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Miniac Signs Director Daniel Stessen


Creator and EP of Adult Swim’s 'Dream Corp LLC' adds his audacious brand of humour, seen in two new over the top spots for the canned water brand Liquid Death

Miniac Signs Director Daniel Stessen

Director Daniel Stessen, the creator of Adult Swim’s dark comedy 'Dream Corp LLC,' has entered the advertising arena by signing with Miniac, the L.A. and New York-based creative production company. The news was jointly announced by director John Pina and executive producer Stephen Roesler, Miniac’s partners. The signing marks Daniel’s first formal representation agreement with an established commercial production company. To view his work, go here

Daniel and Miniac hit the ground running with two raucous spots for Liquid Death, produced for the brand’s in-house agency. The first spot was 'Hoop Head,' which broke in March; the second was 'The Liquid Death Recycled Plastic Surgery Centre,' which broke on May 23. In the former, Houston Rockets star Jalen Green shows off his skills with the Liquid Death ‘Hoop Head’ basketball, which looks, not surprisingly, like a severed head, since LD bills itself as being able to 'murder your thirst.' 

In the latter spot, framed as a TV infomercial, comedienne Whitney Cummings runs a medical facility which not only exposes the myth of plastic bottles being recyclable, but shows what happens when plastic gets used as the filler for ghastly examples of cosmetic surgery.

Daniel clicked with the Liquid Death clients thanks to his work as a show creator and screenwriter, according to Miniac’s Stephen: “On both spots, the clients asked Daniel to help ‘plus’ the creative, so he worked with the brand to develop and write both spots.”

Born and raised in Upstate New York, Daniel graduated from Syracuse University, then went on to study at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Centre. Shortly after, he wrote and directed Fringe Festival plays in New York and Edinburgh, Scotland. 

When he arrived in LA, Daniel first worked as an editor for music videos and sketch comedies. He went on to direct and edit 'The Farewells,' a short documentary featuring the cast members of 'The Office,' to commemorate its final episode. The project earned him an Emmy nomination; that year, his animated short, 'The Gold Sparrow,' became a festival darling, being nominated for the Grand Jury Award at SXSW, 

Shortly after, Stephen Merchant, co-creator of the original UK version of 'The Office,' and John Krasinski, star of the American version, teamed up with Daniel to executive produce his one-of-a-kind live action/animation hybrid, 'Dream Corp LLC,' tapping Daniel as showrunner. 'DCLLC' ran for three seasons on Adult Swim and is currently streaming on Hulu.

“We’ve known Daniel for many years, always admired his creative mind from afar and closely followed the success he had at Adult Swim,” says Stephen. “We believe he’s a great representation of how we define a Miniac – an often restless individual who uses unorthodox creative and innovative methods to reveal new possibilities.”

Miniac and the director first teamed up last year on a PSA produced for Better DAO, an environmentally focused crypto initiative created by Ben Becker, a freelance agency creative director. The resulting spot, 'A Climate Change Warning,' used AI technology to show Elon Musk musing about the future on the surface of Mars, circa 2099. 

“We’ve always wanted to produce more comedy,” explains Pina. “Our plan was to mount this effort with a director we had a longstanding relationship with and whose work and sense of humour we wholeheartedly believed in, and that’s Daniel. We share similar philosophies and laugh at the same things. It’s a perfect match.”

“There are two types of people making branded content – vampires and werewolves. These dudes at Miniac are werewolves,” Daniel says. “When ‘Dream Corp’ ended and branded opportunities started being offered, I chose to sign with Miniac because it's director owned and operated. Our business needs more people in decision making roles who actually make art. It was important to me to join a team that has both taste and integrity, a team who thinks differently and actually cares about craftsmanship. They’re wolves I tell ya, wolves.”

“Daniel adds a new flavour to Miniac,” Stephen continues. “We like that he has a background in TV as a co-writer on his Adult Swim show, which is something we’re excited to share with our clients. Daniel writes and develops creative concepts and then carries them through scripting and directing. He is proficient in every part of the creative process.” 

For Daniel, the key to making something memorable lies in the idea. “No matter if it’s live action or animation, it all starts with the script,” he notes. “Then it’s the actors who bring that script to life. I love working with actors – I have since theatre school. I’m quite passionate about discovering the character and the tone with the actor, especially through improv.

“My goal at Miniac is to work with more brands like Liquid Death, brands that trust their creative instincts and who buck the status quo.” Daniel continues. “It’s a weird time to be alive – art and advertising should reflect that.”

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avagnoni communications, Wed, 24 May 2023 13:40:20 GMT