- LOS ANGELES
Production house atSwim has extended representation of director Chris Applebaum to include the U.S. Previously, Applebaum had been represented by the company--which is headed by EPs David Schiavone and Michael Appel--for spots and branding work just in Europe. Applebaum is best known for his fashion and beauty work in spots for Bud Light, Carl’s Jr., Pizza Hut and music videos for such artists as Demi Lovato and Rihanna.
Applebaum feels atSwim is a great fit on both continents. “My studio and workload have grown considerably, so it makes sense to centralize everything. David (Schiavone) and atSwim really get me, see the bigger picture, so I can be supported both in the U.S. and abroad. I’ve known U.K. rep, Kate Elson (who handles atSwim), for years and love her. So atSwim feels very comfortable and natural for me, almost if I created a commercial company myself, without doing all the executive work.”
Prior to shifting his U.S. representation, Applebaum had been handled in the American ad market by Fancy Content.
Schiavone said that Applebaum “makes everyone look great. Whether it’s Miley Cyrus in a music video or a Head and Shoulders spot featuring Sofia Vergara, he always makes the talent look killer. Second, Chris is an uber-prepared director. The man does his homework; nobody brings it more on set.”
Applebaum splits his career into three chapters. Applebaum 1.0 was his start in music videos work; Hip Hop, Alternative and Pop Female. Applebaum 2.0 was about being a beauty commercial director, developing techniques to make women look absolutely perfect using post-heavy techniques. It was at this time that Applebaum directed his high-profile ads for Carl’s Jr. Chapter 3.0 is Social Media Applebaum and what social media has wrought. “The rise of social media, selfies and the like has lead me to strip down my own processes,” said Applebaum. “Authenticity is about something pure, uncontrived, real and tactile. It’s critical to embrace this paradigm shift in the creation of imagery.”
Applebaum believes social media has led to a sophisticated worldwide culture. “I noticed that the waiter in Prague has the same haircut as the hipsters at Cafe Gratitude in Los Angeles,” he said. “Kids in Istanbul look just as cool as the kids in London--not a year later, but simultaneously.”
Even though Applebaum spent years perfecting an approach to beauty, he constantly updates his definition. “Beauty to me is about personality and a unique POV that looks at things beyond the surface,” he said. “I’m a connoisseur of surface and have a meticulous attention to detail. But what makes a person beautiful? Beauty to me is about evoking a feeling that’s captivating and memorable. Proliferation of natural light inspired by social media has created a demand for natural beauty. Amateurs might not be skilled in studio lighting or Photoshop, so blemishes and imperfections are the new norm.”
atSwim maintains offices in Los Angeles, New York and Prague. Applebaum is particularly enamored with the L.A. market. “I truly believe L.A. is emerging as the new world epicenter of beauty and fashion,” he said. “All the tech companies are here. All the social media influencers are in L.A. There are tons of cosmetic, hair and apparel companies either based or moving to L.A. While NY, London, Paris and Milan will always set the bar for fashion, L.A. has a laid back, accessible feel. There is a friendliness and fun factor here that the world is connecting with.”