Rachel McDonald, who directed the short film for Fred & Farid, helped the actors forge a believable connection by spending time with them together and shooting family-style photos with them before the video was filmed.
“Where we really succeeded was in building a backstory with the actors,” she says. “When they came onto the set they already had a natural connection. Those tears from the dad were real.”
McDonald’s use of “intimate” camera angles and a big reveal — when the viewer learns the grandfather has died — evokes goosebumps.
That pivotal moment wasn’t originally in the script, she explains, but she decided to let the photo do the talking. “I think there is something so powerful about printed images, how a tangible photo can bring a memory to life in a way that’s so different than when you are just looking at something on a screen,” McDonald says.
There’s something about prints
Printed photos, perhaps because you can hold them in your hand, can foster deeper, more meaningful connections to the past in a way that scrolling through an Instagram feed or “liking” a picture on Facebook can’t.
McDonald, in her pitch to make the “Dad” film, included a personal photograph that has special meaning to her. It’s a yellowed snapshot of McDonald’s grandfather meeting her for the first time. Though the print is yellowed with age, the sentiment is unmistakable. In it, her grandfather smiles down at her lovingly and with pride.
“This photo has traveled all over the world with me—from Mississippi to Egypt to Los Angeles,” she says. And it lives in a frame, not in my phone.”
The Father’s Day video follows a poignant video HP released for Mother’s Day, where HP looks recognized non-traditional mother figures. The viewer follows as two sisters — one a teen — adjust to their new, blended family.
The teenage daughter observes the kind, helpful ways that the mom figure becomes part of their daily lives and uses the HP Sprocket to alter an existing family photo to include its newest member.
The photo in this case is “a token of acceptance,” says Cole Webley, director of the “Mom” film. “We wanted to show how a simple, small gesture with a printed picture could have a big impact.”