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Rhythm+Hues’ Throws “Sticks & Stones” At Moviegoers

Randy Roberts’ KCRW spot breaks in theaters. (June 04, 2004)

 “Sticks and Stones,” a 40-second spot for Santa Monica-based radio station KCRW, hit movie theater screens June 1. The ad was directed by Randy Roberts of Rhythm + Hues. Roberts also helmed the acclaimed KCRW “Balance,” which appeared in theaters last year.

“While some rebel against commercials before movies, this is more of a cinematic warm-up,” Roberts said. “It’s an interesting film piece that just happens to have a logo in it.” Roberts is speaking from experience: “Balance” garnered much praise for its grand, cinematic scope, and the new piece is also poised to entertain and amuse audiences who’ve come for an event.

“Sticks and Stones” features objects falling from the sky to the music and lyrics of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E.” Actions on-screen reflect what viewers hear in the song. For example, the lyric, “‘V’ is very EXTRA-ordinary,” is represented by a UFO hovering through the air, quickly followed by a newspaper with the words, “EXTRA.”

In storyboarding the project, Roberts drew on a library of notebooks that go back years and years. During down periods, he’s taken some of his old ideas, gone through them and made full storyboards. For “Sticks and Stones,” Roberts went back to early sketches of a beat of music represented by objects falling and hitting the earth. He had just done the first KCRW spot and realized that this idea would also fit with their image campaign. The concept evolved into flipping cards, and the Cole Porter song eventually followed.

Roberts was a musician at an early age, and when he worked as an animator he always tried to work to a track, rather than do the animation and then have the track fit in. He believes that music can be much more complex than the visuals.

As the spot is essentially a pro bono public service announcement, Roberts enjoyed a good deal of creative freedom and had to use whatever means at his disposal to pull it off. The director sketched the concept for “Sticks and Stones” around five years ago, and shot the material when opportunities came up. For instance, Roberts captured the monkey and baboon on a shoot in Africa, knowing he’d use them later. Another time, after a shoot in the California desert, Roberts rallied the crew to stay late and shoot the background element. Roberts and the crew took a motor home and a scissor lift and a whole truck full of junk, and just started dropping it and doing a still shoot. The end result speaks for itself – and for KCRW.

A ten-time winner of the Clio Award, Roberts has garnered numerous international accolades. He has become a recognized proponent of branded entertainment and one of the first contemporary directors to explore its potential. As co-founder of Rhythm + Hues Commercials, the spot production division of world-renowned animation/visual effects powerhouse Rhythm + Hues Studios, Roberts has led the division’s foray from traditionally developed client-driven advertising into progressive advertainment projects. Whether generating provocative visual designs, embracing new trends or advancing the use of technology in commercial production, Roberts specializes in uniquely realized advertising and entertainment experiences. Roberts’ latest work includes the award-winning “Western” spot for Advantage via Bernstein Rein/MO.

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Client:    KCRW (Public Radio Station)
Spot Title(S):   “Sticks & Stones”
Air Date:   June 1, 2004 (Theatrical)

Production Company:  Rhythm + Hues Commercials
Director:     Randy Roberts
Executive Producer:  Marlon Staggs
Head Of Production:  Kat Dillon
Producer/1st AD:   Marlon Staggs
Production Designer/Art Dir: Aron Beroud
Director Of Photography: Steve Ackerman
Production Supervisor:  John O’Connor

Shoot Location/City – El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, California

CG + Post:    Rhythm + Hues Commercials
Executive Producer,
CG + Post:    Amy Massingale Hassler
Head Of Comm. Post Prod.: Karey Maltzahn
2d Manager:    Michael Theurer
Editor:     Michael D’Ambrosio
Editorial Assistant:   Tim Delone
Roto:     Justin Blaustein
Creative Director:   John-Mark Austin
Digital Artist:    Brian Tatosky
Digital Artist:    D.R. Greenlaw
Digital Artist:    Jesse Toves
CG + FX:     Sol Designfx, Venice,CA
Lead Visual Effects Artist:  Jeff Heusser

Music:     1606 Group, Hollywood, CA
Music & Sound Producer: David Streja
Music Composer:   Anthony Marinelli
Music Recorded & Mixed By: Clint Bennett
Music Recorded At:   Music Forever Studios, Hollywood, Ca

Sound Design & Mix:  Levels Audio Post, Hollywood, CA
Final Mix & Sound Design: Brian Riordan

Talent:     Cameron Zeidler


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Related Keywords:Rhythm+Hues, Randy Roberts, KCRW, Rhythm + Hues Commercials, Marlon Staggs, Kat Dillon, Amy Massingale Hassler,

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