We fade in to see Lenny, with a cloud-less sky behind him (where Mr. Sun is slowly descending in the western sky). Lenny looks down at the camera, almost as if he's breaking the fourth wall, describing Memorial Day being the day to "honor America's fallen heroes". Lenny explains that this applies to soldiers who have died in battle. Finally, Lenny ends his speech by announcing that a firefighter falling into a swimming pool doesn't count, at which point we cut to an over-the-shoulder scene which reveals that Lenny was speaking to firefighter Jonah Flenderson, a "war veteran" (he was mostly a barrack janitor and also interrogated two prisoners of war), who has fallen into Lenny's backyard pool by accident.
Production NotesEditThe video required a MS paint construction of an overhead perspective of character Lenny Leggo's backyard and below-ground swimming pool. The backdrop took about an hour to an hour and a half to create, however, the picture is incomplete because only a fraction of the backdrop was going to be visible for the backdrop's required shot. Unfinished portions of the backdrop are cropped out in the video. However, the backdrop will be saved and later fully drawn for future projects.
The bottom of the pool water effect was accomplished by cropping a royalty free video of pool water to cover the definite perimeters of the swimming pool. Next, Jonah Flenderson's character png file was placed onto of the video. A blue transparent rectangle was then added, also cropped to fit the pool exactly, so that Jonah would look blue and not totally clear as to give the illusion of him being under the water rather than over it. Finally, his video track was blurred for a more realistic appearance.
The original plan was to partially fade the pool water footage ontop of Jonah's video file, but this was proven to be ineffective, as Jonah himself appeared partially transparent, which meant the water could be seen through him. The two video files were then switched, which removed the transparent issue, but Jonah no longer looked underwater. This was resolved by the the blue transparent rectangle and blurred effect.
Production on the video began on Wednesday May 25th around 5PM and concluded on May 27th around 12:45 PM (the final cut had been completed the night before, but was not viewed and approved until the next day). The total amount of time spent on the video was approximately 7 non-consecutive hours.
At least six cuts were produced for the video, therefore at least five rough cuts were created and evidently altered before the approval what would become the final cut. There were also another six BETA cuts that were made primarily to test out audio and dialogue to determine if any of the lines should be altered or re-recorded. For these cuts, Lenny's mouth movements were completely absent, as they had not been animated yet.
The video was not scripted, but was instead improved since the basic story concept had already been established (it is actually based off of the prologue of an old episode of the prototype series "The Lenny Lego Show"). The lines were recorded four times from the beginning, with two pick-up recordings for some lines. The fourth (newest) recording file was the one actually used for the video.
The main difference between the cuts was Jonah Flenderson's animated while he was floating in Lenny's pool in the very last scene. In fact, the numerous altercations to his animated were responsible for the ultimate number of cuts produced. His animation had to constantly be altered as his floating animation was often times found to be too fast and had to be slowed down numerous times. His rotation speed also had to be slowed down as well (notice in the video that Jonah slowly rotates to the side as he floats in the pool). Also, his png character file was blurred for the last two cuts to show a more realistic portrayal of the character underwater.
In addition to Jonah's changes in animation, for the first three cuts, Mr. Sun, visible in the sky behind Lenny, was actually seen ascending in the sky rather than descending, as he does in the final cut. It was later figured out that the direction behind Lenny was actually supposed to be west, determined by the corner of the pool Lenny was standing at (the bottom left corner from the perspective shown in the picture). For subsequent cuts, Mr. Sun's animated was reversed so that he would be descending instead so he could be seen moving down west.
The ad received unfavorable ratings, which is believed to be due to confusion regarding Jonah's role in the military, which is not stated in the ad, as this fact was actually not created until sometime after the ad aired. This theory is supported with the fact that the next ad, Contributions, received more favorable ratings and does not include any factual errors.
Aaron Cosby acknowledged that he ultimately wasn't completely pleased with the ad, admitting that he did make some factual mistakes regarding Jonah's role as a firefighter for the ad's memorial day theme, as memorial day is more-so about the military specifically. Because of this, it was later decided to make Jonah's character a former war veteran (even though he was primarily a barrack janitor), however the ad is still regarded as factually incorrect since this was not added until after the ad's release.
Despite the ad's generally negative ratings, the pool effects at the end of the ad were met with praise.
The advertisement can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Dy1JxPfgc
Despite the ad being named after main character Jonah Flenderson and appearing in it, he has no dialogue in the video.