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55
Published on
July 7, 2020

055 | Find the Positive in Everything with Harry Lowell, Founder of NiteLite Pictures

Summary

Harry Lowell is an award-winning producer and media expert creating content for advertising and entertainment. He is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founder of NiteLite Pictures in Los Angeles. He has produced network reality shows, music concerts, theatrical documentaries, and even Super Bowl commercials for some of the biggest networks, studios, and advertising clients around. His work has been seen on networks like Discovery Channel, History Channel, and OWN. Harry sits down with Chris to share how good old-fashioned hard work and a blue-collar upbringing created the foundation for his success in the entertainment industry.

Highlights

  • How having great mentors paired with hard work helped pave the way for Harry's success
  • Harry's lifelong passion for entertainment and storytelling
  • Greeting every opportunity with gratitude and thankfulness
  • Harry shares his experience of being homeless when he first moved to California to pursue entertainment
  • How Harry packed up his life to move from Chicago to LA and the cultural clash between the two cities
  • How Harry got his first big break at 18 creating spots for the California Lottery
  • Harry's pivot moment into entrepreneurship as a self-employed producer in the entertainment industry
  • How the team at Disney created the NiteLite Pictures logo as a surprise gift for Harry
  • How the production industry has been impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns
  • How advertising messaging is shifting in light of COVID-19 hardships
  • How social media has created a new opportunity for storytelling on a granular level
  • The magic and madness of creating an award-winning Super Bowl commercial

Mentioned Resources

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.

Juhll Digital Agency works with companies who are doing $50 million in top line revenue that have a marketing budget of $2 million. They build your company from the ground up and they also help you in creating a strategy that will work best for your team.

You can email Chris Snyder, President of Juhll Digital Agency, at chris@juhll.com, or contact their team today and find out which of their services will work best for your success story.

Tweetable Quotes

"You know - have the butterflies...If you're not afraid of some of the stuff you're taking on, I don't believe you're pushing yourself enough." - Harry Lowell

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"There's risk to reward. There's freedom. There's ability to take and do projects our own way. We don't have to listen to someone else." - Harry Lowell

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"Shut the news off earlier. You don't need to see all the negative stuff. Find the positive. See the beautiful things."  - Harry Lowell

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Harry Lowell

Founder, Nite Lite Pictures

Harry Lowell is an award-winning producer and media expert creating content for advertising and entertainment. He is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founder of Nite Lite Pictures in Los Angeles.

Episode Transcript

Chris Snyder [00:00:43] Hello, everyone, Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder showdown president at Juhll dot com and founder of Banks dot com. On this show, we talked with industry leaders and entrepreneurs about what's working and what's not with their programs. In addition, we do want to hear how industry leaders are guiding their teams through this tough time of COVID-19. Just a quick message from our sponsor, Juhll is a full-service digital consultancy. We focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems while working as an extension of the executive team. To learn more, you can go to Juhll dot com. That's Juhll.com. Or you can email me directly. It's chris@Juhll.com. OK, without further ado, today's guest is Harry Lowell, award-winning producer and media expert creating content for advertising and entertainment. He is a member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founder of NiteLite Pictures in Los Angeles. He has produced network reality shows, music concerts, the article documentaries, and even Super Bowl commercials for some of the biggest networks, studios, and advertising clients around. His work has been seen on networks like Discovery Channel, History Channel, OWN, and a lot more. Welcome, Harry.


Harry Lowell [00:02:04] Thanks for having me, Chris. That's a nice ass introduction.


Chris Snyder [00:02:07] Absolutely. I appreciate that. Well, I appreciate you being on the show and I appreciate that you've done all this work because it allows us to really sink in and get some perspective from an expert. But before we get into that, tell us a little bit about where you grew up, how you got to where you are today.


Harry Lowell [00:02:23] Yeah, I'm a Chicago boy. I'm really proud of that blue-collar upbringing, where work ethic is really important, doing what you say. And I was very, very fortunate that my folks believed in doing what you love, you know. And a lot of times in blue-collar areas, you don't have as many opportunities. So, you know, finding work and being employed is more fundamental than you get to choose what you want to do. My parents always supported and believed we didn't have a map or a path to become a producer to get into entertainment or advertising. They just knew that I was crazy and I was obsessed with films. And I would stop and watch some of the commercials more than I would watch some of the late-night TV shows. So they completely gave me that support. And I came out to California knowing that that's, I guess, where producers come from. So as soon as I could I moved out to California and I was very, very fortunate to find mentors in Susan Butterworth and Anne Osberg. Susan and Anne were just huge pioneers, became mentors to me, and supported and trusted and believed in me when I was way too young and way too inexperienced. But they felt that you know, I was gonna work my butt off and make things right, even if I fucked them up, which I often did. But their encouragement and the way they produced, they trusted and believed in a fun set, having a good time because production and executing marketing, advertising, entertainment, you should be having a good time whether you're doing a drama or a comedy, you should be really engaging in that. So if it wasn't for them, just encouraging the way I like to work and sticking to your guns and believing in the story, they really gave me a shot at a very young age, two to. And supported me even when, I realized later, I was in over my head. But they let me go in there and figure it out. And I realized much later, like, wow, how did they risk it? And trust me. And so I owe a lot to Susan Butterworth out here who became, you know, my second family and really allowed me to blossom and fall in love with the business I knew I wanted to be in, but really kind of create and find like-minded individuals so that that's how those individuals really sparked and continue to flame the fuel. My passion for entertainment and storytelling.


Chris Snyder [00:04:38] Yeah, that's excellent. Well, let's talk about, you know, geography, hard work, blue-collar and doing what you say you're going to do. I found those terms interesting. I have a similar background. I don't think anything that was done when I was a kid was done with your own hands. You didn't hire someone to come and fix the toilet, fix that yourself. Right. You're I don't think you'll I remember Lane underneath the car learning how to change oil, you know, pulling spark plugs on my own. Tell us a little bit about let's take a step back in time and talk a little bit about the part of Chicago that you grew up in, the kinds of things that you believe now define you in your career today because you can't get my opinion. You can't get to where you're at at the upper levels of one of the most competitive businesses in Los Angeles without having some principled principles instilled in you by your father and your mother in the culture and the environment that you grew up in.


Harry Lowell [00:05:41] That's funny. I don't think you realize it when you're growing up. But, you know, it's through osmosis that you see, you know, my parents worked hard for everything that they had. They didn't complain. There was a lot of laughter and love in the house. But they worked their butts off. They said they were gonna do a six a.m. shift for the company. My dad was there at five fifty-nine and, you know, clocked out when you needed to. So, you know, you just realize and we didn't have money to spare. So they were very creative and able to do a lot of things around the house. And I was the absolute worst assistant for my dad because he would try to show me how to change spark plugs and not do other stuff. And my head was always somewhere else. And I was trying to make movies in the backyard. And I remember specifically when he saw my passion in those things, I wrote my dad come back from the factory with, you know, he had done was doing welding a lot. And so he'd have burns on his fingers and he'd be holding the camera for me. I had an idea. I want to film something in the backyard. And he would be right there and he and I would go off and take photos just to do creative photography. Now, that's not something you would normally see when most of my friends were learning concrete trade or how to fix the car. He realized, like, I didn't have the interest. I didn't have the aptitude. I couldn't stay focused on it. But he was right there with me. My parents always supported whatever crazy idea I had, you know? And I think that combined with the work ethic, combined with the do what you say, show up when you're supposed to show up and put your head down and expect to start here and work your way up. And so it wasn't you never assume that you were given anything or that you deserved anything. You were lucky to have an opportunity and you're thankful for it. And I think that gratitude and that thankfulness was what sparked me, especially in Los Angeles, because, you know, to go from what you're seeing in college to a real ad agency or real production set to a real documentary, I mean, everything to me was just like, I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm here. And so every day, even now, I'm still incredibly thankful to the people I get to work with, the places we get to go, the stories we get to tell. I still pinch myself and I'm like, how is this kid from, you know, a tiny little suburb outside Chicago getting a chance to do all this? Almost feels like someone's gonna wake up and go, how did they let him in here? So you're very fortunate and thankful that I had such great support systems who never let me feel like it wasn't gonna happen. And I struggle. I mean, when I first moved out here, there was a period of time when I was homeless and living in a car. And, you know, I didn't have anyone, you know, I didn't want to burden my parents with that. And it was a short-lived period time. But you know, those things also. Put you in a place where you have to decide, OK, what am I going to do here? Am I just going to go and do what other people I've seen who just kind of gave up and went and did a job or am I going to stick to my guns and do what I really believe? And I remember waking up just thinking like I'm all in, I guess what I want to do and say, fuck it. If it doesn't work, then, you know, roll me into a grave somewhere. But and I think that was a turning point for me because then I started to just prioritize my storytelling and filmmaking and doing this stuff I love because I didn't have anything else to go back to. And that really took off from there, thank goodness me. I wouldn't recommend that I have a son now. I'm not going to recommend, but I do hope that he has a chance to find his own hardships, that you test yourself to understand where you're what you're willing to commit to and believe in. And I think it makes a difference. I wouldn't wish that upon him. But, you know, we all have good and bad things and you've got to make bad things as positive as well and laugh through them. And, you know, it's not fun going through it. But I realized today how important those situations were to me not wanting to give in and give up.


Chris Snyder [00:09:23] Yeah. Well, first of all, thanks to your dad for busting his ass and then coming home and then not immediately forcing you to be a miserable human being and forcing you to do what you know, that you weren't you just weren't going to you were going to wind up doing that. And I kind of feel like I mean, I'm a parent as well. Yeah. The days are long and the days are hard. But I remember the same thing growing up. I mean, these people were getting up at four o'clock in the morning to go work at a factory and then coming home and spending time with their kids. I mean, honestly, are we capable of doing that? I mean, so kudos to your dad for that.


Harry Lowell [00:09:59] My parents had their priorities straight, man. I'm very thankful for that. And they've got a lot of laughter around all of those things, no matter how hard things got. So I know there were tough times. They kept it to themselves a lot, but it was a great childhood and, you know, it made a huge difference.


Chris Snyder [00:10:12] Yeah. You don't remember the cars. You don't remember the money. You don't remember whether you had peanut butter jelly sandwiches for six weeks in a row. You just remember the times. I remember probably your dad holding that camera while you set up boxes. Ray, did you know, did whatever you did from a film production standpoint. But let's go back to OK, so you're obviously not cut out for the trades laying concrete or welding. So you go to college to pursue films specifically?


Harry Lowell [00:10:45] Yeah, I went out to do a television film. I really had a passion for both and had an amazing professor there that basically saw that I needed money and that I really could barely afford to stay in the school. But I knew I needed to be in California and my head. I figured that's where you have to go if you're going to want to get into the industry, you know? And he hooked me up with my very first, Alan Blum - the professor, hooked me up with my very first internship with an advertising agency. And, you know, things really spiraled in an amazingly way from there because it was like walking into, like Disneyland for me. There was just that all the equipment, all the creative people running around, they had London awards coming in. They had reels from directors that Ridley Scott and things. So it was an amazing place to. Because of the trust from that professor. And to see that I would do him well, young.  mean, normally they don't recommend people who are freshmen because they wait. So you're much more senior. But he gave me a key to the edit because I was bugging him all the time. And so the professors don't fuck it. Here's a key. Stop calling me. Just go. And it. I was just obsessed because I just threw myself into it. So he said, I'm gonna get I'm gonna recommend you for this. And I found out that advertising is the absolute best training ground for a producer because at any point time you're working with a celebrity, you're blowing up a car. You're doing a comedy. You're doing this dramatic flyover of London. You're working with the symphony out of Boston. I mean, they have money. They have big ideas. They have small, tiny things that are heartfelt. And in one year, you can do all of that as opposed to in entertainment where you sometimes work on something for two years. It was just because of my OCD and my ADHD. It was so rewarding to just jump from different things and really test yourself as a storyteller and see how and work with these amazing people so that move to advertising. I knew I'd like to advertising, but that just changed my whole trajectory.


Chris Snyder [00:12:44] Yeah. As a kid in back to a conversation, we're saying a little bit earlier, we don't know. We don't know until we. I don't think you know what you don't know until you're like 40. Honestly, you don't know jack shit until you're like 35 or 40. And then you realize what a little prick you were. Twenty-three years old. You thought you had the world by the nuts. Right. It's just, I've actually went on LinkedIn and sent some apology letters to some prior bosses just because I felt I was a just unemployable, just so fucking unemployable now. But part of it. Where you read. Well, but part of that is because you want so badly to be successful and you're willing to do whatever it takes. And sometimes you get tangled up in organizations that don't allow people like us to run. You just need to go and run through walls and make mistakes in advertising, specifically the amount of variety and the pace and the amount of things flying around. If you are cut out for that personality, that is exactly where you should be. Or an entrepreneur who, which will get to with your, you know, with your current company. The other thing I wanted to ask you, though, is what did your parents say when what it feels like I'm interpreting here. We basically just pack up the car and left. I mean, you drove undoubtedly from Chicago to Los Angeles. You just packed up your shit and left.


Harry Lowell [00:14:10] Yeah. I mean, you know, it was hard. I mean, I think most of my friends went to University of Illinois, Notre Dame, you know, they stayed close by. And that's a very tight-knit community. And that's what I love about Chicago.  I think that it brings to you is a sense of family, you know. And so coming out to California, I had none of that. And so that was a big, big loss and hard to navigate in a situation where you don't have this big extended family to that that loves Chicago in a way that it will never leave. My friends, my family. So it was definitely very lonely. But I think they were nervous for me because I was the first person to go to college in my family and the first person to, you know, think about not living in Illinois. So there's a lot of firsts for them. They had to deal with and they were as you know, they were super encouraging and it was, you know. Very emotional to leave, and I remember how much they did to really encourage me, but I know that my mom was very nervous about that and never really let on and was always just very positive. No cell phones, right.


Chris Snyder [00:15:08] Did they give you a calling card on your way out? How did you make?


Harry Lowell [00:15:11] I mean, look, we didn't have a lot of money. They did what they could. They had money. I worked that summer like a dog. Try to make it as funny as I could. We would make phone calls. I used my roommate's phone when I went there to make some long-distance phone calls, you know, so it was a different era to try and, you know, navigate because you didn't have everything was done with the Thomas Brothers guy traveling around L.A., have the G.P.S. And so it was very different. And you know what? One of my superpowers is in person. So I liked it a lot because most things happened to be in person. And I have, you know, thanks to my dad and my mom and I feel more comfortable when we can talk on the phone and be one on one with people. I think that's what you realize later becomes a superpower and becomes the way that helps you be a good producer. You know, as opposed to now, I think there's so much technology. I think that you get removed from some of the passion, some of the thoughts of you even wanted to go back and apologize to people. I feel like, you know, the technology separates us to a point where we don't have that human connection. I think people gave me an opportunity early on thankful because, you know, you can make an impression. They could see and judge whether you're going to be there for the long haul and whether you're really going to pull it off and what you can man or what you can manage and take on. So that made a big difference there.


Chris Snyder [00:16:24] Chicago. Chicago. In that part of the country like New York and other parts of the United States that have very distinct cultures. You know, Chicago has one. Culturally. Was it difficult to fit into L.A. when you moved here? I mean, I found it extremely challenging. I've been doing it for a while now. So it's easier now when you find your people, but. Was that challenging for you?


Harry Lowell [00:16:48] I mean, the best example I have is in Chicago, you bump into everyone all the time, and when you go downtown, you're going to bump into your friends. You saw them here and you're gonna know people from high school and you get to know people from grade school. And so that's and then when you show up at someplace, you end up with 20 people, you know, and they introduce you to 20 other people that you're probably your mom or your sister knows. And so it is much more of a family sort of environment. And people are you know, you're very loyal to Chicago. You're a Bears fan, you're a Blackhawks fan. You're a Cubs or White Sox fan. So there's always something to talk about. And you come here, there's no public transportation. You don't have a centralized city where you might just bump into people while you're downtown. So you find out that you're very isolated on the four or five freeway in your car by yourself and that the friends you have in Santa Monica, you're just should pretend you don't have them anymore because you moved to Long Beach and you're like, forget it. There's no way I'm going to see that I'm on in my life. That's a two-hour commute each way. So, you know, the. And then on the map there, this far apart, but not in California time. So it is definitely more. And the pace is quicker here. Chicago, you have a snowstorm. People are like - fuck it we're slowing down. No one go out. And then you're like, let's all meet in front of someone's house and we'll start a bonfire. So it's a much more you know, if it's raining if it's sunny out, people are out there doing things here in California. It's the same every day, every day. You should be at 100 percent and stepping on the gas every single day. So it worked out for me because that's how my personality I always was. So I like that. But I also enjoy it. And I really miss from Chicago those moments where you're forced to calm down the world is saying to you it's pouring rain or it's snowing in the streets or shut down. You're like, okay, I'm going to take a break. I like when the world tells me it's time to take a break, because in California, I just go until I drop. Then I have a passion for that, too. So I have to control myself. Sometimes gets like go to I like that's the part I like about it.


Chris Snyder [00:18:41] Yeah. So describe for us, I mean, I'm not an entertainment or film guy myself. And undoubtedly some of our listeners have built ads or building ads right now or create digital content for brands. But take us back to that job at the advertising agency. Describe for us the different things that needed to be done there. You're a producer now, but you were always a producer, right? So maybe you could describe for us your journey a little bit through the film room, the tape room maybe built-in sets. Like what? Describe for us how you got to where you are today because being a producer is I mean, you're up there, right?


Harry Lowell [00:19:24] It's funny. You know, I think I realized you're always a producer in your head until finally someone gives you a chance to let you, you know, be responsible for those millions of dollars and whether you're gonna fail or not. But you realize later how all those skills you used are still the same ones you hone and that someone has to trust you with something different. So I started off it again. Thankfully, from that professor at Daylin Associates, they put me in the A.V. room and I was an editor. And what was great is they would do things like my very first projects. I was just super interested. I was watching reels and talking to people. And again, amazing people back then who would go "this kid's here all the time." Let's just try some stuff. So the big break ahead, which was unbelievable, is they had shot all this amazing footage in the agency. It was MLS footage. So there's no audio. And the energy kept saying we need to change the campaign and needs to let these characters speak. And the client said, no, I don't want to do that for California Lottery. So the AJC paid to shoot while they were filming extra footage of all the characters talking, improvising. So was hours of stuff and it came back and we just we can't make it work. And I was in the room making copies so people could see it. And the Head of Production came in and he said, it's Friday. And he goes, we can't make it work. We tried with an editor or two. We shot all this footage. We paid an editor. It none of it's working. We're going to throw it away. I said, Oh, that's too bad because this is Greg. And he goes, well, what would you do? I said, well, I would try this, maybe bookend it. And I'm 18. And he says, Well, tell you what. He goes, We're gonna scrap it. Why don't you play with it? And if you've got a 30-second spot, why don't we go to the creditor on Monday? And if there's anything good, because Robert throwing it away, we're calling it a full loss of all the money with you into it. The client is probably right. Doesn't work. So from Friday till Monday morning at 6:00. I didn't leave. I slept with God. Two days. Yeah. And I just ordered pizza in at this fucking agency. And when Monday came, it came in. I went home, showered, came back. He goes, did you get a chance to cut a 30-second spot? I said, I did. I go, here's what I did. I cut five, six days. I cut a couple forty-five. I cut like six Thursdays. I have 10 15s and 10 tents. I had this crazy idea.


Chris Snyder [00:21:44] Here's a half a million dollars worth of content, bro.


Harry Lowell [00:21:47] So he goes, holy shit. Hold on a second. You play it and he goes, stop, stop, stop. They bring in the owner of the company, which is Cliff Einstein. He's the CEO just a legend in advertising. He comes in with the creative director, Mike Faulkner, and they're like, holy shit. So long story short, what ends up happening is they scramble around and they go, OK, we're gonna fly you in the private jet up to the client. We're gonna present all of these things where they went across the street to. It was on Wilshire. Wilshire Bullocks - it's no longer there. And his secretary bought me clothes because I dress like a poor 18-year-old. So they bought me pants with pleats, a belt. And so up in California, what they did was they said, OK, don't say anything. If anybody asks, we're going to say we hired a special editor who does dialog and that that's what you are. But don't say anything. Don't open your mouth about anything. So I sat in the lobby. They came back and he said, Harry, they bought four of the 60s. They bought all of the thirties. They bought five of the tens. We're doing them all. It was unbelievable.


Chris Snyder [00:22:51] How did that make you feel? I mean, you're a kid who came from Chicago. This was your dream, right? And you got your shot and you worked your ass off. That's crazy. Already knew how to do. But how did this describe how it made you feel when you're sitting in that room just kind of waiting for the verdict almost?


Harry Lowell [00:23:10] Well, that I didn't understand. So it was only later when they invited me to go to the edit and go to that we had a symphony do an amazing guy who was doing the music. So I had a symphony. L.A. Symphony was in there doing the music and stuff. So I got to go to all these sessions. I remember just thinking, how did this happen? How am I here? But it validated all these crazy thoughts I had in my head because in my head I thought this is how I would do it. This is how I visualized it. And so I finally had a chance to put my chaos in here, out there. And someone thought it was worth something. And I thought, this is really interesting. This is really exciting. So I could I was floating for days and weeks because I just am like, I can't let this happen. Remember, I sent it to my parents in California. A lot of us have only air to California. So for me, I thought the world's gonna see it. Didn't realize it. California lottery only. But I said it's my parents. My parents called me and they said, oh, it's great. We love what you did. I can't believe it. But I just want to say we looked really hard. We don't know where. We can't see you in there. And I'm like, no, mom, I wasn't in it. I was. It doesn't matter as a mom, I'm not an actor. I don't know what that means. You edited it. We looked really hard. Your dad can't see you.


Chris Snyder [00:24:23] Did you know. Did you know you were good enough to do this? So I can see. I mean, I think a lot of folks at that age, you don't really know if you're good enough to do these things until I think much later on in life. And then maybe you realize, like, wow, I've actually been good. Were you really having fun there or were you completely insecure the whole time thinking, I don't know if I'm good enough to do this, I'm just fucking wasting. My time on Mars will go to the beach and drink a Corona.


Harry Lowell [00:24:53] If I drank, that's by where I go. But I think it's this line of questioning is unbelievable. It's I've never had this dialog. And it's really fascinating to talk about, because when I mentor people, this comes up often and I talk to people and I'm like, I don't think I've ever really lost the complete amount of insecurity. I just doubled down on the excitement. When things work and when you're you're collaborating, when you're firing all cylinders. And sometimes, you know, a simple comment you can make changes the whole direction of a scene or a movie or a plot point. And, you know, those are things that I can't let go like. That's why I don't drink. I don't do I don't do anything. And I talk about that with my son. And I said, you know, keep my narcotic is basically the high I get from adding a piece of something that comes out of here that somehow when we collaborate with everyone. People think that's a great idea. And then they add something and he had something. And I watch this thing grow. I said there's nothing artificial that's gonna make me feel better than that moment. And for days, weeks, or years, if I look back at something, I will still be proud of what we've accomplished, how we've achieved it. And somethings I'm proud of what you see on screen and other things. I'm super proud of what happened behind the scenes that nobody knows to get to that point. And just the brilliance of what the people we put in place and the team members and everyone's contribution. So I think that is what, you know, drives me, and what is inspiring to me is that at that time, I don't know. I think in the very beginning, knowing that people are liking our ideas is finally a vindication that you are that there's stuff there. And so you have an inner swagger, but you're also still like, is this real? Is am I going to continue to do it while I still want to do this? You always have goals and newer things when you're insane and you always are pushing like I would love to do an Olympic spot. Oh, I'd love to do it. So when you're constantly eager for that stuff, you know, I like to push to the edge. And, you know, the the the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity, the bigger the cliff you're on. The more I really love it because I love the challenge. I think it's like an athlete. My son is a big athlete, you know, really interested in that. And so he and I connect on that level because I want to be tested. Right. I want a big dramatic piece. I want to shoot for four weeks in Portugal. And at one point we're editing on three different floors of editors on different floors. And we'll go between, like, just a way of putting it together. Those things just inspire me and fill me up. And so that initial one really gave me a lot of satisfaction and gave me a lot of confidence, too. But at the same time, I always still - every new challenge that comes in. You know, you have the butterflies and I love that challenge of being like, you know, the butterflies. If you're not afraid at some of the stuff you're taking on. I don't believe you're pushing yourself enough. You know, I don't need to be crazy. I'm not going to skydive. But I love saying, oh, this looks like an impossible feat. Let's get the right people here. So, yeah, that answers your question.


Chris Snyder [00:27:55] But no, it does. And with some pain, there's definitely progress. The thing you know, there's a reason why, you know, venture capitalists, you know, don't give newer entrepreneurs and founders that a lot of money and they only have 18 months to make it work because you hear these crazy stories about, oh, we pivoted in the last two weeks and we're running out of cash flow and we completely changed the company. Now we're growing and there are a bazillion dollar company. But without pain, I don't think there's much progress. Describe for me a little bit. I'm going to make an assumption, but maybe you can clear clarify for the audience. Advertising. Was that an employee freelancer or contract relationship? And then you've got television, which is probably more of a freelance fee or contract relationship. Were you an employee at the agency or were you a freelancer?


Harry Lowell [00:28:51] So I was an employee and that was the only job I've ever held in California.


Chris Snyder [00:28:57] So you know where I'm going with this, right? This idea is you I know you're going a full-blown entrepreneur now. And I'm just wondering, at which point did it strike you that being an employee was really not? Because in a mall? I'm also thinking about the creative director. Right. And I'm also thinking about the people that gave up. And you're like, what the fuck, man? Like, we're not gonna give up on this. We're gonna try something. But you're hooked to their wagon, right? So for your personality and in, you know, the kind of person that you are on the same way, it's like, why do the creative what who's in charge of this? Why is the client making these decisions? Obviously they pay. But was our creative director saying these things know always a baller. But, you know, tell us about your journey as an employee out of employment, standard employment into being an entrepreneur. Tell us about some of that experience.


Harry Lowell [00:29:48] So two things about that. Right. So as a producer, what inspires me is to work on different kinds of projects. And so what I was realizing is that agency, Daylin Associates, Cliff, Susan Butterworth, Mike Faulkner, gave me amazing opportunities to do stuff. I remember the first day they gave me up after I did that added thing I was talking about, I got called into Clipse office and he starts talking about this champagne thing for Gallo. So we need this, this, this. And we're gonna need to cast some girls. And I'm thinking, why is he telling me this? He goes, oh, he turns around. He goes, I forgot to tell you. You're a producer now. OK. So and he knew that's what I want to do. I didn't want to stay editing. They wanted me to do editing. I did a lot of it, but I made it. And the head of production said, you need to stay on path, Harry, because they're gonna keep you as an editor unless you show them you want to be a producer. So I got amazing advice because I didn't know I would have gone down a pathway to deep and been hard to change that. So what I found was two things really interesting is that the more experienced, the more project you can work on as a producer, the more value add to your clients, whether it's the brand or the advertising agency. So the one thing I start to look around as well, I will be limited to just the clients within this agency. And I was so, you know, starting to look around at all these other opportunities and thinking, you know, I'd love to bring experiences back to each one of them. So if I work with a celebrity here or a musical artist there and then I go to some other place and some places don't have that, but they may want to do one thing. So. When I decided that I was gonna go freelance. Part of the decisionmaking was it allows me to work at other places, get different experiences, and I can share that with other agencies. The second thing was I remember distinctly walking into an edit and I parked my car and I walked up to the edit place and I started realizing that my car was the absolute shittiest car in this parking lot. And I went and sat down with the editor. It's changed my life, too. And I said to my car, I go, How? Which car is yours? he goes, Oh, it's that BMW. I go, fucking A. And he said, he turned around. He goes, Harry. He goes, Let me tell you a little thing about entrepreneurial. He goes - I worked at a place and my partner and I said, we have the shitiest car in the fucking parking lot. So we opened our own place. There's risk to reward. There's freedom. There's the ability to take and do projects our own way. We don't have to listen to someone else. And they were incredibly successful. That was Mike Miller. And that is what solidified for me the idea of being freelance, because it gave me creative flexibility and freedom that I could and I could share with more than one agency and more than one client set, and that I would be able to get a better car. Not that cars mattered to me, but that what's the deal here? And I realized that the value of being an entrepreneur or being freelance and then I don't offer me a Segway into this, but the reason I opened the company, NiteLite, was out of necessity, again from Susan Butterworth, who brought me over to Disney and was an amazing training ground with her and Anne Osberg. But they made it so much projects going on. Instead of me hiring a bunch of companies, it became, I remember sitting on the floor with my then-girlfriend, who became my wife, Lisa, and I said, you know, I should just get an edit bay and then I can have editors come to me because I'm all over town. And at the time was like, let's say one hundred thousand dollars for - I think I saw it in the newspapers,  someone selling it - the whole package. She goes, You're insane. And I did it. And so next thing I know. NiteLite becomes starts as an editorial type thing. We had offices in the Valley and had offices on La Cienega and we were just doing tons of tons of stuff for Disney. And as a gift, Disney said, my company is just HGL Productions. And they said, that's awful. Here you go. You need an actual name. So I said, OK, we'll call it NiteLite pictures because we work all night long. And as a gift one day I walked into Disney and I burst into tears because they said, there's all there's a room full. All the walls are covered. They said as a gift to you for this project you just did. All the designers at this division of Disney did an opportunity to show you a logo - you can choose any logo and it's yours. So the gift they gave me was the logo you see was designed by Disney. And I got to choose it. I remember just. Being a fool and crying and seeing all these amazing things, I thought the respect from them to do something like that just, you know. And again, this is why I a part of partly why I do it is the people, the relationships working with amazing creative. So that was, you know, again, reinforced. You should be doing this and find a way and keep finding people of like minds. Because I worked with some really shitty people and I've made mistakes like that. And I hired people based on the real not based on a human. And, you know, I want those days and weeks back in my life because I hated it. So now I find amazingly talented people who are good humans. And the work we create is amazing. And I always look at that NiteLite. Logan, I remember thinking how proud I am that they respected the work and liked our work ethic and the fun they had. And so it makes me happy every time people do an update to the logo. I'm like, never this.


Chris Snyder [00:34:58] This is this really is a great story about your accomplishments and just how you've gotten where you are. So let's pivot a little bit and talk about you're a self-proclaimed people-person; you like being around people. That is your superpower. You like talking to people, right? You can't. You can talk to people. We're talking right now. But I don't think any shows are being produced. Right. Not with human beings. So let's talk about COVID impact on the business a little bit. And what are your thoughts on that?


Harry Lowell [00:35:31] I mean, it's impacted the business dramatically. There's still little bits of production that we're finding that we're able to help out with. But all traditional advertising shoots the way we normally would do it. You know, with big crews and big cast members and shooting in Portugal or Argentina or big shoots in L.A., you know, all of that is canceled. And I hold our TV shows. We had some shows with some of the Discovery Channel networks. And those negotiations are all on-hold. And we don't know when they're going to resume because the only way to do some of these- we had a  food travel series. No way we can get insurance to cover it. So there's a lot of insurance-based reasons on how we can even make a show like that in the near future. So what's honestly about COVID? I mean, there's - the death toll, the sadness that that's real. And that's sad to hear and difficult to swallow. But it's a situation that the entire globe is facing. I think that's what's really interesting and unique, that it's not just one territory or one region. We're all experiencing this. So I also see the yin and yang and there's some amazing, beautiful humanity that's coming at us. Amazing storytelling, amazing acts of kindness. And I really have seen just such beautiful things being created, not just entertainment, mean advertising as well, being really respectful and aware of what's happening in the environment. So what is happening? Our brands are focusing on what's really important. You have to be aware of what your customers are thinking and be aware of what your employees are going through. So I think it shifted brands focusing. I think some brands and some categories are really struggling. You know, travel is very specifically just losing money and very sad. And then other things are booming, you know, dating apps and frozen foods. And so there's some that are, you know, boom and bust. So there are some we work with a lot of different agencies and clients and some are still producing as much, just trying to be more respectful of what's out there. You can't just come out to anymore and just do like $12.99 and price points. People are having economic issues and people are a little bit unsure. So you can't do the same kind of stuff, but you need to be out there and show at this point your brand ethos and kind of who you are and that you're going to be there for people. And some people have done some amazing work on that. So I'm seeing some really creative ways. I also think the world's got a little pause button happening right now, including production. So I think we're all going to rethink working from home. We're going to rethink how we operate and at least for the short term. I think production will get back to what it needs to be. I think we should not be afraid once there's a vaccine. Like, there's vaccines for measles and shit like that. You know, you don't walk around still thinking measles are gonna get me. And we shouldn't be terrified once it's been contained. But until then, you have to be careful because, you know, you may not be someone that would be susceptible to it, but you're going to pass it on to someone. And I would hate to think that we. You know, I did a project and then were you know, we didn't take every precaution possible and that it end up hurting someone somewhere. So that's what's in everyone's mind. All the unions, all the guilds, everyone is trying to get back to work, but they're also trying to safely checking the crew as well as members of society.


Harry Lowell [00:38:42] So there's not actual physical production going on because the insurance company won't insure it. Well, they're a little bit and it's just done extremely safely and in small doses.


Harry Lowell [00:38:53] What's different is, for instance, you'll find now that we're you can still produce stuff if you're shooting, let's say, on a private property. Right. Someone's house. We're not going to get permits in L.A. to shoot on the city streets and to have big crowds. We can't have a bunch of scenes of people kissing. SAG is like, look, it's not a danger. We don't need to have it unless it's absolutely crucial. There's going be tons of testing to go on. But ultimately, you can still produce some things in that kind of environment with smaller crews, with heavier standards in place, longer shoot periods, because you can't get as much done in a day with more safety standards, with safety monitors in place. Insurers will insure a normal production. What they're not going to insure, though, is, you know, if your lead actor for your film comes down with COVID and you have to shut down production for two weeks, they won't cover that. That's now a known entity. That's your risk you're taking. So the studio has to cover that. So that is why it's difficult to get some of the bigger productions going because you're shooting for a month. You can't have your director come down to cover. You can't have your lead actor. You know, you might be able to replace your director and continue to produce. But if your main actor goes down, what are you going to do with half a film that shot or has a series of shots?


Chris Snyder [00:40:07] So this is really insightful. So I feel like these these these films are in a pipeline and all of this stuff that we're seeing today on Netflix. Amazon. Right. Any of these, you know, theatrical releases anyway or short films that are released digitally now and not in the theater, obviously the ones the pipeline run out because, you know, I mean, I don't know if you have perspective on that, but I'm thinking to myself, well, wait a second. If the studios have to cover it, they're not going to start even during and go down that road because it could be a disaster.


Harry Lowell [00:40:43] Yeah I, you know, it's hard to say because a lot of films are still halfway done and they don't know when they're going to get back. There's two films that have kind of gone back up and there's places that are still, again, with safety standards in place. But there is a film in Iceland being done. There's a film in New Zealand. They're not allowing us people to transports. If you're already there and they're doing things like you may have to go into a city and self-quarantine you and your entire crew. So that's more expensive. But you quarantine everyone. And then instead of the normal process where you have, you know, a bunch of people on Video Village, it's now going to be one example. It uses color coding. Right. So you have a color code that says I can be on set with the actors. There's three or four people that get that color. And those people will have to be over here. And makeup bags have to be I'm going to get to make a bad just for you so that no other makeup touches anybody else. So just trying to think of everything to protect especially the actors who are the only people that have to be unmasked at some point. So really, the protection is how do we keep them safe? You know, when the lights get done and set, a cleaning crew comes and wipes shit down leaves, then the a.T.M comes on to work with the actors if you need to readjust stuff. You leave the set. That crew comes back on readjusts. It leaves, wipes it down, and then we resume shooting. So it's a slower process.


Chris Snyder [00:41:59] More expensive, undoubtedly.


Harry Lowell [00:42:01] Yes. Right.


Chris Snyder [00:42:03] So what's your - because as you're describing all that, I go, OK. The industry is trying to work around the pandemic, and they're basically doing the same thing they've always done, they're just tripling their amount of safety. What's the batshit crazy idea on how you now maybe take. Five, 10, 15, 20, 100 people on a set that are not in the exact same location. And you make a film like what is the crazy idea or what is the format that changes what is a crazy idea that could get us beyond, OK? We're all not going to fly to Iceland. We're all not going to shut down the streets of Los Angeles. Do a car chase. I get it. What's the alternative here? There's got to be something neat. And if you don't want to let out your secrets, that's fine. But on my mind right now, what can we do?


Harry Lowell [00:42:58] It's not a secret. I think everyone's struggling to do it. Los Angeles is going or California is going to release. They're supposed to release Monday, but there's a lot of infighting, how the industry wants to move forward. They've spoken to Viacom and Netflix and Disney and everyone's trying to get in the Guild or SAG and the lighting union. Everyone's trying to put in what they think would be right for their union. And it's just hard for anyone to come to a consensus that would be safe for every single party. That's and who's going to pay for all that. So the problem is it's there's no one solution. I think that there's many solutions. And you have to look at each particular piece. I think there are some films that are just not going to be able to be greenlit or done right now, like we have a food travel series. I don't know when and how we will have the ability to preplan that. We're gonna go, you know, to Thailand, to Morocco at any point in time. Those countries can close up again because of COVID and until COVID is, you know, there's a way to stop it. It's going to be difficult to ever program something like that because it requires too much risk. And then if we can't go to Morocco, we have to now stop, readjust. Pick a new place. Find new restaurants in a new city. And who's paying for all that? That's hard on the network because there's no safety net. Other shows and films can be moved quicker. When you're talking about romantic comedies, when you're talking about something that's a smaller cast members. There's some things that can be clicked back into. You look at the late-night shows, some of them are back up and running, whether they're as funny or not as a question, but they have found ways to get some of those programs back on there. John Oliver, Stephen Cole there. They have a version of their show that is is coming back. So they are finding safe ways to do it. They're shooting remotely when they can. They're keeping crews down to a minimum. And on features or commercials, you just need to basically have. More money to get more space to separate everybody and to give everyone a chance to stay safe and to not bring it back to their families or their communities, which is the big concern. And I think it's it's going to be a step by step process. I think even creative's from the advertising agency are trying to think in ways that how can I concept ideas that don't put us in a situation where we need to get city permits or big groups or a bunch of kissing scenes or babies with grandmas. I mean, I think that you have to start thinking in those terms, at least in the short term. This will all be over at some point. I don't think there's going to be lasting effects like we have to wipe down all the time. I think we've all survived many things in our lives. And I think if we become isolated too much, we're gonna not be able to build up any immunities. But this is a problem. This is a dramatic problem. And it needs to be and it can't. We have to do everything we can to stay safe for all of our neighbors and community until it's there's a vaccine that works, is proven to work, and then we can move on and get back to a more traditional thing. But it's gonna be a while.


Chris Snyder [00:45:50] Yeah. I want to talk to you about storytelling in the age of digital. And I'll use a quick example. When I was a kid, probably similar to you. My idea of a cell phone was getting the 20-foot extension cord on your regular phone and then going down and hiding around the corner to talk to your friends and then your mom picking up the phone and saying, get off the goddamn phone. Right. So and then we saw beepers and then we saw, like, the big cell phones. And then we've seen a lot. Right. I feel like our generation has seen from zero to all the way to where we are today. And I'd like to understand your perspective because obviously you're a storyteller. It's difficult to tell great stories in some of the digital mediums that we have today. Amazon, although it's very utilitarian, is probably the worst still sorry storytelling platform on the planet as it relates to advertising anyway. Can you tell us what the pros and cons are of the new storytelling formats, whether they be Instagram, Facebook, like? I'm sure you have thoughts on this.


Harry Lowell [00:46:59] Yeah. I mean, people ask me that a lot and there's been some really good discussions, you know, at Cannes and MIP. And the big summary, I would say, is that you know, back to the original taking that we had a phone in the kitchen. So if your girlfriend called, you had to pull it into the bathroom until Mom got an extension and said enough, you know, so that's the, you know, we watch a lot of technology happen. And I think there's goods and bads to it. And the big change has been - there were TV networks controlled all the eyeballs. And so we knew where for advertisers, for strong content. You know, you're going to be there as soon as the cable networks opened up. And then especially when all of the streamers start opening up, you now have an explosion. There's no one place where people go but what it's created. And what I really like is it's a bunch of fandom. So now if I'm doing a film about, you know, cats, there are people who are hardcore about cats. And now there's a way to find them because they now have chat rooms, they now have Facebook groups. So now suddenly you're realizing that there's a place for your film. For a while, there were barely any little films anymore or little stories because they're like it either has to be The Avengers or nothing. And so that when when you and I were growing up, there were tons of little tiny films. You know, I think John Hughes, we have a hard time making his films today because they're they don't fit this big, huge tent pole type of idea. Those talents at the time, they were untested. They weren't that big rat pack that they became. So I don't know that those show those films would have gotten greenlit. So now, because there are such interesting groups of fandom all over the place, you can find your mystery science theater, you can find your sci-fi people, you can find the common people. You can find the people who are into horror or cosplay. And so you have a better opportunity to tell this story that you really want to and find them may not have the huge, huge dollars. But I do believe that this the spread of it because people - like, my son watches just as much content on his phone as he does on television. And he doesn't know the difference between a YouTube star and a television star for him. If you're on some kind of screen, you're all equal, right? Tom Cruise is equal with anybody else he's watching from Twitch as equal to anybody else for it. And that's a very big learning curve for me because we didn't realize that, you know, it's talent.


Chris Snyder [00:49:18] Right. And I want to talk about how talent, you know, historically is probably been monopolized in a few of the largest talent agencies or kin these I would call them private networks. Right. So if you think about Nightline pictures over the years, you have your own private network. You have the ability with your contacts to keep those private networks steady. Right now, it kind of feels like, well, there's creatives in India, there's production shop. In India, there's so and I feel like it's really impacted advertising economically. I mean, it's hurt pricing at some level. It's hurt. It's hurt in her and helped probably. But can you maybe what are your thoughts on this ability for anyone to do whatever they want, whenever they want? Any different country to produce and do whatever they can drive down pricing? Do you have any thoughts on this?


Harry Lowell [00:50:20] Well, look, from a commercial advertising perspective, I think it's - the old school model and the people on hold on to that are going to struggle. They have to embrace the fact that everyone has now shifted to fandom and they're out there. So you can definitely target more. I think there's a lot of brands who have moved into it. I personally love it because now I'm not locked into - I have to do a commercial. Now it's like if we do something theatrical, maybe we can do a documentary. Maybe we do a branded content. Maybe we can do a lot. We did live events with, you know, like Gwen Stefani type people. So you can do things now that weren't traditional advertising. And I think it opens up the door for you to do more and tell more and find where your audience is. And I think that's the key for people to stay alive. And I think it's also, in my opinion, level the playing field where it used to be. If you didn't have the biggest pot of money and buy the best commercial slots on ABC, NBC, CBS, you were fucked. Your brand is off the charts because this guy's getting all the talk. Now, you can be a tiny little brand and you can do really unique things and undercut some of those big guys. So now you can find that audience. It's all splintered, but they're there. They're looking for good content. They're looking for stories. And if you provide that, you might help with less money, with more creativity. Find a way to connect your audience and make a great business, and I think that's the big level set for me, is that, you know, when brands have a hard time, they move like a tank and they can't turn like a ship and everything is good. They got to go. You're missing the opportunity. The world is moving very, very quickly and you have to be able to adapt and try stuff. And I think, you know, like anything. I don't think people spend too much time focusing on trying to make something absolutely perfect when they what they need to do is get that feeling and emotion and thing out there so that it does its service, because three months from now, six months from now, it's obsolete. So start with something new. I think you need to continue to do that because with YouTube and with Twitch and with TikTok, costly coming out with new content, you can't just create one 30 second spot, stick it out there and think that's going to be good. People need and they see so much content now. So there's a - you have to change your mindset. There's so much opportunity if you're willing to say, well, where's my people? Where are they? Dove does an amazing job of doing this. They've taken, you know, they're a lotion company. Right. And look at what they've done to connect to women, to ethnic races, to humanity and why they're just a lotion company. But they had an ethos. They played into it. They didn't have to do it on TV all the time. And they have an amazing following and loyalty. And I think that's a brilliant way to say we're gonna go over here because I can't compete with. Whoever my major brands are, I'm going to do it over this way. And I think you can take a huge market share and have a very loyal following as long as you can. You are cranking out good, honest content.


Chris Snyder [00:53:12] And I think the message in that is you better innovate where you're gonna be toast. 


Harry Lowell [00:53:19] That's a t-shirt phrase right there, right?


Chris Snyder [00:53:21] I mean, you come to work every day and look, I think we all feel the pinch. We worked hard for, you know, twenty-five years to get where we've been. And it would be easy to complain about things changing after we've worked so hard to build something that is more familiar and easier to execute. The simple fact of the matter is in our business, it's going to change. Get used to it. If you don't embrace change, you're just gonna be toast. One of the things I wanted to ask you about is Super Bowl commercials. These things. Two million bucks. I mean, and talk about pressure, right. Going back to when you were 18 years old. Someone told me about the Super Bowl commercial process. How did they find you? Why did they decide to do it? How much pressure is there in making a Super Bowl commercial? How do you measure yourself? How do you measure yourself?


Harry Lowell [00:54:10] Well, you try to do the measuring afterward, because if you do it during, you're going to freak out. So ultimately, those are the things that I love to look forward to. Right. Those are the things you want to. You want that challenge. You want to be put on that cliff and say sink or swim. Can you make it happen? You know, you're on the precipice and, you know, now it's not even two million. I mean, just to buy a timeslot. I think it's four million. Just to have the slot, you know, for that piece. And like a 60 or whatever. So there's just there's a lot of money at stake. And then the production alone, that can cost anywhere from three to six million to produce it on top of the media buy. Right. So there's a lot of eyeballs. There's a lot of pressure, a lot of people. Sometimes it can be a lot of overthinking. But I think the things that make a successful Super Bowl are when you have a really good core idea and the producer and the creatives find a way to connect all the right little pieces and partners that add just the right amount of comedy or or or heartfelt scenarios. And I think what's really great about advertising is those moments are still we talk about fandom and everyone's separating. They are very, very few things now that bring everyone together. And that is one of those event moments where I really treasure that because there's so few, right? There's World Cup. There's Super Bowl. There's, you know, so only certain ones where there's such an audience and, you know, even the Stanley Cup or MLB will not get the same audience that you're going to get at Super Bowl because there is such a huge variety of people watching it and just enjoying the moment together. And some people just watch for the commercials. So it's become such a great communal thing in the US. And so when you produce something for that medium, you have to understand the audience is looking for something specific and very different. And the creatives who understand that and who trust their producer to help figure out a way to tell that story and then everyone collaborates together to do it. It can be magical. And that's when it's really, really fun, because it's a moment in time. And you have to be timely. It has to work for that particular Super Bowl. And some are more timely than others. But it's - you have to manage. Just like I was saying, sometimes you look up to what's on-screen. You can be very proud of it. People don't realize that what goes behind it was, you know, a complete slog to get everyone to let you do what you know is right to do. And you have to convince this person and that person up the chain, up the chain, taking people who are starting to ad wrong ideas and try to figure out a way not to let that touch it. So it's a fascinating process and it's very exhausting. But it's what you know, you wake up excited for that. You know, you have those butterflies the whole time. And when you're doing something and you're seeing those shots coming off and, you know, it's looking that's going to be funny or that's what it's supposed to be. And you have the right music people, whether it's it is magical because they usually don't have a lot of money constraints. You're not usually fighting against dollars. You're fighting against time, you know, because usually things are everyone's overthinking it and nervous. So they make the decision as late as they can because they're just concerned. But you use your fighting time more than dollars, so you have all the best at your disposal. And when you package it right with the right things, it's amazing. But you are up all night. You are up constantly until the Super Bowl. And we've done spots where we really didn't deliver the spot until the day of the Super Bowl. Oh my God. Yeah. So but that is like, you know, when you go through that experience with those that team and those individuals, I mean, that is a bonding, unique experience that you won't get in any other aspect of advertising and marketing. And it's worth playing because when you win the Adweek, you know, best stuff and we did that one year, we were the number one spot, the publicity, the press, the PR, the people reaching out to you. It's, you know, because you bring that level of understanding how to do it, how to execute it. What mistakes not to make. You know, you understand how to not overspend and make sure you're prepared upfront. So I think what's important. Super Bowl is people being honest and truthful with you upfront to say, what am I going to walk into? What's it going to feel like? I mean, there's NFL approvals. I mean, there's a lot that goes into it that you have to manage and figure out and manipulate to make it work. And that's part of the fun and the challenge, you know. And it may just look like a really fun spot that comes off. But there's a whole different world around Super Bowl that you need people who have that experience to avoid pitfalls, to avoid crazy mistakes and to try and get the most ring, the most PR press, everything out of it. You know, we've gotten CNN covers, we've gotten 60 Minutes coverage. We've gotten Good Morning America coverage. If you spin everything right and you have smart, you know, and you bring stuff up as we're going along things out here, it's a grand deal. We should do this, too. Oh, so all those little things end up being like, how can we milk this experience beyond just the Super Bowl spot? What else can we do while we're doing it?


Chris Snyder [00:59:07] I can't imagine any other like the absolute pinnacle of anyone in advertising in their career would, I think would have to be the Super Bowl. Right. And also, I think maybe the only other people that would feel the same way physically would actually be the players in the locker room if they won the game. Right. Like, because you're going to war with these guys, man. You're in the locker room. You guys are getting your asses kicked. You know, if you're going to win, you guys are producing this Super Bowl commercial. You're getting your asses kicked. You don't know if you're going to win. And then when you do, it's just gonna be it's gonna you're up against the best.


Harry Lowell [00:59:46] You know, I know everyone's bringing their A-game. So part of the fun and the challenges, you're like, fuck it. Everybody from all over is going. We're getting our best producers. We're getting our best creative. We're gonna put them together. Who's gonna win? Who's gonna come? And, you know, a top ten listing on the Super Bowl is a huge bonus to anyone's career. And when you're able to do that, you put yourself in a very elite crowd in a very elite group of people. And it is the experience. It's going through it. It's the relationships. It's how things are pulled off. And that's what makes it fun is, you know, that everybody else and that Super Bowl and you see all your friends doing it. And it's there's a little bit of satisfaction when you're number two or your number one and they're number seven, you kind of you know, you're like, great job of winning back your head. I know the boss pissed right now that he's... But there's good camaraderie. There's good you know, we all have a little bit of an ego wimp in this business. And I think it. Challenges you to keep pushing yourself in to find the right partners and, you know, going up against the best and working with the best. It is a reward in and of itself. You know, I think that's what's great when you're on that stage with all these other spots, you see these amazing pieces. You're so proud to say shit. My stuff is in there. It's worthy of being in there. And I think that alone for me was, you know, is a victory. And then plus it out. I mean, that's amazing. But that's a stage that only a few could get to play on. And it's a very elite little crowd there.


Chris Snyder [01:01:13] What do you really, really. What's next for you? I mean, obviously, I feel like a lot of the stuff we've talked about is stuff that you'll just keep doing. Right. It'll be in. I mean, you've done a Super Bowl commercial. It's not like you're going to go get the rocking chair now and, you know, crack a Budweiser. But what's next for you? I mean, you're going to continue to run NiteLite, right? You're going to continue to do these things. But is there something that you really, really, really want to do that you just haven't done yet?


Harry Lowell [01:01:42] It's not something that we haven't done. I think it's just, you know, every project is unique and different. And so I get just as excited today as I did about the very first project. So when someone when we create a new concept for them, it's a show or a branded content, I get just as excited. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the risk to reward. The more we're like, oh, my God, we've got to do this. So everything is we're talking about doing some comedy series right now. I'm super excited about it. We've never done a documentary in bilingual languages and we just did want to. Now people are calling us saying, hey, we should do more of those. So now this whole new branded idea of doing these bilingual type things, because my producing partner is from Mexico City. Suddenly it's opened the door to say, you know, I've never even considered how we could branch some amazing Hispanic talent with us and that they would cross-pollinate between going in and out of bilingual stuff. So we're exploring random things.


Chris Snyder [01:02:40] Super interesting idea. That's interesting.


Harry Lowell [01:02:42] And it's really coming. I mean, look at that. What's that? Netflix. Money heist. No money heist was, I think, a Spanish TV show, and it got canceled. And it's all in Spanish. And yet it became a huge motherfucking hit. And so we are watching it here for the first time because Americans are used to we produce everything. Right. We do not watch foreign films. We don't like to read. So in a book, they don't do as well in the US. And here is a film that they have done. They've dubbed it, but it's done so well that they re brought the series back several years later. And now they've done multiple episodes of it. And it's a Spanish language show. So you're seeing different kinds of storytelling now because it used to just be the networks and we will be very, you know, nationalistic about it. And now we're seeing the Netflix, the Amazons and the Hulu is taking things from other countries and exposing us to different kind of storytelling. We still have a very high bar here, so we're used to a certain type of style storytelling and not all of it relates. But that one in particular didn't it crossed over. And so we're looking and saying, well, what if we can do something like that? So there's a lot of interesting challenges we've never tackled before, which could be really fun.


Chris Snyder [01:03:47] Yeah, more competition is going to create more creativity in better product. Right. With the opening of these platforms, will it be, you know, YouTube, Hulu, you know, there's so many of them now. It almost makes your head spin. But if you're not really, really good in this sea of everything, you're going to be nothing. Not only are you not going to be you know, you're not going to be decent. You're going to be nothing. And it's almost like there's winners and then there's losers. I'm assuming there's not much in between. There's just too many options for consumers to be either really impressed and follow it or very disappointed and just walk away.


Harry Lowell [01:04:26] Yeah, I agree. I think it's harder now because, you know, when we talk about the fandom cases, you have to really work hard to make sure people know your stuff is out there. So much content coming out hourly, daily. And, you know, you have to have a strong plan. And that's one of the things I like about, you know, we keep on top umbra abreast of all that material because I don't want to create something. And, you know, it's like a tree falling in the forest. If we create a show and no one sees it, what's the point? The point is we wanted to touch somewhat, right. Laugh, push them into action or cry a little bit or thinks think about something. So I want people to see it and we want to make sure there's a way for them to see that piece of communication. That particular film. That particular series. So I think it's important that you have a strategy all the way through so that your piece is found and it does the job it's supposed to do, and it connects to someone where the consumer or an audience, whatever that it needs to be.


Chris Snyder [01:05:18] Have you see the Afterlife with Ricky Gervais?


Harry Lowell [01:05:21] No. Is it good?


Chris Snyder [01:05:22] Oh, my God. It's the craziest, most emotionally charged roller coaster you will ever be on. I have no idea how that guy came up with that, but I won't ruin it. Go watch it. Bring your tissue box and all that stuff.


Harry Lowell [01:05:37] So smart as I've been. I've been stuck with Upload - I've been watching Upload too. So it's fun to find all these pieces now that are, you know, I may not have had time to watch before.


Chris Snyder [01:05:45] And even filmed it over in the UK too, which makes it even it's almost that bilingual idea a little bit. Obviously, he's you know, he's a big star, so people watch him no matter what. But so I'm sure you and I could do this all day, and I would love to. Unfortunately, we're almost that time. So one thing I like to do at the end is just leave our audience with some words of wisdom from you or some advice. You know, there's people out there struggling. We've got the COVA thing going on. There's people in entertainment that might need some advice from a guy who had to spend some nights in his car and got a lucky break or worked his ass off and drove across. What is it that you do there? Tell your 20-year-old self for words of encouragement or advice for any of our listeners right now?


Harry Lowell [01:06:33] Well, I think it's rather talk to my 20 year old who wouldn't be going through COVID stuff. I would just say that we have to during this time, we're all self-quarantined. And there's such insecurity around jobs and the economy. Try to find the positive stuff. And I think that I'm inclined to that because of my grandma's ability and my dad's ability. I saw that. And so I gravitate towards it. But I think, you know, shut the news off earlier. You don't need to see all the negative stuff. Find the positive. See the beautiful things. Look at John Krasinski and some good news. And, you know, look at what humanity is doing and then see what fills you up. Because when you take your mind off this, I found that the phone rings when you talk about, you know, life wasn't just perfect. I also want to skip over that. Once I had my company stuff, it wasn't like just it was brilliant. There were times when they were in 2008, 2009 when the stock market crash, that was a rough time. I found that I would go and take a walk in the nature center is exactly the time a client would call while I'm sweaty and huffing and puffing. But if I just sat at home and freaked out and stared at my email, it's watching a pot boil. You need to get away from it. Do something positive. Go garden. Go do something helpful for your neighbors. Take it. The thought of you and. Karma will come back to you, so I think more than ever, karma is really important right now and you need to believe in what's coming in its future, because I do see that when this clears up, there's gonna be great positive changes that come from that. I think work from home is going to be much more on the table for a lot of companies, including Twitter, saying it's permanent for us if you guys want to do it. OK. So there's a lot of really exciting things coming right now. It's difficult and I think it's hard to get through it. There's a lot of ways to be helped. But I'm hoping that people stay positive. Fine. This is a pause. But in the world, you're never gonna get this again. Don't waste it and worry. Sitting on the couch or in front of a computer freaking out. Try to find ways to say, well, what else could I do? Even if it doesn't go anywhere. What are their hobbies? What are their thoughts? What other business ideas do you have that can get out on paper? Finally, the time you've always wanted is here. Don't waste it. Even if you say I'll do 10 minutes of it, then I'll go panic a little bit. Preplan. You're panicking. It'll make a lot easier.


Chris Snyder [01:08:40] Yeah. Don't waste your time on these politics and media. Talking heads is such a fucking waste of time. Great for God.


Harry Lowell [01:08:48] There's some information we need to know. Chris. And I think it's important. But yeah, once you get it. It's this much. Then turn it off.


Chris Snyder [01:08:53] I agree 100 percent. Go hang out on the CDC Web site. That's the information you need to know. That's even better. So, Harry, it was great to have you here today, everyone. Harry Lowell, award-winning producer and media expert, creating content for advertising and entertainment. I really enjoyed having you on the show. I can't wait to publish this sucker.


Harry Lowell [01:09:15] Chris, thank you for having. I really appreciate what a great dialog.


Chris Snyder [01:09:18] All right. Take care now.

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