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.

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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.

Directing In Motion

August 6th, 2014 by Alysse Campbell

As a Producer, I’m constantly looking for ways to inject creativity into my work. Most days are filled with emails and to-do lists, so I was thrilled to hitch a ride with Daniel and Spike to Charlotte for Vincent Laforet’s Directing in Motion Tour.

The full day day workshop challenged me and four coworkers to think differently about cinematic motion. Through theory-based discussion and hands on learning, we discovered how moving a camera or moving things within a shot impact your story. The biggest lesson was simple: Don’t move the camera without a purpose. There should always be a reason for the camera to push forward or pan left. Often, this reason is because of movement within your frame (when a character stands up and starts walking through the room, the camera will naturally follow), but another reason for camera movement is to build tension.

Throughout the day, Laforet emphasized the importance of tension. When you think about it, tension is at the core of all video. You become engaged in a story because of tension, and when said tension is released, you’re left with a sense of fulfillment. There are a lot of ways to build tension in film. Music and lighting are obvious ways to keep the audience on the edge of their seat, but cinematography plays a big role as well.

Take a horror movie, for example. By starting a scene with a close-up on a terrified woman’s face, you can immediately tell she is scared. Why? That question of the unknown allowes the audience’s imagination to run wild. The longer the shot is held on her face, the longer the audience is dreaming up unknown terrors. Until you cut to a wider shot and reveal the scene, the tension will continue to build.

Another way to build tension is to move the camera closer and closer to an object throughout a scene. If your characters are robbing a bank, you’d most likely see wide shots of them walking through the lobby. As their nerves kick in, the shots turn to medium close-ups. When they slip a note to the cashier, you cut to an extreme close-up to show her scared eyes, and then the determined eyes of your robbers. By moving from wide to close-up shots, you can easily build tension. Then, with some music cues and quick pacing, you’ve got yourself a successful scene.

Although I don’t create shot lists or block scenes in my daily work, Directing in Motion was a great way to get back into the creative side of filmmaking. I’ve found myself watching TV and movies differently these days, and I am looking forward to seeing the Myriad team put these tools into motion!

Our 2014 Production Intern!

July 29th, 2014 by Malia

Hey there! We are mid-internship season here at Myriad. The “Myriad Mentorship,” as we call it, is a three-month program where we take a local student under our wing and collaborate on all kinds of fun stuff. This year, we are lucky to have Sam Mazany, a student at NC State. Take a look at the questionnaire below to learn more about him.  If you have any questions about the program in general, let me know.

Welcome aboard, Sam!

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1. What made you apply for this internship?

I like to work with as many different types of people and groups on video projects as I possibly can. While looking around for internships, I happened upon Myriad and poured over their website to get a better feel for everything. After reading The Myriad Way and It all Started Over Hacky Sack, I felt like I could really fit in with the culture at Myriad. I can kind of get fixated on certain things, so I suddenly became super motivated to make sure that this internship was the one that I landed. I actually ended up applying for this internship only, because I wanted to make it work

2. What is your major and why?

I’m studying Communication with a concentration in Media at NC State. I’ve always liked storytelling in some form or another, so Communication Media really worked for me, as it encompasses all types of storytelling. The media concentration has allowed me to study various forms of storytelling, but I’ve become really attached to film and video. It also made me feel like my obsession with television was something that I can harness for the good of my career.

3. Who are your heroes/influencers?

I’ve always like directors with a strong sense of personal style so Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson were always major influencers of mine. I always liked that you could immediately tell that you were watching a movie by them within seconds. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, as well as Danny McBride and Jody Hill are both two collaborative duos that I hold in pretty high-esteem, as they’ve managed to find creative partnerships that allow them to be greater than the sum of their parts. Being creative is fun but it’s much better when you can do it with someone that gets your humor and style.

4. What is your personal motto or mantra?

I wish I had a succinct, well-thought-out phrase or mantra, but if I had to write out a super unwieldy motto, it would be to care about the work you are doing and find people that care about that work to help you. Most of my successes have come from working on things that I legitimately cared about with people that I legitimately care about and who also care about what we are working on. I guess do stuff that you’re proud of and not what you think would make others proud. Also, I try not to be afraid of trying new things. It’s the only definitive way to know if you like or dislike something.

5. What are your hobbies?

I like binge-watching TV shows, stand up specials, and movies. I also like reading about video games but not actually playing them (I played a lot when I was younger but for some reason I just read about them now). I like to run but I’m not super serious about it. I haven’t done a marathon or any sort of run that is within some sort of organized framework but it’s nice to go get lost on the greenways for an hour. I really like craft beer and checking out local restaurants, which is good that I like to run now because I would not be able to sustain the “I like to eat food and drink beer” hobby.

6. Favorite food in the whole world?

Toss up between buffalo wings and sushi, depending on the mood. I don’t know why I picked two foods on the opposite ends of the food spectrum but it is what it is. It’s hard picking a favorite because I love food.

7. Most embarrassing moment?

Remembering that for an entire summer that I wore a lanyard necklace containing a small Sea Monkey aquarium to camp. It’s retroactively embarrassing. That or telling people I’ve seen the first two seasons of Dance Moms.

8. Least marketable talent or hobby?

I have seen the entire series of Eastbound and Down several times through and because of it can quote almost any episode. That and my encyclopedic knowledge of the expanded universe and lore of the Halo video game series.

9. Favorite three films?

Observe and Report, Rushmore, Lost in Translation.

10. Favorite three TV series?

Eastbound and Down, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

11. Guilty pleasure?

I have seen every episode of the first two seasons of Dance Moms. It started off as a joke and then 43 episodes past and I wasn’t sure what I had just done.

12. Favorite book?

Probably The Great Gatsby. I feel dumb admitting this, but I hardly read, which I know is terrible. I just recently bought a Kindle and plan to start reading more this summer, so I’m open to suggestions. Hopefully I’ll soon have a favorite book that isn’t one that I was forced to read in high school.

 

Sitting around a modest, four-top glass table in the old Myriad Media offices on Glenwood Avenue, the uneven wooden floors creaked under the weight of four guys discussing an exciting new opportunity. Right in the middle of March Madness, there was a charge in the crisp air that Spring gently exhaled over downtown Raleigh. Small, paper-thin leaves adorned the oak seedlings across the street, and people buzzed up and down the sidewalk, wearing smiles and pushing newborn babies because it was just warm enough to introduce them to the world for the first time. We were young, we were crazy, and needed to do something outside of our comfort zone.

“Let’s open an office in New York”, Will exclaimed, standing up from the table with excitement.

The idea seemed far-fetched and unreachable, but there was a thread—a small, delicate, silky thread—of an idea that captivated us. We dreamed of the possibilities, and imagined making it in a city where the world’s most talented people live, play and conduct business.

Soon enough, we dismissed the idea as we had done hundreds of times before. It was just a dream, something that would distract from our core business model in Raleigh. But it came back. Again and again. Soon, we started thinking about the logistics of doing it. We’d find new clients, ones that “got it”. Clients wearing skinny jeans in Brooklyn and blipping off into their smart watches wanted concepts that were edgy, that had never been tested. People in the city weren’t afraid to experiment.

After a few euphoric ups and discouraging downs, we stumbled upon the catalyst that made opening a second office a real possibility — we could better serve the existing clients we had in New York. With that, we decided we’d make it happen.

There was no turning back.

Big ideas change you. They ignite an energy inside you that is indescribable, an energy that is omnipresent in everything. This jolt took hold of Myriad Media in the spring and summer of 2010, and became a permanent fixture in our thought process. Maybe it was our version of running with the bulls in Pamplona, visiting the Giza Necropolis or backpacking up to Machu Picchu. A business version of the bucket list. Whatever it was, it was necessary.

To prepare for our journey, we needed to get better acquainted with the city. Months later, Will and I boarded a 6:00 AM Delta flight on our first trip to break bread with existing clients and visit our art director on the Lower East Side.

We were in Queens by 7:15 AM.

After four strenuous days of schlepping gear around the city and traveling by plane, train, bus, boat, subway and taxi, we felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. The kind you feel after riding an early morning Metro-North train through Harlem, over the South Bronx and then noodling your way through upstate New York’s tangled highways in a charcoal Chevy Malibu rental. Paying $13.00 tolls to slam into potholes on the New Jersey Turnpike, white-knuckling the wheel of a tiny green Fiat at 80 miles per hour in the rain makes you feel the needle moving, too.

Yes. Progress requires time, dedication and maybe a little bit of pain.

Making headway means diving headfirst into the unknown, like an Acapulco cliff diver zipping into La Quebrada or a toddler venturing out of the sandbox to make new friends. It’s bloody intimidating.

But for Myriad, uncharted waters and exciting adventures drive us. We don’t yet know if we’ll open an office in New York.

But we’ll be damned if we don’t try.

Baby Empathy

July 11th, 2014 by Drew

Conventional wisdom says there are three things that a baby might be crying about: Hunger, sleepiness, or a dirty diaper. However, my new baby often cries on a full belly, immediately after a post-nap diaper change.

So, I realized there must be a fourth reason: Confusion. Here’s a song I wrote about it:

Thanks, Brent, for the banjo pickin’!

On Brewing Beer

June 26th, 2014 by Tony

Tony is the Brewmaster behind Myriad Media’s ongoing beer series. Here, he shares his secrets to creating the perfect pint. 


1. Start with good. Good ingredients, good gear, and some good beer for inspiration.

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No matter what you are working on, it’s only going to be good as what you start with. Good doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve heard many people mention bad brewing experiences, and it usually comes down to a boxed brew kit where the ingredients are suspect. Even if not, they’ve probably been in the box for longer than they spent growing on a plant.

Good gear, too. It might cost a little more up front, but how often do you sit down with a cold, but nasty, beer and say, “Well, at least it was cheap.” Gear is something you learn to love or forget over time. Brew kits always have what most people would want, initially. However, the more you get into what you’re doing, the more in tune you will become with the process, what gear you really need, what gear just wastes space, and hopefully some bits of stuff no one ever said you would need but really seem to work for you.

2. Clean up your mess and keep it clean.

The guy who taught me how to brew said, “Everything in the world loves beer, and if you don’t control what gets into your beer, the wrong thing will move in.”

Like parents preach on a daily basis, and like the beer masters will tell you, clean your stuff and keep it clean. When I’m brewing, I feel like I’m in my own operating room. I start sterilizing everything the day before I brew, and have everything set in a very isolated space. Also, I usually look over everything to make sure I didn’t miss any “old beer” in some crevice in the stock pot or strainer. Make sure your buckets don’t have scratches (funky taste lives in scratches). If you’re bottling rather than brewing, the caps and bottles all need to be scrubbed and washed.

I scrub and rinse everything and check it all closely. Everything gets stacked and organized so it all fits in the storage spaces I’ve been allotted for my hobby. I also remember that I share the kitchen, and life is good when things are clean and orderly. Remember the old saying, “Behind every clean and well organized man is a woman with a heavy rolling pin.”

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3. Follow directions.

Seriously, directions are the base of any smooth operation. Order and times for everything, measurements and list of ingredients, reminders… all the things that someone spent a lot of time creating. Learn them, love them. Some people think of instructions as something that gets in the way, but good instructions allow you to follow a good practice and allow you the mental freedom to immerse yourself in what you’re doing. I’ve found my absolute favorite moments during the brew process: The way the malt extract folds into the boiling wort, the incredible aroma of when you first add the hops, the way when fermenting beer happily bubbles through the airlock like a fat baby taking a nice bath… and I noticed these moments, and even learned what they tell me about the beer, because I’m brewing with a set of instructions nearby. Focus, exploration, and fun come after learning and following directions.

4. Patience.

This is something an expert knows, and a novice is constantly frustrated by. Most of the beers I’ve brewed are ready in 5 weeks, but a couple have driven me crazy… weak taste and no carbonation. I’ve considered crazy work-arounds, fearing the thought of flushing 48 beers. Each time, the wise ones just frown and say, “Give it time.” My favorite IPAs are ready quickly, and you want to drink them before the sweet hoppiness fades. Malty or dark beers will take more time. They can be consumed close to the 5 week mark, but 7 or 8 is so much better. The more experience you have, the better you’ll get at being quick, but some things only work with time. It’s a lot of effort and money—why would you want to drink a beer before it’s ready?

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5. Don’t forget your friends!

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Of course, I share the beers worth sharing with friends, and I also make dog treats from the beer mash. Remember when I said everything loves beer? This goes doubly for dogs. My dog, Annie, follows me with her nose actually touching my leg the entire time I’m brewing. When I put the dog treats into the oven, she will sit by the oven for 6 hours or more. Annie a complete beer-mash junkie, but what the heck. Not like she has to pay the mortgage. Her happiest moments are when I cut up the treats and put them away. I do make a big mess, but never ever have to clean anything up.

Photo and dog treat recipe courtesy of 17 Apart.
Ingredients:

  • 4 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 organic eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, combine and mix each of the ingredients thoroughly until a thick dough forms. Roll out the dough on a generously floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, lining them up on baking sheets. No greasing was necessary for the baking sheets.

If you don’t have cookie cutters or want a more natural shape you can cut the dough with a knife, or use spoons to create drop cookies.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours. Cooking them the additional time at the lower temperature will help ensure they dry completely, extending their shelf life. The dried cookies will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container and even longer if you freeze them in zipper bags.