Director Zack Seckler Shows Us How "Everyone's Unique" For State Farm, Conde Nast

By

Robert Goldrich
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

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In a time before face masks and sanitizer shortages, Conde Nast approached director Zack Seckler with an exciting opportunity: create eight State Farm spots to run on digital channels for Conde Nast titles like GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and across State Farm’s social media. Conde Nast wanted a partner that could not only direct the spots but also lead all production and creative. 

But then came the pandemic and the best laid plans fell by the wayside--locations, shoot days, scripts. Seckler shared, “From March through July we climbed a seemingly endless mountain of production hurdles capped with our pre-pro interrupted by a tornado. It seems disasters have an affinity for insurance commercials (the irony!).

“As pre-production progressed we followed strict safety guidelines built on recommendations from AICP. This required that I as the director, creative director and executive producer needed to do everything remotely. Casting remotely, scouting remotely, rehearsing with actors remotely...everything remotely.” 

Seckler continued that the crew assembled was intentionally kept “super small--think skeleton crew on a diet. It turned out that directing from 2,000 miles away was surprisingly smooth. Through a latticework of Zoom calls, Skype feeds, FaceTime calls and specialized walkie talkies I was able to see the camera feed in real time and maintain separate lines of communication with the agency, cast and crew. My voice was virtually projected to the actors and my face was streamed to an iPad that was carried around set like a scene out of Black Mirror.”

The biggest directorial challenge, assessed Seckler, was “blocking socially-distanced dialogue scenes. Creating enough space between our actors to follow safety guidelines while maintaining the perception of normal talking distance. We solved this both practically and in post. In the end I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish, especially given the circumstances. Many thanks to a wonderful cast, crew, agency and client."

This ScreenWork spot from the campaign is titled “Everyone’s Unique,” giving us a humorous take on how State Farm embraces what’s distinctive about each customer.

Credits

Client State Farm Agency Conde Nast Agency The Marketing Arm Production Zack Seckler, director, executive producer, creative director. Editorial Mike Feldman, editor. Audio Post Josh Heilbronner, mixer.

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