Story Telling

Zendesk Helpers

I always love it when a company decides to use a different marketing approach to subtly promote who they are. I recently discovered that CRM software manufacturer Zendesk has started producing a series of documentary shorts that have nothing to do with Zendesk. I came across the videos on Vimeo while actually looking for something related to their product and then discovered the link to Zendesk Helpers a microsite which has the purpose of being helpful and encouraging, and a little bit of software promotion.

One of the things that I love about the site and the videos, is the high quality production value that is presented. Especially the videos. These are not shoot it on your iPhone and edit in iMovie (although I have seen some videos done that way that look really amazing). All of these have a fairly large production crew and it shows.

Beyond the production however, is the quality of the content itself. Each video left me feeling good about humanity, something we all need these days. As of February there were a total of 5 video stories available on the microsite. I’m hoping they are in the process of producing even more, because these are great.

We set out to look for helpfulness in the world and were amazed at the stories we found. Because being helpful might sound simple, but it’s actually badass.

Zen Desk Helpers

Creatures of the Deep

When I first watched this video on Vimeo, I was drawn in by the fantastic cinematography, and the atmosphere that is created in Alan Williams studio. The visuals hooked me but as his story, and discussion about process unfolded, I knew I was here for the full 8-minute duration. After watching it with the sound on, I muted the audio and watched it again, full screen and really looked at the way this was shot, edited, and composed. Ben Cox does a really nice job of framing his shots and using shallow depth of field to focus the viewer on specific elements within the frame. Lighting and color grading come together to really help enhance the story and create a mood that captures Alan Williams personality and the artwork he creates. This short has such a solid look, and great story hooks as well, it’s definitely going in the visual reference library for inspiration at a later date.

Le Cube, Senna, in the heart of Brazil.

Racing fans this is for you. The animation below from Le Cube is about the legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna made specifically for the Olympic Games in Brazil. Beautiful Fluid animation paired with a story about winning, and overcoming obstacles. This has such a great look to it, really, really nice work. As Le Cube said, “If you want to take a peep into our souls in one of our projects, this is it. This is the kind of project for which Le Cube exists.” and it shows. When you are given the opportunity to work on a project like this, you pull out all the stops.

“Undersong”, Motionpoems.

Matt Smithson, and Man vs Magnet directed and produced “Undersong” for Motionpoems. The animated short is built around the adapted poem by Stacey Lynn Brown, and dedicated to Jake Adam York. The short is voiced by Yaa Asantewa, with additional sound design by Sound Lounge. Asantewa’s voice guides you through the story accompanied by a score from Joshua Smoak. The hand drawn animation is timed perfectly to the voice over and the visuals draw you into the story so well. I’ve watched this over and over noticing small details that I missed with each viewing. It’s a great way to lose yourself for a few minutes on a summer afternoon.