While Nick Spooner was filming six new spots for Circle K, attention to detail and the room for improvisation were paramount. The three :30s and three :15s feature Circle K employees having one-on-ones with tradespeople – a plumber, an exterminator and an electrician – in an exaggerated display of their own niche-specific jargon. A true collaboration between the agency Taylor and Brooklyn-based production company PRISM, the scripts continued to evolve on set, thanks to the talented crew, and the actors’ ability to improvise.
“My main marching orders were to make standout spots that were funny and entertaining,” says Spooner. “As a director, to have that as the sole objective is awesome. From the get-go, Taylor was open to experimenting with different comedic elements. They were extremely receptive and a dream to work with.”
Spooner’s tendency to be highly organized ahead of shooting, with meticulous storyboards and detailed treatments, left him room to be creatively spontaneous on set in Charlotte, North Carolina. In “Exterminator,” a Circle K employee raises her fingers as if they were antennae and impersonates an ant, complete with “ant-speak.” Not originally in the script, the actors featured within the campaign were so sharp in improvisation, the zany off-the-cuff additions slotted in perfectly.
The aforementioned moment of improv took place, fittingly, at magic hour, after the already ambitious 10-hour schedule quickly diminished to a seven-hour shoot day due to a storm delay. Spooner remarks, “I’ve always said ‘You can’t shoot an entire spot during golden hour. It’s a fantasy!’ But we actually pulled it off for the :30 and its :15 lift.”
In addition to the environmental unpredictability, the 24/7 gas station never actually closed, with real customers pulling in and out, with the resulting ambient noise affecting the takes. Spooner and his crew had to move fast, while paying constant attention to the ever-shifting challenges of an uncontained set.
Well-versed in several disciplines, Spooner’s impressive background spans directing, writing, cartooning, producing and acting. This foundation has helped to distinguish him as a master of the form, with a body of award-winning work rife with sidesplitting naturalistic comedy. Along with Circle K, Spooner has worked with top brands including AT&T, Ford, Ikea, Tide, Volkswagen, Bounty, Nissan, Apple, Dodge, Yoplait, Burger King, McDonald’s, and HBO.