Converse the story of Escape 

Converse the story of Escape 

Greetings and Happy New Years.

Had a little bit of time off around the Holidays…now I’m running full steam again. And let me tell you, it feels good.

The good news is that several projects are nearing completion.

• The Real Luke: Season 2

-edit is done!

-sound design in progress
• Two Friends AKA My Dad’s Other Lost Film

-edit is done!

-waiting for song from composer

• Rotten Apples Music Video

-it’s done!

-waiting for a coordinated web attack.

I’m trying something new in this posting – any technical definition is getting a hyper-link. Let me know if you like it…

However…while we are all waiting for that to happen, I’ve decided to post a yet-unseen project, 
a spec animation commercial I directed last year. It’s was my first foray into animation…
now I’ve edited a scad of Care Bears episodes at the j.o.b., but back when
I started this, it was all new to me.

It was originally for the Converse Gallery – which was Converse’s on-going, online, 
user created commercial competitions. Now there are tons of these competitions, but 
I think this was one of the first.

I didn’t actually enter it…because…um…I didn’t actually finish it in time.

It isn’t really clear when the competition ended because Converse had kept the website 
online…with all the submission info AND NO message saying “hey, the competition is 
over…sorry.” So I sent all my many legal forms, tapes, split audio track CD’s, and so
on in…only to have to mailed back to me about 2 months later because it was never
 collected from the still active PO Box.

anyhoo…the idea for the project came from two separate experiences.

The first was back at a RES screening where
some filmmakers were talking about these ads that they did for Nike. Nike gave them
all “key words” to base their projects on…and basically every group said they just 
ignored those and made what they wanted. And Nike love the spots.

When my art director and I were brainstorming for the Converse project, I recounted
this story about Nike and the Filmmakers and she said “that’s what we should do.” So 
instead of trying to make what we thought the “client” would like – we decided
 to make what we knew we liked.

The other part of the idea originated back when I was a work study office worker at 
SFSU. I was really bored one day, so I took staplers, staple pullers and other office
 supplies and started photocopying them. Eventually I made a little 6 panel story. I
mailed them home to my parent’s…who would randomly get unexplained packages of
things I’d made, collected on the bus, done in class, and so on… the “staple chase” 
was one of these. They liked it and hung it up on the wall…it was there for a couple
 years and always in the back of my mind as something I wanted to try and animate 

We decided this would make a good shoe ad.

I really wanted to keep the “look” of the photocopier, but I didn’t wanted to be limited 
by the 2D nature of photocopying things on the glass. You can only get so many
 angles on there and I thought it would be cool to have something that appeared to be
make on a copier, but then would change and surprise the viewer.

 Here’s what it looks like right off the glass.

Converse tests

My first idea was to create a 3D box to photocopy the objects in. I built a box, open on
 the bottom and with the inside coated in reflective silver spray paint. Then I used
string to hang the shoes down above the glass so I could get an image of the shoes at
an off axis angle.

However…this didn’t work. The light of the copier wasn’t bright enough and all that
 would copy would be the part of the shoe closest to the glass. Also, now that I think
about it, the lens on the copier (because it is a camera of sorts) probably has a really
 shallow depth of field: that is, the area that will be in focus is small.

The next plan was to take pictures and then treat them in photoshop to get the look we
 wanted. My art director handled this. She’s got the photoshop skillz.

Here’s a untreated photo…

The shoe

and here’s what it looked like going to the animator…
The Shoe - B&W

The next task was storyboarding, I drew these up over a couple of nights.

Converse storyboard 1
Converse storyboard 2
Converse storyboard 3
Converse storyboard 4

If you want to see the animatic you can do so here.

Through a friend of a friend I found an animator. I sent him my animatic, the 
photoshop elements and let him go to work. After a few versions back and forth with
the animator I had a locked pic. The animation was good. The edit was done.

Then it went to sounds design. My friend Steve did it for me…and brought in all sorts 
of cool ideas. For example: the karate chop noises – that was him. If you watch my
 animatic, I originally used “whipping noises” and this is soooo much cooler. Currently
 he’s working on TRL: Season 2. 

Part of the submission to Converse was “split audio tracks.” Basically you put dialog,
 sfx, and music different tracks. That way, if they don’t like your music, or need to 
change the language of the dialog, you can do it. I didn’t think I had any music…but 
when I was doing this I realized I did have a music cue.

My animator had found it for me and I asked him where he got it.

The Da Vinci Code Video Game.

Awesome. I’m sure no one as played that. Or heard this musical cue.

And I can totally use it for a national broadcast without paying anyone or clearing it.


I was so close to finishing…but now I had to find a composer. A couple emails, a 
couple phone calls and I had a track that sounds very close to the one I used…but it
 was now mine.

So by the time all these steps were finally done…the competition was over. 


oh well. I still like the spot.

hope you enjoy it.


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