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Inside View: Porchlight

Nashville is known as a music town, but it's a commercials town too.

By Christine Bunish

Kristen ForrestMarkee: Tell us about Porchlight’s recent launch as the in-house commercial division of Taillight TV.

Kristen Forrest: “Our parent company, Taillight, is an award-winning production company that’s been producing high-end broadcast programming, TV specials, award shows, and music videos for over 15 years. Last month, they took home a MusicVideo of the Year award from theCMA for Highway Don’t Care with Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift.

“A couple of years ago, Taillight began attracting a considerable amount of spot work, so we started an in-house commercial division, which had great success. As the demand for spots continued to grow, it became clear that if we were going to do this right, we needed to create a company exclusively focused on the short-form genre. Porchlight meets Southeast and Texas-based agencies and brands’ growing demand for high-end commercial production services.”

Markee: Nashville is known as a great music town, but is it a commercials town, too?

Kristen Forrest: “There are quite a few large agencies in Nashville, and the town has been getting a lot of press about being a hot, happening city, which is great for everybody’s business. There’s a buzz about Nashville; people want to shoot here – it’s a fun destination. Although we shoot commercials all over the country, it’s very cost-effective to do projects in town.

“Porchlight brings a diverse aesthetic to its work from sophisticated spots with national appeal to comedy and action-driven. We’ve found that some brands are interested in having country artists as their spokesperson – like the Sunny D spots we did with Martina McBride. So our relationships with world-class performers bring another dimension to our offerings.”

Markee: Do you come from a commercials background?

Kristen Forrest: “I began my career in New York City and have 25-years of commercial production experience on national and regional spots. I worked with Jenks and Partners, RSA USA and The Artists Company, where I spent three years on the Wendy’s campaign as a freelance production manager.”

Markee: Who’s on the Porchlight directors’ roster?

Kristen Forrest: “We launched with directors Peter Zavadil, who is based in Austin, and LA-based TK McKarmy and Timothy Kendall. Taillight started repping Peter for music videos years ago, and we convinced him to join Porchlight’s roster. He has boundless energy and a wealth of innovative ideas. Music videos involve a director in every phase of the creative process and bring a fresh perspective to Peter’s commercial projects. He loves collaborating with agencies and editing his own music videos and spots whenever possible.

“While we were still under the Taillight banner, Peter directed a campaign for The MED Hospital, which he shot in the hospital’s ER in Memphis. Currently, we’re working directly with another Tennessee-based hospital on a new, out-of-the-box campaign for the hospital industry. Working directly with brands allows us to develop the creative and follow through, efficiently bringing the full scope of our talent and services to a spot.

“TK is Kentucky born and raised, but lives in LA now and shoots all over the country. He’s a real-peopleperson, and one of his strongest suits is working with kids. He recently wrapped a national, web-based campaign for a packaged goods client, which is slated to launch in 2014.

“Timothy is based in LA, too; we rep him in the Southeast and Texas. He’s great with action and performance-driven comedy and works a lot with sports celebrities and athletes. He did the new Wolverine movie promo and the ongoing Choose Control project for Toyota on the AOL Autos website.”

Markee: What do you forecast for 2014, Porchlight’s first full year as its own brand?

Kristen Forrest: “During the new year, our focus will be on continuing to introduce the Southeast’s newest commercial production company to the industry and building awareness of the fact that, in Nashville, the cost of producing a top-caliber spot directed by award-winning talent is dramatically less than in other regions – and an exciting option worth exploring.

“We forecast that more and more agencies and brands will discover the advantages of working with Porchlight and, as we continue to deliver spots that consistently surpass our clients’ highest expectations, our talent roster and scope of work will grow.

Nashville is known as a music town, and while 2014 may be a few years premature, we predict that the city also will build a reputation as a center for commercial production. Porchlight is committed to working toward that goal.”