Why We Bundle
Since launching Bundle last year, Cassie and I have been so grateful for all of the stories our customers have shared with us - in fact, it was our impetus for starting the Bundle Blog! The stories we encounter have been so hilarious, touching, interesting, and surprising that it seemed selfish to keep them all to ourselves. From the family who used Bundle as a way to connect to their grandmother who has dementia, to the couple who played Bundle to celebrate their engagement, to the group of best friends who celebrated the last bachelorette party of their crew with a truly rowdy Bundle including all of their favorite adventures - people’s willingness and vulnerability to share their stories makes our job such a joy.
A challenge with Bundle is that sometimes it’s understandably difficult for people to understand what it is. We can understand the confusion, there’s no other product on the market like Bundle, so it’s difficult to draw comparisons. When people hear the words ‘personalized board game’ their minds usually go to something like Golden Girls Monopoly. (Or maybe that’s just me?!) We have tried our best to convey that Bundle is a board game where each card is personalized to the group playing it; we use the information you give us to make a game that is all about you. But we have gotten feedback that it’s still unclear and at times the concept can be a little confusing. So instead of telling, we have thought it would be better to SHOW you by making a video all about the Bundle-making process.
Lights, Camera, Action
We knew we wanted to show the Bundle-making process but in order to do that we had to find the perfect group of people to feature in our video. It was a tall order! We wanted people who were open, funny, interesting, and natural on camera. About a week after Cassie and I decided to shoot our Behind the Bundle video, I met Nixon in an acting class. He’s an extraordinary actor with a lovely voice but what struck me more than anything was the way he spoke about his family; he had so much love for them and it sounded as if they were such a tight-knit group. Plus, their lives were fascinating! Nixon worked as a special agent in Thailand, and his wife, daughter, and son traveled with him and had so many adventures. We pitched the Frederick Family the idea for the video, and they agreed to be a part of our project, reminding us that Nixon was the only member of their family with any on camera experience. Cassie and I were so thrilled; we were literally jumping up and down when we heard the good news.
We are a small start-up company so we had a very small budget for this video, but luckily that isn’t a problem when your best friend is a producer/director. Christina Behnke (if you need to hire a director, she’s the gal, although her year is getting booked up quickly) helped us put together the perfect crew - a three-person team that had to cover what would normally be 8 or 9 jobs. Matt Cusimano from Mango Tree Productions has been a friend of mine for a few years and I’ve always been a fan of his work, but this was the first time we collaborated, and he was a fantastic Director of Photography. Then there was Jenna Roscoe, who Christina found through working on another project, who worked as our production assistant and made the whole day run so smoothly. We are so grateful for this dream team for working way below their pay scale to make our Bundle promo happen.
Beyond the Bundle
We planned an ambitious 12-hour day, with the shoot starting at my apartment very early in the morning. While the crew set up, Cassie and I ran our lines and worked on our hair and makeup. (Something that neither one of us are experts in, maybe next shoot we will have a hair and makeup artist, but we are living our best start-up life.) We practiced our lines and just as we were beginning to film, there was loud drilling from my downstairs neighbor. I mean hey, this is New York City and people have to live their lives, but the floor underneath us was literally shaking. I went downstairs to investigate and found out that my neighbor was getting a door installed and that the noise would subside in about 10 minutes. Once the racket came to an end (I promise you I was a calm and gracious neighbor when I inquired about the noise level…well at least I think I was) we did several takes where we talked about how we make Bundles. As soon as we finished those takes, loud sanding started up right outside my window, but luckily it was time to film the making and packaging Bundles, which was all footage where sound was not needed. Alas, the wrath of irate neighbor Jacklyn was not unleashed and I can still go to my neighbors if I need to borrow a cup of sugar. (That’s still a thing people are doing, right?)
Then it came time for the part of the day that we were most looking forward to: filming with the Frederick Family. When we got to the Frederick Family’s home, they immediately welcomed us and made us feel right at home. I had only met Nixon once before and no one else knew each other, but it instantly felt like we all gelled together so well, almost as if we were seeing old friends. (Which makes sense, we had made a Bundle for them so we already knew a lot about their family!) We knew Nixon would be awesome on camera, so we did his scenes first and he was so articulate about his Bundle playing experience - his dialogue wasn’t scripted, and thank goodness because we couldn’t have written it any better. Then we added Nancy, Nicholas, and Nailah talking about their experience, and they were so natural on camera. Cassie and I were looking at each other, ready to jump for joy because it was so perfect, but we had to be quiet on set (I really should know that by now) and we were already distracting enough with all the excited faces we were making throughout. We also got the added bonus of having the family pet, a sweet dog named Cashew, make an appearance on camera.
We are set to release our Behind the Bundle promo very soon and we are looking forward to sharing it with all of you. Filming it was such an amazing experience and it reminded us that we are incredibly lucky to be a small part of our customers’ stories and to help them tell their stories. This experience reminded me of one of my favorite Margaret Atwood quotes: “You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built into the human plan. We come with it.” As long as there are stories to be told, Bundle will be doing our best to help help tell those stories with you.