Derek Shapton

“Have you ever eaten dog?”

If your response to that question was something like “what?! no?!”, “is that a joke?” or “….” then Derek Shapton’s new work for Humane Society International will alert you to a horrible fact.  The Yulin festival happens this weekend in China where in previous years, thousands of dogs have been killed and eaten.  These images and motion spot both speak for themselves and in partnership with great creative vision by Paul Bonsell, they send a very strong and clear message.  If you are an animal lover, prepare yourself.


Yes, that is our very own #WestsideWoofs star, Jimmy!


“The print ads were fun to shoot but pretty straightforward… as for the commercial, I’m finding that in motion work, as with almost everything else in life, getting out of the way of a good idea and letting it speak for itself is both the hardest and most rewarding approach.  We had other edits with multiple cuts and closeups and so on but ended up settling on a single-shot version, it seemed to best serve the script.” -Derek Shapton 

Check out the motion spot that Derek directed below, make sure to share it as donations can only rise the more people see the link.





If you want to help stop this festival that takes place this weekend- please click here to donate or here to sign the petition.

Client: Humane Society International
Creative Agency: Grassriots
Creative Director/Art Director/Writer: Paul Bonsell
Film Production Company: OPC
Director/Photography: Derek Shapton
DOP (motion):  Kris Belchevski
Editor: Izzy Ehrlich, Rooster
Transfer: Roslyn Di Sisto, Smith
Online: Ernie Mordak, Fort York VFX
Audio: Julian Rudd, Vapor Music
Dogs: Christine Ford and David Smith


    Project Winter Survival With Derek Shapton & Frank Hoedl

    by Chris Payne on February 19, 2015

    Not sure what it might be like where you are, but here in Toronto we are in the middle of a serious cold snap.  Over night temperatures have recently sunk well past minus 20 degrees Celsius.  Prolonged exposure can be deadly.

    The homeless in particular are in tremendous danger at this time of year, which is why when Derek Shapton and Frank Hoedl were recently approached to work on a campaign for Project Winter Survival, they did not hesitate.



    From Derek’s blog: “Frank and I shot two print ads together, an exciting collaborative process that made for a rather unusual workflow. I scouted and sourced the locations, we co-piloted the cameras and co-directed the talent, and Frank applied his post-production magic to the final retouching. Frank has long been one of my favourite photographers and it was great to be able to work so closely with him. The final results are outstanding, and in fact won an Applied Arts Award in the Public Service category back in November.” 


    Frank lying down on the job

    Processed with VSCOcam

    Assistant Rebecca Leach sourcing some props


    Derek in ninja-mode while framing a shot

    “One of the setups also seemed to have some solid potential as a compelling little motion piece, and with the blessing of the creative team at Cundari, we gave it a go. We enlisted the help of Mike Rybinski at Spot Cinema and once the print ads were finished, shot a quick spec spot that turned out surprisingly well.”   See the final result below and visit Derek’s blog to find out more.

    Agency: Cundari
    Creative Director: Andrew Simon
    Art Director: Jason Lee
    Writer: Francesco Grandi
    Assistant: Rebecca Leach
    Motion Camera: Mike Rybinski
    Motion Post Production: Spot Cinema


      Derek Shapton Envisions “Possibility” for United Way

      by Alex Beetham on December 19, 2014

      What you are about to witness, was created with only still images from Derek Shapton, and post production magic from one incredibly talented Joe Fellows.  Observe:

      I’ll answer your question before you ask.  That gorgeous technique you just witnessed is named the “Parallax Technique,” from Make Productions. Mr. Shapton explains:

      “In essence, and without giving too much away, the Parallax method is a way of using various digital transforms, effects, and animations to breathe light, life, and a sense of depth into a series of still photographs.”

      For more insight into the day, and to learn more about the Parallax technique, Derek has assembled some words up on his blog.  Here’s who had a hand in creating this piece:

      Client:  United Way
      Agency:  TAXI
      C0-Director / DOP:  Derek Shapton
      Co-Director / Post Production: Joe Fellows / Make Productions
      Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
      Creative Director: Steve Mykolyn
      Copywriter: Jake Bogoch
      Art Director:  Yuko Brown
      Broadcast Producer: Nicole Poon
      Print Production Director: Sharon Govang
      Stylist:  Cheryl Thompson
      Assistants:  Jon Brown, Gabe Nivera, Peter Olson
      Production Company: Westside Studio

      A few looks into the shoot days snapped by producer Phaedra:


      Gabe with flawless typing form on the left, and the ol’ location laptop huddle on the right.


      Derek capturing hoop angle variations.


      Shoot essentials: Good coffee, Sugar. Shoot Bonuses: Working lunch patio pints & beers.


      Derek caught this moment between shots. A trio of assistants, and one post production magician.

      And while we’re on the topic of Derek Shapton, are you acquainted with his alter-ego Thunder_Pino?  I’d suggest you give him a follow.  Here are a few of his observations from the scout & shoot days:

      Thunder_Pino_Assembled“Possibility” Video © Derek Shapton
      BTS Images © Phaedra Kennedy & Derek Shapton
      Thunder_Pino © Derek Shapton

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        by Matt on June 7, 2013

        MAward2-300x195-300x184If you’re anything like us, you like to unwind from putting in hard work with a bit of hard play – and last Thursday night at The 2013 Marketing Awards – we did just that. It’s been a long week of recovery, but we’re finally ready to revisit the spectacular evening with some shout outs to our agency friends who helped a few Westsiders bring home some hardware.

        We’ll kick things off with Chris Gordaneer and BBDO Toronto‘s MerCow, which brilliantly highlighted the GE Profile Double Oven Range’s ability to cook two meals at one time!


        Next up is a great campaign from Matt Barnes and john st. for Wiser’s Small Batch whiskey. For more info and a full list of who was behind this simple genius, give a click on over to THE PASSING SHOT for more from Matt.

        © Matt Barnes

        © Matt Barnes

        Now it’s time we send a big Westside hug to DDB Canada‘s Vancouver and Toronto offices for their work with Frank Hoedl on campaigns for both BC Hydro and Toronto Crime Stoppers (shown respectively).

        © Frank Hoedl

        © Frank Hoedl

        © Frank Hoedl

        Rounding the bend of this years awarded works is Anthony Redpath and DARE Vancouver‘s GiveSpace campaign, which in addition to it’s listed winnings below, took home SILVER for PUBLIC SERVICE – PRESS/ OUT-OF-HOME: CAMPAIGN!

        © Anthony Redpath

        © Anthony Redpath

        Closing out our re-cap of the evenings events with Derek Shapton and TAXI 2‘s Castor Gigashelf. Having successfully transitioned the worlds largest photograph (of a shelf) into a imaginative and unique website interface, the team behind the work is most definitely deserving of their Gold M!


        A HUGE thanks to everyone involved in the aforementioned works from all of us at the Studio, because without you, we’d have no excuse for our overindulgences ;D. Have a great weekend everyone!


          cover-smallThere’s a plethora of visual delights packed into the 162 pages of this years Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards issue, and selected works aside, that ChorusArt Silk 80lb paper combined with Mi5′s UV Pro-Brite printing process sure is a sexy sight. But enough about pretty paper, time to get into them pages, where a good showing from a number of Westsiders is what you’ll find.

          Kicking off with Chris Gordaneer, who received top marks in two categories this year with his Trials motorcycle series, as well as some unseen panoramics from his most recent trip to Africa.


          © Chris Gordaneer

          For more from his time in Africa go check out the PERSONAL section of!

          Following in Chris’ creative lead is Mr. Tyler Gray, whose fantastic images On The Run and Luke were awarded as both self promotion and unpublished works. Be sure to click the images and get the full story from Tyler.



          Next up is our newcomer to the Westside team, Anthony Redpath! While we haven’t had a chance to talk about the project, Anthony’s work with DARE Vancouver for BC Children’s Hospital is definitely deserving of it’s multiple awards.

          © Anthony Redpath

          Rounding the bend of our winners is Derek Shapton, who’s unique looking corporate portraits and innovative self promotion found themselves in the high praises of the Applied Arts Judges.



          The subsequent images come from two of our favorite campaigns shot by George Simhoni this past year. With their sticky situations and beautiful scenery (respectively), George’s work for UR Immunization and Freedom 55 Financial are great examples of his ability to paint a photograph.

          © George Simhoni


          Closing out our list of this years awarded photographers is product master Shanghoon, whose work with GREY Canada for The Salvation Army was a big success durring the 2012 Red Kettle Drive.

          © Shanghoon

          A huge round of high fives to all our winners and those who helped with the awarded works; and an additional thank-ya to the folks at Applied Arts for not only appreciating the fine images of our photographers, but for printing their stuff on that oh-so-sexy paper!

          **Side Note** Check out Matt Barnes sneaking his way onto the rear cover!
          All Images © Respective Photographers


            TGIW | CuSO4_5H2O

            by Matt on October 24, 2012

            It’s no secret that the boys over at Castor Design manufacture some amazing furnishings. Nor is it a secret that said boys are good buds with Mr. Derek Shapton, and given the opportunity to collaborate on a project, both sides dive in head first.

            For their latest endeavor, Castor was commissioned to create a custom lighting installation for the Bell Blue Room at Toronto’s TIFF Lightbox. They came up with the idea of growing copper sulphate crystals on a set of chandeliers, at which point they approached Derek to collaborate on a short film to accompany the installation. More details from Derek himself after the 1080p optimized film (so if you got the speed, full screen that sucker in glorious HD).

            Working with the Advanced Optical Microscopy Facility at the University Health Network, I shot a time-lapse of copper sulphate crystals growing in solution with an Olympus BX51 microscope using polarized light illumination and Olympus uPlan FL 4x and 10x objectives. Post production was handled by Mark and Mike from Spot Cinema, with sound design by D. Burke Mahoney.

            The installation and film will have their public début this Thursday night in the Blue Room, where it will be running for a year on a big monitor behind the bar. ~ DS

            If you’re interested in taking a more detailed look at one of the stills from Derek’s video, give the following still a click, then scroll on down to get a closer peek at Castor Design‘s copper sulphate crystal covered chandeliers.

            Video & Still © Derek Shapton
            Images © Castor Design

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              Long time friends of the Blog may recall a tattooed Associate Creative Director who’s really into Birding and was on a 365 day quest to not only see as many different species of bird as possible, but also to document the entire process of his big year. An already hefty undertaking for a Associate Creative Director at a major advertising firm, our bird loving Gilgamesh then pushed his project to the limit, deciding to permanently inscribe the binomial name of each found species on himself when the year was complete. Ladies and Gents, please reacquaint yourselves with Mr. Paul Riss.

              Throughout his journey, Paul was fortunate to have the support of many different people willing to follow him into the wilderness in search of another tattoo. Bringing a Westside presence to the project, both Chris Gordaneer and Derek Shapton found themselves in Paul’s tow, behind the lens of what will become PUNK ROCK BIG YEAR.

              While time has run out on Paul’s ‘big year’, the work on PRBY is far from finished. Now entering the post-production phase, Paul and producer Marie-Pierre Toure are in the process of putting together his dream of getting,

              … a younger generation to understand that there are birders out there just like them and they should check out this most incredible pastime. Also, to make people aware of how fragile and important birds are to our natural environment.

              In an effort to keep his real world children’s college funds in tact, Mr. Riss has started a IndieGoGo campaign in hopes of garnering further support for his unfinished baby. There are some awesome donation perks availible, ranging from a digital pat on the back ($10), to a physical copy of the completed film ($50), all the way up to being able to tattoo your name or brand on Paul ($5,000 – no joke!).

              So whether your a Birder, an independent film fan, or just enjoy Paul’s work, if you got an extra buck why not get yourself a digital pat on the back, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you helped a man fulfill his dream.

              Just in case the above links weren’t obvious, CLICK HERE to check out the other perks offered on the PUNK ROCK BIG YEAR Indiegogo page.

              Images © George Simhoni, Paul Riss, & Chris Gordaneer Respectively


                NEWS | THREE LUCK-Y BOYS

                by Matt on October 15, 2012

                The 2012 Advertising & Interactive Awards Annual from Applied Arts has been sitting on my desk for a couple days now and so what better way to kick off the week than with some NEWS!

                Three Westsiders found themselves within the pages of this years annual, all thanks to awesome clients, fabulous agencies, and some really fun projects.

                Don’t forget you can click on any of the images below to get the full low-down on the work. Now lets open ‘er up and find out who’s rounding out this trifecta.

                First up is Chris Gordaneer and BBDO Toronto’s infamous Mer-Cow and Pig Family for GE Profile Ovens. The Mer-Cow snagged some recognition in the Young Blood Advertising category for Single Print, as well for Point-of-Purchase/In-Store Ad or Promotion (Single). Chris’ family of pigs found some love as well with hugs in Point-of-Purchase/In-Store Ad or Promotion (Series).

                HUGE shout outs to Art Directors Mike Donaghey and Jonathan Guy, who’s work with Chris received top marks for Art Direction (Series).

                Next in the annual is Andrew B. MyersRemember image. Shot with DDB for Historica-Dominion, the Remembrance Day campaign was awarded several times including: Newspaper (Single), Public Service/Charity (Single), and Experiential/Event (Single).

                We close this years Advertising Annual with a visit to Planet Shapton – home to a man by the name of Derek – who found two enormous projects awarded in various categories. His Keep Exploring campaign with DDB Vancouver for Canada Tourism was recognized for Complete Advertising Program (Complete) under the Broadcast TV section, and for Online Campaign in the Interactive section.

                Keeping us in the Interactive section is Derek and Taxi 2′s Gigashelf. If you haven’t seen the work before you should definitely click through and check it out because it was surely deserving of love from both the Consumer Products and Mobile Apps categories.

                A big congrats to all the teams at BBDO, DDB, and Taxi 2 on their awarded works, and word to all our winning photographers mothers (we, like they, are very proud of them on their achievements).
                All Images © Respective Photographers


                  Looking for some fun and interesting photo related activities to partake in this weekend? Well boy howdy do we got something right up your alley, as this Saturday Derek Shapton will be over at Pikto Gallery making his debut as Professor Portrait. The Pikto site sums up the senario quite nicely so let’s take a quick read and then we’ll meet with The Professor.

                  Drawing on his many years of experience, Derek Shapton will lead students through the challenges of environmental portraiture. This hands on workshop will explore available lighting techniques in indoor and outdoor locations. Shapton will discuss all aspects of creating the shot, including connecting with the subject and finding interesting and relevant locations within the parameters of specific assignments.

                  Why did you choose to lead a workshop?

                  I resolved this year to say YES to as many new opportunities as I could, and the workshop invitation came along so I thought I’d give it a try.

                  Are you excited about taking on the role of teacher?

                  Yes, but also a little nervous. I’ve never done this before, but I think I have some good ideas for the workshop & am looking forward to getting started!

                  Any advice for those who cant make it to the seminar?

                  Everything is a light source. Also, the world is your tripod!

                  There’s still a few spots open for tomorrow’s class, so if you’re interested in a fantastic opportunity to hone your portraiture skills be sure to click through to the Pikto site for all the details and registration. CLICK.
                  All Images © Derek Shapton


                    NEWS | The NMAs Make It Rain

                    by Matt on June 18, 2012

                    Earlier this month The Carlu played host to the 35th annual National Magazine Awards, a Canadian foundation who’s objective it is to make it rain recognition on the individuals who excelled that year in both print and digital publications. Amongst the 700 or so members of the Canadian magazine industry at The Carlu that night, there were a couple of Westsiders; who hopefully brought their umbrellas for todays post.

                    First up is Mr. Derek Shapton, who was awarded Silver in the Portraiture category for his work with MORE Magazine; photographing Brenda Waudby for their feature article on one of Pathologist Charles Smith’s victims.

                    There’s more story to the portraits by way of Planet Shapton, who was also nominated in the Words & Pictures category for work shot for Cottage Life.

                    Next to the winners circle is Ms. Nikki Ormerod, who you may remember took a sunny summers sail along the Toronto waterfront for The Grid last August, in order to create a 1,100 image panoramic of the city shore line. Nikki and the team at The Grid (Vanessa Wyse, Lara Zarum, Jacqueline Perlin, Diana Monge, Nana Arbova, & Laas Turnbull) took home a Silver in the Words & Pictures category.

                    To make the viewing experience of such a vast image a bit easier on your bandwidth, The Grid has this nice video of Nikki’s journey; so if your stuck inside, sit back, relax, and take a quick ride along the water.

                    Bringing us home is Matt Barnes, who’s work with The Grid’s Vanessa Wyse, Got Spunk, received a downpour of recognition taking home the Gold in three design categories: Magazine Cover, Art Direction for a Single Magazine Article, and Art Direction for an Entire Issue.

                    Congrats all around to Derek, Nikki, and Matt for gettin’ rained on, and a big shout out to both The Walrus and The Grid, who took home 12 and 6 awards, respectively.

                    All Images © Respective Photographers