For the last 10 years, Myriad Media has partnered with the United Way and the Atlantic Coast Conference to create TV spots for the “Live United” campaign. These spots often feature a student-athlete and a child, working together or competing in the student’s sport. Typically, these two don’t know each other, but always hit it off on set. However, our latest spot featured a much different story.

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This commercial, created for Notre Dame lacrosse, featured Katherine McManus and Bobby Russell, her 6-year-old “boyfriend.” The two met while Bobby was being treated for cancer, and each week, Katherine and Bobby cuddled while his chemo treatment was administered. Katherine’s mother worked at a cancer hospital while Katherine was growing up, so volunteering came naturally to her.

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While most of our ACC spots have been lighthearted, our team saw the opportunity to go for something deeper. Instead of avoiding Bobby’s health issues, we decided to showcase the duo’s entire relationship—both the playful moments and the tough realities.

We filmed the hospital scene at Memorial Hospital of South Bend, just steps from where Bobby received his treatment. While we were setting up the lights and rigging the camera, our crew heard a young girl across the hall sobbing during her treatment. The mood quickly turned somber as the full weight of what we were filming set in. Walking through the halls and seeing the faces of the kids who were receiving care was an overwhelming experience.

I’ve led an extremely blessed life, and have never had to deal with any serious health issues. While filming, I realized the heartache that these children and their families go through on a daily basis. As a bystander just getting a glimpse into this world, I was humbled and overwhelmed by the strength of Bobby and his support system. They are true champions, and it was a honor to tell Bobby’s story.

Take a look at the final product here and let us know what you think! 

We’re Headed to Edge City!

October 17th, 2014 by Will

Part of what makes work meaningful is the adventure and ongoing newness of it all. What are you seeing and who are you learning from to inform or change your view of the world? This sense of adventure is the reason why Myriad Media is hyped to open an office in Vancouver, BC. It’s a big tilt, perhaps a risky one, but if not now—when?

Iconic Siwash Rock in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Iconic Siwash Rock in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

 …adventure is the reason why Myriad Media is hyped to open an office in Vancouver, BC

This west coast “outcropping” is about experiences that will fulfill, yet challenge our people. This pairs well with workplace trends that plainly tell us what today’s co-workers desire: learning and growth, trust and meaning, and flexibility and inclusion. Our vision for getting there is to work in the world’s best cities, partner with game-changing creative talent and to build relationships with interesting clients who share a common set of values.

With an estimated 24,000 digital media jobs, a burgeoning production community for major films/TV (Godzilla, Fantastic Four, Arrow, Battlestar Galactica), and consistent “Top 5″ world rankings for quality of life, Vancity is a logical choice for Myriad (in spite of its far west coast commute).

“Vancouver. Edge city. A territory on the geographic and cultural periphery. A place
where people come to escape the confines of convention and a place with a
unique aptitude for freethinking, incubating and instigating.”

Vancouver Design Week

That context perfectly sums our feel for Vancouver and is why we decided to invest in this particular locale. Since Myriad Media’s experimental pings began in June of 2013, it was the city’s hard-to-describe positive energy that encouraged our minds to wander and wonder. It’s a mix of fresh pacific air buffeted by the nearby North Shore mountains, a definitive inclination towards progress, and a natural, easy west coast posture.

The vibe is palpable as you walk the streets and seawalls, whether on the morning walking commute to our office in historic Gastown, a bike trek around Stanley Park, or a quick meeting over caffeine at one of the many outstanding coffee shops within eyesight of each other.

A seawall stroll, our digs in Gastown and random public beach art in Stanley Park

A seawall stroll, our digs in Gastown and random public beach art in Stanley Park

In fact, Vancouver’s cool lean is nicely demonstrated by the way these very shops seem to operate not as competitors, but as a community striving to create quality experiences: reethinking, incubating and instigating.

Siwash Collage 1

According the Yelp there are 256 coffee shops in Vancouver

I can attest one feels particularly good to be in the city. Indeed, Vancouver seems to be a different sort of lab. Take thoughtful curiosity, mix it with a focus on progress, then wrap it up in a friendly demeanor and you’ve got a dynamic of goodness and possibility. That’s the type of mentality we’ll need to create the best future we can. For example, I love how the city’s political leadership has declared Vancouver will be the greenest city in the world by 2020. Ahhhhhh… the wonder of tilting at a big, important goal to benefit the common good.

{Curiosity + Progress} Friendly = Possibilities

the Vancouver equation

One last thing… it’s important to note that while we’re headed to locations such as Vancouver and NYC, we will always be the same laid-back folks from Raleigh with super ordinary haircuts.

We look forward to sharing more of what we learn and how we grow from our Vancouver venture.

Note: This post would be woefully incomplete without credit to my colleagues Ricardo Roberts and Tony Cope and their “bias towards action” on this front.

AdobeMax – The Crazy Ones

October 17th, 2014 by Malia

Last week I had an incredible opportunity to attend AdobeMax in Los Angeles. My schedule included a mix of educational classes, inspiring seminars, keynote events, software sneak peeks, parties, concerts, and more. Every single event I attended blew me away, so one blog post will not suffice. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some of my most memorable and inspiring moments.

To start, here are some of my main takeaways from, “The Crazy Ones: How to Be a Leader who Inspires Creativity and Innovation.”

This talk was led by Stephen Gates (Vice President and Senior Creative Director) and Trina Cintron (Creative Director) for the Global Brand Design team for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The presentation focused on the attributes that distinguish a leader from a manager. I can’t include everything, but here were some of my favorite sections:

  1. Being good at execution doesn’t mean you are a good leader. It means you are good at getting things done. Great executors might crumble in leadership roles. To get a glimpse of someone’s leadership capabilities, see how they react when something in their project goes wrong. A good leader will address the problem, come up with a plan and delegate appropriate tasks to their team members. Leaders know the strengths of their teammates and trust them to handle their assigned responsibilities. Managers will often try to fix everything themselves.
  2. Managers believe in the status quo and doing things the way they have always been done because those things have worked. Leaders want to do things differently. Leaders give their teams something to believe in. They are constantly asking “why” and coming up with new ideas.
  3. Leaders realize that good work is the single greatest threat to great work. Good work is merely a compromise. It’s settling. Great work is born out of passion, investment, and attention to detail. Great work creates a culture of dedication.
  4. Leaders understand that their team members all work differently. Forcing people to work one single way will never lead to success. They understand that everyone has their own process. They realize that everyone needs to feel inspired, invested, and protected to do their best work, and they create an environment to nurture that.
  5. Leaders understand that deadline driven groups are a commodity. Idea driven groups are an asset. Leaders find ways to continuously inspire their teams.
  6. In order to be a leader, you need to be a crazy one. “People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Be confident, take risks, and trust your instincts.

You can read a similar article that goes into more detail here.

Thank you, Stephen and Trina. It was a pleasure.

A few years back, I was in the habit of walking to and from the office each day. With my trusty iPod Classic as a sort of digital truth-spitting sage, those 22-minute jaunts were perfect moments to experience the ideas, wisdom and artistry of others.

One of the unforgettables was a Raleigh-based hip hop artist sporting the ballsy moniker King Mez. I can’t recall who tipped me off to Mez’s 2010 drop The Paraplegics, but I am glad they did. Mez’s voice was powerful and full of verve. Mixed with the high-def beats of his pal Commish, the rhymes almost slid into my ear.

It seemed the audacious tag was justified, and I listened on repeat. I never forgot Mez, Commish, and the stories told in tunes like my favorite track, “The Light.” That’s just one reason it’s with great pride we pop the top on this video.

“Morris” is Myriad Media’s first Campsite Expedition and is really the love child of Myriad Media co-workers Kent Willard and Scott Gaston (dems my boys.) There is no way to justly provide these fellas proper credit for their work, so I won’t clumsily try to do so. I sure wish there were, because they deserve the highest praise possible for bringing the idea and high heat to get it done!

Hats should also be doffed to producer Shawn Lamons (lady is swag), DP Kyle Messina (lil’ puppy got big paws) and a host of amazingly talented and passionate collaborators such as Matt Hedt, Gray McClamrock, Holt Menzies, Brett Abramsky, Sam Kim, Matt Carter, and Brian Korff.

Big love, appreciation, and pride to these folks and certainly to Mez, too. Myriad Media could not be more proud!

The Voyage of the Mimi

September 30th, 2014 by Tina

I remember watching The Voyage of the Mimi each day during elementary school. The show eased the hour right before lunch, when I would have otherwise been fixated on my Lunchables Pizza and jockeying for position at the Cool Table (Who am I kidding? All I need is you, quiet corner and three copies of Goosebumps.)

votm-title

 

According to Mental Floss,

Thirty years ago this month, The Voyage of the Mimi debuted on PBS. The groundbreaking educational science series, part of the curriculum of many elementary and high school students, captivated kids throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, spawned a sequel, and kicked off Ben Affleck’s career.votm-tent_0

Here are a few things you might not have known about The Voyage of the Mimi , including many juicy tidbits about the show’s production. For example:

  • According to producer Jeffery Nelson, Mimi was shot at sea on a remote island off the coast of Maine, with a cast that consisted mostly of children, and that was highly dependent on the cooperation of whales and weather, both of which featured prominently in the story.

“There were many scenes that involved whales, and we needed to have lots of good weather as well as a big storm at sea,” says Nelson. “What if the actors got seasick? What if the whales never appeared? What if there was no big storm? Or worse, what if we got a monster storm that would endanger the cast and crew? There were all these elements over which we had no control. These were not typical challenges for a children’s TV show.”

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  • The Mimi, an old tuna trawler that had been converted into a sailboat, belonged to MIT professor Peter Marston. Marston was such an interesting character with his bushy beard and his experience as a skipper and scientist, that they asked him to join the cast.
  • votm22
  • The crew was tiny. It was shot on 16mm with just a few people to help: an assistant cameraman, a sound man, a lighting guy, a continuity person, and a producer. You can’t fit many more people than that on the Mimi.

Check out the full article here.

It’s no secret that we love cramming tons of information into our heads in a short amount of time. With all of our smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs, etc., it’s pretty evident that information can’t come fast enough!  “Internet TV” platforms like Hulu and major network websites allow us to watch our favorite TV shows from our mobile devices—but the catch is that we usually have to wait for a buzzkill commercial before that thrilling new episode of Sons of Anarchy.

So, how do advertisers make sure people still see their commercials without throwing their iPads across the room?  Easy. Make the commercials shorter!

For a while now, I’ve been interested in creating a video advertising campaign. We’ve done a few (check out our ACC/United Way campaign), and I’ve really enjoyed working on them. I wanted to try a :15 platform in at least 3 different spots with one overall feel. I had the idea. I just needed a good product. I know: Beer!

IMG_4042Introduce Raleigh Brewing Company, a super awesome new brewery in Raleigh, NC. Not only are their beers fantastic, but they also all have names that hint at historical events or people in Raleigh. We wanted to bring those stories to life by personifying the beers and showing a little bit of the story behind the names.

Trying to get these to work in :15 seemed impossible. We wrote script after script until finally deciding to go as simple as possible. They turned into little vignettes, which complement the original stories.

IMG_4055

The Miller’s Toll and Hidden Pipe Porter bring us to the mid to late-1800s, and show how Raleigh might have looked back then. Hell Yes Ma’am shows a badass lady getting ready for a fancy occasion… or is she?

Check out Raleigh Brewing Company’s website to read about their beers and watch the vignettes that complement the stories here.

 

A few weeks ago, Big Boss was cool enough to let us use their brewery to shoot some video for my band, New Reveille. This is the first song of the batch, “Heavy Hands,” written by my friend George Hage.

The idea behind #SoundOffSessions is a series of quick-and-easy shoots with stupid-fast edits. We’ve tried to take the fact that we’re pressed for time and resources and use it to our advantage—even turn it into an aesthetic.

Alysse and Spike did a great job shooting this, especially given the time constraints and the fact that it was probably over a hundred degrees in the brewery with all the lights we had. Editing-wise, I got it done in a little over an hour, and this is where we landed…

Most of the “planning” was done on the fly by Alysse and Spike, though I did send my bandmates a color palette for choosing wardrobe, something I’ll never live down, by the way. My shirt is “Hillsmere,” which I call light green. So it wasn’t entirely impromptu. But I didn’t tell you that.

The editing is a little rough, but that’s the art in it—like slingin’ paint on a canvas from 10 feet away—is how I’m rationalizing it, anyway. I’ve learned over time that sometimes I’ve gotta part with perfectionism in order to move forward.

“Well, that about does her. Wraps her all up.”

Yes, it does.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while, trying to come up with the best way to summarize the past three months.

Yeah. Three months.

It’s been three months since old Sam here strapped on his internship helmet, squeezed down into the cannon, and fired off into internship land. I’ve got to say, I landed a pretty sweet gig here on S. Salisbury St.

I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous during my interview. I had researched the company, read the bios, and watched the reel, but it wasn’t until I stepped inside the office that it occurred to me, I’m going to be super bummed for a few months if this doesn’t pan out.

Thankfully, it did. I could not have landed in a nicer, kinder, more fun group of people.

So, what have I been doing, and how can you, future interns, get the most out of this experience? What does Spike’s beard look like up close? How’s the coffee? Is that compostable or is it recyclable? Is it both? How many weird people walk by the front window on an average day? What is a good beer/hairstyle pun?

These are all important questions. Let’s get started.

First and foremost, this internship wasn’t the best. It was the “best-est” (see video, below). Much like cousin Oliver on the Brady Bunch, I was welcomed into the Myriad family with open arms, even if it was only for a short amount of time.  According to the internship guidelines, I was supposed to show up for 2-3 days a week.  But, why limit myself? If I could only be here for the summer, then I was definitely going to be here as frequently as possible. Besides, there was always something for me to do.

This internship is what you make of it. If you’re selected to intern here, it’s because the people at Myriad want you to learn and grow. So, go say hello, meet the people that work here, and find out what they are working on. But most of all, ask them if they need help. If I can impart one piece of wisdom to help you get the most out of this experience, it’s to put yourself out there and offer to assist. You never know what kind of projects you’ll be asked to help on.

For me, this meant being on the creative development team for a project that involved spending the night at a former Girl Scout Camp tucked deep within the Blue Ridge mountains, helping to write a training video script about a burning building, and making Brent pluck donut crumbs from Spike’s beard—which, to answer the question posed earlier, is majestic up close.

As for the other questions, well: The coffee is delicious (trust Will, drink it black), Molly will let you know if it’s compostable or recyclable, 34 weird people walk by the window on any given day, and the best beer/hairstyle pun I can come up with right now is Fu Manbrew, but I don’t think that’ll land on any of Tony’s homebrew bottles.

Thinking back on this whole experience, I realize that I had a good time with every single person at Myriad. I’ve shared a laugh with each one.

While I am at the end of my time as an intern at Myriad, I’m glad to say that I’ll be sticking around for the next few months as a contractor.

So thank you Tony, Marshall, Marisa, Asit, Kent, Shawn, Will, Daniel, Chris, Malia, Scott, Ryan, Tina, Drew, Spike, Molly, Ricardo, Alysse, and Brent! It truly was the best-est.

Oh, I almost forgot.  Here’s my final internship video. It’s a short comedy sketch called Office Mates, and it stars Brent and Spike. I had a lot of fun making it and while it is a little rough around the edges, I hope you’ll get a kick out of it.

I’ll be posting a follow-up blog with a full breakdown of some of the things I learned while working on this project, as well as a blooper reel.

Until then…

“Things seem to have worked out pretty good for the Dude and Walter, and it was a pretty good story, don’t ya think?”

 

A few months ago if you turned on the radio, chances were high that Pharrell’s “Happy” would be playing. At the time, the cool thing to do was make your own version of the iconic video and clap along like you were in a room without a roof. Being as cool as we are here at Myriad we did just that. Sadly, time does what it does best and we just recently finished the piece, long overdue and far less culturally relevant. But hey, we’re still happy folks who like happy music, so we’re sharing it with you anyway.

Yes, and…

August 15th, 2014 by Ricardo Roberts

Myriad Media at DSI Comedy Theatre

This summer, the Myriad gang piled into their station wagons, coupes, trucks and hatchbacks and caravanned 16 miles down I-40 to exit 293B in the spirit of trying something new: Improv training at the DSI Comedy Theatre in Chapel Hill.

When our resident stand up comic, Shane Smith, suggested we try improv training as a business, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure how comedy could be used in the workplaceother than Scott, Kent, or someone else with a quick tongue lightening the mood with an off-color remark. However, after doing some reading and talking to Shane, we were intrigued. We really could have fun and train a group of creatives at the same time. We signed up and nervously waited for the day to come. The thought of being on a stage in front of people you care about and respect was intimidating.

It turned out to be a blast. Nerve-wracking at first, yes. But the warm up games helped us conquer our self-consciousness and calmed everyone right into a zone.

One of the most interesting things we learned is how to keep momentum going in conversations. Our natural tendency is to hear someone’s idea or thought and immediately add a “but” to it. For example: “That’s a great idea, but…”

Improv comedians apply  the “yes, and” approach to keep things barreling forward. All you do is repeat what you heard (indicating you heard and understand what was said), agree with it, and add something new to the mix. The object of the game is to always add on to the conversation and make statements that foster a sense of partnership and continuity. The “and” frees the mind to wander and create, while the “but” grinds group discussions to a halt.

Another cornerstone of improv: There are no mistakes, only opportunities.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Jump right in and offer your thoughts. They may take the discussion in another direction, and that’s a good thing. Don’t be scared—clients are only people. Sometimes, stumbling or making mistakes takes the edge off and makes you more vulnerable, likable and human. Which, in the world of back-to-back conference calls, is always a good thing.

Thanks to Zach Ward and DSI Comedy for creating an intense, raucous workshop. We stepped out of our comfort zones and returned to 410 Salisbury Street armed with new skills and a greater sense of camaraderie.