When we decided to shoot our latest commercial for Aceable Drivers Ed, we all had different ideas for what we wanted in the commercial. Memes! Dogs! Explosions! Dancing robots! We wanted a movie with the heart of an Oscar winner and the special effects of a summer blockbuster, and somehow, our talented video team of Joseph Hader, Rocky Borders, and Gil Garcia managed to give us everything we wanted and more. We’re so proud to be able to finally share with you ‘Aceable — A Different Approach to Drivers Ed,’ coming soon to a theater near you.
(Well, OK, maybe not that last part.)
“Working on VFX in such a cool project was a blast,” says Borders, who served as the short’s digital animator, VFX artist, and all-around special effects guru. “The team was so efficient and the results turned out great.” Garcia remembers one particular shot — the now-famous (at least in the Aceable office) exploding car scene — that came out better than the team could’ve hoped. “As our actress walks past, we would point a leaf blower at the back of her head,” Garcia explains. “The director would yell, ‘Action, Glasses, Hair!’ all while imagining the car exploding in slow motion. We rehearsed it many times and then the clouds broke and the suns rays lit up the shot beautifully. We quickly shot off some takes until all of the elements timed out perfectly. It was very gratifying to see how well it turned out, I couldn’t be happier with it.”
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games. Director Joseph Hader and his crew had to hustle to beat out an incoming storm, which he described as something right out of Twister. “There was a huge dark wall of a cloud to our left, which was actively erupting with lightning,” Hader remembers. “We were trying to time throwing confetti into the air with our talent’s surprised reaction, and after about five tries, we still weren’t quite nailing the shot. With the dark cloud wall edging closer, we kept pushing for that perfect moment. We nailed the shot, and promptly raced our equipment — including metal stands (lightning rod death traps) — back to the van. A blanket of hard rain hit the roof the moment we were on our way.”
We’re very glad to report that no humans or robots were harmed in the making of this short film, but it just goes to show that there’s no such thing as an easy shot. Keep a close eye on the video and you might catch a few easter eggs — including one reference to a classic painting and another to one of our favorite dead memes — but altogether, “Aceable — A Different Approach to Drivers Ed” is the short video of our dreams. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go practice our Academy Award acceptance speech.