Warlocks, wizards and zombies let their freak flags fly in a new campaign for GameStop, directed by STORY’s Jeff France for The Richards Group. Three new spots portray the game retailer’s current storewide promotion Gamestock 2012 as a Summer of Game Love festival. In the hero spot, Going to Gamestock, familiar game character types hit the road, with some piling into a rickety VW van painted in psychedelic colors, while others ride buses or hitchhike in order to take part in the “six week festival of deals and prizes.”
Two other spots feature a heavily armed warrior trying to slip through a festival security checkpoint, and a man who reacts loudly to an unpleasant smell in a bathroom, only to discover the source of the odor is a surly zombie.
France shot the spots on a vacant fairground transformed to look like a sprawling music festival. He also cast more than a dozen actors to play various game characters. "The challenge was to find actors who possessed saavy comedic skils and who were also the right physical types,” France recalls. “Our Space Commando had this exaggerated brow and extreme military haircut. For the Warrior, we needed someone with both acting chops and an extraordinarily muscular build.”
For shooting style, France drew inspiration from the 1969 film Woodstock, an Academy Award-winning documentary.
“Woodstock was 16mm and primarily handheld; a lot of ‘grabbing’ of footage,” he recalls. “We took that same approach.”
This loose filmmaking style produced some humorous moments. France shot a hitchhiking zombie (whose outfit included a detachable prosthetic arm) on a road that was open to regular traffic. That led to some gawking stares from passing cars.
“The actor has his arm blown off in the wake of our passing hero van, and that was essentially the end of the scene. But in one take our zombie improvised and looked up at the following car, leaning toward its driver with a hysterical, puppy dog expression—still trying to bum a ride with no arm,” France says. “That take was used in the cut.”