A few years ago, commercial filmmaker Richard Smith III (Cinematic Arts, 2015) went on what would be a fateful camping trip with a group of friends to a place called Camp Wandawega in Wisconsin. Fateful because as it happened, Smith — then a CCAD student — and friends discovered that the camp was also the location for commercial shoots happening at the time of their visit. “I quickly made friends with the photographer and art directors on the shoot and ended up assisting them on the shoot,” Smith recalled. One of those art directors was creative director at advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Chicago. Smith stayed in touch and was offered an internship at Ogilvy as a social media photographer and videographer.
A year later, Smith set out on a new path, entering freelance filmmaking. Now his clients include the likes of CB2, Crate & Barrel, The Land of Nod, Skinny Pop, Leinenkugel's, and Kinfolk magazine. You can find more of his work on his personal website and on Instagram; he shares some of his favorite creations below.
The Farm (short film)
The Farm was a project that my then fiancé, now wife, and I created together with the help of some friends, including CCAD grad Danielle Williams (Advertising & Graphic Design, 2014). After about two years of developing the idea of this film we decided to finally create it — we knew otherwise it'd just live in our minds and on paper. About one month after shooting the project I decided to quit my full-time job at Ogilvy & Mather Chicago and go full-time freelance. The film really manifested into a reflection on that time of our lives. It's currently on a film festival circuit where it's being showed at festivals around the world and recently won first place at the RATMA Film Fest in the U.K.
Back To You (short film)
A current passion project; similar to The Farm, and currently in post-production, Back To You explores the highs and lows of relationships and heartbreak. It was shot in one day while I was in Portland, Ore. for a different project. The guys who I was shooting a commercial with at the time wanted to challenge ourselves to see if we could concept, cast, and shoot a film together in the matter of a few days. Release date is TBD.
The Land of Nod, 'Teepee' (commercial)