Category Archive: Articles

Revealed! The Secret Weapon to Any Film

Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest hotel is a wonderful film. It seems that he has finally made the movie and story that perfectly encapsulates his signature style of filmmaking. All the quirk, style and detail in Grand Budapest Hotel is completely necessary to the characters and plot as compared to previous efforts (“Life Aquatic” comes to mind) where you’re left wondering if some of the quirk is just overkill.

One of our absolute favorite part of the film is the attention to detail. Anderson’s puts prop design front and center with GBH, and it really made the film that much more lovable. The letterhead on written notes, the packaging for a pastry, the mailing label on a parcel:



GHB_0341 20130131.CR2


And so it seems that sometimes, it is in fact all in the details.

Images taken from Annie Atkins’ full interview in Creative Review
Additional commentary in this months issue of Fast Company

5 Effortlessly Catchy Ads from 2014 Viral Video Awards

Practically every client wants their brand video to go viral. Well, here’s how you do it. Apparently. The winners from AdAge’s annual Viral Video Awards lend insight in to what the modern consumer is amused, intrigued and inspired by– from style to delivery. We’ve picked our five favorites of the fourteen in total. You’ll see why these are a fun representation of the power of video storytelling, something we love to do here at DL!:

Our very favorite, a fantastic story, and a deed worth noting that surely improved WestJet’s reputation in an industry that often isn’t so pretty with customer service.

Humor done well is just as effective as a tearjerker. Poo Pourri did just exactly that. Hearty laughs combined with explicit product information equals a job well done. Would you ever buy this stuff?

Disruptive advertising can also create some waves. Beer brand Newcastle did this by making fun of itself. And it was a smash hit (and cost much less than the Super Bowl ad buy):

Samsung, the world’s most viewed brand in video campaigns, tapped Jay Z and his new album release to expose a story of process that was just as much fun to discover as it was to experience:

Finally, our second-favorite, if only because it accentuates the real value of short and sweet, comes by way of Stuey from Family Guy and Google Chrome. It’s shocking to see what 16 seconds can do:

If We Were to Make a Super Bowl Ad…

We haven’t had the grand opportunity of even coming close to creating a Super Bowl ad or contributing to one. Nope. But one day– surely!– we will. And when that day comes, we would want the ad to be like these, our four favorites from the Super Bowl 2014:

And while the idea here was awesome, and expectations were high, we were just a tad shy of excited about the “Up for Whatever” Bud Light commercials:

DL! Featured in Crain’s Detroit Business

A special thanks to writer Amy Haimerl of Crain’s Detroit for a nice writeup on DL!, the work we are doing and our brand new office inside the David Stott Building in downtown Detroit. In the article, she discusses the humble beginnings that got the ball rolling for us– the shirts, the street art, the films– all the way through to us growing in to being a full service creative studio focusing on film production.

Click this link or the image below to read the article in full.

Upworthy showing love for DL! and UIX

Lately, Upworthy has been writing about our work for the Urban Innovation Exchange, which is kind of fun considering the video series focuses on social innovation and re-thinking the way we traditionally “develop” cities in this country. Not a bad message to be sending far and wide. Indication is that Upworthy will be posting a lot more of the videos from the Urban Innovation Exchange, so stay tuned.

For now, see the article they posted about Andy Didorosi from Detroit Bus Company and the second most recent one they wrote on Amy Kaherl with Detroit SOUP.

The videos included in the articles are below:

Video for TechTown “wows” Clinton Global Initiative Crowd in Chicago

You hear a lot about Midtown. About downtown. And for good reason– there’s a lot of development going on. Often you hear the gripes of residents in the city aiming to turn the lens of the camera from that glistening hope to the neighborhoods where the real growth needs to occur in order for the city to move forward. So naturally, when we were asked by TechTown to make a video on a program they are doing in Brightmoor, we got a little excited to be a part of telling that story.

As Crain’s explains in this article, TechTown took the video to Chicago for the Clinton Global initiative and “wowed” the crowd. Leslie Smith, CEO of TT, presented the piece. We were so excited and honored to have been a part of relaying such a fine message about Detroit for such a respected national event. See the full video here:

TechTown Detroit from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

It’s Been a While! Hello! …And other notes of progress.


Geez, after something of a hiatus though. For no good reason other than what you may have predicted… “We’ve been busy!” But you expected that, right? Why else would have there have been such an awkward silence? But hey, things have been happening—

Development news seems to be abundant– A new BDubs! Bagger Daves next door! The new Illitch Hockey Arena! The first HATCH business (HUGH) is open! The nights have been fun– Macklemore came to Detroit! Noel Night was smashing! Creative Mornings is now happening in Detroit! Ernie plays slow jams on Mondays at the Woodbridge Pub!

It’s all good.

To boot, we’ve got some great client projects coming down the pipe in the first quarter of 2013 that we are pumped about. Been working with some new clients that are exerting a bit of faith in our process which is fun– ie, we are getting to do more and more in terms of crafting content both in scope and reach. So that’s cool. We’re also looking at a new proper office downtown which has been kind of fun– albeit slow– process. It’s kind of fun seeing all the spaces and envisioning what our little LAUNCH PAD could look like. It’d be fun to throw a party when we open? We’ll see.

As a send off, check out a piece we just completed on Supino Pizzeria for the UIX folks. Dave Mancini is cool as a cucumber– both cause his pizza is stellar, but because he possesses an unassuming knack for recognizing authentic talent and supporting it. Check it out, and WORD UP for now people!

Urban Innovation Exchange: Dave Mancini, Supino Pizzeria from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

Lean, Mean and Green: A Look at the Future of Detroit and Other Rust Belt Cities

We’ve been very fortunate over the last year or so to be talking quite frequently about the future of American cities after making the film “After the Factory” and taking it on the road through the USA and Europe. The conversations– ideas about teaming up with other cities, building idea sharing platforms, personal stories, brave ideas, other projects– have been nothing short of phenomenal. It’s both invigorating and enlightening to be a part of all that dialogue.

Beyond our project, it’s amazing to see others popping out of the woodwork from seemingly every angle expanding on the idea that something has to happen to fuel the revolution. Given the trials and tribulations of many places in the Americas/Europe/Asia, What will next-generation cities look and feel like? How will we tackle income inequality? How do we fine tune the strength of the middle class? How do we re-tool our values system to help put our cities on the right track– not just in the Rust Belt, or in Detroit, but in places across the Atlantic, too? Hell, even China?

A great new project that seems to expand beautifully on this platform is the film project “Lean, Mean and Green” by One of Us Films and Carrie LeZotte. It serves as an extension of John Gallagher’s book “Re-imagining Detroit” (which this blog has discussed on many occasions). Carrie is working to complete the film in the near future and has initiated a Kickstarter campaign— the same platform that funded the work of “After the Factory.” Consider becoming a supporter with just $10 getting you a digital download of the whole film. In the meantime, check out some snippets below that unearth some really great material on this incredibly important topic.

More interviews and snippets from the film can be found here.

Beaux Arts Style Detroit Savings to be Demolished– Let’s Speak Up

Curbed Detroit, Historic Detroit and other preservationists are crying bloody murder over Toronto-based investment company Triple Properties’ plans to demolish the State Savings Bank in downtown Detroit for a parking garage. Wahh, wahhhh, wahhhhhhhh.

I can’t seem to find any personal contact for Triple Properties CEO Andreas Apostolopoulos, but perhaps a phone call or letter to Triple Properties telling them how important this building is to the city may have an effect. Better than nothing I suppose, and it’s an actionable response as opposed to just thrusting our dissatisfaction in to the Interwebs. Info below:

Triple Properties Inc.
174 Bartley Drive
North York
Toronto, ON M4A 1E1

Phone: (416) 751-4242

For more information on the history and story behind the demo plans, read a recent article on Curbed Detroit.

Detroit Film City: More Great News about Detroit-based Films and Directors

Some good news for Detroit-based films and directors:

1) “BURN: One Year on the Front Lines of the Battle to Save Detroit” will make its Detroit premiere September 28 at the Fillmore on Woodward Avenue. The film won viewers choice at Tribeca Film Festival and was met with critical acclaim recently at the Traverse City Film Festival. Check the trailer below and get your tickets for the premiere this Sunday at 10 a.m. via 800-745-3000,, or the Fillmore Detroit and St. Andrew’s Hall box offices.

BURN Trailer (2009, Original) from BURN on Vimeo.

2) Detroit-based director Rola Nashef has worked tirelessly on her film “Detroit Unleaded” and just received news that the film will premiere at this years Toronto International Film Festival– a huge accolade. A brief summary pulled from the film’s FB page: “Between Detroit and Arab-America, Sami works behind the bulletproof glass of a 24-hour gas station with his cousin Mike. Inside this unique East-side neighborhood, the station is more than just a pit-stop for rolling papers and fake perfume. When Najlah walks in, Sami’s shift becomes anything but routine.” A trailer can’t be located at this point, but get more info on the film by visiting the film festival site here.