Director Pascal Leister of Lodestar Films recently helmed a humorous :30 spec spot for Jack in the Box called “Sleuth.” The spot opens on a young man grilling his roommates on why they didn’t get him a Jack in the Box Sirloin Swiss & Onion Burger – when all evidence points to the fact that they enjoyed one without him. The sleuth adeptly builds his case, from the peppercorn mayo sauce on one buddy’s shoe to the residual smell of grilled onions to the blissed out look “you only get from 100% sirloin.” Finally, he points to “Jack” who, with guilt written all over his huge, white round head, is sitting there and eating one. So which part wasn’t true? One roommate fesses up, “we didn’t get you any, but Jack ate it,” while holding up an empty bag. Jack sheepishly offers the half-eaten burger, but the miffed chap angrily smacks it out of his hand.
Director Pascal Leister found “Sleuth” through Spec Bank, a resource for high-concept, ready-to-shoot TV commercial scripts from top agency creatives. Leister says he was drawn to the comedic story about a guy in distress as several of his previous shorts, La Torcedura and Great Expectations, have similar plotlines. “Sleuth” was written by Dan Sorgen.
“Our biggest production challenge, other than an extremely tight budget, was casting and finding the right combination of actors that make for a believable group of friends,” explains Leister. “Dan, [Art Director] Hosea Gruber and I went through dozens of choices with the help of our casting director, Antje Scholz. Our goal was to make this as real and polished as possible. Every decision in production and post was guided by this one idea.”
The one-day shoot was filmed in a friend’s loft in Downtown Los Angeles on a Canon 7D by DP and frequent collaborator Stacy Toyama.
“Partnering with Dan, Stacy and the rest of the team was fantastic,” concludes Leister. “We were on very similar pages creatively and were able to jointly come up with better solutions than we had thought of individually. In fact, Dan and I are already planning on our next project together!”