Responses by Ben Hughes, director of brand creative, Squarespace
Background: Our customers are ambitious. Many are members of the independent workforce and have left the safety of a conventional career to make a bet on themselves. We wanted to prove to them that Squarespace is a worthy partner for their dreams by showing an understanding of the emotional process they go through to bring an idea to life.
Reasoning: Ideas are like wet clay, and much of an entrepreneur’s time is spent molding and shaping them until they feel ready to share. The process of building a website with Squarespace is similar, because you can try out different structures and styles until you find something that matches your vision. We wanted to draw a comparison between those two things and show how building a website can be a crucial part of shaping your dream. The moment your site goes live is incredibly legitimizing for your idea, which is why we say “A website makes it real.”
Challenges: All three of the spots “Printing Studio,” “Restaurant” and “Garage” depend on visual variation, so the biggest challenge was achieving that on our aggressive timeline. Our director, Patrick Daughters, decided to shoot in Slovenia, where the local carpenters were able to create enormous sets for us, but we knew that quite a bit was still going to have to happen in visual effects (VFX). Keeping track of what was happening in camera, what was happening in post and how the two work streams would integrate took a lot of energy and focus.
Favorite details: The performances. In the midst of all of the visual storytelling, it would have been easy for the actors to be merely props, but I think they all hold their own and communicate a strong sense of purpose and determination.
Visual influences: Satoshi Kon’s Paprika and Christopher Nolan’s Inception were both touchpoints, especially the rigorous but malleable dreamworlds of the latter. We wanted the dreamers in our films to be in control of their visions, but for the changes happening around them to still obey the laws of physics.
Anything new: This was the most VFX-intensive job that many of us on the team have ever done, so there was a ton of learning from the incredible crew at MPC about what’s possible in that space.