1. To experience a Frank Hoedl set, generally containing a minimum crew of 20, at least 2 cube trucks crammed with gear, bi-tubes rigged higher than any one light stand can handle, and quality espresso. Example: “Oh man, today I had to figure out how to rig a window light 3 stories up during a mild hurricane… totally got Hoedlized!”
The experience of a Frank Hoedl shoot has become that of legend in Toronto photo circles. He and his team work long, hard days (and nights) to bring his images to life. But after one look at the final product, it’s immediately worth the effort. This gorgeous campaign for example, just went live for the 2015 Toyota Camry:
Allow me to introduce one of Westside’s long time producers John Stevancec, to break down Frank’s latest campaign with Toyota!
Once again, Fridays seem to be the day clients call us to make campaigns come to life for them with very tight deadlines. They obviously know we are always up for that challenge here at Westside! Joel Arbez from Saatchi & Saatchi had three very impressive layouts for Frank Hoedl to work on for the new 2015 Toyota Camry. The only issue was they needed to be produced and Shot in 1 week… No problem! We basically scouted over the weekend, Monday was a tech scout with Frank Hoedl, Joel Arbez, Brian Joe (our location scout), and myself. We looked at various locations that day, made some executive decisions, then sent the client some recommendations later that evening. Tuesday we waited for client approvals, but had to start the permit process anyways that morning because it would never have gotten done in time otherwise! We were really happy our client was onboard with the recommends, as they finally approved the locations on Thursday morning! Good thing we took the initiative to start the process right away!
Our first Day was shot in Northern Ontario on some amazing roads, that was fun, but near the end of the shoot Coyotes were getting closer and closer to us, a little too eerie in a dark forest in the middle of nowhere and I’m not kidding!
Left to Right: The cube truck convoy taking over a Northern Ontario highway, crew watching fog applications, & assistant Gabe Nivera keeping cameras dry.
Day 2 was going to be, quite literally, a day at the beach, but Joel wanted it to look like snow had just started falling and our talent was running towards the lake for a quick dip! No problem, once again! We had dressed the set with fake snow, had snow cannons for falling snow, and our talent was actually quite warm in their swim suits that day. It was about 15 degrees celsius which was quite the surprise for all of us at the end of October! We got lucky with weather once again! (editors note: *Knock wood*.)
Assistant John Wayne Brown keeping tabs on a bi-tube (on a grip arm, in c-stand, in a sky-high), a look back into the set, and an additional angle of the talent on the move.
Day 3 was shot in Kensington Market, as you know it’s a very busy location with so much happening there at any given time, but throwing in a large production stills shoot, hero car on the road, 20 talent, set dressing, lighting, generators, Police officers, Wardrobe stylists, Prop Stylists, 6 Photo Assistants, and interesting shop owners, the day went very smoothly, and that’s why they hired us in the first place!
Frank looking thrilled that his picture is being taken, and a look at setting up shop in the middle of Kensington Market.
Frank did his magic once again as you can see, the final ads are quite beautiful! A big special thanks to our crew who worked endless hours, it was fun!
Lets do it again!
– John Stevancec, Producer
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Photographer: Frank Hoedl
Producer: John Stevancec
Executive Creative Director: Brian Sheppard
Group Creative Director: Joel Arbez
Senior Account Executive: Kat Ledgett
Assistants: Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto, Jon Wayne Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson, Logan Allmendinger
Casting: Milo Casting
Photographer Frank Hoedl shares a great tip for location scouting (ask the locals!), and other insights into this campaign:
The very tight timeline turned out to be a great motivator and led to my discovery of the best road I think I’ve ever driven in Ontario. Hwy 13, Southwood Rd, between Hwy 11 and 169 near Bala. While on my way to another potential location, I stopped at a Motorcycle shop and asked the local mechanic which were the best roads for riding. He was right about the road. The beach execution allowed me to discover the beaches on Lake Eerie and drive my 4×4 on the sand. I had the best espresso in Toronto, in recent memory, in Kensington Market at Casa Acoreana Cafe, the corner of Baldwin & Augusta. All my locations from now on will hopefully be within 100 ft of a coffee shop.
Sure the timelines were crazy and yes, we got a car stuck on a beach briefly. Yes, the locations were approved before we got their permission but we got it done! As usual, the team at Westside led by John the producer, performed above and beyond the call of duty. The Toyota job was fun because of the people involved, and the team at Saatchi were great to work with. – Frank
All Images © Frank Hoedl
BTS Images © John Stevancec, Abe Roberto