PRACTICAL makes films and videos that are the culmination of cameras, research, travel, sketchbooks, sleep, screen time, and running wild. Based out of Traverse City and Grand Rapids Michigan, we love sharing our work and process with those around the world.

The "Sometimes" Campaign

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Over the last year, Practical was been building a new campaign and commercials called "Sometimes," for Turtle Creek and Leelanau Sands Casinos. And while our goal has always been to give viewers something new and unexpected, when it came to producing "Somtimes", we concluded that a radical departure from the casino commercial genre was the only option we had if wanted to feel like we were really doing our best work for the client.

The best place to start, we thought, for building a casino commercial from the ground up, was to ask why. Why don't we want to do the normal montage of people winning money and just make sure that it's shot really well and has tasteful music and energy? Well, because. Because those are aesthetic issues, but the content remains the same. The content of your average Casino commercial has, from an advertising perspective, two main flaws. It's not realistic, and it's not relatable. If you enjoy gambling, you know that winning and losing are both part of the experience. And when I say it's not relatable, what I mean is that there isn't a point of relation for someone who isn't interested in gambling, watching a Casino commercial doesn't feel like anything to someone who has no casino experiences to relate it to. So we wanted to be realistic about the Casino, that it's not all about winning, it's about an experience that, like a movie or like eating out, is best enjoyed in relationship. We also wanted it to be relatable, to look at the fact that all of life is a gamble, we take risks and always hope for one outcome over another but knowing that it doesn't always go your way is not only the human experience, but it's what keeps life interesting. That's something we can all relate to.

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From a cinematography standpoint, the goal was to tell stories well and quickly, but to keep it real. We really limited camera movement to keep scenes simpler, so the content of each scene would feel like a portrait. We didn't want the scenes to feel too contrived so we kept the camera far from most of our action and characters so the viewer could feel like a witness, an observer. We filmed the whole thing with the RED Epic Dragon on vintage Nikon lenses. Editing and VFX were done in the Adobe Suite and graded in DaVinci Resolve and finished with Halide 35mm Film Grain.

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This many scenes and these many stories take many hands. The list of names attached to this project is numerically impressive but that amount of involvement from everyone, friends, strangers, the community, locals, non locals, it made interacting with the scale of this project really enjoyable. More soon.

JohnPaul Morris  -  Director