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Embracing the Future: Artistry and Problem Solving, From Production to Post


Overflowing with fresh energy and high level creative, LBB learns how this husband and wife team has grown from a VFX and finishing house to a global turn-key operation

Embracing the Future: Artistry and Problem Solving, From Production to Post

There’s a lot to be said about JANE. In under five years, the business has evolved into a multi-faceted one stop shop, flawlessly managing a conveyor belt of projects for diverse global brands such as AT&T, Netflix, McDonald’s, ESPN and the NBA; while making forays into the long-form space with work for academy award nominated film VICE; all the while dedicating itself to championing new voices and working towards a more equitable, progressive industry. Proudly certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise, and in the process of becoming a Minority Business Enterprise, the achievements have been stacking up since 2017, as the LA-based company kept their heads down and remained focused on delivering first-rate creative. The extraordinary work rate and growth of the business demands attention: it’s time for the industry to learn who JANE is. 

The idea for JANE presented David Parker and Nancy Nina Hwang with an unmissable opportunity to join forces. The creative couple boast impressive resumes, respectively, with combined industry experience of more than 40 years: Nancy, a seasoned executive producer and former broadcast producer for TBWA\Chiat Day; David, a talented visual effects artist, director and alumni of Psyop, MJZ and The Mill. Together, through JANE, the couple were able to cultivate a shared vision – building from classical artistry while living on the bleeding edge of what's new.

Joined by trusted long-time collaborators Rich Rama, executive producer, and Cole Schreiber, David’s long-time directing partner, the team got to work putting their plan into action, building a company that combined directors and artists with distinguished visions, with a post backbone that offers impeccable technical execution and precision.

Honing in on their respective specialisms, existing relationships and collective experiences, David, Nancy, Cole and Rich have built JANE up into the thriving team it is today. Since the global gear-change brought about by the pandemic, the business has transformed from a VFX and finishing house to a fresh, growing company on the rise. Rich - who has worked within the animation space throughout his 20 year career - helped launch the design animation arm of JANE in 2020, facilitating storytelling and experimental offerings that range from 2d cell animation to full 3d characters. “Job by job, we have built up the reel, and are now integrating live action, animation and VFX throughout our projects,” explains Cole, “All the disciplines are complimentary.”

Within a few weeks of launching, in 2017, the team successfully got a foot in the door with Collective (TBWA\Chiat\Day + Integer), pitching for a game changing job with AT&T. The campaign required a collection of visual branding videos which would be rolled out in over 200 AT&T stores across the States. Keen to impress, Nancy, David and Ben Sposato, JANE’s head of production, built a team of artists and animators capable of delivering a fast and flexible 8k pipeline, which at the time, was completely unprecedented in the commercial arena. By the end of the project, JANE had delivered a total of 305 screens and 1,830 minutes of content in 8k. Taking pride of place in over 200 stores, including flagship stores in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, these large-scale installations marked a momentous first job for JANE, proof that the company was capable of great things. 

Shortly after exceeding expectations on AT&T, a contact at the LA agency, Battery, floated the idea of working together on a project for Netflix. The job in question featured comedians Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle and Jerry Seinfield and required a concept whereby each comic would appear to make seamlessly superimposed cameos in popular Netflix shows such as The Crown, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things, as a way of promoting their new stand up comedy specials. 

The project was a hit and Battery once again recruited JANE, this time for a collection of full 360 degree jobs. This second round of work saw the team directing a series of promotional spots for Netflix show, Raising Dion, and a multifaceted campaign for NBA team The Clippers, combining broadcast spots, in-stadium and OOH billboards and videos. 

Following on from the success of these projects - the work kept on coming. One of the most show-stopping collaborations to date was an experiential OOH campaign that announced a new partnership between Oakley and the NFL, which saw the team deliver an iconic billboard takeover of Times Square, NYC. Created by David, Cole and West Sarokin (former head of 2D at The Mill and director at The Mill+) and produced by Rich, the presentation was designed to be all-consuming, dazzling bystanders as sound and images wrapped around them in every direction. 

In building a satisfying mixed reality experience, the team knew it would need to design and edit with the real physical space of Times Square in mind, so they could effectively sculpt the viewer's gaze to follow the surrounding narrative. After completing a multi-day shoot with several NFL stars using 360 degree capture, the team built a VR preview system based on a 3d model of Times Square, in which they could move easily between editing, designing and compositing sequences of the film, giving the agency and brand an exact sense of what the film would look like for a viewer in Times Square, and ensuring the sound and visuals would be truly immersive. 

Other noteworthy work to come from the LA-based team includes a recent promotional series for Rémy Martin, directed by David and Cole. Handling every element of the campaign from production through post, the sleek and sexy cinematic final spots encapsulate the timeless qualities of the nearly 300 year old cognac. From DIY cocktail tutorials to social media GIFs, this project gave JANE the chance to flex creative muscles in crafting a range of stunning multimedia visuals. 

In 2022, JANE’s work diversified more than ever, as the turn-key company ventured into new creative terrain. They kicked off the year off by bringing GTS Living Foods’ live action floral dreamworld to life for their Synergy 'Begin Within' campaign. The team then took on more sports-related work, collaborating with Translation and Prettybird for the 'NBA Tip-Off' campaign, as well completing a series of films for ESPN and Hispanic Heritage month. Additional highlights include, McDonald’s for Widen and Kennedy, animation projects for Archer Roose and The Grammy’s, and working on a pro-bono PSA for the “Eff Yourself” initiative. Partnering with Venables, Corner Shop, Work Editorial and Barking Owl for the latter, JANE worked on the design animation and VFX for the message-based non-advertising project advocating for women's’ reproductive rights. 

It’s high time the industry put a face to JANE’s name, as there is a lot for the company to be proud of, and even more to look forward to - in five short years they have cultivated a familial and welcoming space for creatives to pursue their craft. While initially the majority of JANE’s work came from trusted relationships each team member had built over the course of their careers, five years down the line almost 80 percent of current projects are a result of new relationships, cementing the progress of JANE’s growth. Having the confidence to take on large-scale global brand collaborations from the outset certainly set the company up for success, as their roster has continued to grow organically into an exceptional team of directors and artists that brands and agencies wholeheartedly believe can deliver the work. 

"When JANE was founded in 2017, we wanted to establish the company as a WBE, showing a fundamental way to exist differently in the industry, at a time when we weren’t seeing an accurate reflection of what that looks like, culturally or practically,” shares Nancy. “Now with Rich and Cole as partners, we are proud to be progressing toward being minority-led, while simultaneously getting to explore the creative spaces we love. We have tremendous appreciation for the old school, but want to be at the forefront of what’s new and yet to be done.” 

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JANE, Tue, 14 Feb 2023 08:49:00 GMT