One at Optimus director Michael Chaves helmed a spot for Soles4Souls Inc., a global not-for-profit dedicated to fighting poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing. Chaves and his team took the project from development through production and into post. Soles4Souls’ “Journey” tells an epic story of a pair of shoes that embark on a trek to find a barefoot little girl across the world. We follow them through a series of imaginative vignettes as they make their way and join up with other shoes.
“As we were developing the idea, I knew I wanted to shoot as much in-camera as possible, keeping it real and tactile,” Chaves said. “Because we’re following a pair of children’s shoes, I wanted there to be a very human, child-like quality to the piece.”
Soles4Souls was looking for a spot that would work on TV and on the web, and that would address the organization’s mission in an uplifting manner. By following a pair of shoes in a series of whimsical vignettes, “Journey” was able to address a significant problem in a light and hopeful way.
“Before we shot, we did a lot of tests with animation and puppeteering,” Chaves said. “I found it was hard to get the weight and compression right, and a lot of the early tests were always missing something. Our best and final solution was shooting actors wearing the shoes and then removing the talent in post.”
Chaves had music supervisor Tricia Halloran approach Sigur Ros member Jonsi about licensing his song “Go Do” for the piece. Chaves adds, “It really makes it work. The song is so bubbly and magical – it’s impossible not to love it.”
“We’re very honored to be the focus of Mike Chaves’ creative and inspiring production,” Soles4Souls chief executive officer Buddy Teaster said. “It actively captures the joy we get to witness every day on the faces of children seeing their new shoes for the first time.”