charlieuniformtango and TRG Team Up for the Choctaw Nation “Together, We’re More” Campaign | Check Out the AdChat Interview
charlieuniformtango teamed up with TRG for the new “Together, We’re More” campaign for the Choctaw Nation. The new :60 and two :30 spots feature tribal members stating (some in native Choctaw) “I am more than…a fireman, a teacher, a healer, a pastor…“I am Choctaw Proud”– and ending with a large gathering of the Choctaw tribe in the shape of the Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation, with one tribal member stepping forward to say, “We are the Choctaw Nation, and Together, We’re More.”
The beautiful and moving spots were all shot in Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation.
AdChat had the opportunity to take a deeper dive into the production details of this campaign from both the agency point of view and the production side.
Check out this post about TRG’s creative team’s experience.
As with any post-production process, it is always more complicated than it looks to the average viewer, so we asked the charlieuniformtango team to expand on the subject.
AdChat DFW: It seems there were endless locations, how did you manage juggling that?
Hal Dantzler/Executive Producer @ CUT: Ha! Yes, this production was logistically involved for sure. For us, laying out a clear up-front process made it all manageable. This campaign is about proud Choctaw tribe members and their varied passions, so until those individuals were chosen, we didn’t even know what locations to look for. This is when it’s so great to be working with the pros over at TRG. They started the casting process before we were even brought into the project. We identified 19 individuals to feature. So that meant 19 different locations.
Andy Mahr and Ashton Roger’s directing approach really helped us here. With this project, they felt it was important to capture very honest moments and whenever possible, capture them in the environments familiar to talent. After all, we were asking non-professional actors to deliver lines on camera, so the more comfortable they are the better.
There was a caffeine-fueled director pre-scout to meet each talent at their home, office, church, fire station, ranch, etc. Again, Andy and Ashton’ shooting style was perfect – their ability to find beauty not only on a stream in Broken Bow, but also in the wood shavings of a backyard wood-working shed.
A key to shooting so many locations was to strike the right balance with crew size, -small enough to move efficiently, while ensuring that the directors are covered to light a variety of locations. It certainly helps that Andy and Ashton functioned as Director/DP. There is a shorthand with these guys that is impressive to watch in action.
Then all the logistics landed on our location manager Jenn Enriquez. Did it help that Jenn is a Choctaw tribe member? I’m going to say, “Yes!”
It really was an honor to work on such an impactful campaign.
AdChat DFW: How long did it take you to assemble the group for the drone shot and what did the formation represent?
Hal Dantzler: Not as long as you’d think actually, because the vast majority of the crowd was created in CGI. This is when working on a turnkey project is the most fun here at Tango. We started designing that shot months before the actual shoot day. The first and most important question was how many people do we need to give the sense of scale to the crowd? Having the VFX team in the next office allowed us to explore this with a 3D Previs and it really took the guesswork out of it. Turns out the magic number was 1137.
We then discussed with agency and client the best way to achieve and realized we had quite a challenge on our hands. Now while the Choctaw Nation is more that 200,000 strong, coordinating schedules on 1137 would be impossible and production support for that many talent would be too expensive. So we determined early-on that we would design a shot with 75 to 100 practical talent for the foreground and use CG talent for the background. When it came to finding the 75 to 100 actual tribe members, Choctaw Nation did the heavy lifting here. Through their contacts and outreach programs, they rounded up an enthusiastic group that braved the Oklahoma heat.
AdChat DFW: What was your biggest challenge editing these spots?
Rodney DeMeglio, Editor @ CUT: I would say the biggest challenge for this edit was getting the rhythm and timing of the spot just right. We wanted a plethora of options and takes, so we had everyone read the script multiple times. The flow of the spot was very important to me, I wanted it to be almost like a dance. Similar in the way a dance moves, I wanted the spot to move and flow through each person, making sure we highlighted how great each one was. Once we got the timing and the flow down, the options were endless and I knew we had something pretty special!
AdChat DFW: What inspired you to create this uplifting theme?
Nick Patronella, Composer & Sound Design @ CUT: I was inspired by the footage and its imagery of seemingly average people on the outside but with so much more story to tell. I originally composed an emotionally inspirational piece, but it did not fit the strong nature of the Choctaw Nation. We needed something heroic and courageous to reinforce the powerful imagery and how they are all a part of something bigger than their individual selves.
It was a pleasure to do this piece and very proud of my contribution to the campaign.
AdChat DFW: Let’s talk about the VFX in the spots.
Connor Adams & Joey Waldrip, Motion GRFX @ CUT: One of the unique aspects of Tango is that with our in-house visual effects teams, we can create an in-depth plan for execution early on in the production process. Because of this, we quickly became aware that we would need more people in these shots than scheduling would normally allow. So, we began discussions of 3D crowd simulations weeks ahead of production as a possible solution. Our VFX team was able to work closely with our director/DP to create PreVis animations of the effects sequence. We were able to determine exactly how many people would be needed for the shoot, how many CG people would be needed to complete the star shape, and exactly what lenses we would need to properly frame our shots. This led to an extremely smooth half-day of shooting for the effects shots, and allowed us to begin crowd simulations right away.
Below is a how to of the FX Connor and Joey did for the end logo.
The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 212,000 tribal members and 12,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. Learn more at www.choctawnation.com
Check out the spots…
Creative Directors: Clint Carter, Tim Tone, David Canright
Art Director: Sam Langford
Agency Producer: Lynn Louria
Chief Creative Officer: Sue Batterton
Chief Collaboration Officer: Rhonda Contreras
Group Brand Director: Tara Allison
Producers: Hal Dantzler (EP), Max Simpson (Producer)
Directors: Andy Mahr, Ashton Rogers
Cinematographers: Andy Mahr, Ashton Rogers
Editor: Rodney Demeglio
Music & Sound: Nick Patronella, Russell Smith IV
Photographers: Andy Mahr, Ashton Rogers
Motion GRFX: Joey Waldrip and Connor Adam
Online/Finish: Allen Robbins
Senior Producer: Michael Wagner
Color: Matt McClain/Thrive Colour