And thanks for sending this great Jean & Gene Phase 2 campaign our way. These spots remind us of everything we love about van life. Mainly, that we don’t have to do it anymore since our emo cover band broke up in ’05 (RIP, Laundryday Romance). Still, we can’t help but get a little nostalgic for our days of peeing in Slurpee cups and karate chopping raccoons for trying to steal our hoodies. That’s why we’re so tickled to see these crazy kids Jean and Gene still making a go of it. It’s nice to see characters who show us that #vanlife isn’t just about Instagramming sunsets and namaste-ing with bald eagles on energy vortexes and stuff. It’s about the adventures that happen when you put aside your expectations and go where the road takes you—even if sometimes it takes you somewhere dumb, like on a “hike.” Ugh, who even likes those? Name us ONE person.
The first Jean and Gene campaign was great. It was well cast, well shot, and it established a funny but natural-feeling rapport between our two main characters. With this round, we want to take it a step further and give more of a sense of “life on the road”—the good, the bad, and the holy-crap-I-just-maced-myself-with-bear-spray-like-a-dingus.
The sunny SoCal flavor of the last campaign was the perfect starting point for our road warriors, but we’re excited to take Jean and Gene to new locations that have a completely differ- ent look and vibe. We’re well situated since so many elements are already in place—the cast, the van, the characters and their chemistry—so the main thing we'd love to add to the next round of Jean and Gene's Road Trip is more a sense of being ON THE ROAD. We'd love to see these two in a variety of places to really give the feeling that they're traveling the land, from sea to shining sea. What's more, we'd love to see them actually traveling—driving in their van and having their candid, quirky conversations against different backdrops as they try their darndest to make the road their home.
We know there are big logistical challenges here—but we think if we carefully plot out a shoot- ing and location strategy, we can plus out this side of Jean and Gene's story quite a bit. With themes like New Age sound baths and bear sprays, we'd love to explore more Southwest/ desert looks as well as mountain scenes. Two amazingly visual and distinct environments that will expand the world from the first round of spots.
OPTION A: Southern Utah
We have a few ideas on how best to maximize our shooting time and get different looks with- in a short distance. One is, we center our production in and around Southern Utah. Not only is it right on the doorstep of amazing red-rock desert country, it’s within a quick drive of picturesque alpine mountain scenes. The desert in that area (where Ben actually lives) stays temperate even in the winter time, but it's still only 30 minutes from higher snow country. So we'd have a good chance of capturing some seasonal variety as well. Again, we feel like the more we can expand these elements, the more we're really telling the story of this couple living their life on the road. Plus, we’ll be close to Ben’s house if the crew decides they need some- where cozy to wash their jammies and play Settlers of Catan. It’s a win-win!
Plan B: Portland
Of course, as much as we love the visual resources of Utah, it might be a bit far flung from a film production hub. That's where Portland might be interesting. The PNW offers its own wide array of outdoor looks. Snowy mountains, rolling plains, plus amazing “on the road” environments that would be perfect for our driving scenes. And if we go a few hours east, we get some really epic vistas that we can take selfies in front of to make all our frenemies super jelz. Most importantly, all of this looks are dramatically different from the first round of Jean/Gene, so it’ll really feel like they’re embarking on a whole new Van Life chapter.
Plan C: Los Angeles
One thing road life will teach you is that it’s important to have some backup plans in your pocket. Just in case your battery dies on the way to the Coffins & Cactus Desert Goth Festival and you have to wait for a Party Hearse to cruise by and give you a jump (trust us on this one). That’s why we’re considering LA is a tried and true third option. It offers the no-duh production hub of the city, as well as the Palm Springs area for desert-y stuff and the San Gabriel mountains for those alpine vibes.
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