Production Designer for HGTV Commercial

While visiting LA in May, I jumped on board as Production Designer for HGTV's (Home and Garden Television) summer commercial campaign Directed by Mike Goubeaux.  The project was co-produced by the Dandy Dwarves (my hubby's company!) and LA motion graphics company Roger.  Josh (my hubby) produced the live action shoot and Roger added the motion graphics in post production.  We created HGTV's whole summer broadcast campaign, which consists of six :15 ID spots (seen below) and one :30 commercial spot (seen above).

As Production Designer, I had four days to find, pick out, obtain, and put together essentially EVERYTHING you see in this commercial - from the plants and grass, to the picnic set-up including the food, to the clothing worn by the actors, etc....all the little details down to the salt that rimmed the margarita glasses.  Basically, everything but the actors themselves.  It was a crazy sleepless week, but it was a blast and the end product looks great!  Watch for this commercial and the other six 15 second spots throughout the summer on HGTV!

Initially, I only put the 30 second spot in this post, but decided to add this video with the six 15 second spots combined because I remembered that one of them uses *sparklers*!  I thought it would be a bright way of saying Happy 4th of July!

Hope you all take some time to be with friends and family to celebrate our independence!

Christine Hall Photography

christine_hall_wedding_photos { all photos above from my wedding taken by Christine Hall }

A huge thanks to the amazing photographer, Christine Hall, for your ever so flattering and thoughtful blog post!  I had the pleasure of meeting Chrissy when she photographed our wedding.  She is such a fun spirit and insanely talented photographer!  I always love when inspiration is reciprocal between artists!  I got to visit with her in May in her new studio space in Savannah.  If you are in the market for a photographer to shoot a wedding or portrait of your family, please check out her work:

the following excerpt is from Christine Hall's blog:

"Amy Lind

Wow, it is amazing how just her visiting and talking to her at the studio it put me into this creative frenzy. I hit lulls now and again and think so much about the business now a days that when I feel that creative side in me stirring inside I feel like I did in college,  free, fun, and endless ideas that I knew were possible and trusting my instinct instead of what is safe or popular. If you are searching for a great painted portrait look no further then Amy Lind, I can ‘t wait to get mine, and ps we make a very good team with her painting from some of my portraits. Her website is fabulous amazing beautiful inside and out."

I'm back!

After traveling all around the US for nearly the past six months, my hubby and I have finally settled into a new home in Los Angeles!  Among other things, our travels mainly consisted of adventures with family and friends....we made it to numerous (BEAUTIFUL!) weddings as well as the birth of our new (ADORABLE!) niece!  It has certainly been a fruitful time both personally and job-wise and has filled us up with many good memories.  Thanks to all who made it so special. Now that I am back in my "official" studio space, I am gearing up for a show in November.

Details to follow soon...

Quick Life Drawing

life_draw_scad{blurry photo of} charcoal on paper, 24" x 18" - 1 hour drawing from life

While in Savannah for a wedding, I visited my friend's Life Drawing class at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). Ben Ward is a dear friend and fellow SCAD alumni who now works as a professor in the foundations department. In addition to boring his class with my work, I got to draw with the students. I was stuck with the only available spot/easel, but luckily I really like the gesture and nice S curve/figure 8 composition of the model's pose from my viewpoint.

Coraline in 3D

coraline_sets_faces Last Thursday, Josh and I were invited to the Chicago premiere of "Coraline" in 3D. It was spectacular! Following the movie we attended a cocktail party hosted by Laika, the production company that created the movie, and Liz Laine Reps, who represents Laika. It was wonderful to meet Liz and her partners, and Laika brought a special treat - the beautifully crafted "barbie-sized" characters and sets used to create the stop-motion masterpiece. There was also a looping behind the scenes video showing things such as a woman knitting the miniature sweater that Coraline was incredible to see!

Apparently, the "Jonas Brothers: the 3D Concert Experience" will be kicking "Coraline" out of many theaters soon, so make sure to see it before it's gone! It's quite wonderful to see on the big screen.

Betty Crocker

Being married to a film producer means many different things, but one of them is that I get to be very hands on for many of the unique projects that his company produces. Last month, I more or less nominated myself to be the costume designer for a viral commercial the Dandy Dwarves were hired to do for Betty Crocker. Christian Simmons, the director, came up with the concept, and I got to indulge myself in the construction of massive baked goods costumes -- with the help of Renaissance man, Andrew Cook, and Derek Hansen as well as my hubby and a million other hands as we scurried to finish the last ones on set. The costumes are based on concept drawings by the amazing illustartor Britt Spencer. He did the pencil drawings and I digitally colored them on a computer in the hotel at Sundance. Did I mention that we began the construction of these goodies in our hotel room at Sundance? We then transported the beginnings of our cupcake, brownie, and slice of cake back to San Francisco. The cupcake was strapped to the top of the cover on the bed of Andrew's truck, where it was the only thing left to the elements....the rain between Nevada and San Francisco completely demolished our poor cupcake. I re-constructed a new one with the assistance of Derek only to have that one fly off the back of Andrew's truck along the highway on our way to the first day of shooting. Fortunately, we were able to salvage it as we had no time to reconstruct one (especially the silver wrapper that I meticulously created the night before). Needless to say it seemed that we were cursed, but we somehow managed to complete all of the costumes in the knick of time.

Well I hope you enjoy this lovely Valentine's Day treat from Betty Crocker (and the dandy dwarves). If I am ever falling behind in my painting production, it's most likely because I have the opportunity to create other things such as this! Until I was 21, I spent my creative energy making all sorts of things with my hands that didn't involve paint. It's such a nice breath of fresh to air to get dirty and use tools. And who doesn't love the stressful challenge of creating giant props in a few days. Who needs sleep anyway? Well, it was all worth it when we saw how cute the kids looked in them.

I'm still having trouble figuring out how on earth to embed a video into my blog posts...nothing seems to be working. So, simply click on the image or the underlined text, "Sweet Talk" to view this one minute, thirty second video. making_of_cup_cake A few of you have asked how the costumes were made and what materials they are made out of. I have attached this image to give you a glimpse into the making of the cupcake and the cake. (Sorry for the crappy iphone quality photos). I wish I had taken many more photos documenting the process for each of the costumes, but it was so crazy I'm surprised I even took any.

The basic structure of the costumes was constructed out of lightweight yet strong and easily manipulated cardboard. Then, we used a plethora of other materials such as foam (big sheets of white styrofoam and pink drywall insulation foam), liquid latex, crystal clear, spray paint, fabric, vinyl, soft craft foam (like the type that an eggshell mattress pad is made of).

CAKE - I found a giant roll of white vinyl that contained the perfect matte/sheen and texture for fondant icing on the cake. It was also a time saving material as we could just cut and glue it instead of having to paint, etc. (and it was easy to clean off if it got dirty). The chocolate cake sections were made out of white styrofoam sheets that we carved texture into and painted brown. The hearts and flowers on the cake were made out of thin, colored, soft foam sheets that you can buy at a craft store; I simply cut shapes and hot glued the pieces together to form each of those elements. In order to hide the seam where the top of the cake meets the round edge, I found a perfect large scale rick-rack pink ribbon.

CUPCAKE - The initial structure was made out of cardboard. I glued 1" soft craft foam around the top to create the muffin cake top. Added suspenders to hold it up on the kids. I found rolls of silver wrapping paper, which I glued to a cheap brown packing paper to add durability. I put two long pieces together to form a large square, which I then cut into a circle. I placed the cardboard structure in the center and painstakingly created creases all the way around until the wrapper was complete! Andrew glued styrofoam sheets together and sanded down the shape of the frosting to fit on top of the cupcake. He added spackle to smooth it out. It was then painted and sprayed with crystal clear for the final sheen. Derek cut, sanded, and painted thin dowel rods for the sprinkles.

BROWNIE - I first built a large 36" square box with a few holes cut out. Then Andrew pulled and cut pieces out of soft 1" craft foam to create a crumbly brownie texture, which we glued to the sides of the box. Derek and I glued extra pieces on the top middle and bottom outer edges to create the effect that the brownie was slightly sagging down on either side. I used batting, liquid latex, and thick satin fabric to create the top layer of the brownie. Andrew made the whipped cream dollup in the same fashion as he made the cupcake frosting and the cookie.

Lots of hot glue and many burned finger tips later, we had a handful of delicious costumes!

'Too Delicious'

Crash the Super Bowl The Dandy Dwarves teamed up with fellow SCAD alumni, director Mike Goubeaux, to create a 30 second Doritos commercial that has placed in the top 5 of the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" contest.  Voting took place during January and now Josh, Mike, and Andrew anxiously await the results in Tampa.  They will be alongside the other finalists in a skybox at the Super Bowl tomorrow as they wait to see whose commercials air.  Doritos has purchased two thirty second time slots in the first quarter for both the winning commercial and the runner up!  In the event that one of those commercials ranks number one on USA Today's Ad Meter, Doritos will award the commercial's creator(s) a million dollar bonus!!  It's exciting to think about this possibility - however far reaching it may be - but the true reward for these guys who are trying to make a name for themselves and break into the Advertisting world is, of course, for their commercial to air during the  most coveted time slot - the Super Bowl.  They've already achieved their goal of being chosen by the Doritos judges as one of the five finalists.  However, it would be pretty amazing to see their commercial air during the big game!  So keep your eyes peeled for their "Too Delicious" spot with the Doritos tree.  You can watch it here:

Doritos treeGood luck boys!

FOLLOW UP:  Congratulations to the brothers from Indiana who won a million dollars for their "Free Doritos" commercial that ranked #1 on the USA Today Ad Meter!  There's still good news for the Dandy Dwarves and Mike Goubeaux -- Doritos announced that they loved all five finalists commercials so much that they have decided to air all five throughout 2009.  Look for their "Too Delicious" Doritos tree commercial on MTV, MTV2, VH-1, BET, FX, E!, and Spike TV!

Dancing in the Sun

Pencil Face img_7319_red



I must ask your forgiveness right now in advance for the next several posts that I intend to write because they are all basically bragging about my wonderful husband, Josh, and his budding video production company, the Dandy Dwarves.  The Dandy Dwarves have been busy creating amazing work for several years now, but recently they have been a part of some VERY exciting events!  Last week, I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband and cinematographer/visual effects artist Andrew Cook to the Sundance Film Festival as one of their short films screened at the festival.  Pencil Face was directed by Christian Simmons and can be viewed on the Dandy Dwarves' website.  { also, see link to site in column to the right }

Needless to say, I am quite proud of my husband as well as Andrew and Christian.  They are an amazing team and an extremely talented bunch.


Looks like we got our wish.  A trip home to Vermont and Chicago gave us more snow than we bargained for. Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008

Welcome!  I'm starting off my blog with a personal entry: an introduction via cheesy photos of my wonderful husband, Josh, and me.  He was so nice to comply with my lame idea for our Christmas card this year.  Here are some of the resulting photos we had to chose from thanks to San Francisco-based photographer and dear friend, Melody Gates.  The dirty magenta undertones are compliments of a fabulous new polaroid application I recently discovered.

I look forward to sharing with you a glimpse into my life - both personal and professional - through thoughts and images from my studio and home.

Hope you all are enjoying a wonderful holiday season.  May the New Year bring new blessings to you and yours!

photos ::: melody gates