Amanda Curtis often views her work as a film producer as being a professional problem solver. She foresees issues that can come up on any project, and pre-emptively resolves them to ensure everything goes smoothly. But there is also an intricacy of her craft, from finding a story to tell and then compiling all the elements to turn it into a successful production.
“A great story is just the beginning, further steps entail seeking funding, acquiring the best cast and crew, managing everyone’s schedules, building sets or finding locations, organizing the shoot days and finally post work where the editing, music and voice over all come together to finalize the picture all while doing it within budget. Producers have high concentration and focus and their role usually involves long days and nights. They are the machine behind the scenes,” she said.
It is this approach that has allowed Curtis to rise to the top of her industry. This Canadian native has been a part of many successful projects, and is known for putting her creative touch on commercials with major brands, working on Bud Light’s “Red Lights” campaign that took home the Silver Lion Award at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, KY’s award-winning “Warm Up to Love Again” campaign, and spots for Kentucky Fried Chicken, President’s Choice, and Pepsi.
The 2019 Pepsi commercial was a highlight for Curtis, as it was a collaboration with the NHL, showcasing a variety of characters drinking Pepsi products while singing the iconic “Hockey Night in Canada” theme song. Working with Hubert Davis, an Oscar and Emmy nominated Canadian filmmaker, as well as iconic Canadian athletes like Bo Horvat and Hayley Wickenheiser, and the award-winning American production house Knucklehead, was an opportunity she could not turn down. When she was approached by Untitled Films executives to lead such a prestigious project, she was elated.
“The story is all about the sport of hockey and the joy it brings to the fans which as a Canadian brings me great pride. Both brands are loved throughout the world and to be able to reach fans with this story is what it’s all about. Working alongside such giants as Pepsi and the NHL could only be achieved through my years of expertise and reputation I have gained along the way. Knowing that fans will be singing along with this well-known hockey tune while seeing their favorite athletes brings me great happiness,” said Curtis. “Entertainment is the escape from our own reality, if only for a moment, and brings hope and joy to so many people throughout the world. If I can be a part of that happiness even briefly, I feel I’ve accomplished so much.”
Working alongside such great athletes, Curtis knew standards had to be very high. Having had a lot of experience throughout her esteemed career working with prolific figures, she knew exactly how to command the project. She organized storyboards, scouted locations, took care of casting, and connected with agents from the NHL to find the best times to work with these top athletes. She also was very mindful of scheduling, knowing from her experience with celebrities that they have extremely tight schedules, and it was therefore important to be precise when planning out each day. Being from a town that loves hockey, she understood how important the commercial would be to Canadians and the need for perfection.
“The excitement of working alongside such greats was a true achievement for me, from the clients, director and athletes. Having the experience to choose the right crew for this project was very rewarding, and I enjoyed communicating with top clients to achieve this spot with the satisfaction that I had the experience and skills to hold my own. The sets were brought to life with such joy, creating the love of hockey through casting and art department props. We created an energy that brought the hockey theme song to the television screen for all to enjoy,” Curtis recalled.
Premiering in the Fall of 2019, the Pepsi/NHL commercial was broadcast across Canada during NHL game commercial breaks. The featured athletes also promoted the spot on their social media accounts, giving the commercial hundreds of thousands more views online in addition to the millions of people reached during the hockey games. The commercial was a great success, and for Curtis, an even greater experience.
“Having top athlete’s excited and sharing a spot I was a key part in is of high gratification for me. When a project is seen as a success and does what it was set out to accomplish I know I’m doing what I set out to do and I’m proud of that work,” she concluded.
Check out the Pepsi commercial with NHL here.