Filmed entirely in isolation, in a bedroom, bathroom, and the alley, ‘Friends on a Shelf’ alleviates the loneliness and monotony of isolation.
Chicago-based boutique production company Minimal produced a spot for a small independent craft and consignment shop in Evanston, Illinois called Nice Lena & Friends. Directing duo Spaceship Town helmed the ad, with one half of the team, Stirling McLaughlin, also starring.
Shot and directed by McLaughlin in his bedroom, bathroom, and the alley behind his building in Evanston, the quirky and colorful spot delights with its off-kilter comedy. The other half of the directing team, Wilder Konschak, handled post-production from his home in San Pedro, California. They wrote and conceptualized it together and managed the process via Slack and Google Docs, which is actually the duo’s typical production process, regardless of the pandemic.
Coming off her recent viral success with her laser-cut wooden earrings depicting Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot issuing Stay at Home orders in her characteristic stoic stance, Nice Lena founder Lena Kim decided to take the idea to the next level. She refined her process and began creating miniature versions of friends, family, and even pets and called it Friends On A Shelf. By uploading a full-length photo of the person or animal of your choice, Kim transforms them, using lasers, into a quarter-inch thick, 6-inch tall wood cut out.
McLaughlin says, “Lena and I are close friends, and I’m so glad we finally got the opportunity to collaborate on something. Shooting and directing the film alone in my bedroom with Wilder handling post separately was a new experience for us. But, in the end, it worked out seamlessly and I’m glad we were able to provide some laughs in the process. “
Konschak adds, “We’ve been working remote for years, so the quarantine didn’t slow us down at all. We have the tools and know-how to deliver professional results even with thousands of miles between us.”
Says Kim “My entire business exists to promote area artists. So if I can help some local filmmakers by having them make a funny ad for me, it’s a win-win.”
“We understand that it’s pretty challenging to keep our humor and balance all the very important things going on in the world,” says Will Meyers, Executive Producer at Minimal. “While we work on the broaders issues in our society and industry, it’s also good to be reminded that we enjoy what we do and if we can smile now, then Spaceship Town has done something good.”
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