Written by Merry Fidler
When thinking back on the Wonder Hoodie video, something like the word “saga” comes to mind. The amazingly innovative folks at Wonder Hoodie approached us back in 2018 about creating what was then to be a Kickstarter campaign for their revolutionary product: a bulletproof hoodie that fits men, women, and children, is a fraction of the cost of other bulletproof clothing, and blends into everyday wear. Wonder Hoodies were so revolutionary, though, that it took the production of their video from what is normally a couple of months to nearly 1.5 years!
Wonder Hoodie’s crowdfunding had less to do with getting the word out and more to do with amping up manufacturing to meet demand. The unfortunate wave of gun-related violence in our country, particularly in recent years, plus the lack of anything else like Wonder Hoodie on the market left the company wiped out after each new event. Wonder Hoodie themselves are against fear-based advertising, having an emphasis on hopeful pragmatism instead: we live in a world with guns that are used for sport, protection, as well as malicious intent – all of which result in the need for accessible safety-wear. Gun-related deaths and injuries are no respecters of persons, and now there’s a solution for everyone.
We love to see our clients succeed, so Wonder Hoodie selling out was a good “problem.” However, it resulted in pre-production starting and stopping no less than 3 different times. The client would have inventory at the ready for us, we’d plan, then the inventory would be sold out. The design would change and new prototypes would be sent to us, only to find out there was a flaw in the prototypes. They’d sell out again. The cycle went on. Then came something none of us were prepared for: COVID 19.
Finally, we had hoodies in our possession, locations booked, and actors at the ready. Wonder Hoodie’s founder was set to fly in from San Francisco to join us for the long-awaited shoot. But flights, events, even entire industries were shutting down. The reality had taken a bit but it was starting to set in — this pandemic might be for real, and it might stop everything in its wake, not just production. The day before our client was set to arrive in SGF, we had to make a difficult phone call. “We’re afraid if you come here, you won’t be able to fly back. We’re not even sure that we’ll be allowed to shoot at all.” This video was starting to feel like “The Scottish Play,” of videos.
When we emerged from our stay-at-home lairs, we were bound and determined; this video is getting filmed NOW and it. will. kick. ass. Our skeleton crew shot over a couple of days throughout Springfield, filming a character in transit, a character jogging through dark city streets, and a father and son hunting in the woods just north of town. This was our first shoot involving masks. It took some getting used to, especially for the bespectacled and small-faced among us, but the masks were a very small price to pay to be back in the saddle. Luckily, most of our scenes were outside, but we had to make sure to dot our “i’s” when it came to riding public transit. The buses aren’t generally packed in Springfield, but we had to make sure we were allowed on it in the first place, then make sure our crew and cast (the latter of which couldn’t wear a mask on camera) felt comfortable with it. Thankfully the bus greeted us with just one other passenger. For the first time with this video, we started to strike a bit of luck.
The good luck only snowballed throughout the remainder of the project. We found an amazing new voice over artist for the edit. Our 2D animator created a sleek animation of Kevlar in no time flat. The color-grading added the “fajita sizzle.” But what would the client think? After all this time, could anything live up to the suspense that several years of waiting had sown? We were anxiously awaiting Wonder Hoodie’s feedback the day after sending the video, but we were busy on another shoot. So, we made a pact to not look at any feedback until the shoot day was done. But our teammates back in the office couldn’t wait, they broke the pact to tell us the good news: “I’m a happy clam and could not have asked for a better video/production team to have worked with!!!!!! Thank you!!!”
Now that we’ve picked our bodies off the floor, we’re thrilled to finally share this video for the incredible Wonder Hoodie.