INNOCEAN Goes Back to School With Atomic Candy

"Leave the uncontrollable up to the production Gods. Count on your friends."


What was the original brief for this campaign?


Create content for special occasions that were relevant, and of interest, to Atomic Candy. We discovered that September 30th was National Chewing Gum Day, and decided to do something about it.
In a few words, tell us about your role in the creation of this work.
I'm the Creative Director on the account, and the Director of the film. I was able to curate the ideas, develop the script I thought was best, and then figure out how to shoot and produce it with our minuscule budget.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
The original script was set in a working school. A friend suggested shooting it in an abandoned school, and I absolutely loved that idea as it added a whole new dimension to the idea, and the twist at the end.

Finding the location, however, proved to be hellish. We narrowed our focus to the Detroit area as it felt like the right setting for the story. After 8 months of searching, our persistence paid off. We found a Catholic school that had been abandoned and very well preserved, to a point where we barely had to add any production design. And, it had these great big windows that let us shoot it all in natural light, on a cloudy, wet day where the sky played the part of a giant soft box.

For the talent, I wanted someone believably old, with a face that could communicate the story, had intrinsic innocence, and poignancy. I believed I could direct someone who wasn't a professional actor, and felt the film would be better served by someone who was a raw talent. Our producer, Amy Krause, a native of Detroit, showed me a picture of her Dad's best friend, Jimmy Rubiner, who was a Detroit-based 92-year old attorney. I knew right away that he was our guy. He was amazing, and gave us an 8-hour day without any complaints.

We got really lucky on every front, and all our calculated risks (forced by a ridiculously small budget) paid off, resulting in a very special piece.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to Atomic Candy?
Tim, at Atomic Candy, loved the script so it wasn't difficult at all. He has great faith in our ability to work within his means, and he gave us all the freedom we needed.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Finding the location. I knew the spot hinged on finding the perfect school. And, permitting an abandoned school in Detroit for a shoot is a special can of worms.
What did you learn from the experience?
Don't compromise on your vision.

Persist. Persist. Persist.

Leave the uncontrollable up to the production Gods.

Count on your friends.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
It was shot without a was just me, the DP, and an assistant actively involved in getting the shots.

The basketball court was actually in use the Sunday we shot. The 30-something players obliged and stood in one dark corner of the court while we got our shots.
Kiran Koshy
Art Director + Creative Director + Director Innocean USA