Honoring the Man Who’s Won Everything


Jack Nicklaus just got done playing in the Turning Point Invitational here in Detroit — a tournament that ended up raising over $3.2 million dollars for education in the city.

The kids at Cornerstone Schools wanted a way to honor him.

So we produced the modern equivalent of a school play based on the great man’s life.

We had fun with it.


The kids researched his life and the arc of movie trailers. We helped them set up a green screen in the school and spent the afternoon playing with wigs and hitting invisible golf balls.

Then we recruited a stellar video arts student from CCS who was looking to get more experience in green screen animation.

It was a major win for everyone.

…and, I’ve gotta say- before this, I had no idea Jack Nicklaus did so much for charity. And in Detroit, no less. A city he is neither from nor frequently visits. Pretty incredible.

Take note, Hollywood. This man’s earned a big budget release. Let’s talk.


Play the video here:

Lovely, handcrafted and fat free: Our 2016 reel is here!

We are pretty pumped with how this latest reel of ours came out. We sure had fun making it. Sure had fun shooting all this material over the last year or so, too. From forests to parking lots to hockey rinks to cubicle-laden offices to street festivals… might say we got around a little bit. So sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds. Hugs and kisses,

– DL!

Music: Disclosure – Magnets ft. Lorde (Jon Hopkins Remix)

2016 Showreel from Detroit Lives! on Vimeo.

Our latest job postings. Apply!


Illustration by Michael Burdick

After a year that brought exciting work with two new fortune 50 clients and a big move into the newly remodeled offices of the former Detroit Stock Exchange, we are looking to hire for the following positions:

– A video editor
– 2-3 people as ongoing participants in our internship program

We like to think of DL! as a band- each person has room to solo with their unique capabilities and expertise, and when it comes time to lay down that baseline groove, we operate as a unit. This requires humility, open-mindedness and the utmost respect for everyone in the studio.  This is something we take very seriously, and at the forefront of our hiring is bringing someone in that works well in that kind of environment.

Our Team (The Band):  Each new project brings its own mix of freelancers and collaborators, but a few key people are responsible for the day-to-day operations of Detroit Lives!

  • Philip Lauri – executive producer, partner: chiefly responsible for steering the messaging and developing the vision of client projects, all sales and business development, business operations, producing client projects with Steven Oliver.
  • Steven Oliver – director, partner: leads project vision with Philip, directs all commercial shoots and serves as lead story-editor in post-production.
  • Logan Siegel – production manager: breaks-down shooting scripts, coordinates crews and equipment, and serves as an assistant editor.
  • Lunar North – Our sibling studio. An independently operated animation and motion graphics studio, sharing space and resources in the Detroit Stock Exchange.

Details on each individual job we are hiring for are below.

The Editor

DL! is a small and nimble studio that’s growing fast. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s rewarding. For those editors looking for the chance to break out of the mold, reimagine their medium and make their mark in the industry– this is that chance.

Chief responsibilities:

  • Bring a visual narrative to life – from start to finish – based on established editorial direction
  • Edit with Premiere Pro (and the Creative Cloud suite)
  • Incorporate basic text and motion animations via AfterEffects
  • Work with the DL! team (primarily Steven Oliver and Philip Lauri) to establish the editorial direction of the project
  • Communicate effectively with the larger DL! team on progress and hurdles
  • Be able to communicate effectively with agency clients representing DL!

The ideal candidate has:

  • Absolute wizardry with Premiere Pro
  • 2-5 years of video editing experience in a professional capacity, ideally doing commercial work in advertising
  • An ability to understand client needs and participate in the idea generation phase (as needed)
  • Independence and self-drive to imagine radical and eye-popping solutions in the edit
  • Flexibility and openness to feedback and client notes
  • An ability to juggle multiple projects on a fast-paced timeline
  • A basic understanding of AfterEffects

Skill sets aside, we want to work with innovative, enthusiastic editors who love to push the envelope when it comes to storytelling and the overall artform of editing.

The Editor would report to Steven, and work collaboratively with the other team members.

Compensation: Negotiable based upon experience. Full time, following a successful 3-month trial period (part-time arrangements could also be made).

Interested?  Please send a resume and cover letter telling us a story about yourself to: talk@detroitlives.com

The Intern(s)

This ain’t no coffee-fetchin’ internship.  DL! is growing fast. Every day is different, as we take on challenges big and small. This is a unique opportunity for a few lucky students to establish a professional and meaningful relationship in the world of video production.

We want students who are passionate, creative, enthusiastic… Students who are into   communication, video production, advertising… Students who love to experiment, love to learn, and most of all, love to share their unique perspective.

You’ll be hands-on with everything production, A to Z. You’ll assist with concept brainstorming.  You’ll help with execution of video concepts. You’ll organize, you’ll research, you’ll do that thing that you do best… And you’ll get better.

Skills we like to share/Skills you like to explore:

  • Brand storytelling
  • Innovative visuals/ camera techniques (RED, Canon C100s, and Sony fs700 in-house)
  • Engaging and thoughtful narrative flow (Premiere Pro)
  • Understanding on-set etiquette and production knowledge
  • Effective project management

We’re thinking it might be fun to come up with a personal project for you to manage while you’re here too… Something you can work on over the summer and present to the DL! team at conclusion… But obviously, that’ll be based on the individual.

The ideal candidate should:

  • Have a proven track record (academic, extracurricular, or portfolio-based) that   demonstrates quality and attention to detail
  • Have an upbeat enthusiasm
  • Have the guts to jump in the deep end

The ideal candidate must:

  • Be currently enrolled in a degree seeking program
  • Be able to receive college credit for internship hours

Intern(s) would report to Philip and Steven, depending on their area of focus, and work   collaboratively with the other team members.

Compensation: This is an unpaid internship.

Interested?  Please send a resume and cover letter telling us a story about yourself to: talk@detroitlives.com


Progress Photos: From Stock Exchange to our New Office!

Whew. Been a while as you can see. We’re forehead deep in construction on the new office and keeping busy shooting and editing projects as well. We’re so excited to be working with Patrick Thompson Design on the space, and wanted to just share some photos of the progress quickly. Stay tuned for more.

Stock Exchange Area

A wide shot of the area where the trading floor was. We are still working on the ceilings, restoring the catwalk, pouring new cement for the floor and running electrical.

Kitchenette detail

Annnnnd the tile is in for the kitchenette. The sink pictured at left has been in the space for decades. We couldn’t bear to throw it away, so we incorporated it in to the design.

Flooring progress

In the offices surrounding the perimeter of the old trading floor, we’ve been working to get the flooring right.

Check out our Instagram and Twitter accounts for additional updates.

A former Stock Exchange? Our new office? Yes.

Stock Exchange

Well, the cat’s officially out of the bag: construction is underway on our new office and studio inside what was once the Detroit Stock Exchange. Who knew Detroit even had it’s own stock exchange? We certainly didn’t. Turns out it was open from 1928-76 at the top of tower 2 ub the Penobscot Building.

It all started one afternoon when we were touring the Penobscot Building looking for a new office after the fiasco that came to unravel after a pipe burst in our former space at the David Stott Building (reported on here by the Wall Street Journal). The leasing agent representing the Penobscot Building toured us around the building, viewing mostly sleepy, drop-ceiling laden, cubicle farm’esque spaces that weren’t so inspiring let alone inviting. We casually inquired about seeing something a bit more raw, an older space, if only just to feed our history-loving habits and to get a glimpse in to the older days of the building, and we landed at the top of Tower 2. As we stepped off the elevator, what sat in plain view was an absolutely stunning room: the former Detroit Stock Exchange. The catwalk was still intact that a young man would manually update prices on the stock ticker. The 30 foot ceilings were ornately sculpted and offered a window in to the city’s storied past. It was almost hard to believe.

A few passionate pow-wows between our team and sibling studio Space Camp Design and our desire to land a deal for the space was solidified. Five months of negotiations working out the lease, and the rest is history. We’re proud of where we’ve landed, and feel that the space will be a part of our next phase of growth as we focus on working with national brands while staying true to the adventures and city that has gotten us here.

For more information on the history of the space and to take a 3D tour, click here.

Ad Roundup: Less is More!

We’ve been hard at work lately on some edits for Chrysler as part of their “Portraits of Proud” video series. The campaign is a digital extension of the broadcast spots that Wieden + Kennedy did not so long ago (Peter Dinklage narrates!). It’s been a pleasant project working with the Detroit office of Mediabrands Publishing. So far, you can see two of the three videos, with the third being released in a couple weeks.

That said, we still like to see keep our teeth sharp with what’s going on in the world around us. Our latest round of video inspirons centers on the idea of simplicity. Less is more! Voila.

First, a swell ad from Scrabble. Indeed there can be “magic in words” it seems.

Second, the intro animation and music for Sundance 2015. This little bumper played before every screening at the festival and every time we heard it we wanted to volume up and dance.

Sundance 2015 Bumper from Andrew Lush on Vimeo.

Third, a simple challenge to a conventional norm that makes you think.

Until next time!

Love, DL!

Floods, moves, new work: We are still here!

A lot has happened in the last… oh… month or so. In list format, because let’s be honest, lists are so easy-peasy:

1) In late February, a pipe burst in our office space at the David Stott Building that flooded the space and rendered the building without power and mostly useless. Then I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal (glass half full!).


Emergency remediation crews respond to a pipe bursting at the David Stott Building in downtown Detroit.i

2) Moving out, or at least getting our core set of gear, workstations and hard drives out, was pretty interesting. And by interesting, I mean I walked about 300 floors worth of stairs. Read: Our office is on the 28th floor, there was no power in the building and therefore the elevator, so taking the ol’ fire stairs was the only way up or down. Fear not, however, we were still in reasonably good spirits (albeit with legs feeling like Jell-o) after making the first run of unloading gear.


The glorious group of men that responded very quickly to help remove essential gear from our dilapidated office space in the David Stott Building. From left: Brody Webster, Andrew Pixley, myself and Alex Lauri.

3) Given the above, it looks like we will be getting a new office. But fear not (not that you were necessarily as scared as I was at one point)! We’re on the doorstep of securing a new space, with details forthcoming once we’ve done so. But I am so incredibly excited with where things are headed and hope to have some big news soon!

4) Amidst all this, we’ve been very busy with a handful of fun projects in the last month or so. We had the pleasure of working with Loveland Technologies, a tech company and the age-old venerable Kresge Foundation— a brand spankin’ new client for us. Very exciting. Take a look at the two I mentioned, below.

So, anyway, thanks for reading this update after a relative period of silence. We’re still here, still kicking, still having fun… and hope to have some great news on our new office soon.


Eight Reasons Why Sundance 2015 Did Not Suck


Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom takes questions during a screening of her film “The Mask You Live In.”

We were lucky enough to be in attendance for this years Mac Daddy of the film festivals for all the good times and films. Given that numbered lists get the most attention, here’s our breakdown of why the festival was so great this year and a laundry list of films that you should probably see in 2015 (and some to avoid perhaps). Without further ado:

1) The temperature of Park City in comparison to Detroit made it feel like Cancun for the entire duration of the festival. OK, but seriously, movie thoughts are probably more important (and will follow), but this was a very distinguishing feature of the festival experience.

2) Me and Earl and Dying Girl was actually as good as the $12 million price tag Fox Searchlight paid for exclusive distribution rights. This amount was a festival record, but really, the film was amazing. Like Juno on steroids. It tells the story of Greg, a self-deprecating high schooler who befriends Rachel, a girl dying of Leukemia. You should absolutely see this when it when it hits theaters sometime in 2015.

3) Jimmy Chin, all-around adventure megaman (climber, skier, director, photographer) teamed up with other adventure megamen (Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk) to create our absolute favorite documentary of the festival: Meru. You’re thinking “great, another mountain climbing doc!” but really you should get down from that horse and watch this film. It tells the gripping story of going for summit at Meru, a shark fin shaped peak in the Himalayas. The actual climb itself proves to be of secondary importance compared to the interpersonal exploration of the three guys that go for this nearly impossible feat.


From left: Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi take part in Q+A following a screening of their film Meru.

4) Second best doc award goes to Cartel Land, which also got awards at the festival. Go out of your way to see this film. It explores the idea of being a vigilante against the drug cartels on each side of America’s border with Mexico. Multiple character plots make for a gripping adventure that leaves your palms plenty sweaty.

5) Docs you should see when they’re out on Netflix, but aren’t necessarily worthy of the top prize or an overt amount of gushing: Being Evel, DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Story of the National Lampoon, Misery Loves Comedy and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.

6) The doc you should see, and be prepared for some introspective questioning after you watch it: The Mask You Live In. It expounds on the idea of the idea of the growing “boy crisis” whereby society at large is putting unnecessary pressure on boys to be one thing or the other. The film takes a refreshing (albeit sometimes sobering) look at how the modern man is portrayed and what parents can do to combat this looming reality.

7) Time we can save you by warning you that these movies are not nearly as good as you may think or be told: A Walk in the Woods and The Wolfpack. The former is based on a book by Bill Bryson, where Nick Nolte and Robert Redford walk the Appalachian Trail and make terrible jokes. The other caution is probably a controversial observation, seeing as how it made it through Sundance as the darling in the US doc category, but it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t see The Wolfpack. It follows the prison-like setting of six brothers and one sister who are largely kept in their New York City apartment without being allowed to go outside. What ensues is a band of brothers both odd and thrilling for reasons you would absolutely expect of folks that stay inside for the better part of two decades. But the film is everything you’d expect in delivering that story, and while entertaining at times, it’s not worth the fuss.

8) The films we are pissed we missed which may (or may not) be worth your time if/when they surface this year: The Chinese Mayor, Most Likely to Succeed, The Beaver Trilogy Part IV, The Russian Woodpecker, James White, Western and Partisan.

There you have it. Such a fun week. Lots of fun conversations, movies, learning and smiles. Happy movie watching in 2015.

Ad Roundup: Holiday Edition


We like sharing our favorite ads that inspire and inform the work we do. It’s like our little war chest of inspiration. We try to share them weekly, though sometimes that doesn’t always pan out. But fear not, for this installment of Ad Roundup we’ve gathered our favorite ads that involve the holidays. They’re fun, touching and awfully nice.

Take this as our love letter to you and yours– enjoy the holidays, have some fun, and be merry.

A Three Year Retrospective: Urban Innovation Exchange

For the last three years we’ve interviewed and talked to thirty different individuals and organizations re-tooling and evolving the idea of social innovation for the Urban Innovation Exchange. The effort, underwritten by the Knight Foundation and supported by a host of Detroit-based foundations and organizations along with ourselves, cumulatively looks at hundreds of efforts across the city and their affect on the trajectory of Detroit. What does the value of a community garden have on a neighborhood? What about the guy with a “gang” of friends that mow vacant parks in Detroit? And we’ve all heard of Detroit SOUP, what’s the cumulative impact of the money they’ve injected in to community level projects? Muralists, incubators, community spaces, street artists, neighborhood philosophers, blight busters– what does it all amount to?

For our part, we created thirty different videos interviewing and examining the work of but a handful of the thoughtful and innovative projects in the city. The idea was to try and understand in greater detail what social innovation actually amounted to. Where it’s easy to value, say, a new hotel downtown, given that it generates a certain amount of tax base income which affects citizens, how do we value those that don’t create traditional capital? It’s still kind of a perplexing question that’s tricky to answer, but certainly enough, the cumulative effect of all these efforts create a recipe for thinking about how next-generation cities grow. The thirty videos we created along with the stories and portraits all across the UIX site provide a springboard for thinking differently about how we evolve as citizens and communities. We were very proud to be a part of this three year effort and have put together a retrospective film to understand a small piece of all the work to date.

See the video on Vimeo.

See the rest of the videos in the series here.