What It Takes

For the Love of Craft


From the eyes of the maker

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts was on a mission—and so were we. To launch the biggest fundraising campaign in the school’s history.  The goal was simple— compel people to donate. How? Easy, put them in the shoes of an artist. 

Artistry: the magnificent obsession

The key was to identify what all five UNCSA disciplines had in common. There were dancers, musicians, designers, filmmakers, and actors— all of them fiercely devoted at their core. It’s a truth every artist knows to be true— that mastery is something you inch toward, every single day. 

Gold Telly for Promotional Videos for Schools, Colleges and Universities

Gold American Advertising Award for “Music Without Lyrics”

Silver American Advertising Award for “Cinematography”

The show before the show

The show before the show

We wanted to give potential donors a peek into the rehearsals before the recordings, the shows before the shows, and the late nights that turn good artists into great ones. We went straight to the source and conducted a series of in-depth workshops with students and professors to understand what classes are really like. The idea was to tap directly into the makers and their mastery process— to walk in a mile in their ballet shoes, so to speak.

We wanted to understand the school, to live and breathe it as much as possible so we could get the point of view we needed to create something great.

Spike Hoban, Director

The art of allowing

We started with a beat— well, with a drummer to be exact. Our director Spike Hoban pushed student Bobby Thomas through multiple takes to capture the blood, sweat, and emotion that goes into rehearsal. It was less about directing him, and more about drawing inspiration from Rebonds B by Iannis Xenakis and allowing Bobby to get lost in the music. From there, we let light do the talking with warm, emotive, cinematography. 

We connected with them on a personal level because the things that were important to them are the same things that are important to us as artists.

Melissa Douglas, 1st AD

The making of... a heartbeat

Our editor Daniel Cook spent hours mixing, mastering, and sonically layering the sounds of our drummer into what became the heartbeat of the film. If you listen close— you can hear the craft in our final track for which Daniel won an Addy. He even recruited his violinist bandmate for the final touches. Magic.

70 million and counting...

The fundraiser exceeded its 65 million dollar goal, and we felt good knowing that we’d help set that ball in motion. At the end of the day we connected with the students over a shared love of expression‚ and you can sense it in the final product.

It was important to show the artist’s process and how they achieve greatness while they’re at school.

I think they nailed it.

Claire Machamer, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, UNCSA


  • Director

    Spike Hoban

  • Producer

    Hillary Scott

  • 1st AD

    Melissa Douglas

  • Creative Strategist

    Jedidiah Gant

  • Director of Photography

    Kent Willard

  • 1st AC

    Gray McClamrock + Trevor Jackson

  • 2nd AC + G&E Swing

    Ryan Shackleford

  • Editor

    Daniel Cook

  • Music Score

    Daniel Cook, Bobby Thomas, Autumn Rose Brand

  • Sound Mixing

    Taylor Paris + John Machado