"Salty Stories of Substance"
SeaLevelTV was founded in January 2015 by Beth O'Rourke and Jeff Den Broeder, two friends and colleagues with a past in commercial advertising, brand strategy, and producing TV and multi-channel campaigns for global brands. A common deep connection with the ocean, serial storytelling, and short-format films gave way to a concept focusing on original content showcasing exceptional ocean-centric characters. Their high production value, award-winning documentary-style journeys celebrate realness, the intrepid human spirit, and life behind the hype, digging into the beautiful, often vulnerable spaces where true humanity resides.
In August 2015, SeaLevelTV was successfully funded via Kickstarter campaign.
As creative director, producer, writer, editor and often camera operator and director, I've created the look, feel, tone and voice for this growing media brand across channels.
Recently, SeaLevelTV has garnered “Official Selections” from the Hawaii International Film Festival, Save the Waves Film Festival, the San Francisco Green Film Festival and the San Diego Surf Film Festival.
Check out the following links to explore more award-winning salty stories of substance from SeaLevelTV.
KassiaSurf is a new lifestyle brand in the women's action sports industry that celebrates water women everywhere by offering the most eco-friendly and spiritually uplifting products to accentuate each experience.
Through short films and still photography, I sought to extend the brand by showing powerful women athletes in their element of water, combining the beauty and emotionally freeing qualities of athleticism and grace with a product line that supports the consciousness-raising "positive vibe" found in the space where action meets mindfulness.
"KASSIA+SURF wetsuits are created with the best quality materials to maximize the surf experience. We chose the best, most durable neoprene on the market and custom dyed all our fabric to ensure longer lasting suits with visually dynamic, vibrant colors. And we didn’t stop there; putting extra care and attention into the details, the seams on each suit feature a double blind stitching with taped and glued seams for additional durability and warmth."
Laura Rubin, founder of AllSwell Creative, invited me to photograph one of her incredible workshops at the historic Venice Beach House in Los Angeles. For this event Laura invited notable artist Alison Kunath to lead an exuberant group on an engaging journey in an array of serious and playful exercises focused on drawing, writing and, most importantly, putting pen to paper.
About AllSwell Writing Workshops
AllSwell Writing Workshops are designed to do just that. You’ll be led through accessible writing-based activities by AllSwell founder Laura Rubin. We all need inspiration. To that end, Laura curates a selection of literature from the greats, such as Twain, Melville and Whitman, to serve as touch points throughout the process.
You don’t need to have any background whatsoever in writing or literature to enjoy these experiences. The mere act of putting pen to paper is illuminating. There’s no wrong way to do this. As Papa (a.k.a. Hemingway) said: write drunk, edit sober. We’re not suggesting you go get lit up. The point is, don’t judge the process. Give your yourself permission to start somewhere. The activity itself has value. The therapeutic benefit of doing it is why it should be done.
We develop the content around themes that suit the setting, partner or sponsor, whether that’s overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu or in the desert amidst Joshua Tree National Forest.
"One of the most enjoyable gatherings in recent memory. I love the way you lead, the questions, dialogue... the passages! Watching that discovery of such an obvious act that we've lost to our frantic lives is like finding sunken treasure. Thank you for having me along."
— Beth O'Rourke, Filmmaker
Bynder is an Amsterdam based company in the digital asset management space. I came on board as they began acquiring companies in the US to expand their global reach. I managed an internationally dispersed design team and implemented original brand experiences and advertising campaigns across various media platforms, from social to events that drove sales to new heights. Internally, I worked to increase the cultural integration of the new California office through shooting and editing videos of company milestones.
An Amsterdam brand moves to Cali
Increasing adoption and love of brand and culture is critical to the health of a company. I used my documentary filmmaking experience to capture candid moments as Bynder rolled out their brand in the US.
Bynder at Adobe MAX/Los Angeles
Traditionally, Adobe MAX is not viewed by the Bynder sales team as a valuable stop on the trade show tour. In the past, none were captured. I aimed to change that by inventing an unforgettable, purpose-built, documentary driven experience. As it turns out, over 20 high quality leads were collected. I took inspiration from the Amsterdam Team’s award-winning project from the previous year called, “The Art of Organizing”. For the Los Angeles activation, I went completely local and hired “Smile Mountain” artists, Joel Fox and Jennifer Jordan Day to create an exciting new manifestation.
“To explore the weird and wonderful edges of the human brain, we challenged Bart Eysink Smeets, one of the most creative guys we know, to delve into the art of organizing. The Amsterdam-based artist has given himself 2 weeks to take up the hefty challenge of blending organization and creativity together.”
Branding, consulting, design, visual identity, user experience across all digital platforms, physical product, website, copy, and photography for start-up, "Handy Right Bag Co."
"From overhead bins to the grocery store to the great outdoors, this bag is full-on ready to run with you. Simple, sturdy and designed with a focus on just the essential features, there’s really no limit to where you’ll go with this backpack/tote bag combo, constructed out of recycled sail cloth."
In partnership with Beckon executives, famed illustrator John Hersey and animator Craig Sarachene, I developed and produced a comprehensive visual identity system with the single intention of delivering a final package that worked much like a symphony. I imagined a composition of lush, lyrical elements that describe the very human, honest soul of Beckon's novel, highly sophisticated enterprise marketing products that magically and elegantly unlock valuable insights from overwhelming amounts of big data.
I began work on the project back in February after competing with a few other creatives in a "bake off" — a "winner takes all" format where, if your creative concept hits home, you're hired. Over many months of work, the team constantly iterated on the visual story as Beckon's new messaging emerged. We communicated ideas via rough animations and sound design, mood boards, sketches and a lot of discussions about expressing the true essence of the Beckon brand. What we ultimately came away with was an overarching, versatile structure that carries the look, feel and message across myriad communication channels that typically make up today's marketing platform...including a "behind the scenes" video and a food truck for Ad Week, of course.
As the story goes, The Malibu Surfing Association (MSA) was founded on a November day in 1961 in the playroom of Butch Linden's Malibu Colony house. A bunch of guys were sitting around drinking (soda!) and someone mentioned that they ought to start a surf club -- establishing world-wide dominance in the sport of surfing. Everyone already knew Malibu had the best surfers. Okay - so maybe that wasn't their original goal, but the end result isn't far from it.
As Team Captain and Board Member of MSA, I'm proud to carry on the honored traditions and customs of our club by building our social media presence and designing and printing gear so members can proudly display their affiliation.
Each month we hold our open meeting at Dukes, Malibu at 7:00 PM. All members of the community are invited to attend.
Monterey Bay Aquarium was looking for a creative platform to house multiple dimensions of their story, from spotlight and showcase to mission and purpose across channels from out-of-home to social.
They sought to define a singular brand voice from which to tell stories, big and small, informative, engaging and action-oriented, and everything in between.
It became apparently important to grow and nurture a community of believers, engaging them in meaningful dialogues and actions towards a common goal.
Advertising campaigns in the demand generation-centric business to business space can be very dry feature/offer driven. Rather than going the way of a bulleted list of "value", I chose to take a customer-centric, character-driven, narrative approach that embraced the idea of showcasing the power of GoToMeeting through highlighting interesting customer stories.
The result was a complete 360 degree marketing turnaround for the company, driving product trials to new heights. The campaign began as a web series and grew into multiple media channels: TV (ESPN, CNN, NBC, Fox News, BBC, Comedy Central, E!), web (desktop and mobile), print, outdoor, video, digital display/rich media, social, sales, direct mail, trade show, and PR.
The creative/marketing goal was to directly relate to the small to medium size B2B market through real life stories of how GoToMeeting was one of the most valuable, everyday business tools in their management quiver.
Ultimately, I was awarded "Citrix Brand Champion" award for my work in transforming audience perceptions of several brands, including GoToMeeting, GoToAssist (remote support) and GoToMyPC (remote access).
I also overhauled the incumbent model of using multiple agencies (which was resulting in fractured, inconsistent messaging across channels) and structured an "in house agency" model using a mix of staff designers and developers with modest support from a few new external agencies including Duncan/Channon SF.
Citrix/GoToMeeting advertising series was created, written, managed, and produced by Beth O'Rourke, Creative Director.
Crew included Jeff Den Broeder/SiloMedia, Director, Alex Kopps, Director of Photography, Jessica Congdon, Editor, Laura Flippen, Emily Nathan, and Chris Reardon, Photographers.
Brand new business ideas require close collaboration and a lot of listening on the part of the designer.
Mountain Sports Marketing is the brain child of Liz Little, a marketing expert looking to launch a new consulting practice in the mountain sports industry. She wanted her mark to reflect her analytical and first hand knowledge of the space, her business value, and her creativity.
I got to know Liz and through many conversations, I built out severak different approaches to the challenge from tidy line work on top of crisp imagery to spirited brush work, evoking tracks cut through deep, early morning powder.
Her final choice was "the knot", inscribed with the business initials "MSM" in a diamond. The "S" represents the path weaving through the "M"ountains and the enclosing diamond shape represents business expertise. The diamond references a play on the "expert" designation of a diamond symbol you find on the most challenging ski slopes.
Love It or Leave It, inspired by the sea.
LIOLI hand dyes all natural textiles for your everyday use and enjoyment in Los Angeles, California.
Vintage, upcycled, hand stitched, hand dyed.
LIOLI was born of founder Mary Kasprzak's, love of quality, handmade goods and and the ocean. With that in mind, I designed a logo and visual system to suit her aspirations, aesthetics and values.
The mission, as set for by Jascha Kayaks-Wolff, CMO of Mozilla, was to take a stand against, “shitty executive head shots”. To remedy this he invited a small creative team, headed up by me, to invent a visually engaging and culturally relevant way to publicly represent their executive team.
To solve for this puzzle, I pulled together a crew with pro photographer, Emily Nathan, to bring consistency, stylish sensibility, high production value by utilizing a consistent focal length, depth of field, quality of light and professional retouching.
We used photography techniques that resulted in warm, human, bright, colorful, casual images of professional people portraying the best, relaxed versions of themselves. We achieved this by using a natural light/daylight aesthetic and a shallow depth of focus which will allowed their face to be the focal point of the image, with the background falling away, giving it a very cinematic look.
See all final portraits of Mozilla's Leadership Team here.
Well, heck, I certainly wasn't born yesterday, which means I have years of stuff that's been packed up in mothballs. I was thinking, why not let a few of them air out? Maybe we could even get a laugh out of how old this stuff looks or maybe show that (maybe!) I've been happily hammering away at ideas that ain't half bad for a while now.
They remind me that working with quality people and teams is one of the greatest inspirations of all — and that always brings out the best possible creative.