We Make Fun by David Altrogge

This summer, we had the privilege of working with our friends at Brunner to produce this amazingly fun spot for Huffy Bikes.  As a kid who grew up riding a Huffy Blackwater, this project was a real thrill.  Enjoy!

Get My Grill On! by David Altrogge

We at Vinegar Hill love all things BBQ. That's why getting to work on this really fun spot for Homewood Suites and Destination America was a total blast. Thanks to our friends at Visualante and Fogomotion for bringing us on to "get our grill on". 

Client: Destination America & Homewood Suites
Agency: Visualante
Production Co: Fogomotion
Director: David Altrogge
Director of Photography: Michael J. Hartnett


Vinegar Hill Goes Back to College by David Altrogge

We at Vinegar Hill just went back to school...sort of. We recently had the awesome opportunity to produce a series of web videos for Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Graduate Program. The first video, for the University's sculpture program, has just been released. Hanging out with the sculpture students and faculty was an absolute blast! We hope you enjoy watching the video as much as we enjoyed producing it.

NAB Show spot for Sundance! by David Altrogge

VINEGAR HILL wrapped up production recently on a new spot for the NAB Show®. We were privileged to partner with our friends at VsTheBrain to come up with and execute the concept for the 30 second spot which will be shown in advertising at The Sundance Film Festival in January!

We enjoyed working with the ARRI Alexa, which gave us a kick butt image for a high quality end product. We look forward to showing you the finished spot!

The New American Storytellers breaks the top 10 on iTunes! by David Altrogge

When we started The New American Storytellers Podcast we had NO IDEA the response we would have. And it has been exciting to see a fairly new resource get so much traffic.

We are now on episode 3 and the podcast has already become the #3 most downloaded audio podcast in the iTunes TV & Film Category! Of course we intend to continue to grow the podcast and the resources available on The New American Storytellers in the coming months! We look forward to continuing the discussion on the creative process with you!


Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and follow @NewStorytellers on twitter!

The New American Storytellers Podcast! by David Altrogge

All of us at Vinegar Hill are excited to announce the inaugural release of The New American Storytellers Podcast! Each week myself and the guys at Vinegar Hill will be discussing filmmaking, storytelling & the creative process.

On this episode of the podcast we discuss the importance of learning to watch movies to become better filmmakers & storytellers. Enjoy!

Episode 1: Learn To Watch Movies by NewStorytellersPodcast

Be Sure to follow The New American Storytellers on Twitter!


My Hope Is In You (new music video for Aaron Shust!) by David Altrogge

The responses to the music video for Aaron Shust's latest hit single have ranged from simply stated "That's really good." to asking us for a tissue box. Now that it has premiered online we would love to know what you think of the new video?

We enjoyed working with so many talented people to make this happen. On behalf of myself and the entire Vinegar Hill team: phenomenal work every single one of you! We could not have done this without the hard work, the acting, the coffee & the vitamin water, and the gracious demeanors of so many cast & crew.



Cops & Conspiracies by David Altrogge

Just wanted to drop a little hello to the "Blogesphere" (yeah I said "blogesphere".  Sue me...) and showcase a couple of the projects we've been working on here at Vinegar Hill this last month.  I would write up a big paragraph for each of the videos, but I know you won't read 'em anyway...so just enjoy the videos and have a great weekend! 


— David

Help Us Bring Our Latest Short Film to Completion by David Altrogge


We're almost to the finish line with our new short film THE COSMONAUT and we are pumped out of our minds about it. It's 90% complete. We've shot it. We are in the process of editing it. Now we just need to raise $1,500.00 to take the film to completion.

Once completed we will be sending the film to major film festivals including Sundance.

To get in on the fun visit our page on kickstarter.

Thanks for considering being a part of this!


[UPDATE 4/11/11]: We have reached our goal in less than 4 days! Thanks so much to everyone who contributed! There is still time left on the project to contribute if you like as every additional amount will go towards festival entries and promotion of the film once released. Thanks again, you guys rock!

Going From Suck to Non-Suck — an article from Fast Company by David Altrogge

We at Vinegar Hill have learned so much about creativity and innovation from our friends at Pixar.  This is a little article from FastCompany about Pixar's motto: go from suck to non-suck...and fast.  I hope you are as inspired by this read as I was.


Pixar's Motto: Going From Suck to Nonsuck


In a world that is obsessed with preventing errors and perfection, perhaps it's ironic that despite 11 straight blockbuster movies, Pixar cofounder and President Ed Catmull describes Pixar's creative process as "going from suck to nonsuck."

That's because Catmull and Pixar's directors think it's better to fix problems than to prevent errors. "My strategy has always been: be wrong as fast as we can," says Andrew Stanton, Director of Finding Nemo and WALL-E, "Which basically means, we're gonna screw up, let's just admit that. Let's not be afraid of that." We can all work this way more often.

So, for instance, Pixar does not begin new movies with a script. Far from it. Film ideas begin on rough storyboards until they work through thousands of problems throughout the process in order to take films from suck to nonsuck.

People at Pixar describe storyboards as the "hand-drawn comic book version" of a movie, a blueprint for the characters and actions. Storyboards are three-by-eight inch sheets of white paper upon which Pixar's story artists sketch ideas. As Joe Ranft, who was one of Pixar's master storyboard artists described it, "Sometimes the first try works, while other times a dozen or more passes are required."

They must persist. Pixar used 27,565 storyboards on A Bug's Life, 43,536 for Finding Nemo, 69,562 for Ratatouille, and 98,173 for WALL-E.

This process of rigorous critique, and even major change, doesn't end once the initial script has been approved and the first version of the film has been created on what are called "reels." Reels contain the work-in-progress storyboards, combined with a voice track, that are shown internally before Pixar moves to the expensive digital animation phase.

"Every time we show a film for the first time, it sucks," Catmull will say. People then email their comments to the director to explain what they liked, what they didn't, and why, and substantial changes are made.

In fact, directors say that Pixar's films will suck virtually until the last stage of production--problems are constantly identified and fixed. Finding Nemo had a massive problem with a series of flashbacks that test audiences didn't get that had to be fixed, while Toy Story 2 had to be completely rewritten a year before it was released. (Pixar film release dates are set in stone, which serves as a constraint.)

What we see is not effortless genius. Through tireless iteration, toil, and (often) sleepless nights, the films start to come together.

Depending on the form it takes, perfectionism is not necessarily a block to creativity. Agrowing body of research in psychology has revealed that there are two forms of perfectionism: healthy or unhealthy. Characteristics of what psychologists view as healthy perfectionism include striving for excellence and holding others to similar standards, planning ahead, and strong organizational skills. Healthy perfectionism is internally driven in the sense that it's motivated by strong personal values. Conversely, unhealthy perfectionism is externally driven. External concerns show up over perceived parental pressures, needing approval, a tendency to ruminate over past performances, or an intense worry about making mistakes. Healthy perfectionists exhibit a low concern for these outside factors.

Pixar's culture is defined by a pursuit of excellence and quality. Being able to go from suck to nonsuck when developing a new film is a process of ongoing prototyping, a process that facilitates experimentation by the animators as it allows for a rigorous and continual scrutiny of the work in progress, enabling Pixar to practice healthy perfectionism.

The point of describing Pixar's creative process is not to say that we should all implement such a process on our own. It is not always possible to have people assemble regularly to offer feedback, for example. But finding ways to fail quickly, to invest less emotion and less time in any particular idea or prototype or piece of work, is a consistent feature of the work methods of successful creators. Despite the myths, it's hard work.

As Pixar's chief creative officer John Lasseter expresses his perfectionism, "We don't actually finish our films, we release them."

A Long Overdue Hello by David Altrogge

So it's been about 3 months since I've blogged.  The reason is mainly because we've been crazy busy with some really exciting projects.  In addition to wrapping up a new short film entitled THE COSMONAUT, we just delivered a fun new spot for S&T Bank.  Check it out and let us know what you think!


Also, check out the score for THE COSMONAUT by the brilliant Roger Hooper!

The Cosmonaut — Original Score by Roger Hooper by VinegarHill

LE REVE RÉVEILLE — a new short film by David Altrogge

LE REVE RÉVIELLE (the dream awakes)

We are pumped to officially premiere the new short film from our very own Shepherd Ahlers! He shot it in LA in December and totally rocked it!

We'd love to know what you think!

Oh, and we're giving away a BMW to the first 100 viewers...that was a lie.  But you'll feel like you won a BMW after watching it.

— David