A couple of years back, my daughter Lila got the idea that she needed to take a semester out of high school to work on the pre-production of an independent film, being shot in our little town. She convinced me to also get involved by naming and designing some bogus products to be used by the cast. Being that it was my daughter asking, it was an easy decision to make. The film made a remarkable journey after Lila went back to high school. From very humble beginnings, with no budget to speak of, a complete cast of non-actors and guided by the single-minded and brilliant vision of director Chusy, Anywhere USA has landed itself in the dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
My small contribution was branding and designing products to be used by the cast. They needed a beer for starters. Since the film had a South of the Mason Dixon Line tilt, I wanted a name that would sound good in the unique drawl of a Southerner. I decided on Kegger. I wanted the beer to look cheap, but distinguished at the same time. Something that looked like ordinary folks would buy, feeling they were getting high quality at a very low price.
Here's what I ended up with, accompanied by a cast shot with the actual phony product. Here's a better look.
The next product they needed was a soft drink. The requirements here were that it had to look and sound like a low-level bargain brand. In other words, it had to look cheap and it had to sound cheap. Again, I wanted the name to sound good rolling off the southern tongue. I settled on BUB cola.
I really enjoyed the challenge of branding something that looks and sounds like complete crap, but that you could believe would be popular at the same time. It was actually a lot harder to pull off than I thought it would be.
Finally they needed a fake dating website that was geared towards plus-sized singles. Once again, it had to look and sound cheap, but believable. I settled on RealBigLove.com. Incorporating some advertising for BUB cola and Kegger into the site just seemed like a natural thing to do. Director Chusy also wanted part of the site to feature a dramatic close up of a penis, which I am not going to be subjecting anyone to here, but I will say that sitting with the director and retouching that photo was a uniquely unsettling and hilarious experience. I may never live that down...
Fortunately for me, my cameo appearance in the film as Manudo, the bitchy and dreadful fashion designer ended up on the cutting room floor. With any luck at all, it will stay there.
16 films will be shown in the dramatic competition at Sundance, culled from 1,068 entries. It's a remarkable achievement for everyone who was involved. A lot of heart and a lot of guts went into this and it was an honor to be involved.
i remember when manudo and his little poodle were all the rage in the late 70s -- really kicked liberace and rock hudson off the front page of the national enquirer. zimm, i love this story, and have a hunch that lila learned as much working on this as she ever could figuring out algebra 3. nothing quite as fun as creating fake identities for products and you (of course) pull it off with expert flair here. the creeped out dude hoisting a bottle of kegger, now that's enough to .... well, it's creepy.
Leo EspinosaJanuary 17, 2008
How awesome is this!?
I don't think a kid can ask for a cooler dad! Kudos to your daughter, you and the brave crew from Zimmerland Productions (wife?).
MarcJanuary 17, 2008
Fun read, and I'm sure a great experience for your daughter. I'll raise a glass of Kegger to the continued success of the film.
David GoldinJanuary 17, 2008
The last time I saw Manudo he was with his two herniated Chihuahuas throwing pimentos at his emaciated models.
I think Manudo should be invited to join drawger.
Doug FraserJanuary 17, 2008
Mister Zimmerman you continue to amaze me. You defy categories. I'm love the Kegger label. Damn it should be bottled and sold!
d fJanuary 17, 2008
I drove down to the new Zimm-co mega store and picked up 3 cases of Kegger and a case of Bub soda. Zimm you are ahead of your time. I'll look for the film.
Bill KoebJanuary 17, 2008
Fun stuff Robert.
I love the name of the fake site and the treatment. I bet you could market that in the real world and make a killing.
It is too bad you ended up on the cutting room floor, I think you could really bring back pink sweaters in a big way.
The scary guy in boxers is too real. I have seen that guy before. I think I was it was in San Jose.
Love the beer and soda labels too, great work!
Dale StephanosJanuary 17, 2008
Keggah is what we have up this way. This is great stuff Zimm. I'll look for the film.
Cathleen ToelkeJanuary 17, 2008
Zimm, you're the King of Fake...I mean Faux! This story is really funny and you did a great job. Best wishes for the film at Sundance and to your daughter's budding career in film.
Nancy StahlJanuary 17, 2008
What are you going to do with all those requests for real products from people who don't understand the parody?
Ask the director for a QT of your cameo...! We wanna see it...!
— Manudo Fan Club, USA
J.D. KingJanuary 17, 2008
Zimm, you are looking VERY cool. You are stylin'!
Robert SaundersJanuary 17, 2008
Amazing, Zimm, just amazing. I hope we'll get a chance to see this production.
Zina SaundersJanuary 17, 2008
You are looking FIERCE there, Zimm.
Edel RodriguezJanuary 18, 2008
Great stories Zimm. Sometimes making something look cheap can be hard, but fun. Nice credit on the film's web site too:
BOB ZIMMERMAN. Designer. Cock retoucher.
Lou BrooksJanuary 18, 2008
Yer killin' me, Robert... KILLIN' ME! What a life!
randy enosJanuary 18, 2008
Congratulations my friend. What a great job you did. I'll keep my lino cutters crossed for you at Sundance.
Tim O\'BrienJanuary 18, 2008
IF Kegger went on sale today I predict it would be a instant classic. Hey, I wonder if you can sell Kegger on Illogator?
jifFebruary 13, 2008
Hey! Over-the-top Everything here! Wonderful to find your page via your fine critical commentary on behalf of Nate Williams Question to his audience.
You're my kinda creative personality.
Congrats to your daughter being accepted to PRATT. YES!
Thanks for your time and sharing way. Sorry to hear you lost your journal archives via electronic tsunami. (Such a shame!....yet just goes to prove we are all very transient beings)
Your stuff is a tidal wave of delight.
Look forward to MORE!
buffy mccoy kellyMarch 20, 2008
your work is FANTASTIC! Met your brother, he turned me on to your stuff. Incredibly cool.
And I love the Manudo get-up. :)