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NMSU Film Graduates Make Big Splash with eHarmony Commercial

ALBUQUERQUE – Four New Mexico State University graduates’ film company, Hardline Films, is in the limelight for a commercial they produced for eHarmony.

Advertising Age’s top “Best Mother’s Day Spots of the Year” was an eHarmony commercial produced by Sheridan O’Donnell, Keagan Karnes and Sam Pool, Class of 2013 Creative Media Institute graduates; and Jenn Garcia, Class of 2016 double major from Creative Media Institute and College of Business in marketing.

The commercial titled “A Single Mom Goes Dating Again” was also the editor’s pick by Creativity-Online.com.

The commercial is part of a campaign by eHarmony to address single mothers who may be hesitant about getting back in the dating game.

“The spot manages to delicately convey the awkwardness and hesitancy of getting back out there,” wrote Alexandra Jardine in Creative Magazine.

Hardline Films received the eHarmony contract after winning a competition on Zooppa, a leading creative internet platform for the production of engaging videos and graphic content. The dating firm worked with Hardline Films on the commercial and then contracted for three more.

“I got the idea very quickly,” O’Donnell said. “I’m trying to write stories that haven’t been told. I started thinking of the dating world and who might benefit. I saw this single mother entering the dating world. I read articles and tried to absorb the information on what other single mothers went through while dating.”

“It was Sheridan’s idea to be subtle in the commercial. He likes telling stories with his commercials and really gets into the character development,” Garcia said. O’Donnell directs most of Hardline Film’s commercials.

The team has also produced national commercials for belVita breakfast bars, “all” laundry detergent and local commercials for Blake’s Lota Burger and the Albuquerque Isotopes.

The four filmmakers discovered their love of the creative avenue of film at an early age.

While attending school in Clovis, one of Pool’s home movies was shown in the Clovis Film Festival. Karnes discovered filmmaking doing “tiny films” while in the Media Magna program in Las Cruces. Garcia saw the enjoyment people had while watching movies when she was 10 years old and knew she wanted to affect people’s emotions through movies.

The young filmmakers found NMSU’s CMI an environment that allowed them to develop their skills while exploring the creative medium.

“We were encouraged to go out and shoot on the weekends,” producer Karnes said. “In a lot of ways, the teachers put being ‘on set’ first and that gave us a really practical application of the art.”

“One of the biggest things we got from CMI is a network of filmmakers who attended there,” producer and assistant director Pool said. “We are now working with many of our fellow graduates.”

Garcia included a major in marketing to her education, which has helped Hardline Films expand its customers.

“Marketing is the creative side of business,” producer and talent coordinator Garcia said. “Most of the business classes don’t really teach you how to start a business so I was really drawn to Dean James Hoffman’s entrepreneur class. He was good about gearing the class toward the film industry. That class has really helped us to get Hardline Films where it is today.”

The world of commercials is the springboard for Hardline Films. They also are creating narrative short films; many have won awards from festivals. Ultimately, the production team wants to create full-length movies.

Author: Jane Moorman – NMSU

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