Producer Arlene McGann’s Insight on the Comedy of Postmates Commercials

(Producer Arlene McGann)

Arlene McGann and Andreas Nilsson have worked together on vastly different productions but ones which achieve great success. A prime example is the 2Chainz and Lil Wayne “$2 bill” music video and the Postmates campaign featuring Martha Stewart. The common thread here is the exceptional nature of the professionals behind the camera. Whether it be a music video or a humor fueled campaign for the most recognizable food delivery service in the United States and Mexico, there’s an indefinable quality which captures one’s attention about both of these productions; it’s an ingredient that McGann is adamant about about helping her directors achieve in their work. Award-winning cinematographer Edu Grau, known for his work on The Way Back (starring Ben Affleck) and Passing (with Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negra, Andre Holland, Alex Skarsgard and Bill Camp), has worked with McGann numerous times and confirms, “We all feel fortunate to work with a producer like Arlene. She is a great communicator and leader, always doing so with a positive attitude. Arlene is the kind of professional who moves the production ship in the right direction, while making everyone feel good about it. A great producer is equally able to communicate with the client and the talent, all the while making everyone feel that they are truly being heard and appreciated; Arlene McGann embodies this perfectly.”

While Martha Stewart has personified class and culture in a “hands on” approach to cuisine, she proven that she has a keen ability to find the humor in a situation. She’s been an icon for decades as well as a Daytime Emmy Award Winner, Primetime Emmy Nominee, and multiple recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award. Nilsson and McGann meant to capitalize on this facet for the series of Postmates spots which gently pointing out that the pursuit of Stewart’s high standards are simply unattainable for some who might prefer to “just Postmate it.” Andreas knew that set design, wardrobe and cinematography would all contribute to delivering the essence of the joke and it was up to Arlene to communicate this to every department.” Relying on Arlene to deliver this in a curt time frame and on budget gave Nilsson the needed time to focus on performances and pacing. McGann communicates, “One big part of producing is managing the budget among all the departments. I can certainly do that but you have to be constantly aware of possible shifting needs. Things can change at a moment’s notice. Sometimes they director will need something to tell the story and I’ll have to find money elsewhere. That’s part of the job, deciding when it’s important to save the money and when you have to prioritise the creative. I am fortunate enough to work with some amazing production managers who make sure we find the best deals possible and the most efficient ways of doing things so that helps too. The devil is in the details! Fortunately, we had a fantastic and very creative production design team to handle this project.”

The final version of these short commercials provides a yin — yang that is perfectly balanced. A great “straight man” always magnifies the comedy in a bit the same way that any great duo completes the other half. Arlene McGann’s eye for detail in overseeing the various teams of these commercials allows the director’s vision for the jokes to be manifested.

Being the professional who deals with the schedules, finances, and measurable metrics of telling a story is Arlene’s immense contribution which empowers the director to deliver the emotional tone with maximum impact. You’ll likely never see her face on the screen but you’ve most certainly felt the results of her work.

Producer Arlene McGann has worked with Matt Damon, Run the Jewels, Apple, and many of the leaders in Hollywood, music, and the tech world.

An LA based writer with more than a decade as a staff writer for NYC based Drumhead magazine, Kelly is also a contributor to a number of outlets.