- SANTA MONICA, Calif.
RadicalMedia has added director Jonny Mass to its roster for commercial and branded content representation in the U.S., U.K., Germany and China/Asia. The L.A.-based visual storyteller has moved quickly up the ranks of sought-after car directors while branching out into highly cinematic films in and out of the advertising industry. His BMW spot, “The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine” starring Milo Ventimiglia for Goodby Silverstein & Partners, was just released on April Fools’ Day, generating considerable buzz.
The BMW film tricks viewers into believing Ventimiglia is in a fully autonomous car before revealing that the “self-driving” tag refers to the brand new BMW M4’s manual transmission, meaning that Ventimiglia has all along been the driver in complete control of the high performance vehicle as it is being put through its paces. “The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine,” a job for the American market, was produced by Toronto-based Radke, the production company which continues to rep Mass in Canada. Earlier, the director was handled in the U.S. by m ss ng p eces.
Mass said getting the chance to connect and go back and forth with Ventimiglia early on helped to properly realize the story and elements of humor. The director described “The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine” as being “a love letter” to car enthusiasts who feel left behind with the emergence of new self-driving technology.
“The Ultimate Self-Driving Machine” reflects the kind of work Mass is currently targeting. He described himself as “pushing for narrative integration within the stunt action world.” This dovetails nicely with the filmmaker’s affinity for telling engaging stories that are rooted in the action genre while not being afraid to take themselves too seriously.
The April Fools’ project not only satisfied Mass’ appetite for such work across different genres but also continued a fruitful relationship the director has enjoyed with BMW and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. A couple of years ago, he directed another ambitious BMW job for Goodby--one which called for the driving of an X5 crossover in a straight line (no turns) all the way from the vehicle factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, directly to the Auto Show stage in Los Angeles. Varied obstacles and real events posed challenges to the X5. The journey entailed an unexpected way to cross the Mississippi River, a real-life demolition derby in Tennessee, cornfields, ranches, even a high school football game in Texas. The result is a beautiful portrait of the X5’s capabilities as well as America’s heartland. The film and how it connected with audiences evolved. As originally planned, it was screened at the Auto Show but the work was so unique that an edited version ultimately ended up gaining exposure in select markets during the 2019 Super Bowl telecast.
Goodby creatives gravitated to Mass for a return engagement with the April Fools’ Day piece--based in part on their prior positive X5 collaboration, as well as a recent separate project that the director wrapped for Ducati combining high action/motorbike performance and subtle humor.
Titled “Octane Symphony,” the Ducati motorbike spot was a pet project that Mass had written a couple of years ago. Fast forward to late 2020, coming out of the COVID lockdown and just starting to work again, Mass proceeded with the Ducati shoot on his own. Ducati saw and embraced the finished piece which is now running in dealerships and on the company’s website. After completing the branded Ducati project, Mass moved on to a multi-spot campaign for Hyundai in Canada.
Mass said he went with RadicalMedia as his new representation roost because he first and foremost was seeking a place that “felt like family.” He developed an immediate rapport with the partners and executive producers there, relating that all the way through the company ranks, from assistants to company president Frank Scherma, “everyone was welcoming, genuine and nice.” Mass described his orientation as looking to connect with “friends and mentors” ahead of business partners. And he felt that nurturing dynamic at Radical.
Mass grew up in the desert of Arizona. From an early age he became addicted to the adrenaline rush he got from holding the throttle of his dirt bike wide open painting the desert floor with his rear tire. Later in his teens, Mass discovered that same adrenaline boost at the skatepark, launching a successful YouTube channel eventually leading him to branded opportunities. One of those opportunities resulted in him becoming the first filmmaker to shoot in 8K resolution for RED Digital Cinema.
Since then Mass has directed projects for brands including Porsche, Toyota, Facebook, Michelin, Kia, Porsche, Spotify, Sony and Mayer Elliott.
Mass made another early initial career splash when he earned a slot in SHOOT’s 2019 New Directors Showcase, which was unveiled at the DGA Theatre in NYC.
Client BMW Agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer; Rich Silverstein, co-chairman; Matt Edwards, Wes Phelan, creative directors; Carlos Rangel, associate creative director; Kevin Leung, Duncan Spear, art directors; Rachel Nagpal, copywriter; Bonnie Wan, partner, head of brand strategy; Christine Chen, partner, head of communications strategy; Stephanie Phillips, group brand strategy director; Kevin Destefan, strategy director; Don Kim, director of communications strategy; Matthew Hudgins, sr. communications strategist; Josh German, communications strategist; Jane Warren, research & analytics director; Leila Gage, Margaret Brett-Kearns, co-directors of production; Matt Flaker, executive producer; Kateri McLucas, producer. Production Radke, Toronto Jonny Mass, director; Pete Konzcal, DP; Dan Ford, exec producer; Geoff McLean, producer. U.S. Production Vision Film Editorial Cabin, Santa Monica, Calif. Edward Khoma, editor; Orion Fernando, assistant editor; Adam Becht, exec producer; Lynne Mannino, producer. Audio/Sound Design Sound Source Inc., Woodland Hills, Calif. Charles Deenen, supervising sound designer, mixer; James Evans, Nick Martin, sound designers; Josh Moore, Travis Prater, sound editors; Andrew Bock, producer. Music Squeak E. Clean Studios Rob Barbato, West Coast creative director; Justin Hori, Midwest creative director; Max Taylor, sr. producer. VFX The Mill Chris Knight, executive creative director; Alex Candlish, remote shoot supervisor/VFX supervisor/lead/finish artist; Dylan Streiff, Franz Kol, Kai Chun Tsai, Pradeep Kumar Rawat, Nikhil K M, Arun Kumar Sah, Rahul Bharadwaj, Pushpendra Singh, Jhosidth T, Prajeesh E, 2D artists; Daniel Stern, 3D artist; Patrick Dirks, 2D artist & finish artist; Itai Muller, matte painting; Jacob Bergman, animation; Kevin Diaz, Valerie Chernysh, art department; Elizabeth Hammer, tracking. Color The Mill Paul Yacono, colorist; Fawn Fletcher, exec producer, color; Denise Brown, sr. color producer; Gemma Parr, Logan Highlen, color artists.