The SAIL Monolith

May 28, 2014 by  Top Drawer Creative

There: YYZ to DFW to EZE to AEP to BRC. Back: BRC to AEP to EZE to JFK to YYZ.

From March 30th – April 6th, we sent a team back to Bariloche, Argentina to shoot another installment of “Sasquatch” (aka Karl) for SAIL, Eastern Canada’s largest network of camping, hunting, fishing and outdoors stores (with Ontario locations that are among the largest stores in their category in the country).

The vision for the commercial was to create the prequel that would show how “Karl” was first introduced to SAIL and our brand mentor.

Choosing Argentina again was based on one: spring never came to North America! And two: Bariloche’s excellent logistical bonuses. It has fantastic scenery (much location scouting had been done during the first shoot, so there was a comfortable familiarity); a wonderful, talented crew of Argentinians that had been absolute treasures to work with; excellent local food & wine (you can not overlook the importance of healthy sustenance on long and very stressful shoots); and the perfect weather (well almost). Of course the distance between Toronto and Bariloche can’t be shrugged off, but hands down, everyone involved was aware of the price to be paid, 26 hours of traveling for a once (or twice) in a lifetime work experience.

BEST LAID PLANS… No shoot ever goes as planned and there are always lessons to be learned. On this shoot, our lesson was a cultural one: we were made aware that Malvinas Day, celebrated on April 2nd, is a public holiday. This was not an issue until the weather took a turn for the worse and moved our shoot day – the only possible shoot day – to the day right after. This meant that we were unable to receive all the lighting, dolly and extra gear that were being shipped in from Buenos Aires. A decision needed to be made: shoot sans gear in the sun or con gear in the rain. But we work with pros and in the end, you make do because that’s part of the creative process; you figure out how to achieve the exact results, the same exceptional quality that you sold the client on without the tools you need. It sounds impossible, but after 50+ collective wisdom years we knew it was all going to be okay, in the most excellent of ways.

On the other hand, when we did over plan, it worked in our favour. The monolith, the key prop, was a must-have, a non-negotiable; therefore, we had one crafted in a Toronto studio and another made in a Bariloche atelier. The Toronto monolith was difficult to transport and, once we were in Argentina, the very last airline wouldn’t let it on board. It had to come the next day on another flight and would arrive on set half way through our new, sunny shoot day. Not one bead of sweat was seen as the crew confidently continued their long journey, knowing there was a second monolith on hand. Fingers crossed it was as perfect as the one we left behind.

In this narrative, Karl sees the monolith in the forest. He goes up to it, tries to figure it out, timidly reaches out his ‘squash-hand to get a sense of what the thing is and he is zapped by the monolith’s energy. He is mentally transported to the store by our brand mentor and has an out of body experience inside a SAIL store.

“It is such a creative relief to have taken Karl on this prequel,” says Brian Gahan, Chief Creative Officer/Sasquatch Commercial Director. “It opens us up now to unlimited story options for future commercials and ties the narrative together. We can’t thank SAIL enough for such magical collaboration. The intensity to create meaningful, smart and joyous stories for Karl is a true privilege for all of us at Top Drawer Creative.”


 Read more about our Sasquatch here.

Our Instagram Man

May 27, 2014 by  Top Drawer Creative

The digital revolution changed photography forever. No more film (unless you really want it) and no more waiting to see what you captured. Makes us a bit sad and a bit glad, but that’s how the shutter snaps.

Enter the smartphone and the genre of creative image capturing. Never before have we been able to capture a moment on a whim and fancy, without plan and without foreseen opportunity. Couple that with Instagram, and its filters and frames, and you’ve got yourself the makings of some fine little gems.

Image capturing is becoming an art form. It is spontaneous and fascinating for the image capturer and viewer alike. There are endless opportunities to capture an image that can’t be planned. Small and big, fleeting and fixed, it doesn’t really matter. Image capturers can develop a style all their own based on what they choose to capture and how they partner it with a filter or frame.

For those of you that use Instagram and follow strangers, friends or family, I’m sure there are some that stand out more than others. We have a few Instagrammers on our team, but one stands out more than most.

Introducing our Instagram Man: Chris Abbott, aka @doubledouble75

As an Art Director, he is an expert on the finer details of colour and composition, of style and unique approach. This expertise shines through in his image capturing. Chris is one of those quiet contemplative types, an observer and a quiet doer. When his images pop up on Instagram they are the culmination of his personality and expertise. See for yourself and enjoy… and see what you can capture on the way to work.

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!BIENVENUE Véro!Tell it like it is. Word.