'Entertain First, Advertise Second': Q&A with Made Out East

Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling

Much of today's branded entertainment is designed to compete for audience attention where those audiences live - on their phones and online. Gaining that attention by way of entertainment demands an abundance of creativity, and there's no shortage of that at Made Out East. The full service creative agency and production company provides end-to-end service in their pursuit to dream, create, and ultimately inspire audiences to take a second look at what they've just watched. Created by Co-Founders Sam Pezzullo and Anon Omis (he's more of an 'in-person' kind of person), this collective of creators approach their craft with a keen eye for the entertaining and a stellar sense of humor. Their latest - a trailer for 'Scream: The Musical' - takes a fun and funny approach at expanding on existing IP by way of creating more content for audiences to watch and enjoy, all while generating opportunities for brand recognition and product placement along the way (they're even raising funds for a full-length version!).

Brand Storytelling caught up with the co-founders of Made Out East to learn more about their approach to creativity, storytelling, and what's next for the team:

Can you each give us a bit of background on how you got your start as storytellers?

SAM: My earliest aspirations were to entertain people, regardless of the method. On film, on stage, on paper, anything. I’ve always been a performer at heart and then over time that evolved into a career producing behind the camera, with an interest in telling stories that focused on other people, but still resonated with me on a deep and personal level. Everything I do and every story I want to tell is inspired by experiences I’ve had. I believe that truth is stranger than fiction and that is the foundation of approach to creating content, both branded and original, fiction and nonfiction, that is grounded in the experiences that connect and relate us.

ANON: I have been in trouble my whole life. Telling stories was my only way out.

What inspired the launch of Made Out East?

SAM: We joined forces under the most unlikely of circumstances. A result of good timing, paths crossing during a global pandemic and a respect and admiration for each other’s creativity, talent and ability to make shit happen. While we are very different we managed to find common ground in a mutual disposition to dream big and we discovered that we had the resources, experience, and audacity to pursue our aspirations together, rather than individually. It’s a pretty simple case of two creative heads being better than one, and it’s been a recipe for success.

ANON: Luck.

What is your general approach to creating something with a brand?

SAM: When it comes to branded content, I think you should entertain first and advertise second. Create something that can transcend the marketing objectives and appeal to people on a level that elicits some emotion whether it’s laughter or anger or amazement, while still cleverly and subtly integrating the brand. That will motivate people to not only watch the content but share it.

ANON: Capture the essence.

How do you decide what creative thread to follow when it comes time to move from ideation to strategy and production?

SAM: Go into something with a very clear vision and a good understanding of what you need to achieve creatively and also how to execute it. But be prepared to be flexible enough to allow for spontaneity. Embrace the unexpected and the organic story that reveals itself.

ANON: Follow the thread that scares me the most.

Tell us more about your recent release - the trailer for “Scream the Musical”