The winner of the Forever Young theme for Pepsi Films TriBeCa was Jody L Miller, who came up with a hilarious spot that revealed a generational conspiracy. Jody kindly answered some questions for us about her filmmaker chops and future plans.
Jody Lauren Miller
What experience do you have in films and filmmaking and how long have you been making films for:
I started my production career at NFL Films (National Football League) a handful of years ago where I learned the art of filmmaking from the ground up. One can only take so many tackles and touchdowns before venturing out and making funny films ... at least I think that's the normal progression of a filmmaker.
What are your hopes for your future in film and are you working on any other projects at the moment:
My hope for "my future in film" is simple ... to keep shooting! I try to shoot as much as possible and just rock out fun, creative work. As far as other projects, I'm always writing something. Currently I'm cooking up two short films, a viral project involving all aspects of social media and of course reading through the current MOFILM / PEPSI briefs to see what creatives are "speaking" to me. Besides that I'm busy bragging about my MOFILM TriBeCa experience.
Why did you choose to enter for Pepsi in particular:
The brief! The thing that always attracts me to MOFILM and PEPSI FILMS competitions are the creatives. If I have a strong idea, that can bring their brief to life, I'll shoot it.
What do you think of Pepsi Films:
Starting with their briefs I can tell you I think Pepsi Films believes in the filmmaker and their creativity before "product pitches" and that is unheard of in my experience. Any company who posts a brief saying they DON'T want their product featured ... well, you have to like that immediately. It told me they were looking for good, strong FILMS not commercials. What filmmaker doesn't immediately fall in love with that idea? Pepsi Films is a group I'd never hesitate to throw creativity at.
Are you going to enter any Pepsi Films contests:
Done and done and yes and yes! I will be entering more in the future.
How did you come up with the idea for this particular spot:
Here's the scene, true story ... pizza place, old guy, paying with change, everyone's mad. Stereotypes are funny and relatable because they are based on a truth. So after getting annoyed at the slowness of the more-mature-sector of society, I just envisioned a world where maybe, just maybe, there was some sort of senior-conspiracy and the joke is on us.
What do you think about Pepsi as a brand and how did you try to get this across in your film:
The Pepsi brand is so omnipresent in our daily lives it's hard not to come across it time and again throughout the day. In "Old on Purpose" there was no need to hit the viewer over the head with any kind of branding or sales pitch. It's never mentioned or highlighted in any way. As a matter of fact the product is VERY easy to miss in our spot, but it is ever present. You will see Pepsi cups at the pizza place, in the movie theater and in the old-fogies glasses in the "party" scene at the end of the film. So the only way we tried to get across any type of branding effort was simply to mimic its presence in our daily lives.
What kind of person were you targeting with your spot, what particular reaction were you aiming for and how did you go about getting it:
"Old on Purpose" was not targeted to a certain demographic ... well, except for those people who want to laugh. The goal was to tell a solid story with colorful characters that plays on a silly idea. The gag played well and the "reveal" got that wonderful, slow "ahhhhhh" reaction I was hoping for. Once the joke was told I drove it home just a bit more by showing a funny over the top reaction of an aggravated driver that we can all relate to ... because most of us have lived it.
What equipment did you use:
We shot with the Panasonic AF100 and used a Canon 7d DSLR for the car scene. Since we didn't have a truly solid car mount we couldn't risk the AF100 falling off so the DSLR had to be the brave one and sit on the hood of the car while it was cruising around. Luckily all survived unscathed and lived to shoot another day.
Did you face any challenges in the process of making the film:
This is such a funny question because there isn't one shoot, large or small, without a huge list of challenges and problems. I'm sure all filmmakers can attest to that. With that being said the biggest challenge on this one was casting. It's very hard to find talented, older actors. Let alone talented, older actors who can get themselves to the set LOL.
What advice would you give a filmmaker thinking about entering a Pepsi Films competition:
Do it!!! However, be sure to shoot something you love. Shoot a film that will have "legs" and that you can use for your demo reel. It takes such a huge effort to put out good work so make your time (and those friends who you sucker into helping you) worthwhile!