing to scanning, building to sculpting, styling to final photography and film.
When news first broke that working from home might become the new normal for many organizations, we were swift to enact extra precautions to ensure a safe & productive WFH environment for our team. We moved our production capabilities into a fully remote pipeline, and to date we have a dozen active projects, managed by a team of 6 core staff producers and 60 production artists offsite. We’re also happy to report that all of our team is currently safe and healthy.
Culturally and logistically, we’ve been keeping in touch with a suite of software technology (Slack, BlueJeans, Zoom, cineSync, Google Hangouts) as well as through the lost art of good old fashioned phone calls. And on Fridays, we have virtual happy hours where the entire team gets together on a huge video call to engage in a laughter-filled Battle Royale over whose turn it is to talk.
Our goal at this time is to continue to tell great stories; to keep our team busy and moving forward; and to service the needs of our existing and potential clients. We’re not suggesting things are “business as usual” right now. They’re not. And there’s no playbook for managing any of this. But we are here keeping our doors open to our clients and partners, because we believe doing so is a small, but critical, step toward maintaining collective equilibrium.
If you need anything at all—consultation, collaboration, commiseration, ANYTHING—please do not hesitate to reach out.