Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Netflix Space Cats

Editing is not cool. This is what I must have looked like to my girlfriend this weekend as I edited for three straight days trying to knock out a 30 second spec commercial for Netflix.

I didn't find out about the contest until a few days before the deadline and it was a mad rush to finish. Bianca drew and colored all the backgrounds and we recorded all the voice overs in our closet.

I used all the footage of our cats shot on greenscreen from a previous commercial and the only thing I had to shoot was the cat spaceship. (Which I picked up at a collectible shop near my work - a mini enterprise! how cool is that!? - Bianca added the ears and whiskers in photoshop - looks awesome!)


Computer magic!

We didn't have time to make the second video. Bianca had a great idea to have one with an evil double headed dog that eventually makes nice with our cat buddies and watches a movie. Too bad. But I think we came out with a really fun video none the less.

Without further ado it is my tremendous honor to present, Netflix Space Cats!!!! starring Bianca D'Amico in her greatest performance yet!!!!

I have to give crazy mad thanks to Bianca for all her hard work, her great drawings, and voice over work, and letting me get away with editing on Valentines Day. Thanks babes! We did sneak out for two amazing meals - one of which was the lamb shepards pie at Auntie Em's. Thank you shepards pie for giving us the endurance and inspiration to keep going.
It looked something like this:

Photos just don't do this meal justice! Do you like melty buttery potatoes? I see your head nodding. That's a yes. Do you like lamb? You're probably like, I dunno? Do I? You do, trust me. They braised the hell out of this lamb and hid it under a pile of those melty potatoes you love so much. It's a surprise search party and what you uncover just might make you love yourself again. It's okay to smile. You have lovely teeth. Show them off. And hey, while you're smiling, why don't you come down off that ledge. Life is great isn't it? That's how good this fucking pie was. And is. Again, thank you pie.

There are close to 400 submissions! Whaaaat? A new Poptent record. 5 winners get 8 grand each. Say whaaat? I know. I really want to win. Like really bad. Really really bad. Just like any Poptent contest there are some really good videos and some terribly awful ones. Send me a link to your favorite and worst submissions.Watch Here


Erick, I watched many of those submissions and thought a lot of them were pretty good.  Some of them were highly polished and you would think they should be TV commercials, for example, Netflix Noir and Moments Notice.  But are they out of place?  Are they made for the internet? I would think the internet audience is younger and needs something to really catch their attention.
 The whole family angle or the young couple in love is just so cliche, I had to keep myself from vomiting every now and thenCan't wait to see the results of the judging.  This is one tough competition.



Yes, I definitely think the super polished videos seem out of place -- I couldn't agree more. I don't think Netflix is doing this ad contest to save money but instead to look for something a bit unusual and to get an idea of how they can go about packaging the somewhat complicated new campaign of netlix streaming. There is a lot of info that the viewer must know in 30 seconds, and in the "creative brief," netflix was very specific about communicating this. They preferred to not use the word "streaming" and instead "watch instantly," for those who are not versed with the term. Anyhow, I think it works as a great focus group, in order for them to package it more effectively. Yes, maybe they would use an entire video as is, or they could use an idea of a video and remake it entirely. That obviously remains to be seen. As far as the video you were referring to involving the "couple in love," yes I couldn't agree more. Looks great. Terribly cliche and boring. Not to mention borrowed from a recent Iphone commercial. I think Netflix is better than that. There is a great article here, you definitely have to read, I'm curious on your take. Teaser: "If a company like Pepsi or Trident wanted a standard commercial shot with a $20,000 camera they would just hire some production company to do that for them."

So, what are my chances? Not really sure. I definitely would have done a few things differently if I had the time. I think it could have been more fun if we had more time to toy around with the dialogue. Take some more chances. Make it a little more edgy and offbeat. Especially the first third. But 30 seconds goes by so fast! You really have to stay on point. And yes are cats overdone on the internet? Yes! (Netflix probably doesn't know I had to reuse the footage from when I thought cats were in vogue. 2009. Cats were freaking inspired!) What I am hoping is that they like the idea. The branding. For me, I am always amazed by the future. Something like Netflix streaming for me is proof of how great the future we are living in really is. And as far as I could tell I don't think anyone else hit on that idea. Either way, I was happy with the finished product, and after seeing most of the competition, I would like to think I still have a fighting chance.--- Did you happen to see how many videos were made featuring bratty evil kids that finally chill out after their clueless parents put on a Netlix movie? Oh man! There's at least three of them and the makers are arguing with each other regarding stealing one another's ideas. (Check out the comments) It's wrong on so many levels. 


I wasn't joking when i said I watched half the videos submitted.  Many I thought had a clever concept or the funny, but failed to adequately sell the netflix brand....like it was an afterthought or they ran out of time.  How often do we hear that consumers will remember a memorable ad campaign but not the product.  It's really hard to guess how the execs are going to judge this.  I certainly thought your video was different than the others, good concept, cute dialogue (saturday morning cartoonish-like) and you devoted plenty of time to pushing the netflix details.  Now as far as doing something different, someone mentioned to me that perhaps it would have been better if you had a 3rd distinct voice in there.  Idk, I didn't notice anything too off.  Did you get that sense?
I agree your video had a certain vibe to it..upbeat, positive.....yeah! the future is awesome...let's buy this shit, let's get in on what these happy cats are so excited about.  And the whole futuristic space travel thing ties in real well.  I know I'm biased, but I thought this is something that will surely catch and retain ones attention so yes, you got a fighting chance. Also, people are impatient these days, especially more so since DVR's, people get easily irritated with commercials, especially ones that try to manipulate your feelings like those 'you can have a nice family experience if you buy into our product'...oh please.  Your cats are not manipulating anyone...they're just fcuking cats! Who could get annoyed with cats?  I think you appeal to a larger audience.  Idk, I'm no expert.
Overall, I was just amazed at all the creativity people put in their work. And let's not forget the bad ones!  Those were interesting- too many to list! Ha! people are arguing over the rights to the bratty kids idea?  I saw the one 'eat your veggies'  Placating bratty kids is nothing new in commercials...I remember that horrible commercial ad from toyota 'just because you're a parent, doesn't mean you have to be lame'  raaaaage! I will look into those comments.

Did you see 'Let's go back to your place'?  That cracked me up....."What, what?"


Yeah, if you find any links put them up here. I meant to do a bad/good link but I worried of being a jerk and it trailing back to the blog. Anyway, yes, this "mystery person" is accurate in wanting three distinct voices. My two voices, "announcer voice," and "cat voice," sound eerily similar. I would have liked to have the time to experiment with my "cat voice," or have someone else come in. Maybe a Russian accent, a Shatner impression, generic cartoon character. I'm as confused now as I was in the hours leading up to the deadline on what the hell that cat was supposed to sound like. He was basically the straight man. But, yeah, definitely would have taken more of a chance with that one. Bianca wants me to sign up with her to take a voice over class. If that ever happens come next time when someone needs a talking animal I'll be prepared. 


You did what you could do on short notice.  Am I correct in assuming that all these videos needn't be media-ready right NOW as they have been submitted?  I would think that if they like a particular concept that there would be an opportunity to fine tune.
Definitely do that voice-over class! Before you sell a billion dollar script you could be making 500-700 an hour being your zany self. How sweet is that.


  1. HA! I liked it. Good job. People love cats and hate mailing back those dvd's, streaming is the way to go! yes the population has become lazier....just like cats...brilliant!

  2. Erick, I hope you win and they start using your commercials. I cannot stand the Netflix commercials of game show questions. I turn off the radio every time they come on. They insult my intellegence with nonsensical answers. It really bugs me. They do need a new and fresh series of commercials. Please win and do so well, that they hire you to do all of their commercials. Keep up the great work. Love, Aunt Dar

  3. meow meow meow meow - translation: it was so much fun wearing tshirst!

    meow meow - translation: yes we want to win so that we can get more tshirts and go out for a fancy sushi meal with our mom and dad!

    - the cats

  4. we're jabbing in order for it to register that we updated the blog and receive an email. Get it? It could say anything. Jab. Jab. Hook? (boxing lingo?) eh? I dunno?

  5. yes I got that the first time and it's a good idea. I'd like to propose that we can use any boxing OR MMA references.
    people gonna get confuze


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