Recipe videos are my happy place. I love condensing recipes down to their most basic visual steps; providing viewers the essence of a dish in a quick, un-fussed yet beautiful way. So when JELL-O approached me to create Instagram and Vine videos for their Easter Dessert Recipes, I was basically in heaven. Kraft is sponsoring this post, but the opinions in this post are my own.
I haven’t spoken often on the blog about my work as a director, but it’s one of the most satisfying branches of my career. I grew up in a family where everyone was a graphic designer or worked in production at some point, so being on set, problem solving on my feet, and taking on the challenge of creating something beautiful, entertaining, and informative all at once was my life long dream. Getting to collaborate with different clients, agencies, and creatives has been amazing, and unique projects like this one for JELL-O are what make this job so fun.
The assignment was simple: explain these two very different recipes, in two kitchens, in under 15 seconds. The Easy Layered Boston Cream Pie would be presented in a moodier, richer palette, while the Strawberry Pretzel Squares would be fresh and bright. I immediately starting pinning rough hewn wood surfaces, marble slabs, and jadeite bowls. I get to work with the most amazing set decorators, who geek out over ceramics and vintage props as much as I do, so I knew we’d have a ball getting to put these two different looks together.
Once I had the different tones locked down, I started prepping the shooting boards. Typically, directors work with storyboard artists to draw what each frame will cover. If the commercial involves wide vistas and actors, I’ll use storyboard artists too, but for two videos as tightly framed as these, and as focussed on the ingredients and food as they were, I knew that photo boards were the way to go.
So I went shopping! I grabbed the ingredients and whipped up these recipes at home, shooting as I went. Getting to work with the actual products and ingredients I’ll be shooting helps me get an intimate sense of how they’ll work best on camera. Plus, I just can’t shake the food styling bug. The recipes were SO QUICK to put together. Seriously, the Easy Layered Boston Cream Pie took me like, 20 minutes total, and the strawberry squares were super simple too, though there’s some passive time waiting for the JELL-O to set. I kept thinking about how fun it would be to adapt and play with these recipes depending on your tastes. Folding in fresh peaches and blueberries as a fun swap for the fresh strawberries; adding cinnamon and cayenne pepper to the chocolate sauce for a Mexican hot chocolate twist on the Easy Layered Boston Cream Pie.
Below, I’ve posted some frames from the shooting boards plus the finished videos. It’s so fun getting to see the full evolution of a project, from me messing around in my living room to the beautiful, color corrected pieces. I hope you enjoy the finished product!
For the recipe for the Strawberry Pretzel Squares. go here.
For the recipe for the Easy Layered Boston Cream Pie, go here.