Backyard's Strickland and Visit California Let Kids Be Kids


Last Updated: February 25, 2013 7:46 pm GMT
(Los Angeles, California--February 25, 2013) Backyard director Chace Strickland gives tech-obsessed kids a real-life California adventure in the stylish and exuberant new :60/:30 “Kids At Play” for Visit California—California’s Official Tourism Board—out of Mering Carson, Sacramento, CA. The spot features a gaggle of youths engaging in the natural, outdoor equivalents of texting, gaming, downloading and more. The takeaway: ditch the digital world and head west.

Click HERE to see the spots.

Strickland and team covered numerous major recreational destinations in the Golden State and got authentic performances from kids of all ages. Says the director, “This was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had directing. All of the kids were great to work with and our production team was remarkably efficient and nimble.”

“Kids at Play” opens on a boy luxuriating in a chaise lounge by a pool. He says, “You think kids don’t get out and play enough?” Next we see a girl riding a San Francisco trolley and another soaring down a zip-line through an old growth forest declaring, “We’ll just be online the whole time.” Trips to Sea World, rollercoasters “downloading,” forested rivers “streaming” and soccer on the beach “constantly gaming” follow. A group of kids on horseback, trotting under the Hollywood sign say, “Maybe kids should get out and play more,” followed by Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez at Disneyland confidently stating, “But where… right here.” The Visit CA logo and tag “Find yourself here” close out the spot, enticing families to plan their play time in California.

An expert at directing kids, Strickland gives young performers room to be themselves. Continues the director, “For me, it’s all about casting; that’s where the heavy lifting happens. You can pretty quickly see if the kid is magnetic and if they’ll be able to handle the challenges of production. On set, I try my best to make them feel completely comfortable, let them improv a bit and generally allow them to be kids.”

Adds Backyard executive producer Eric Bonniot, “Chace is an exceptional collaborator. He makes everyone, including the performers, feel like they have a say. People love working with him; essential for a challenging shoot like this.”

The genesis of the creative was to take the tongue-in-cheek content of past Visit California campaigns and adapt it for families and kids. “We had a strong, relevant concept. Then we essentially tried to create a beautiful and realistic documentary,” says Strickland. Shot on the ARRI Alexa, Strickland employed a lot of handheld, technocrane and even a remote helicopter for challenging terrain and overhead shots.

We are Backyard: a trusted production company, defined by genuine talent and driven by a commitment to deliver inspired creativity beyond expectations.

Backyard is led by President/Partner Blair Stribley, Partner Tom Duff and his Partners at Optimus, and new Partner Chris Zander. Backyard takes pride in its down to earth team and a collaborative approach that encourages loyalty and long-term relationships with clients.

For more information, please visit:


Client: Visit California

Title: “Kids at Play” :60/:30

Airdate: currently airing

Where shot: San Francisco, San Diego, L.A. and Anaheim

Agency: Mering Carson, Sacramento, CA

Creative Director: Greg Carson

Art Director: Rob Petire

Agency Producers: Liz Ross, Janelle Okamoto

Production Company: Backyard Productions, Bicoastal

Director: Chace Strickland

DP: Kris Kachikis

Producer: Kelly Amato

Executive Producer: Eric Bonniot

Editorial Company: Union Editorial, L.A.

Editor: Einar

Music Company: Mophonics, Venice, CA

Music Producer: Michael Frick


© 2018 All Rights Reserved