You might not (yet) recognize the name Adam Patch (no, not Patch Adams), but there’s a pretty good chance you recognize his work. Patch is an incredibly talented director, designer, and animator. He’s been directing for several years, working with some of the biggest companies and brands such as Starbucks, Comcast, Twitter, Paypal, Dockers, and even the 4 hour guru of...well, everything, Timothy Ferriss. However, it wasn’t until Patch created an animated video from a joke his wife told while inebriated, that catapulted him to the top of people’s radar.
8. Your "Two Chips" video went viral, from an adorable joke your wife told. How did you come up with the idea to animate it, and how long did it take to complete? What do you and your wife think of the attention it’s received?
Haha, yeah, that was pretty crazy. And it’s really funny that it’s gotten so much attention. It’s weird because I’ve been working in the industry for years, but THIS is the one thing that puts me on the map, hahah.
I had the recording of my wife telling the joke on my phone for a few months. I would listen to it every once in a while just for a laugh, and I think it had become a bit of inside joke within my family. I had some down time between jobs and wanted to do something just for fun, so I started working on an animation for it.
I don’t think I put this together at the time, but, looking back, there’s two things that directly influenced my doing that. One is the popular “Drunk History” series which is an obvious comparison. The other was this fantastic video I found on Vimeo a while back called “The Scared is Scared.” I just loved how she took that “drunk history” style and applied it to something so innocent with such a creative approach.
9. How much does animation factor into the projects you work on?
Depends. Sometimes I do a fully live-action piece where there’s not a key frame of animation involved at all. Other times I’m doing a fully animated thing where the entire piece is just motion graphics. I think of animation as just another tool for the job. It’s all about telling the right story or selling the right product - sometimes animation works better for that and sometimes it doesn’t. Since I have an animation and design background, I think sometimes my mind just gravitates naturally towards incorporating some kind of animation into the story-telling process.
10. What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on and what made it so memorable? Do you have any crazy stories you remember about a particular shoot?
One of my favorite projects was a series of 4 spots I did for HP several years back (Here’s my favorite of the four: http://www.adampatch.com/hp-reimagine-roi-chicken). It was one of my first “big” directing jobs. The agency only had a script and said, “Each one has to be focused on a different color” – and I just got to run with it. I got to come up with the entire creative concept, and board it all out, and see it all the way through. In the commercial world, this is pretty rare - there’s usually a pretty specific brief already, sometimes even the storyboards are already done. So it was very fun to be able to come in, and, from square one, just do everything, and then pitch my original ideas to the agency. It was also one of my first shoots that really had extensive production design. I just fell in love with it. I would do some mock-up in Photoshop, and the next day it was just there on set. It was a very cool feeling to have something in your head just instantly manifest like that.
I don’t know if this is a particularly crazy story, but, on that shoot, we had to film a couple shots of a chicken. Throughout the day we would hear it doing all this loud squawking and clucking, and the chicken wrangler was like, “Oh yeah, she’s just laying another egg.” I guess I was ignorant to the whole thing, but I had no idea that chickens could lay multiple eggs in one day.
11. What do you love most about being a director?
I like the challenge of finding a balance between selling something (or giving the client whatever they want), and actually making something that I really like and am proud of. It’s always a creative challenge and I like that aspect. I love the feeling of having some random idea in your head, and then, putting all these moving pieces together, to make that idea into a real thing. The whole process is always different with each project; it’s like a big puzzle that never gets solved the same way twice.
12. What are your career aspirations, what would you like to be working on in 5 years?
Short term, I’d like to just keep moving up the commercial director chain: get bigger and better jobs, and get to the point where I can be really selective of which jobs I want to do. Long term, like I mentioned, I want to do a feature. In 5 years, I’d better be close to doing that.
13. What are your favorite things to do when you're not working?
I love eating and drinking, haha. I’m not obese, I swear. My wife and I love trying new restaurants and bars, and just finding new places to go. Second, I’d say traveling. I love working freelance because it’s easy to just take time off when I want to do small little getaways.
14. If you could give any advice to people who want to follow in your footsteps, what would you tell them?
I guess I’d say to make sure you just keep doing the stuff that you like. Stay hungry, and keep pushing yourself! It’s easy to get swooped up and start doing a bunch of work just for the money and become complacent. Of course, you have to find ways to make money, and that’s important, but make sure you make time to do the things that you really feel good about, and you are excited by. Especially when starting out. I try and do an equal balance of “jobs for the money” and “jobs that I’m excited about, but might not pay that well.” The latter are the jobs that are going to get the attention of other potential clients, and lead to more of the work you want in the end, anyway.
Thank you Adam for giving us this wonderful interview! We'll check back in five years about your feature! ;)
See more of Patch's amazing work, and how to contact him at: www.adampatch.com
Patch also started a Two Chips website, www.twochipsanimation.com, where you can submit your own joke, and he might animate it! So get on it, you could be the third chip!
I want to hear from you, what do you think of Patch's "Two Chips" video and other work (there's MORE than chips, y'all! Shhheck it out)? Do you have any projects you're working on? Put them in the comments below!