Case Study: Fashionbuddha Shares the Monterey Bay Love

Oregon-based companies pride themselves on being amongst the first to leap beyond the established creative norms. And Fashionbuddha, an animation studio in Old Town Portland, thrives off this innate quest for innovation. “We’re a unique studio from the standpoint that we have animation and interactive under the same roof,” explains founder and Executive Director Robert Lewis.

Fashionbuddha got its start ten years ago creating high-end flash websites but has since expanded into mobile apps, interactive installations and broadcast animation. “We were all under the same roof at the beginning because it made sense with those projects but now we’ve splintered to some degree and it’s just as exciting,” says Lewis.

This dual focus helped Fashionbuddha when they were hired by San Francisco agency Engine Company 1 to create promotional spots for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Featuring the slogan: “Share the love,” the concept was for animals to share tender moments – actions which, though enchanting, aren’t part of the natural order. “The challenge was to make the creatures be convincing as real animals and yet make them do something they wouldn’t normally do,” says Lewis. In addition to Fashionbuddha’s animations, the on-camera talent and several background plates were shot by Atomic Productions using a Red One camera.  Principle photography took place on location at the Monterey Bay Aquarium while the talent was shot on green screen in studio at Atomic.

The ads first aired last year, but were re-launched this summer as part of a new media campaign for the aquarium. Working with Engine Company 1 and New York-based Monster Media, Monterey Bay built the Media Truck, an immense truck covered in LCD screens. Rather than being a simple billboard on wheels though, the team from Fashionbuddha was brought back to create a virtual ocean on the sides of the truck. Monster Media then added an interactive element so that passersby can use their smart phones to create customizable divers that will then dive in to the truck and swim with the animals.

It’s this ability to move seamlessly between interactive programming and animation that puts Fashionbuddha at the cutting edge. “The diversity and constant evolution of challenges is really kind of cool with this company.” says Operations Manager Ben Kubany. Lewis agrees, “[The kinds of projects we take on] are not your typical marketing campaigns… We do a lot of research type work and the end result is that we can truly say that we’re doing things that have never been done before.”


For Fashionbuddha
Robert Lewis, Director
Shilpa Sunthankar, Producer
Adam C Sager, Compositor
PBdigital, CG Animation
Krissy Pederson, CG Animation
Eric Scheur, CG Animation
Fred Ruff, CG Animation

For Engine Co. 1
Vince Engel, Executive Creative Director
Lyons, Associate Creative Director
Jessica Clement von Rohr, Writer
Robin Eusebio, Art Director
Frank Lewis, Production Director
Quincey Firth, Production Manager
Pauby Widjaja, Graphic Designer

For Atomic Productions
Matthew Zinn
Danny Angotti, Production Director
Art Wilder, Director of Photography
Dennis Warsen, Red Camera
Matthew Zinn, Digital Imaging Technician
Lucy Nazareno, Casting
Mike Van Dine, Gaffer

Written by Lindsay Harrop.

As an intern with the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television, I get to observe Oregon’s film industry from a unique angle. Over the course of the summer I’ll be writing periodic pieces about the exciting cinematic endeavors occurring across the state and how the film industry impacts Oregon (and vice versa).

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