Responses by Chris Sojka, cofounder/chief creative officer, Ryan Howard, creative director and Ben X. Trinh, strategy, Madwell
Background: As early adopting tech experts, gamers will be among the first to experience the difference between today’s networks and Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband, but they’re skeptical of the brands barging into their space to co-opt their community. 5G Ultra Wideband will offer them something truly unique, so we needed to find an eye-catching, intriguing way to introduce it to them. They’re a savvy audience, and they’ve seen it all—we had to show them something new.
Reasoning: We wanted to create a surreal version of the real world rife with all of the familiar lag-induced glitches gamers have grown to know, hate and sometimes even love. Throughout the two-minute film, we wanted to show these frustrations, but also pay homage to the world of gaming as well. Everything needed to feel authentic, from the way the world degraded to the fun game-specific Easter eggs hidden throughout the film. By the end, gamers will see that Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband will bring a better reality with fewer lag-related frustrations.
Challenges: The authenticity of the visuals. Gamers know their stuff, so getting the details right was crucial. We needed to show how Verizon understands their perspective on those familiar gaming grips, while also positioning 5G Ultra Wideband as a key to defeating every gamer’s worst enemy: lag. Lag and the lag-induced glitches are the main characters of the film, so we needed to do our research to make sure we telegraphed it the right way, and try to include a little something for every type of gamer.
Favorite details: We love the way every one of our lag-related glitches turned out, but we’re particularly proud of the way they all come together to create a sort of ballet of chaos throughout the film. The film is made up of several hundred errors and Easter eggs, but we wanted lag to feel like the center of all that action; that something was making all of these glitches get bigger and worse, all the way until the ultimate Reset moment. It took a lot of conversations and debates with Moving Picture Company (MPC) and Independent Media director Doug Liman to ultimately land where we did—and we couldn’t be happier.
Visual influences: Our main sources of inspiration were games. We used dozens and dozens of games as reference, from early console games to today’s most popular titles. We wanted to make sure that we depicted this surreal, laggy world as authentically as possible, showing every little glitchy moment the way gamers actually experience them during gameplay.
Time constraints: We were fortunate to have all the pieces fall in place for us correctly. We needed to run a safe shoot during a pandemic and complete post-production remotely, and create something that felt extremely authentic to a varied and diverse audience of gamers. The biggest hurdle was assembling the right team to bring it to life with those challenges in mind. Once we partnered up with MPC and Doug Liman, we knew we had the right people for the job. Together, they brought a wealth of cinematic storytelling expertise and exceptional VFX work to the table, and were enthusiastic creative collaborators on- and off-set. We are extremely proud of what we were able to create together, especially considering we did it all remotely from different parts of the country.