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Director: Daxson Hale
Producer: James Rust
Assistant Producer: Nicole Sheahan
Director of Photography: James Terry
Recordist: Danny Herrera
Writer: Daxson Hale
Concept by: Jack Mergist, Jared Gay, Daxson Hale
Production Design: Jen Paul
Hair/Makeup: Juliette Mergist & Sarah Bult
Costume Design: Juliette Mergist
1st AC: Brad Hill
2nd AC: D’Aaron Gonzalez
Editor: Jared Gay
Colorist: James Terry
Music by: Jack Mergist
Sound Design: Jack Mergist
Post Audio: Jack Mergist
Behind the Scenes: Jared Gay
Set Creators: Jack Mergist, Benny Mergist, Jared Gay, Juliette Mergist
Production Assistant: Brock Arnold
 
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THE JOB
Daxson Hale: Writer/Director

 

Enso rings are designed to break away so they don’t rip your finger off. That sort of super-graphic image is something that we had to face in writing and producing this video.
 

“”We needed to make people’s insides a little uncomfortable without actually veering into actual
imagery of ring avulsion”, a truly horrifying injury that you’ll want to make sure you NEVER see pictures of, much less experience.”
 

With Enso we really wanted to accomplish a lot. It needed to be an introduction to their ring, of course, while also highlighting the safety aspects and aesthetics of their product as well. The challenge was to show all of their features in a cohesive and entertaining manner. We ended up showing three distinct scenes: the monster truck experiment, the family/home environment, and the black tie evening scene. In order to tie these together without it seeming like three different commercials, we decided to have Jack be our common element; he conducts the experiment but he also guides us through the other scenarios as an almost omniscient and omnipresent guide. Some sort of funny salesman ghost or something, perhaps.
 

Jack will talk about creating the experiment effect, but something really cool about it is that the client kept wanting to push it and make it better. The original effect we imagined was some rings looped on a wooden dowel that gets broken. Enso wanted it to be BIGGER. They wanted it to look like a real human finger getting busted off, and they wanted a monster truck, and they were willing to help make it happen. We were happy to acquiesce.
 

The night before the shoot, our producer, James Rust, had a conversation with Brighton, the Enso co-founder, who suggested upping the drama even more– he wanted to be involved in the experiment, showing his own Enso ring chained to the monster truck. He was willing to show his faith in his product’s design, so we made a minor adjustment to the script and added what ended up as the most exciting image of the video.

Enso Ring

An aside: I’m a white man from a small town in Idaho, but I’ve never really understood the whole monster truck thing. Or, I used to never understand it. Directing this video gave me a new appreciation for these machines. It’s hard to really convey the sound that truck produces. We were expecting it to be loud. What we weren’t prepared for was the soul-crushing bellow that escaped from that beast. It’s loud when it starts up. Then it’s deafening as the engine revs. You think it’s as loud as it can possibly get. But when the truck actually takes off— it shakes your bones and takes your breath away. We attempted to portray some of that ferocity in the final audio track, keeping the truck sounds several decibels louder than the rest of the mix. I can now say I Have Respect for Trucks. You’re welcome, America.
 

Enso Ring
The other scenes went off pretty much as planned. They look great, thanks to the work of our cinematographer and colorist, James Terry. We got some really nice locations which really helps sell the feeling we wanted to convey, and we got to touch a Maserati, which is always a treat. My newborn son made an appearance in the commercial, since we’re a family company and labor was cheap. 

All in all, this video was a testament to great teamwork. Everyone’s contribution was valuable and shows in the final product, a video which will hopefully make you smile and buy a dang Enso ring. 
 
 
THE HAND PROP:
Jack Mergist: Actor/Audio Engineer/Music/Production Design

 

I love Bruce Lee. Bruce was a master of constantly adapting until arriving at the most effective outcome. Those life changing moments of inspiration. Something he called “emotional content”. Often times you don’t get to the emotional content with the first idea. You have to push it. In Enter the Dragon he says, “Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger pointing at the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all of the heavenly glory.” Don’t focus on the finger–one of my life principles. For this video, however, I had one job… to focus on the finger.
 

I got to be in charge of making the hand prop work. What was the idea? Put a bunch of flexible rings, and one metal ring on a hand. Chain those rings to a monster truck. The flexible rings break, and the metal band rips a finger off. Focus on the finger. Sounds easy? BAH! Much like a steak dinner at Chili’s, ‘twas much tougher than we thought it would be going into it. The first big challenge was figuring out how to ground the hand to stay in place against the force of the truck. Daxson and I went to home depot, and he had the idea to try concrete–I was sold. We built a big wooden box and filled it with 10 bags of concrete. I knew it would be heavy, but my poor heart had no idea how heavy it would be. We stuck a pole in the middle of it and let it set. It took about 6 people to lug the thing around. With our new concrete anchor in place we new that the contraption itself flying away would not be a problem. We still have the gargantuan rock beastie sitting behind our building if anyone wants it.
 
Enso Ring

Mounting the hand to the pole was easy, figuring out what to make it out of was not. We needed something with fingers tough enough to break the flexible rings, but brittle enough to be broken by the metal band. We tried rubber, plastic, and wood. It just wouldn’t work. I finally told Daxson we needed to forget about it and just break one finger with the metal band. Then I could just pull an enso band apart to demonstrate it breaking. It would keep the audience focus on the finger… maybe Bruce would let this one slide of he were here. We settled on concrete for the hand. Our make up artist, Juliette, cast her hand for the prop. It was perfect! It was brittle enough for the ring to break the finger off, but tough enough looking to really drive the point home. James (the producer) called Brighton to inform him of the change of plan. Brighton was super disappointed that we were just going to rip a band apart by hand and offered to attach HIS finger, by an Enso ring, to the monster truck as well. I thought, “That’s it! That’s even better! People aren’t gonna forget that… that’s emotional content.” Brighton looked beyond the finger and saw the “heavenly glory”. I understood what Bruce was talking about, and I knew that this was a better plan.
 

It was scary, and it worked. Sometimes the first idea isn’t always the best idea. Sometimes, when pointing to the moon, ya gotta remember to look beyond the finger.