Too Much Milk by MoSoMoS Studios

For someone raised on the annual ritual of old school holiday specials like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, MoSoMoS Studios’ new ad for the Oxygen network, “Too Much Milk,” is a super fun blast from the past. According to Producer/Creative Director Mathew Amonson the classic holiday special style was actually Oxygen’s ask, prompting the studio to “Turn to the multi-talented Josh Mahan for his directorial Debut with MoSoMoS,” Amonson told us.

“He has a deep love and knowledge for stop motion, specialty fabrication processes, and an immersive attitude he applies to finishing what he started at a higher level than his peers. I’m excited to have him directing for MoSoMos as we grow and challenge ourselves beyond our comfort zones,” he continued before giving Mahan a chance to speak in his own words.

“I’ve loved holiday specials since I was a kid and turning expectation on its head with our version of one was really fun,” Mahan said. “Oxygen was also really excited about the humorous but dark approach and our ideas really meshed early on.”

Mahan is referring to the ad’s plot in which a seemingly milk drunk Santa has his sleigh pulled over by a lady cop who busts him for going 4mph and then opens his sleigh-trunk only to find something that has Santa’s elf exclaim, “ho, ho, holy sh–!” It’s a moment you can watch again and again and still chuckle—rare for a piece of marketing these days.

“We decided to really be ambitious with what we wanted to deliver in under a month,” he told us. “The team Mathew Amonson pulled together was excellent and I couldn’t be happier with what they managed to create. Character/set design and storyboarding with Julia Liu came together in about a week. The entire build was also only a week long and Zack Williams, Julia Liu, Maxwell Sorensen, Cait Davis, Drew Shields, Matthew Canale, Pete List, Elliot Lobell, Ilya Smelansky, and Drew Shields, really went the extra mile. The collective fabrication experience of the team was crucial. It would have been really challenging to accomplish with a less adept team.

“Our post team, lead by Bil Thompson, began the compositing work as soon as the first shot was done, giving us flexibility to squeeze more than a week of post-production into the schedule. Due to the time constraints, and script revisions, we added the puppet mouths in post. Bil and Zack did an awesome job making them feel like a seamless part of the piece. They also managed to add the falling snow, by tracking it to our camera moves and creating multiple masks per shot.”

But, par for the course, all on the production was not entirely smooth. “Because of the deadline and budget,” Mahan continued, “casting the puppets in foam or silicone was not going to work. Sewn fabric costumes were off the table as well. So, we used a variety of old-school techniques along with some untested materials. Those untested materials turned out to be a bit of a headache during animation (and will thus remain nameless). Julia did a great job ironing out the kinks in the puppet sculpts but we still had to incorporate extra rigging, which added a ton of work to Bil and Zack’s post production load.”

Client: Oxygen
Production Company: Mosomos
Creative Producer: Mathew Amonson
Director: Josh Mahan
Director of Photography: Bil Thompson
Production Manager: Matthew Fisher
Gaffer: Francesco De Deus
1st AC: Ryan Paul Smith
Motion Control Operator: Mathew Amonson
Designer: Julia Liu
Storyboard Artist: Julia Liu
Animators: Pete List, Matt Chistensen
Art Crew: Zack Williams, Julia Liu, Maxwell Sorensen, Cait Davis, Drew Shields,Matthew Canale, Pete List, Elliot Lobell
Assistant Art Crew: Koren Harpaz, Ethan Jeremias
Practical Lighting Technician: Ilya Smelansky
Editor: Mathew Amonson
Lead Post Artists: Bil Thompson, Zack Williams
Additional Post Artists: Mathew Amonson, Matthew Canale
Colorist: Mathew Amonson
Composer: Matthew Whyte

Oxygen Network Team
EVP Marketing, Bravo/Oxygen: Ellen Stone
SVP Creative & Brand Design, Oxygen: Nancy Mazzei
VP Production, Bravo/Oxygen: Tom Bayer
Creative Director, Multiplatform Promos, Oxygen: Yanik Archer
Supervising Producer, Oxygen: Andrew Killoy
Writers: Andrew Killoy, Alec Belmore, & Steve Whyte
Creative Director, Graphics, Oxygen: Kaori Sohma
Director, Marketing Production, Oxygen: Heather Bacci
Project Manager, Oxygen: Charles Self
Audio Engineer, Oxygen: Jon Dickson