Down on the Magnolia Farm with Chip Gaines | Arcana Academy

As the other half of the Fixer Upper team, Chip brings hard work and a lot of personality to everything he touches. 

Which meant that as a brand visionary for Kilz and in addition to all the spots done with Joanna, Chip would have his own spotlight.   So off we went to Waco with the creatives from Arcana Academy, tasked with a hefty shot list for both video and stills all centered around Chip.   Ultimately these assets were used for TV, online video, SEO optimization content, website photography, print, display banners, dealer tool-kit asset library, brand guidelines, and I think more…

Growing up the son of a contractor, I appreciated not only his energy and passion for what he does but also his values — so many of them, mirror my teams and my philosophies about what it takes to do a job well:  1.  Do your homework.  2.   Look at the space for what it can be, not what it is.  3.  Go for quality materials.  4.  Build for the future, not for the now.  5.  Don't feel satisfied unless people are literally beside themselves.  Copy that Chip.

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The Gabriella Foundation | Everybody Dance

The seeds of the Gabriella Foundation project were planted back in the 90’s.  I was shooting a lot for Fallon — which meant opportunities working with writer/creative director Mike Gibbs and account manager, Kevin Berigan.  

Fast forward and Kevin is now a Director at a school in Ventura CA, he and Mike are working together on a fund raising campaign and asked me to direct the spots.

A few weeks later, Kevin tells me that he’s recommended me to The Gabriella Foundation, an LA-based non-profit which brings the transformative power of dance and artistic expression to thousands of inner-city kids — they needed help crafting their fund-raising message, from the ground up.  When I approached Arcana Academy about the opportunity to develop the creative, both Shane and Lee said “we always love a chance to be involved with something larger than ourselves” and so we all jumped right in.  

Over the course of 3-days, we met, filmed and photographed ten students who have brought dance into their lives, and have found themselves transformed.  Rounding out the video was an original score crafted by music composer Sven Faulconer with lead vocals by Briana Lee.

A real creative force that thing called chance.

Arcana Academy; Lee Walters, Shane Hutton, Creative Directors; Jessica Darke, Producer.

Rally Cycling | “Longevity”

This spot for Rally Cycling, which touts the long-term health benefits of cycling, debuted online during the final stages of the Tour de France.  The creative heads of Solve, Hans Hansen and Eric Sorensen, are Minneapolis ad legends, and my work with them has spanned agencies and decades. I’ve also had the pleasure of working for Rally Cycling, and their in-house creative director, Sam Wiebe for 5+ years through three name changes and their push to climb the ranks in international cycling. 


Following up after last year’s "Calories" spot, this time I would be directing Bob Powers, a 92 year-old triathlete from St. Paul.  When we showed up, our camera car was literally an old ambulance, with a porch so we could shoot. And we had a paramedic at the ready. And even through a cut on the ankle, Bob bandaged up and forged ahead to get the shot we needed. Who better to illustrate the health benefits of cycling? Bob was a true professional as we worked on timing single-take motion shots as both the daylight and Bob’s (enviable) endurance waned. We got the shot, on our last shot, and it’s always good to go home again, hang out with such legends. 

Catching Up With Cando

When I heard that Alex “Cando” Candelario had retired from pro cycling to the Big Island to establish a bike-tour company geared towards serious amateurs, I decided to see for myself what his new life was like.

It’s pretty fantastic.

He’s negotiated access to many of the vast tracts of privately held land on the Big Island, which means that he can go places no other tour guides can go. There was no way I was going to keep up with him and his tour group on a bike—I contented myself with photographing the action—but I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun. And Cando? He likes his detours, his remote corners of island life.

Those include a makeshift diving platform perched over the Pacific (that’s me sailing through the air) and a secret underground swimming hole that can only be accessed via a concrete trapdoor. I saw a side of Hawaii I’d never seen before, laughed a lot, swam, talked late into the night, and decided that if this was retirement, Cando had it figured out.

Thanks to Tim Schamber of Peloton for running a great piece on my trip. Read more here:

South Point, is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 United States

South Point, is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 United States

Team Optum Pro Cycling's Tom, Eric & Brad

Ambition, Visualized

It’s always exciting to be involved with high-caliber commercial work, but never more so than when the creative team are old friends, like Hans Hanson and Eric Sorensen of SOLVE. We go way back to our early days in Minneapolis, so when they asked if I’d like to shoot their latest campaign for the second-largest bank in the United Arab Emirates, it was an easy decision to make.

They wanted to show people from all walks of life visualizing their ambition. (80% of the UAE’s populace is made up of expat workers.) It was an unexpectedly emotional experience for many as they talked about family and future, hope and belief.

Not too far from where we were shooting in Abu Dhabi was the Dubai Creek Port, where things looked a little more gritty and improvised than the well-scrubbed streets of the city. I snuck over there with my camera and convinced some of the locals to let me shoot them. Their dhows were piled precariously high with new TVs and refrigerators and computers bound mostly for Iran. It looked like a tough existence but they were proud and friendly and glad to show me another side of the capital city.

Shahab, Haneen


Hans, Eric

Hans Hansen, Eric Sorensen, Shawn Michienzi, Jassim, Chris Rouchard, Michael Marantz