PROJECT STORY: SCORING A COMMERCIAL FOR EZRA BROOKS 99
Ezra Brooks is a brand of Kentucky bourbon whiskey that went out of business in the 70’s and was brought back in the 90’s. This campaign was created for Ezra 99, the 99-proof whiskey they produce.
The good people at Bruton Stroube/Outpost brought me onto this project early on. They already had all the shots but they didn't have an edit yet. In the brief, they explained that they wanted a guitar-driven sound and that the music should interact with the visuals. The VO dictates what will happen in the music. We decided it would be best to get the music in place first so the editor could work around the track.
I wanted to provide a few “demos” with various vibes for Outpost and Ezra to choose from. I used programmed drums and a scratch guitar and bass to get my ideas across. I provided two different options. One was a little more straightforward southern rock and the other was a bit more psych-rock. They ended up going with the straightforward southern rock track because it more accurately aligned with the character of the brand. I printed some STEMS of the demo for the editor to use while he pieced everything together.
The Feedback Library
This was probably my favorite part of the whole project. The client wanted some ambient amp sounds (the guitar plugging into the amp, feedback, and guitar noise) to coincide with the visuals. So I created a “library” of amp and guitar sounds. The editing and sound team were able to use these sounds in addition to the sound design. This resulted in a great blend of sound design and music.
When the final edit was approved, I edited my track to the visuals using the temp score (my first early demo) as a guide. I replaced the scratch guitar and bass with better performances and tones and sent the track to Devin Vaughan, a session drummer and studio owner in South Carolina who replace the programmed drums with big, bombastic rock drums. I was asked to stay very close to the original demo so he played exactly what I programmed.
When everything was approved by Outpost and the client, I sent the track to Matt Arcaini, a mix engineer with a knack for punchy rock music, for the final mix. He made the track sound loud and punchy. It worked perfectly for the spot.
The Final Product
This was a really cool project to be a part of. I hope you enjoy the final product.
Set builds / Sonic Manipulation : Jim Langley
2nd AC: @cam_assist
Post Production: @bssoutpost
“Hints on Vanilla” VO artist: @andydv
Sound Design: @Steve_horne_sound
Original Music: @StephenKeech