A Common Thread‘s Clay Staub recently directed a new campaign for Universal Studios via agency David & Goliath that encourages park patrons to “find your inner Minion.” A blend of live action, visual effects and computer animation, the spot promotes the park’s new attraction Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.
Known for his visual effects expertise, (he served as second unit director on 300, Dawn of the Dead and Man of Steel), Staub directed live-action scenes to conform to complicated CG elements. Most scenes were a mix of live, animation and visual effects components and each piece had to work technically and help tell the story in a fun and visual way.
The spot depicts a family arriving at Universal Studios to find the park overrun with Minions, impulsive, mischievous yellow creatures featured in the films Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. They splash about in a fountain and duel with churros before dashing off to the new Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride. When mom, dad and the two kids hop into one of the car’s rides, they are magically transformed into Minions themselves.
Staub encouraged the actors to interact with unseen CG characters. “Our lead actor didn’t have a lot of experience with visual effects but by midday he assured me, he could ‘see’ the Minions,” said Staub.
Staub explained that his previous experience with the creative team from David & Goliath also aided in making a complicated shoot go smoothly. “We’ve got a great relationship,” he said. “We all want the same thing, we were all there to problem-solve and we all made it happen!”