Category Archive: Good News

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:

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:


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.

Call for Walls: Mural Project Needs You!

Here at DL!, we have a pretty simple business model– 70% client work, 30% whatever. That’s a head scratcher, sure, but the “whatever” is what keeps the business true, playful and honest. The “whatever” has created some of our best work: the documentary After the Factory, the clothing line, posters on your walls, the remote-control race car track at Georgia Street and all the public art projects. In truth, the “whatever” is that thing we call the “social brand.”

For the last few years we’ve been chipping away at a mural series called MANTRACITY. The project is heavily inspired by the work that Stephen Powers started in Philadelphia with “A Love Letter For You.” We paint message-based murals in locations throughout the city that aim to uplift and bring a smile. It’s that simple. Here are some of them:

photo (36)



We’ve done four murals, which is cool, with all of the labor and cost coming out of our pocket. Each of the murals still stand today, and each has taken on a little life of it’s own: the “Kahn” mural amidst countless “taggings” has been mysteriously cleaned up (fixed) by strangers, wedding photos have been taken in front of the Martian Mural, magazines have included photos of the “Dreaming” mural, etc. This is part of the whole process for us.

Thing is, we want to do more. A lot more. So, we’re making a “call for walls.” We need walls with permission to paint, and we’ll work on handling the rest. So, if you’ve got any ideas on locations, give us a shout (, send us a tweet, a FB message… or, hell, a smoke signal. The key is this: we need you.

Nokia Lumia Icon Challenge: Make a Video With Our Smart Phone

We recently learned via Rippld of a project that Nokia was launching across the US in promotion of their newest smart phone release: the Lumia Icon. The phone is being marketed for its exceptionally good video properties along with four onboard microphones for recording audio. So, naturally, the premise of the contest was to make a video with the phone: submit in 600 characters or less an idea for a story you want to tell with a video shot exclusively on the smart phone, and then another 600 characters of why you should be chosen. We submitted our idea and ended up getting selected as one of the five finalists. Then this Pelican road case showed up on at our office:

photo (53)

Inside were three Nokia Lumia Icon smart phones, a tripod, a clip that would allow us to mount the phone on the tripod and some literature to read. We were kind of impressed.

Next thing you know, the script is written, locations are secured, we’ve got some folks lined up as talent and we’re ready to roll. Day one shooting looked something like this, kudos to anyone who can guess where in Detroit we are shooting:

photo (54)

From here, we continue shooting and submit the video back to Nokia by the end of the month. We’ll keep our idea a secret until the official release 🙂 But make sure to stay tuned to Twitter and Instagram as we’ll surely be posting some updates from time to time about the project.

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:

“After the Factory” Now Playing on Amazon Instant Stream

After the Factory Film Trailer from DETROIT LIVES! on Vimeo.

After the Factory,” the documentary we worked on in 2012 looking at solutions for post-industrial cities told through Lodz and Detroit, has officially hit the “shelves” this afternoon on Amazon Instant Stream. The film is viewable there in all its infinite glory, along with the trailer and other relevant content.

Having worked on the film for a long time with a relatively meager budget, we are so proud of the trajectory it has all taken. Perhaps the best part, however, is that the project continues on. We were in Lodz last month continuing to chronicle and capture things as they continue unfold across the pond. We will do the same here. So, suffice to say, I think this is only the beginning of a fun ride with the film and the process of looking at what comes after the industrial era.

The film’s officiate site can be found here
Watch the film via Amazon Instant Stream here