The partner spotlight is a weekly series where we go behind the scenes with some of the companies that make VendorDB great. Next up is Lucky Treehouse!
When hotels leave robes in the closet we make sure they get some use.
Name: Lucky Treehouse Production & Post
Location: SF & LA
Year Founded: 2014
Specialties: Making Memorable Work
What inspired you to start your company?
After years of collaborating on projects here and there we got deep into a bunch of jobs in a row; shooting commercials, editing a film and writing two others. Our working relationship had always been really fun but it became clear during that time that we made each other better, that our whole was greater than the sum of our parts so we decided to go all in like Ghostbusters crossing proton streams.
How did the partners meet?
We were neighbors living in the same small apartment building in Santa Monica.
Why SF & LA?
The stock answer to this one is that there are great people to work with and for in both SF and LA, and while that’s true it’s not the whole truth. If we were to go a little deeper I would tell you that we are in love with both cities and that when we’re in them we’re inspired in different ways. And that’s true too; but the most real answer I can give is that one or both of us might be addicted to travel, shifting landscapes, new people, and movement, and that setting up shop in just one location wouldn’t adequately feed the need for a regular dose of the open road.
What was the first job someone hired you for?
I can’t remember the first job someone hired us for but I can remember the first time we worked together. Right after the iPhone came out in 2006 we made friends with an amazing guy named Gille Legacy at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Gille has Cerebral Palsy so he can’t use his arms and legs or even really talk but he has a fully functioning mind. At the market Gille was painting the most beautiful works of art with his nose and selling them for a few bucks a piece. He was also using the new iPhone touch screen with his nose to communicate with us, show us pictures of his family and tell stories; something he never could have done with a standard push button phone. We went home and grabbed a camera to make a spec :30 for apple that didn’t sell but it was a memorable first collaboration for sure.
Which work or brand are you best known for?
We did a piece for a healthcare start up out of California called Stride Health. Their mission is to help freelancers, athletes, musicians, and all those that don’t get healthcare through their employer choose the best health insurance for their lifestyle. Unllike traditional health insurance companies stride needed to do something different to appeal to the self-employed adventurer so we enlisted the world’s best rock climber Alex Honnold to climb buildings without a rope.
Which project is most underrated.
The Movember Moustache Ride was a fun one. Movember is an irreverent social organization that encourages men to grow moustaches for the month of November to raise money and awareness for men’s health so along with creatives Ryan Holland And Amy Travis we took a coin operated grocery store pony ride replaced the pony with a mustache and shot with it in the desert.
What is the smartest work you’ve seen in the past year that didn’t come from your shop?
The W & K Turbotax “Year of You” stuff voiced by John C. Reiley was great It had a lot of heart and tapped into the most likeable part of the super effective / narcissistic “it’s not really about anything it’s about the viewer” model. It almost feels like we made it at Lucky Treehouse and I’m not 100% sure that we didn’t have something to do with it… you see back in the day Tyler and John C. had an intimate nude group “love” scene in an Apatow film. As the story goes John became a 87% better at everything that day including singing, dancing, comedy, and commercial voice over’s.
How has the business changed since you started?
Making video content used to be magic. As makers everyone in our industry was the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain. Now we’re all working in mediums that people dabble in on their smart phones.
What emerging tech trend will have the biggest impact on your business?
A gigantic swell of entertainment options and delivery methods has changed the way people interact with media. A -million-dollar TV spot with a rock star isn’t going to get noticed anymore if the content isn’t entertaining on it’s own and worth talking about.. Technology is putting the viewer in control and now more than ever ideas, TV spots, web sites, videos, and stunts have to be compelling enough that viewers will choose to spend their time engaging with, watching, and sharing work.
What advice do you have for agency producers or creatives?
When you’re selecting a production company to partner with for a job that has to fit within a budget have conversations about what the most important pieces of the idea are. You might be producing an idea with a name talent, a big camera trick, 5 animal stunts and a chorus of 15 dancers for XXX, XXX.XX. If everyone agrees that the animal stunts make the finished work 5% better they should know when those animal stunts also double the budget and have a conversation about that. It could be that two animal stunts and an additional shot in Australia makes the work 20% better and is also more affordable to produce.
What do you make of the trend where brands are skipping their agency of record to work directly with production partners?
I’m not surprised. We’ve had great experiences working with agencies and also direct to client. The thing we’ve noticed when comparing workflows is how much more expensive jumping through hoops can make a project.
What is the best thing about working at Lucky Treehouse?
Breaking down walls and having fun on set with talent / client / agency is a priority; it bleeds into the work. If we’re not friends with everybody involved AND making great work by the end of the job then we fucked up.
Where are the best bars in SF & LA ?
Our SF office is at the beach 5 miles north of the city and the best bar within walking distance hands down is The Pelican Inn. English pub style inside at night and pints on the lawn by day. In LA we’ve been digging an arcade / bar some friends just opened up called Eighty Two.