In the Queens D. Light music video for Love Pistol (below), the hip hop griot hunts nubile Adonises with a bow and arrow.She accepts worship from stone male statues in her chain link garden sanctuary and she spins urban legends with her hands.
Like most of Sprinkle Lab’s confections, the video bears unexpected touches of quirk while maintaining emotional lucidity. It’s beautiful but never sappy. And much of it was shot in the back garden of the Sprinkle Lab studio in West Oakland.
The video production company Sprinkle Lab was bootstrapped out of an attic in 2011. When the team took home an Emmy last year for a public service bit they produced for Washington’s transit system, the team remarked on their blog, “It looks like Sprinkle Lab, just two years old, is growing up fast.”
Real fast. They’ve since produced commercial work for brands like IBM, Microsoft, Levis, Subaru and other international brands while picking up momentum on their music video production. They are producing their first independent feature film this year. Cofounder and CEO Cameron Woodward points to David Fincher as an exemplar of this kind of commercial/artistic hybrid production work. “We’re balancing longevity and sustainability with the riskier, arty experiments,” says Woodward “but some of our most creative and beautiful work has been commercial.”
The Sprinkle Lab studio lives on a particularly sunny and overgrown block on Ettie Street, and shares space with several artists and artisanal enterprises that have been around for decades. They offer me a drink, gesturing at coffee, water and what appears to be whiskey and invite me to the film screening they’re setting up for later that evening. “It’s a new series we’re starting, kind of a micro-cinema pop-up thing,” says Bradley Smith, Head of Production. “We want to give more exposure to some of the indie films that don’t make it past the festival circuit,” he explains, “and we also want to localize what we do, open up the space, we feel kind of cooped away in here.”
Their dream is ultimately to open a street-facing donut shop at the front of the studio. So, in other words, they’re not your typical ad company.
Creative director Brandon Tauszik got into video production when he was fourteen. “I was arrested for something stupid and ended up doing my community service at my parents’ mega-church [in Florida], doing video work for them.” He established his chops working on music videos before teaming up with Woodward–the business development and operations head–and taking Sprinkle Lab live.
They are not the kind of artists that wrinkle their noses at the commercial work that has in part built the company’s success. “We can tell an interesting story and make a beautiful video about whatever it is that we need to,” says Woodward. “We’ve been really lucky to have clients that we believe in,” he explains, referring especially to the many startups in the Bay Area that he calls “other dreamers, just like us.” These local partnerships are the ones that excite them the most.
Check out some of their music video work below. You might just be inspired to head to their next film screening where you’ll find yourself dreaming up a new video campaign for your project and the Sprinkle Lab boys will be there to do their sprinkly thing with you and you won’t even have to leave town to get it all done.