How againstallodds Told a Tall Tale for Intuit
The Passion directors take us through the complex process of creating giant robots for their stunning short film & accompanying Super Bowl spot.
While many brands splashed out on celeb-studded, big-ticket spots at last night's Super Bowl, financial software company Intuit made smart use of its modest 15-second slot, with a joke about skippable ads.
Following the online-only release of a stunning Pixar-style short film (also directed by againstallodds), the big game spot introduced the star of the online film, a helpful 'giant', to explain how Intuit harnesses the power of its brands Turbo Tax, QuickBooks and Mint to save people time and help small businesses thrive - all of which was neatly demonstrated by the big guy transforming an ad countdown timer at the edge of the screen into a 'skip ad' button with a jovial bash of his fist.
shots caught up with the directors to find out more about the competing demands of the job and how they embodied the spirit of a huge corporation in a giant robot.
What appealed to you about the script?
The very concept of giant robots was very appealing to us. We liked the idea of a parallel universe where the existence of these giants is an everyday occurrence, there is something interesting in making the fantastical seem mundane. We also found the story with Pete and Pari fun to work with, having a human story combined with the fantastical helped with believability.
Is it the first Super Bowl spot you’ve directed? How daunting/exciting was that as a prospect?
It is our first Super Bowl spot and it was great to get the chance. It was a daunting task considering we were also working on a parallel long-form spot at the same time.
The 15-second spot which was aired at the Super Bowl and the 4-minute online film are quite different, tonally. How did you approach the two films?
The vast difference in screen time naturally forced the two spots to be treated very differently. In the 4-minute film we had the time to build story and the characters whereas the 15-second spot demanded quick read due to the screen time.
The giant robot characters are really impressive – tell us a bit about how you created them and brought a sense of humanity to them?
The design and creation of the Intuit giant was a quite lengthy process. We had a number of designers on the task, throwing a wide net to try to nail something. We pursued many different routes ranging from shiny iphone/tesla-esque designs to scrapheap junk constructs and everything in between.In the end it was a quick sketch that stuck out and streamlined the direction.We were trying to create something unique which is pretty hard considering the vast amount of robot designs floating around but feel that we found something that can stand on its own.
Once we had the design there were a lot of technical challenges so that it would do what we needed. We knew that the round torso would be very restrictive in terms of allowing the giant get into human poses and it took quite a lot of engineering to work around that challenge.
When it comes to giving our giant a sense of humanity at the end it's all in the animation. We're strong believers in the fact that you can bring humanity into pretty much anything if you treat it as if it has emotions. It's down to finding the mannerisms and quirks that create a spark in the machine. The animators did a great job!
What were the biggest challenges (technical or otherwise) that you encountered?
As mentioned the robot itself was a huge challenge, both design wise and from an engineering point of view. The sheer scale of the project was also a challenge. There was a massive amount of assets to create and animate in a very short period of time. Balancing the narrative story aspects with the marketing side of the project also proved to be a challenge.
Will you be staying up to watch the Super Bowl?
Haha, no we probably won't. We're pretty exhausted after this massive push and probably couldn't manage to stay up even if we found a way to watch it.