This spot recently took 1st prize in a contest to see what team could produce the best commercial for Dialogue Earth, a non-partisan think tank that focuses on environmental issues.
The spot was written and produced by Chris Bookman and Dylan Walker, also known as Snap Brothers, who are college-students based in Texas. “We’ve entered every single Tongal contest for the past year and taken 1st prize three times”, says Bookman. “All we do is enter [video] contests.”
About Snap Brothers
Walker and Bookman originally got into making films because of their mutual interest in acting. “[But] out where we live, no one knows how to make videos. So we ended up doing all the editing and shooting.”
“The 1st time I ever wanted to be an actor? Honestly, it was in 5th grade when I would watch the girls in TV shows and think, how could I ever be with a girl this pretty?”
How They Created the Video
The Dialogue Earth video is based on a simple idea where images we’ve seen our entire lives (trees, bridges, parks, a child’s toy, a map of the earth) are blended together in a way we’ve never quite seen before.
What is perhaps more brilliant is the precise and careful precision with which Bookman and Walker executed the idea. If this spot appeared during a Final Four broadcast on a national network I honestly don’t think anyone sitting at home would realize the engine behind this spot was not a major brand nor a group of advertising pros.
Yes, the opening shot was reversed because that’s the only way you can affordably create a shot of a ball sitting in a pile of leaves start rolling on its own. Yes, Dylan rolled the ball while Chris operated camera. Bookman says the key to making the shots look smooth and broadcast quality was running them in slow motion.
It is this attention to detail that really makes the spot shine. And of course, their choice of music….
How They Chose the Music
For the Dialogue Earth video, Walker, a musician in his own right, picked out the track “Groovy Bath” track from www.musicrevolution.com before he even wrote the storyboard.
For every Tongal contest Music Revolution creates a playlist (or “Music Bin”) of a twenty tracks culled from the main library for that specific video campaign (the Music Bin created for that campaign can be found here).
Bookman says, “Music is honestly the hardest thing to find. When MusicRevolution started partnering with Tongal, we got super-excited.”
“Up until a year ago, all of our videos just used copyrighted music. But when we started doing contests, we started using loops on Apple or created our own stuff in Garage Band. Until now, we’ve never done much music purchasing.”
About the Music Track
Steve Steckler, based in Los Angeles, wrote “Groovy Bath” . Steve’s primary instruments include guitar, bass and keywords which he has used in combination with his super-fast music software chops to create soundtracks for National Geographic, MTV and the Discovery Channel.
“Groovy Bath” was among the first 200 tracks loaded onto MusicRevolution when the site launched in April 2010. Now the site boasts over 11,000 royalty-free production music tracks and Steckler’s tracks continue to be among the most licensed.
Other Work By Snap Brothers
Here’s another Snap Brothers production that nabbed 1st prize in a Tongal contest:
“For this video the music story is really interesting”, said Bookman. “Dylan plays guitar and does music. So when we were trying to think of what to do, he called me and said, ‘I’ve got an idea for this video. Check this out.’ He played me the song and I loved it. We recorded it ourselves in our dorm room.”
When asked what’s on the horizon for Chris and Dylan, Bookman says, “Long-term, we just want to work to make money to live, keep going to school and constantly make videos for contests.”
Listening to Bookman talk, I couldn’t help thinking of the Stephen Covey’s classic 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Remember habit #1 – Begin-with-The-End-In-Mind? I thought – here are two guys who began a journey to become a movie actors and somewhere along the way became screenwriters, storyboard creators, special effects artists, songwriters, cinematographers, film editors, and internet marketers. That sheer Do-What-It-Takes attitude has perhaps unexpectedly given both Chris Bookman and Dylan Walker the triple-threat combination of directing/acting/writing/producing skills that propel talented people into the Hollywood echelons occupied by John Favreau, Ed Burns, Mel Gibson and more.
The Snap Brothers should be proud of what they’ve accomplished and hopeful in the knowledge that while others may dream about being in the movies….they just got busy doing it.
Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of http://www.musicrevolution.com, a production music marketplace where media producers and business owners can license high-quality, affordable music from a online community of musicians.