James Patterson | Real Readers: The Summer House

Months of preparation paid off in the making of our Real Readers commercials for James Patterson, including this one for his thriller, The Summer House.

In November of 2019, we hosted our long-time client and prolific thriller author, James Patterson, here in Atlanta. As great writers often do, he had a vision: to have real readers read his books and give him feedback in real time. These focus groups included longtime fans, as well as people who had never read his books before. He wanted their honest opinions; a true test. Including their opinions on his forthcoming summertime must-read, The Summer House.

From our side, the test was logistical. We had Jim for a single day, but we had to shoot focus groups for eight books!

Producer Jordan Nowlin spent weeks organizing the groups, ensuring we had backups, and of course, overseeing shipments of books to our readers! We also scouted locations all over the city, from hotels to event spaces, eventually finding there was no place like home. We housed our 60+ real readers in Studios A and B of LensHead Studios, just across the parking lot from ECG HQ. Additionally, we shot in the conference room at Brain Bytes Creative, a digital marketing agency & our sister company, who also resides in the same complex as us.

Ultimately, the books were read, some interviews conducted, and some laughs were had. The Summer House was much-beloved by these readers, and the resulting book promos were beloved by Jim & his team. A sunny outcome for everyone, if we do say so ourselves.

Real Readers to Real Results

Thanks to a massive team effort, we were rewarded on the day of the shoot. Emily Payton and Seb Chamaca worked dual dana dollies, keeping cameras trained on the focus groups, while DP Trey Gregory manned a motorized slider that maintained constant focus on Jim. 1st AD Cameron Shaw and his 2nd, Melissa St.Clair, made sure each group was ready on time.

All told, almost sixty readers came and went that day, including these readers of The Summer House. And they loved it! Not every book got 5 star reviews from every person. That would be impossible! That’s why The Summer House was striking, and why it became one of our favorite cuts from the day. 

In post-production, Editor Alesso Graci made sense of the chaos and pulled all the best quotes. Animator David Hixon used Adobe After Effects and Maya composit each book into the opening shot of each video.

Lastly, through the whole shoot, Jim took criticism with a smile; joking around with our crew between sessions, never tiring. His consummate professionalism helped a complex machine sing that day, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

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