L.A. Bucks Boys set up shop in Chicago

Bucks Boys partner/director Jonathan Becker

The timing of Bucks Boys Productions’ big shoot in Chicago for Silk soy milk/Leo Burnett, will be remembered for its timing.  “We started the shoot in January and wrapped Feb. 2, the day of the blizzard,” says Jonathan Becker.

Despite the weather, the Chicago native was happy working on home turf. 

Becker’s partner, Josh Greenberg directed the Silk campaign and they flew in their L.A. editor and Burnett favorite, Nick Gartner, to edit here.

The timing of a Buddy Guy spot they shot in between the Silk shoot was considerably better.  Becker directed blues guitarist Buddy Guy on the only day during the entire year he performs at his Buddy Guy Legends club.

Becker, a music expert, and Greenberg, a real people specialist, had worked as a freelance producer team in L.A. for 10 years.  Then one night in November, 2007, “We sat down over a couple of drinks and decided we should work for ourselves,” says Greenberg. “We threw a website together and started calling around for work.”

Josh Greenberg, Bucks Boys partner/directorBarely three months later, Bucks Boys Productions got an auspicious start. A mutual friend connected them with Kanye West, who hired them as producers on a music video that Spike Jonze was going to co-direct with West.

The video, Flashing Lights, was a music phenom, achieving 20 million views and hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 10 videos of 2008.

Over the next three years, Bucks Boys produced and directed some 40 music videos for artists like Queen Latifah, Corbin Blue, Sammy Haggar, and Alice in Chains.

The partners wanted to return to the Midwest last fall. “We had a record label rep and a lot of business came to us through word-of-mouth,” says Greenberg.  “And we’re still cranking.  Our most recent music video was Alice in Chains’ Your Decision for Capital Records.” 

Last September, while producing spots and viral campaigns for Chiat/Day in L.A., Becker raised the idea of setting up shop in Chicago. 

To test the waters, they made a whirlwind trip to Chicago to meet with some 20 agencies and creatives and were “pleasantly surprised” by the welcome offered.  “Everyone was very warm and they suggested three other people for us to see,” says Becker, who maintains a local residence.

Rep Valerie Gobos was their first hire, and when she teamed the Bucks Boys with a Leo Burnett in January, they made their Chicago presence official by moving into a 4,500-sq. ft. Pilsen loft, shared with photographer Brian Kuhlman.

In addition to executive producer/directors Becker and Greenberg, Bucks Boys has four directors on its roster.  Two are from Chicago: Comedy director David Brooks and James Wvinner (formerly known as still photographer Jim Weiner), who directs health and fitness.

The other two are automotive director Paul Capra and comedy writer/director Laura Kightlinger.

Gobos’ phone is 312/836-8300.

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