We’re Jared and Dave from Team Spaceman, and we were once kids. It was awesome being kids. Everyone should try it! When we made one of the finalist videos for the Pringles and Star Wars “The Force For Fun” contest, we briefly got a chance to return to that childhood fun. We’re definitely excited to write about our experience creating this video — and our love of Star Wars — here on this guest blog. So thanks for reading!
We both grew up watching and playing Star Wars. I (Jared) was four years old when Return of the Jedi was released to video. I have a twin brother, and we literally wore out our first VHS recording of it by watching it so many times. It was basically our kid version of coffee — an essential morning ritual. Wake up, sit down on the living room floor, watch Jedi, then get on to playing — usually with Star Wars figures. Or a Return of the Jedi coloring book. Like many guys my age, Princess Leia was the first girl I ever loved. And because ruining the VHS tape apparently wasn’t enough, my brother and I also broke the VCR, because it had a top-mounted tape deck that rose up on a spring, and it worked way too well as a carbonite-encasing machine for us not to stick our Han Solo figure into it, or any other toy that needed to be frozen and sent to Jabba. Apparently at some point we decided a fork needed to be sent to Jabba as well.
And I (Dave) was busy breaking the family video camera instead, making my own versions of Star Wars with my brother and sister. My sister was the youngest, so naturally we made her play all the lame parts. My brother and I were Luke and Han. She was the Stormtrooper in the bicycle helmet and white galoshes. Our videos were always ambitious (to put it nicely) and we broke two or three family video cameras before our parents got us our own and threatened to never buy another one if we broke this one, too. So we begrudgingly learned not to drop it or take it out in the rain.
Suffice to say, when we saw “The Force for Fun” contest on Tongal, we jumped at the chance to pitch, and were lucky enough to be chosen to produce a video. And miraculously, we haven’t broken anything in the process. (Not yet, at least. I guess the contest isn’t over.)
So onto the video itself. For those who aren’t familiar with how Tongal works, most of the contests start with an “idea round,” where the brand chooses several winning concepts (usually written in 140 characters or less). Then there is a “pitch round,” where would-be filmmakers expand on one of the winning ideas, and describe how they would put the concept on its feet. For our pitch, we chose the idea “Star Wars SFX Pringle Party” by Will Robinson, which went like this:
“Buncha friends. 1 eats Pringle and make a SW sound when he opens his mouth (wookie (sic) noise). Fun ensues making noises after every Pringle.”
We thought this was a cool idea, and we especially wanted to expand on those all-important two words in there — “Fun ensues” — because it hits on what Star Wars really means to us: great childhood memories. We thought, “What would we do if we could make actual Star Wars sounds (blaster SFX, classic lines of dialogue, etc.)?” Well, obviously, we would take that excuse to play the way we used to play. And to us, that also seemed to tie in best with Pringles, because like Star Wars, it was a childhood staple that when we see it now, it just reminds us of good times and silliness. Like it’s Friday night and you’re having a sleepover, and your parents have taken you on a special trip to the grocery store and let you buy all the fun food, and now you’re going to stay up really late and watch Star Wars for the 500th time, and then recreate your favorite scenes, and it’ll be the coolest night ever until you’re too loud making lightsaber noises, and your dad wakes up and you get in trouble. That was the best, right?
So that was the heart behind our concept: recreating that sense of play and resourcefulness, when you have to entertain yourself without being able to drive or spend much money. We wanted the video to feel hand-crafted, with silly homemade props and costumes, scrounged together from anything you could find around the house. Cardboard, duct tape, toothpicks, baseballs, vacuum cleaners, sleeping bags, aluminum foil — you get the idea.
Because we wanted to do so many set ups, with so many different props and outfits, we knew making the video would be a logistical challenge, and it would be too much for just the two of us. So we brought in another friend of ours, Phil. Phil wrote a great script based on our video pitch, and did a ton of work lining up our actors and crew and locations (most notably finding a grocery store that would let us film), and helping to collect and assemble all those homemade items. And he also stars in the video as Blonde Guy/Luke/Chewie/AT-AT/Bib Fortuna/hands that control the X-wings and make the Death Star blow up — so he was obviously crucial. And it was Phil’s idea to actually match the shots from the movies. The idea became that while all the costumes and props would be homemade and cheesy, we would try to match the framing and lighting as closely as possible. That was a really fun challenge. Here are a few side-by-side frames to show you what we mean:
To see the whole video as a side-by-side comparison, you can check out our BTS video here:
It was definitely a long shooting day — we started around six in the morning so that we could film at the grocery store before it opened — and we didn’t wrap until about seven at night. But it’s got to be the most fun we’ve had out of all the projects we’ve worked on for Tongal, and we found ourselves getting more excited as the filming went on. We were surprised by how pumped we were to draw the silly Chewbacca face on the paper bag, or see Phil making ridiculous Wookiee noises, or to build an AT-AT out of cardboard boxes.
We could only cram so much into a 60-second video, and we kept talking about all the other great scenes and how we would love to make them in this homemade style. How fun would it be to have Kamaal hanging over the edge of the couch upside down, with Phil as Chewbacca holding his feet while we hear Lando’s “A little higher! Just a little higher!” line? Or to dress our dog in a Yoda costume? If we ever find ourselves independently wealthy, maybe we’ll just have to spend a year recreating the whole story.
We hope you enjoy our video, and we hope it reminds you of being a kid. May the Force be with you.