We all have our favorite meals, those classic dishes we return to again and again—and we all have our own ideas about what makes them great. Maybe it’s a family recipe, passed down and perfected through generations. Maybe it’s a local thing. A perfect New York slice, or a hole-in-the-wall neighborhood joint that turns a simple burger into something unforgettable. Of course, our food allegiances are as personal as they are regional, and our fierce devotion to our favorites can inspire some pretty intense debates with people who have different ideas about the best way to prepare and enjoy them. Which city has the best pizza? What’s the secret to the perfect cheeseburger? Which taco truck really—no, really—nails al pastor? These debates are as much a part of the heart and soul of the food as the ingredients. With this spot, we’re going to get right in the middle of a few of these discussions, capturing the spirited dialogue that surrounds some of our most iconic dishes and making the viewer feel like a part of a global conversation.
I love the energy and humor in these scripts. As someone who is very much in the food world, I live with this kind of dialogue every day, and I want to capture it in a way that reflects the passionate, lighthearted spirit of real food enthusiasts. Concentrating on New York, New Orleans and Austin, we’ll find 4 to 6 restaurants to use as our locations, capturing the lively scenes inside them as well as the local color around them. We’ll see our subjects sharing food and conversation as they enjoy their favorites and fire off about their personal food philosophy. We’ll balance these authentic, high-energy scenes with beautiful shots of the food—on the grill, on the plate and in the hands of people who know that even a simple slice of pizza can be a work of art if it’s done right.
We want our spots to feel as global as possible, so every shot is an opportunity to maximize our space and give viewers a sense of the wide-ranging scope of these conversations. We’ll look for locations that offer us different backgrounds and environments, so creating a “new” location will be as easy as turning the camera on a different area of the restaurant. As in Chef’s Table, a big part of the scouting is choosing what we want our kitchens to look like. We’ll pay special attention to the restaurant kitchens and find some that are producing great looking food in interesting settings. For our staged food shots, we’ll spend one or two studio days in a single location. The great thing about a studio shoot is that we can recreate the local cuisines in one place. We’ll just create a shot list beforehand and bring on a chef or food stylist to help us capture everything we need in a controlled environment.
CRAFTING OUR STORIES
The conversations around food are both highly personal and universal. Everybody eats, after all, and we all have our opinions about what constitutes a perfect meal. Strong opinions, in most cases. And while people can get pretty fired up while debating the merits of kobe vs. grass-fed beef vs. old school ground chuck, no matter how heated the conversation gets, it’s always fun. With these stories, we want to capture the energy and humor inherent in discussions about food—and in a way that gets people laughing, makes them hungry and inspires them to go out and start their own debate about the finer points of the perfect pizza crust.
The key to nailing these stories is getting a lot of coverage to work with so that we can sculpt something that feels funny, relatable and huge in scope. We want to get the energy going right away, so the way I envision it, the music will kick in right after the first line of dialogue to get the ball rolling. This initial line will set off our flurry of debate, then we’ll move faster and faster as the debate continues. One guy says his piece about the New York slice reigning supreme...then we hear a diehard Gino’s fan in Chicago extolling the virtues of deep dish. We’ll hear a staunch defender of the classic no-frills cheeseburger go head to head with a fan of the Oklahoma-style onion burger. We’ll hear opinions on street tacos, red vs. green mole sauce, San Francisco burritos vs. Austin style breakfast tacos. Whatever food we’re exploring, we want to get a wide range of opinions—and the humor is all in the contradictions. Food loyalties run deep, and one man’s hamburger holy grail is another man’s “not as good as the one from my grill.” These debates will unfold via a series of quick cuts, interspersed with beautiful close up shots of the food both in context and in studio. A diner burger sizzling in a skillet. Pizza dough being tossed in the air. Chiles en nogada simmering on the stove. And of course, ice cold glasses Coke to complement every meal.
These films should have a global sensibility to them, so we don’t want all of our shots to reference a specific city or restaurant—but we do want the unique local color and textures of each place to come through. In addition to the exteriors of the restaurants we shoot in, we’ll shoot some extra exteriors to make the world of our spots feel bigger. We’ll see glimpses of life happening around the restaurants. People lining up outside of a neighborhood taco stand, or sharing a pizza on a busy outdoor patio. Every detail of the restaurant’s exteriors, from the architecture and signage to the customers walking in the door, should convey the spirit of the place and the community it serves.
BETTER WITH COKE: SHOWING OUR PRODUCT
Sipped at the table or brown-bagged on the go. Poured into an icy glass or enjoyed straight from the can. Rings on the table, hands on the bottle, good-natured food jibes and smiles all around. Our food is the real star of this spot, but Coke plays an important role as well, so we want to find new and interesting ways of showing it. This iconic beverage is iconic for a reason—it goes with almost anything you’d want to eat. We want to make this versatility the through line of our spots and work Coke into our scenes as organically as possible. We’ll definitely capture some beautiful closeup and overhead shots of the product in studio, but we also want to see how people really drink it. We’ll see people enjoying it with their favorite meals. Pouring it at the table. Swigging it in the restaurant kitchen as the food comes off the line. Washing down asada burritos, pepperoni slices or gourmet burgers. There’s no classic food that can’t be made even better with a classic Coke. Every shot of our product should remind people of the enduring appeal of this timeless pairing—and help them see this iconic beverage in a whole new light.
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