3in1 produces saucy Hecky’s BBQ spot

Despite having recently cut back staff and office space, 3to1 studio’s Josh Reichlin claims that a philosophy of cheerleading on behalf of their clients is keeping them busier than ever.

Their “saucy” new 15-second spot for Hecky’s Barbecue, to air in July, is characteristic of the cheeky animations that have gained the studio repeat clients for print, web design and visual production.

Built around the restaurant’s “It’s the Sauce!” slogan, the spot shows how a woman’s love life is dramatically transformed after she tastes the famous BBQ sauce, courtesy of a handsome Hecky’s delivery guy.

“Hecky enjoys creating controversy. It’s hard to walk the fine line where it doesn’t look purely Freudian, but we had a lot of fun with it,” says Reichlin, who co-founded 3to1 with fellow Columbia College graduate and producer/director Zbigniew Zarduzki three years ago.

Adapting to the economic climate, Reichlin and Zarduzki minimized the permanent staff to just themselves, and moved to a “humble” 400-sq. ft. downtown office.

“We didn’t need that many people making decisions, and it it’s just easier if we were smaller in terms of the day-to-day,” says Reichlin, who handles editing, motion graphics, and web design.

Two of 3to1’s highest-profile projects have been music videos. Collaborating with director Ruben Fleischer in 2007, they produced the video for Kid Sister’s hit “Pro Nails” featuring Kanye West.

Their video for Brentley’s 2008 single, “Southern Boi,” found new life after Brentley won 2009 R&B Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards.

With more music video work for Chicago rapper Bull set for July, the streamlined 3to1 shows no signs of downsizing their ambitions.

“I’d like for us to continue as a media company, being well equipped in every department,” says Zarduzki. “We are taking scripts on feature films and hope to make our first feature in the next year or so.”

3to1 recently produced the 16mm short film “Sea of Darkness,” about explorer Henry Hudson’s unexplained last days, in collaboration with regular partners, writer/director Andrew Maxwell and his brother John. They will expand the story if funding is secured.

3to1 Studios is at 203 N. Wabash, phone, 312/281-2288. See