Jonathan Becker helps America ‘Do The Parking Spot’

Director Jonathan Becker pulled out all the stops to create Do The Parking Spot a music video for the Chicago-based travel convenience company of the same name.

A customized dance move, an ensemble cast, a crowd-sourced video library, a torrential downpour, an Atlanta parking garaged, and a fleet of bright yellow busses with black spots were just a few of the things that he encountered while completing the effort, which is all inspired by a catchy, homegrown, DIY rap tune and won the AVA Digital Award for Creativity last month.

Jonathan Becker
Jonathan Becker

The Parking Spot is a company that helps travelers shuttle from their cars to the airport and vice-versa with ease. In addition to boasting 38 airport parking lots at 23 airports around the nation, it is “beloved by its employees,” according to Becker. In fact, it is loved so much so that one of its shuttle drivers, Reece Peace, made a song to sing its praises.

Becker’s experience includes a decade directing music videos in LA and nearly three years executive producing for like Leo Burnet. He had never heard of Reece Peace until The Parking Spot approached him about doing the video, but he became an instant fan.

“When I heard the song,” he recalls, “I was like, ‘I’ll do it.’”

Here in a Reel Chicago exclusive, he explains what happened next.



Where did the song come from?
A Parking Spot employee named Reece Peace came up with the song. He’s a full time shuttle driver who moonlights as a rapper, and he happens to be a very good rapper. He wrote and recorded the song on his own, sent it to the company, and they loved it.

How did the client describe the job?
Parking Spot said, ‘we want to make a video and here’s the song.’ When I heard the song, I was like, ‘I’ll do it.’ We eventually had to shorten the lyrics, but there were not a lot of revisions. It was pretty close right out of the gate.

How did the concept evolve?
My inspiration was the Nellie Hot in Here video meets the Nickelback Rockstar video. The lyric talks about ‘do the parking spot,’ which in my brain is a dance — ‘Let’s do The Parking Spot.’ So I thought, let’s create the dance and include Parking Spot employees and their friends and families in the video. We made a tutorial video and sent it out to all their offices, there are 39 of them. We asked the employees to return user-generated videos of people doing The Parking Spot. At the end of the video, when he’s saying ‘LA, New York, Atlanta’ to clips of people doing The Parking Spot, those are people from those particular cities.



How exactly do you do The Parking Spot?
You pull in like you’re kind of driving your car, like you’re going to back it in. you spin around. You step to the right and you step you to the left. You clap. And then fly, fly, fly. That’s the airport part, where you’re flying away.

Can do you do The Parking Spot?
Oh, yeah. I’m in the demo video. I actually did the dance to teach the employees. The choreographer was LA Anderson, a friend of mine from college at MSU. I met him while I was on the gymnastics team.

Where did you get experience filming music videos?
I lived in Venice CA for a decade, 2005-2015. I was living in Los Angeles and working on a lot of music videos. I pulled a few pages out of some of the music video directors I had worked with. Traditionally, in music videos, there are at least three different setups, so the approach I sent reflected that aesthtetic. I wanted the artist in three different outfits, beginning with his Parking Spot uniform and ending in a tie.



How did you prepare for the job?
The client also wanted to see the colors of their brand in the video. Knowing that we were shooting in a huge parking garage and that production quality is crucial for telling stories in music videos, I rented super fast cameras to handle the low light. We shot with an Alexa mini and Zeiss superspeed prime lenses rented from Camera Ambassador. They worked great. I flew my DP Garrick Peterson in from Chicago and, for crew, I called a production manager who had helped on a pilot that I shot for MTV in Atlanta a few years ago. She helped me hire a completely local crew. We ran the job through Deputy Inc., a Chicago-based production service operated by my sister, Alison Ginsberg, who originally put me in touch with Parking Spot’s marketing director in Atlanta.

ALSO READ: Becker & Wagdy help ad viz make a five-year-old’s wish come true

When did you actually see the location where you had to shoot?
Before arriving in Atlanta, we reviewed videos of the location from Parking Spot’s website and Google search. Once we showed up and saw it, we totally changed directions to our whole approach. It was originally going to be filmed in front of the building. We decided we liked it better under the garage, where the background was more interesting and had a lot of light. We wanted to capture lens flares that had an anamorphic feel, so we used a Schneider one-millimeter blue streak filter.

On location in Atlanta
On location in Atlanta

How did the shoot go?
When we got to the set, the first thing Reece Peace said to me was, ‘I’m with you all day; I’ll do whatever you need.’ He’s kind of like a normal everyday guy who has a hidden talent. When we started filming, he really brought it on. His on-camera performance exceeded my expectations. He lip-synced everything. He knew the dance. I was so relieved. He is super kind, hardworking, and passionate about his employer. That’s another thing: The Parking Spot is one of those companies that is beloved by its employees. They made it easy for us to keep it authentic and real.

We had brought 300-foot hose to wet down the area, but a torrential downpour accomplished that for us. It was so loud that the actors and I could not hear the playback song, and the garage doesn’t have walls. It rained behind us and the water rolled down a hill to our set.

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