2 years ago
Joel and Jesse Edwards’ unconventional start in life may have given them a taste for doing things differently. As children, the brothers and now Founders of Evolve Studio, Nashville, relocated numerous times with their parents whilst travelling across the US. As teenagers, they worked on a farm and started their professional careers flipping houses for a living. They had little idea that they’d go on to establish their own multi Emmy award-winning production company and content studio. A dream that has seen them work with some of the industry’s biggest broadcasters, agencies and brands, including Disney, National Geographic, ESPN, HBO, Turner, NBC Universal, Wieden + Kennedy, BBDO and many others.
Born out of The Edwards Brothers’ passion for the hands-on crafting of beautiful visuals. Equipped with the skill-set of ‘life on the move’ and a drive to create, the brothers soon turned their attention to video production, which naturally opened avenues to TV and digital film. It all started with making home videos honing their skills through homegrown methods and experimenting with the craft.
The pair formed directing duo The Edwards Brothers in 2006 and four years later, Evolve Studios was born. Today, the studio produces a diverse range of premium content including episodic series, branded and commercial content including promos, title sequences, digital films and documentaries - all using a full-service production and post end-to-end workflow.
It’s fair to say Joel and Jesse immerse themselves in every aspect of the creative and production process at Evolve. The offering poses a radical opposition to traditional linear channels of production. Impressively, they have directed, produced, shot, edited, graded, animated, sound designed AND scored on their projects – a mean feat for any filmmaker.
Two of National Geographic’s leading explorers trek across Planet Earth’s majestic and rugged terrain. In a branded partnership with NatGeo and Coors Light, they are on a mission to awaken the restless spirit in all of us and to inspire a new generation of adventurers. Having worked with NatGeo for numerous previous projects, Evolve Studios were brought on board to complete the live action, motion design, VFX and post-production.
Co-Founder Jesse comments, “We’ve created a culture of flexibility - the traditional production business model is prescriptive and there’s no room for experimentation. At Evolve Studio, we’re eager to collaborate and be changeable. Not only does this generate increased production value on-screen, it makes the process more fun!”
On their love of film, Joel reflects: “We are so passionate about the art of the film. It’s the most satisfying medium - story, pictures and sound, all together, serving one piece. It’s inspiring. When you mix that with business competence, drive and a passion for ‘customer service’, it makes for a powerful combination of capability, quality work and appreciation.”
This baptism of broad-reaching skills, a blue-collar work ethic, a true love of film and a drive to be different may be the key to how Evolve are paving the way for a new model of production company.
However, their full-service offering wasn’t their initial vision. Joel explains: “We actually unintentionally created something unique. Along the way, we had to embrace our gut, artistic and entrepreneurial spirit but that has resulted in us forging a very diverse creative studio.”
BBDO Agency creatives crafted a simple and powerful message with social / digital film campaign for GE. As one of the premier 2018 Winter Olympic sponsors, GE technology is used in many innovative new ways to support athletes on the world’s biggest stage. Evolve Studio completed the live action, motion design, VFX and post-production for the spot.
Their unique model also extends to include ‘The Vault’, an arsenal of high-end stock footage. The extensive library has accumulated over ten years of Jesse and Joel shooting in global locations. Clients can get instant access to the content, including footage such as drone shots of big cities, stylized studio elemental macros and high-speed character portraits, that they’d usually have to pay top dollar for –an incredible value adding asset in the creative industry.
On setting Evolve Studio apart from others in the industry, Joel says: “Many studios don’t employ staff in any of the key creative roles or provide their own their own equipment, so agencies and brands pay a premium fee, plus inflated labour and rental costs, as well as mark-up. Our company is different. There’s no banker executives or suits that need their cut. We’re a team of makers. This is all part of our disruptive offering.”
Evolve Studio calls on a flexible, non-exclusive roster of diverse and adaptable directors whose talents span everything from live-action, motor vehicles, table-top and CG to animation. With a team of 20 core staff they also sign ‘permalancers’ – additional staff, such as Producers, Editors, PM’s, Production Support, who are contracted for set periods. Joel explains, “Consistent job stability makes a much more nurturing working environment. Creating great work goes hand-in-hand with manifesting a positive team culture - that’s a priority for us over sales or awards.”
Collaboration is a central value at Evolve and Joel and Jesse recognize the company’s role as a partner on any stage of a project, comfortable to either suggest bold creative visions or to execute someone else’s idea.
Joel explains, “Our primary aim is to create the best piece of work possible. We value genuine collaboration and creativity more than just competing for pitches and meeting the project brief. So, when planning our projects, we allow for time to experiment and play with the craft on set and we’re not afraid of breaking trends and trying new things. At the same time, we’ll humbly and passionately serve other’s ideas.”
And it seems to be working for them. Jesse explains, “Clients are often surprised that we go the extra mile (without tallying overages) which is above and beyond what they’d usually expect from a production company. It all stems from our genuine love for creation.”
What do you get when you mix pro football, music, cheese curls and curling? The first Cheetos music video! Celebrating the USA Curling team, Evolve got involved to complete the live action and post-production on the project.
On a project with Cheetos, Evolve Studio exercised its impressive end-to-end and collaborative expertise. Blending sports and live-action, the brief for the music video spot would usually require multiple directors. Evolve Studio worked with agency The Marketing Arm, co-production company Dace & Mohr and CG studio We Fly Coach to combine all of the elements necessary.
Joel says, “We’re organizationally and creatively collaborative, which makes us unique. On this project, our client said they had never worked with a company that had collaborated as well as us.”
Looking to the future of Evolve Studio, the brothers have their sights set on growing and pushing the company into new opportunities whilst maintaining their core values. Jesse concludes: “We want to continue what’s worked well but keep exploring, trying new things, seeking original creative and devoting equal value into the process, not just the final product.”
View Evolve Studio's portfolio here.