We've certainly found ourselves in odd times, these days. The world seems as confusing and as backwards as it ever has before, a world where the line between seller and consumer has become more indistinguishable by the day; a world where Donald Trump can peddle your search histories. Yes, it seems as though today the corporations know more about ourselves than we even do and for one Chicago-produced creative, reality presented a perfect opportunity, realized in the web series, "#Brandstormers".
Kristina Pedersen is a unique individual with a sense for subtlety that can be easily lost. A photographer/writer/do-everything-type, Pedersen has made a name for herself over the last couple of years shooting photography for Vice and helping to curate music videos like The Walters' latest, "She's Gonna Leave You". In her spare time though, Pedersen has quietly been crafting a series of charatcers and productions that often play on the ridiculousness of the contemporary condition. That gusto manifested itself most recently with the debut of her first official web series offernig, "Brandstormers" which takes a unique look at the incessant feedback loop created by the world of instant gratification and constant angling that we now find ourselves swimming in. At a time when Chicago as an artistic centerpiece is beginning to truly flex its muscles across several mediums, this latest film project falls in line with several that have hit the public in the last few months. Trust me, this one is not to be missed. I caught up with Kristina on her way back to the city to dig a little deeper into the piece, which you can find streaming above.
What was the concept behind #Brandstormers?
#Brandstormers is a comedy short that follows two self-proclaimedly woke branding gurus, Pippa Coldpepper and Kendall/Kendall, as they rebrand ‘Chupz, a revolutionary condiment experience startup that sells slices of ketchup. The Brandstormers develop an influencer campaign for ‘Chupz that features Dack Lambert, America Ninja Warrior Champion almost. The short mocks the structure of a reality tv makeover show.
The short is based on some of my very excruciatingly real experiences in the branding world over the past few years. Mary Lee Costanza (they play JP and the market research participants in the show) and I wrote the series together last summer. We had developed many Shark Tank products (we are Shark Tank aficionados) and ‘Chupz just had star power so we ran with it. Also it was really easy to make some ‘Chupz prototypes (shout out fruit roll ups).
What do you hope viewers will take from the series?
I’m not sure how many people are as obsessed with the mind boggling absurdities of our heavenly sponsors as I am, but I hope viewers enjoy watching us make fun of them.
Describe the process of putting everything together.
I developed the concept of the show slowly over a year and me and Mary Lee banged (bung?) it out last summer. We basically wrote it bit by bit though a lot of the bits are improvised. We had our roommates film and be our stunt doubles, definitely could not have done it without their help. It was all very makeshift if that isn't obvious. Editing the whole the thing and doing all the post production was really the most painstaking part because you have to sit alone in front of your computer for hours and it's not something you can do while watching Netflix at the same time. Lindsay Mazur at The Mill color graded the whole thing and nailed it. They are really the best over there, they also graded The Walters new video I directed and I am endlessly grateful.
Why approach this particular subject matter in this manner?
C'est la guerre.
What can we look forward to as far as future releases?
Future releases! YEOW! I'm currently working on a series of funny little essays--a comprehensive field guide rather--called Stuff For Rich People Volume II: On Consuming about some adventures I've signed myself up for. M Lee C works as a designer and illustrator and is working on a cool zine of their own right now. We're also going to be making another short this summer. It's working title is Real Witches of Orange County and I guess I will leave you with that. Going to try to film as much of it as possible in the new Whole Foods space station/international airport on Lincoln and Ashland.