Minnesota's Committee Films Signs Director Todd Grabe
August 16, 2017 by Screenmag
Committee Films has expanded its talent offerings with Director/Editor/Creative Todd Grabe. He already wrapped his first project at the Minneapolis production company, a spot for MN Lottery out of agency Periscope. Grabe infused his strong visual style and human approach to beautiful, authentic narratives most recently with Rain & Shine, following his tenure as Associate Creative Director at Target Creative where he was best known for his extensive work with various designer partnerships, creating unique differentials in brand experience. He has 15+ years experience directing and editing for ad agencies and backyard Fortune 500 companies, honing his skills on brands like Amtrak, Best Buy, Converse, General Mills, MN Lottery and Polaris.
CREATIVE IS KING
“Todd has an intrinsic understanding of the creative process, and being this kind of triple threat makes him a natural fit for Committee,” explains Committee’s Executive Producer Donna Drewick. “His all-encompassing storytelling skills cover a broad range of genres, and this gives us tremendous strength.” For his part, Grabe has spent the last few years continuing to build his reel while looking for the right production family. Committee fit the bill.
“I am very excited to be partnering up with Committee Films. They’re a talented group of people who make amazing stuff,” said Grabe. “I believe a Director’s work is only as good as the people who surround him. Committee has proven they approach every job putting the creative first. That’s what I’m all about.”
LOVE OF CONTRADICTIONS
Grabe expresses his appreciation for shared human experiences by creating content that is emotionally honest. This is evident in his latest ad for Amtrak Chew Chew.
“Some of my fondest memories are of family vacations as a child – a break from the every day, a period of suspended reality,” explains Grabe. “I wanted to treat the camera as another passenger on that journey. Children view the world with a sense of wonder that most of us lose as adults.”
The composition of shots have that sense of wonder and playfulness to it. Every parent knows the dire consequences of losing their child’s favorite stuffed animal. It becomes the star of this spot – the protagonist, never a prop – at the center of the action, as if he was communicating with the viewer.
While honesty and connectedness are pinnacle, Grabe equally aspires to create work that is conceptually and visually driven. The director’s ability to infuse the human approach within those creative structures is his stamp.
“I like reaching that point where there’s a shared human experience, in everything that you see there’s a relatable moment, something that is beautiful and poetic. That’s what I like and what I hope to make.” Take a look:
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE GNOME
Grabe’s thoughts on these seemingly opposing ideas are illustrated in his campaign for Minnesota Lottery. In the spot Gnometown audiences are introduced to the actual Mayor of Dawson, MN, proudly welcoming viewers to meet the “residents” of Gnometown, USA.
“Everything we do is motivated by tone and story,” explains Grabe. The camera work is deliberate but also very playful. The majority of the spot is shot at 90º angles both directly in front of and above the subject matter. Compositions are symmetrical or heavily weighted to one side or the other. Balanced video portraitures in front of environments paired with carefully crafted vignettes of hands and objects filmed from above. In these spots the camera is truly another character invoking a human-like response.
Here is Grabe's spot for Minnesota Lottery: