Oh how time flies!
It's been 3 years since HardPin landed it's first major project as a production company. We had only existed for a few months, and couldn't have been more excited to take on a pretty challenging commercial production that would take us through the entire summer of 2013.
Nomadic and Ubisoft reached out to us because of the experience we brought to the table, creating authentic video content for president Obama's reelection campaign. They were launching a major update to their guitar learning software called Rocksmith and wanted us to follow 10 participants with no playing experience, for 60 days, to see how good they could become at playing guitar.
After casting 10 guys that were anywhere from 20 to 50 years old, we set our ambitious production schedule into motion. This 60 day challenge required us to shoot with each participant on Day 1, Day 45 for an update, and Day 60 to document the end result. We shot interviews and tons of stylized broll of them playing a real guitar connected to either a PS3, XBOX360, or PC. Participants also had to record themselves with a GoPro every 3 days, playing guitar and answering some update questions. It goes without saying, there was a lot of media captured, which required a ton of organization over the course of those 60 days.
We wanted to start everyone's challenge as close together as possible, so our crew knocked out 10 straight days of Day 1 shoots. Once all the participants were up and running, it was all about keeping track of them, to make sure they were putting in their hour a day with Rocksmith, and recording their UGC content every 3 days. Some of the guys were better about this than others.
There were a ton of challenges along the way, from making sure everyone was properly capturing their UGC, to getting an 11th participant up and running, when one of our original 10 bailed one week in (not cool). We kept our crew small (1 Producer, 1 DP and 1 AP) to create a more casual environment for our participants, so we didn't overwhelm them every time we invaded their home. Our aim throughout was to capture these guys authentically learning the guitar, from early moments of frustration to their later successes.
When it was all said and done, we had 10 guys who could shred on guitar. Some got better than others, but all in all our entire crew was really impressed with the progress our participants made. Nomadic and Ubisoft took our footage, and created a pretty cool digital campaign which featured profile pieces on our guys, highlight videos and full commercials for Rocksmith 2014. The highlight of the whole production was seeing one of the commercials air on TV during Sunday Night Football.
Ubisoft also sent everyone at HardPin a copy of Rocksmith at the end of the campaign, which was pretty sweet. After a quick trip to Guitar Center, I was ready take on the challenge myself! Unfortunately, I could never get myself to stick with it consistently, so for now, I'm still a work in progress.