bitchin’ margs (at Denver International Airport (DEN) Denver, CO)

Razor Report Q1 2014

Yes, it’s that time again. Obsidian’s quarterly recap of all things awesome, aptly named The Razor Report is now available. Click HERE to see a condensed version of what we’ve been up to so far this year.


6razor report, advertising,

Attention Midnight Snackers: Oreo & Roy Choi have got you covered

Today, Decon chalked up another Top Pick for Creativity. This time for the first in a series of many “Oreo Hacks”. Directed by Claire Cottrell, chef Roy Choi dishes up a tasty Oreo snack for those times when you’re really drunk, er… hungry in the middle of the night. Click HERE for the full spot as well as the write up in Creativity.

6decon, Claire Cottrell, Oreo, Roy Choi, SnackHack, Creativity, PickOfTheDay,

…Or Die

Once a skater, always a skater. It’s a mentality just as much as it is the actual act of skateboarding. I’ve been skating since I was about 12 years old…on and off as I got older [and more prone to injuries]. Skateboarders, though perceived as counterculture social outcasts, see the world through a different lens- where one person may see 6 stairs leading up to a library or school, a skateboarder immediately wonders if they can kick flip that stair set or if there’s enough clearance to boardslide that ledge to the left. The whole world becomes a secret playground accessible only to those who know where to look and what to look for. Growing up, I absolutely idolized Rodney Mullen. I wanted to be this dude so bad, but his skating was on another level, a place reserved for gods.

I would highly recommend watching this interview with Rodney Mullen. He is much older now than he was in the above clip, but listening to him speak is just as interesting as watching him skate.

I always had respect for Rodney because he could some of the most incredible things with a piece of wood on wheels. Things that I would never be able to do even with all the practice time in the world. It’s easy to write it off by saying “he’s a gifted skateboarder” or “he’s professional and that’s all he does”. Both are true statements, but there is something else and it’s even more simple of an explanation: he gets up after he falls. Again and again and again. It’s something more than persistence that gets him back on that skateboard - watch the clip of him skating again or even the TED clip [below] and listen to him even speak about skateboarding and tell me that there is anything less than sheer joy on his face. He skates to live, and he expresses himself through the innovation and invention of tricks. If you watch the interview piece above, you’ll see an emotion that can’t be faked when he talks about skateboarding and what it means to him. It’s almost as if he needs it to live…skate or die - that was what really struck me most.

What would it look like, and more importantly feel like, if we as creators had this connection to our creations? Not just the successful projects, but the myriad failures that lead up to that one success? If we looked at each failure as an opportunity to get up, adjust, and try it again. When innovation or creation is our life then we better feel and speak the way about these lives the way that Rodney Mullen speaks about skateboarding. One of my favorite parts of this interview was the anecdote about the professors after TED talk. These were MIT faculty coming up to Rodney and expressing their inability to teach this exact intangible to their students. These decorated, highly educated professors can understand and teach some of the most complex subjects on the planet, but they cannot teach their students drive. This drive comes from within and you either have it or you don’t. The question is, do you have what it takes inside to overcome what happens on the outside? 

The creative industry is gnarly, no doubt. We’re not Blunt sliding 30-stair railings or boosting 30’ out of a vert ramp, but we’re putting everything we have on the line every day - our names, our reputations, our ideas - things that could just as easily be kept safe and sound inside our minds. So why subject ourselves to the torture of critiques and potential rejection? Because we BELIEVE in our idea, design, application, screenplay, etc. We believe in our idea so much that putting it out there is the only option. We want to innovate, and in a way, give back not just to the creative community, but also improve lives outside of our immediate community. Nobody gets innovation right on the first try just as a skate rarely stomps a trick the first time they try it. Here’s the best part - even if a skater stomps the trick on their first try, what do they do next? You guessed it, they try and use that trick in combination with another. This drive is internal and they do it [innovate] not because they like the sound of the word ‘innovator’ [or entrepreneur], but  because they simply wonder if it can be done. Obsidian wants to encourage everyone to push themselves creatively, professionally, and personally. Just make sure that you remember why you are pushing yourself in the first place. That is all.

Additional TED Talks w/ Rodney Mullen

"On Getting Up Again"

"Pop an Ollie and Innovate"

6rodney mullen, TEDx, innovation, op/ed, the berrics, skateboarding,

Squeak e Clean Risks Everything

Los Angeles, CA — boutique music and sound design shop Squeak e Clean was tapped by Weiden & Kennedy to create an original score and sound design for the follow up to Nike’s “Write the Future” spot. This spot, called “Risk Everything” tracks Christiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Wayne Rooney on their journey to the world’s stage this summer. The spot, directed by Jonathan Glazer gained AdWeed’s Ad of the Day today. Click HERE to read the article and below to view the spot.

6squeak e clean, nike, weiden & kennedy, original music, sound design, commercial, advertising,

martini o’clock (at Taboo Palm Beach)

Working Hard to Get What You Want -OR- [the ugly] American Dream

A month or so ago [during olympics] a television commercial aired, well many television commercials aired, but one in particular got a little more attention than others [sorry PETA, it’s not P&G’s work]. The first time I saw the spot my television was muted so I didn’t pay much attention. It would continue to run throughout the 2014 Winter Olympic games…I eventually got a chance to see it audio and all. The spot was a :60 piece for Cadillac’s new hybrid ELR via agency Rogue. Just last week amid an apparent barrage of outrage [neither Huffington Post nor Fox News count as anything more than a never ending soapbox-style counterpoint to anything that could ever be considered logical]. Aside from the fact that I tend take issue with both the extreme left and extreme right of anything, the sheer ignorance of both sides made take to the intarwebz.

*If for some reason you have not read Advertising Age’s article about this then I would encourage you to do so now…I’ll wait. If you have already read the article and for some reason have not seen the spot then here you go…

Are you done? Good. Hold your questions until the end please. Since we have an American theme going here, we’ll start from the left and work our way right.

Ah the Huffington Post, taking “news” and selectively spoon feeding it to the bleeding heart set since 2005. Their argument here is that the takeaway from this spot is that the American Dream is “to work as hard as possible, take 0 time off and buy expensive shit”. Here’s a few thoughts on this: do we know that this person is the only one working and bringing home any money in the family? His wife looked pretty buttoned up to me. Also, are we to assume that this person is slaving away at some desk job for a fat cat boss? I look at this dude, I see the determination of somebody who to quote the end of the spot “makes their own luck” and probably owns their own business and EMPLOYS OTHERS. Helping to grow the economy of whatever city we are to believe he lives in; in other words putting people back to work which is what America really needs. Sorry HuffPo, I’m not buying that one.

If you’ve gotten this far and are starting to develop a feeling that I’m a right, wing bible banging hawk of war then you can kiss my ass, then go read a book. Myopic points of view breed thought processes not unlike the one I just described. Let’s look at Fox Business’ view of this. To paraphrase, it is a “celebration of profit seeking, productivity, and material posessions”, I’ve got to meet this guy. Only somebody with those three things on his or her mind CONSTANTLY could garner that from a :60 commercial for a hybrid vehicle. I’ll bet he says the same thing when he sees a girl scout selling cookies in from of the Home Depot or a Lemonade Stand at the corner of his pristine suburban street. This is a pretty decent testament to how out of touch the right can seem. Let’s settle this - money does not buy happiness, money *can* buy peace of mind and peace of mind is a valuable commodity in our economic climate. Certain people feel that peace in different ways - walled up inside their castles, hunched over their favorite craft brew in that hip hole in the wall bar that nobody’s heard of [yet], 2-putting for birdie at that exclusive country club or behind the counter making the city’s sickest latté. Everybody wants to feel secure [don’t look at me, look at Maslow], but everybody has a different definition of comfort. Some are currently comfortable and some want to be more comfortable than they currently are, cool? Cool.

How should we view this ad? Quite honestly, If Obsidian wasn’t in the business of advertising then this one would have passed right by me. I would not have questioned it or it’s motives - here’s why: this advertisement is meant for a very specific person and just because it’s on television doesn’t mean that it’s targeted at you like some internet banner ad [i’m looking at you, entitled Millenial]. To call this a celebration of a material possessions is equally ridiculous, the character says it all, it’s just “stuff”. Are we as Americans wrong for valuing our individuality? No way. Some of us pierce our faces and some of us buy cars, and some of us start businesses. They’re all statements, and we’re free to make them, ALL OF THEM because we live in America. Fact is, we don’t know that this person is actually  as rich as some of the arguments would have us believe or if he’s just leveraged to the hilt, underwater in his 40 year interest-only mortgage addicted to looking rich…does anyone remember 2008?

Here’s the takeaway - there is nothing wrong with working hard. I do it. Everyday [no, I do not drive a Cadillac]. The reason I work hard is because I want Obsidian to be the best, not “pretty good”. Is that egotistical? Not a chance. This is America founded on the idea that we had a better way of doing things than the Brits. That idea has lead to countless revolutions, many because the right person invested in the right idea…Yay Capitalism! Yes we have disagreements, but we’re allowed to - whether you live on the right, the left or in the middle one thing has not and will not change, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

6op/ed, advertising, cadillac, obsidian,

Weapons of mass bad-assery (at Hotel Madeline Telluride)

Obsidian Loves You to Death

director Sorrel Ahlfeld can also write!

New York, NY — director Sorrel Ahlfeld recently received the ‘Best Writer’ award at the One Screen Film Festival for the short film “The Trial of Barnaby Finch” which was co-directed by humble’s Sam Stephens. For a complete list of the winners from the show, click HERE

6sorrel ahlfeld, sam stephens, humble, short film, awards,

Obsidian’s new minions (at Obsidian World Headquarters)

Razor Report: Q3.Y13

The Razor Report is back! This issue covers all of the activities from 4th quarter of 2013. Though Obsidian always strives to look forward, sometimes we like to reflect on accomplishments as well…

Click HERE to read the report

6cosmo street, humble, decon, sibling rivalry, squeak e clean, awhitelabelproduct, wildlife, razor report,

"Tips of our Fingers" marks humble’s official entrance into branded entertainment

Recently, bi-coastal hybrid production company, humble released a short film called “Tips of our Fingers”. The film was written and directed by roster directors Sam Stephens and Charles Whitcher. The story revolves around a young girl who can hear music when she points at seemingly mundane everyday objects. The films is beautiful and is launching to rave reviews. This film was commissioned by Canon - the idea was to shoot a beautiful, cinematic piece using only the new EOS 70D DSLR camera and the results were stunning. Humble is no stranger to the world of independent films having launched “Tumbleweed Tango” and “The Trial of Barnaby Finch” earlier in 2013, but this is their first step into the all important category of branded entertainment, needless to say it was a success. 

The films was written up in Source e Creative along with a really nice interview with the directors, you can catch the whole article HERE

6humble, sam stephens, charles whitcher, branded entertainment, short film,

Buzzy’s 2 cents

Squeak E Clean Managing Director and former Media Arts Lab-er Buzzy Cohen drops some knowledge in this article for Post Magazine. The article talks about the future of the music house model amidst a content crazed advertising market and also addresses music as content and not just a disposable production line.

Click HERE to read the article in Post Magazine and Click HERE to learn more about Squeak E Clean


6squeak e clean, music, sound design, buzzy cohen, post magazine,

To Your Health

Health. The word itself conjures thoughts of New Year’s resolutions gone wrong, getting up at some ungodly hour to do whatever badass bootcamp-style workout was featured in GQ last month and…kale [whatever that is]. A few short years ago, I really didn’t care all that much, but in 2013 that all changed.

Faced with some pretty overwhelming stuff both personally and professionally I was looking for a way to get all the stress and anxiety out of my system. Most ad-dudes would take to their favorite scotch and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t try that first, but it was conducive to fixing the underlying problem. I took to running. I hate running. If running were a person I would not hang out with them. I’ve sustained a few sports injuries over the years and running is one of the things that I can still do. Anyway, when I started it was rough. Then after a few weeks I saw marked improvement and it became somewhat of a drug - I NEEDED to do it. If I didn’t go running then I felt guilty. 

A week ago, I notched my 500th mile [lifetime] which I think is pretty cool, but in the grand scheme of things I suppose it means absolutely nothing. How do I know I ran 500 miles? The Nike+ running app for my iPhone - this brings me to my next point. In addition to feeling guilty if I didn’t go running, I felt like I was being defeated by somebody else. I am about a competitive person as there is and I do not like it when I look at the ‘leaderboard’ on the app and I’m not at [or towards] the top [note: some of my friends run marathons and I have zero interest] then I become hell-bent on blowing past their mileage. 

What does this all mean? Well, Obsidian had its best year to date in 2013 and I feel very strongly that it had to do with the balance that a health regimen brings. By definition I am an entrepreneur, I hate that word and I hate people that use it even more…kind of like when somebody talks about an idea that is really ‘organic’. Bottom line is that I own Obsidian. It’s mine and everything that I do is a reflection of my company and my company’s values AND by extension, the values of the companies and individuals that I represent. What I’m saying is this, if you don’t take care of yourself nobody else is going to. I just finished 5 miles, I’m hungry to knock it out of the park in 2014 and this post serves as a written notice to anyone and everyone that is standing or thinking about standing in my way. We will not be stopped and we will not be silenced and I will not rest until Obsidian Creative Management is a household name synonymous with cutting edge talent. 

Do you think you can stop us? You’ll have to catch me first.

6health, 2014,