Pathways (Steelcase Inc.)

This is a piece I am still most proud of today for the mere fact that I survived its creation. For those who’ve experienced childbirth, this film was the equivalent of delivering elephant triplets drug free in the middle of the plains during a stampede of screaming zebras.

If you enjoy shaggy dog tales, here’s one for you.

Once upon a turn of the century, an office furniture company planned to introduce its most revolutionary new product at Neocon. Exactly one month before, I was asked to create and produce a product concept film with a couple tiny minor glitches…there was no concept and there were no current product installations. In addition to the glitches there were a couple simple requests. The piece was to be shot on film (you remember…the stuff made of celluloid) and it had to have an original score. In all respect to the client, they left the door to the conference room open throughout the meeting. I was free to run at any time.

What can we shoot? “Buildings,” I said. “And people, lot’s of people.” And so we set out to shoot buildings and people between here and Chicago except that it turned out to be the rainiest spring in recent history and our first trip to the windy er rainy city was a disaster and we had to go back and reshoot. While REshooting in Chicago, I was informed that we had one and only one opportunity to shoot product being installed in GR and that opportunity would be first thing the following morning. So while shooting on the streets of Chicago, I arranged for the entire crew and all gear to move to Grand Rapids that night so we could seize that opportunity the next morning.

But it didn’t end there…

We returned to Grand Rapids for our product shoot which was in a new (aka under construction) building with mud for landscaping in the middle of another torrential rain. We had two generators for lights and the cables had to be fed through that mud up through the windows on the second floor of the pretty new office building…new carpet, new chairs new fabric panels, new, new, new. Good thing we had all those lights since this was a glass building and the sun had been completely snuffed out by the big scary severe thunderstorm clouds that rolled through all day long. The other little issue was the fact that the furniture was being installed as we were shooting because real people were moving in the next day. Thank god for Steelcase installers. They are always a gem to work with and together we came up with a plan of attack that kept the installers on schedule and allowed us to get plenty of great footage. For the record, not a drop of mud or blood was spilled that day.

And so the shoot wrapped, the film was transferred, the edit went off without too many hitches or client revisions, and the music? Well that’s another story for another day.



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