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February 2014

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14 Post • February 2014 O AKLAND, CA — In the notoriously competitive, fast-paced and some- times cutthroat world of advertising and production, 1/29 ( founder Nick Seuser staked his production and animation studio on the opposite mind- set — that bringing together a group of like- minded people — who maybe even like each other — is the best way to work. Seuser honed his storytelling craft while spending nearly two decades working as a film editor on national broadcast spots for major brands, and alongside A-list VFX directors on blockbuster films like The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. When he founded 1/29 in 2008, one of his main goals was "to simply work with people who I enjoyed being around." Seuser says, "For me, it was important that if I were going to open my own production company, then it would be founded on a phi- losophy of creative and egoless spirit." And it's that spirit that fosters an environ- ment of friendly collaboration and creative freedom. No matter what their role or title, every creative at 1/29 has a say and the respect of their peers. "It's the nature of the business that we work long hours, and having the right team and people around you makes all the difference in the world," says Seuser. "What we do should be fun." CREATIVE EXECUTION Specializing in branded enter tainment, 1/29 strives for unconventional storytelling — be it through live-action, animation, motion graphics or stop-motion. The studio typically writes, concepts and directs nearly every project that passes through their door, work- ing in every medium, including broadcast, Web, mobile, or as they like to say, "shouting it out the window of their seventh floor stu- dio," which overlooks the historic Tribune Building in downtown Oakland, CA. Seuser, whose previous experience as a commercial producer included forming Mock- ingbird Productions in 2004, where he pro- duced, edited and supervised the post pro- duction of more tham 100 national broadcast spots, serves as both executive producer and executive creative director of 1/29. In this role, he manages multiple creative teams, overseeing all phases of every project at the studio, from concept, story development and production, to post, sound design and music. In the last five years, 1/29 has worked with high-profile clients that include Ford, Sprint, Old Navy, EA, PayPal, Boeing, Intel, Jim Beam, LG, McAfee, the United Nations, Volkswagen, Zynga, McDonald's and Pandora, which was one of the shop's first major clients. "Yes, Pandora really got us on the map," Seuser recalls. Brought in by Pandora to work with ad agency Tribal DDB, Seuser says the studio was given "trust carte blanche" to con- cept something original and different. What they worked on would become the McDon- ald's "Behind The Logic" Series, four online films that would provide insight into how Pandora works. Coinciding with the release of McDon- ald's Snap Wraps, this co-branded approach established a unique partnership with Pandora that has led to many additional projects. DELIVERING THE GOODS "Budgets are always tight. The understate- ment of the year, right?" jokes Seuser. "But we're extremely proud of the fact that, no matter how challenging the budget, we're very adept at squeezing out the absolute most creative bang for the buck." A testament to their creative resourceful- ness is that 99 percent of the time, 1/29 receives repeat clients and repeat work, something that's gratifying both personally and professionally. "And we always hope that level of dedication to our craft attracts the attention of new clients," he adds. A new and recent client is the growing grocery delivery app, Instacart. 1/29's humor- ous spot for the startup is more like a branded film than a traditional promo. Seuser called the project "pure joy to work on," and says it gave the team a "welcomed opportu- nity to stretch our creative wings." True to 1/29's roots, the Instacart spot was a collaborative effor t with director Ross Thomas, who the team had worked with on a number of previous projects, and producing regular, Summer Wilson. "Again, it came down to assembling the right team for this project," says Seuser. "Our production capabilities are limitless: live-action, CG animation, motion graphics, or character animation. Each new project requires a very specialized production team. We're very fortunate to work with extremely talented artists and creatives. But more importantly, it's about people who thrive and enjoy working together." And when that spirit of collaboration goes both ways, Seuser says brands that are open to new ideas and original concepts will be rewarded. Citing the stop-motion film 1/29 created to promote the release of McAfee's consumer mobile security software, Seuser says it's a prime example of how even an established brand can be open to an idea that's unexpected, but incredibly meaningful and unique — and still aligns with their vision and mission as a company. "If we're doing our job right, we're creating opportunities for brands to tell their stories in new and inventive ways," he sums up. "It's always about connecting to their audience. That's what we love to do, and we know we can deliver." 1/29's collaborative mindset Helping brands tell their stories in new and inventive ways. 1/29 created a "branded film" (inset) for the grocery delivery app, Instacart. Seuser founded 1/29 on a "philosophy of creative and egoless spirit." open house

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