Jaffe’s Big Teeth are smiling over 10th anniversary

Elise and Gregg Jaffe are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Big Teeth Productions with a party next week for 200 invited guests at their Ravenswood office. 

Among the decorations will be floor-length banners, hung on the windows from curtain rods, with scenes from “A Decade of Big Teeth,” an animated trip with the Big Teeth logo character in scenes from decades dating back to the 1920s.

After the party, says Elise Jaffe, “we’ll reverse the banners so they face out and the people riding the ‘L’ going by will have something fun to look at.”

Elise, originally from Cleveland who came to Chicago via five years with New York agencies, and Gregg, a Chicagoan, met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend.  Elise was producing at JWT and Gregg, who had just left his job as assistant account executive at Ogilvy, was working on his pre-social media satirical magazine, “an Onion type of thing,” she says.

Elise and Gregg Jaffe“The year we met, we were going to a lot of weddings and watching photo montages of the bride and groom.  We said, ‘we could tell more interesting stories with videos,” Jaffe recalls. “We made some for friends, but the work wasn’t very challenging or profitable.”

Then they got serious about forming a production company.  She quit her job and, in a professional twist, Elise took over the business side while Gregg concentrated on creative.  They were married a year later

Big Teeth specializes in documentary-style marketing videos, live action and animation/stop motion, for corporate, university, healthcare and PR agency clients. Recent work includes Wyley Publishing, North Shore University Health Systems, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Quaker Oats, Orbitz and Here (formerly Nokia) for which they have produced 200-plus videos in 11 languages since 2007.   

Big Teeth is located in 2,500-sq. ft. space offices, with a green screen stage, in a sprawling loft building at 4001 N. Ravenswood. 

Their staff of six full-time and two permalancers are considered family, Jaffe says, and their office is a place where they, their kids (a girl, four, and a boy, one) and Winnie their dog can hang out and feel comfortable.