By Edgar Sandoval, Contributor | Posted: November 8, 2022
Cat Trial 13: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was a huge hit worldwide with the young and the young at heart. It brought to life the beloved children’s book of the same name and was a fun way to spotlight the great work our customers do and the work our dealers do to support them. But pulling this story off the pages and bringing it on screen took a lot of work.
It started, innocently enough, with a bedtime ritual that creative director Archie Lyons and his daughter Lincoln have, reading one of their favorite books and Archie’s belief that a good idea can come from anywhere.
“Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site is one of our staple books that we read literally almost every night, Lyons said. “It was almost two years ago now that we were reading it one night, she’s in my lap in the rocking chair. I’m reading the book to her, and I stopped. And she’s nudging me saying ‘daddy, go… go’ and I couldn’t cause the machines literally came to life on the page for me. I just saw the machines suddenly start moving on the book and I was like “this is a trial.” This is a perfect time to talk about services.”
Lyons credits the source material and a great collaborative effort between the Caterpillar team and the book’s author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld. And while they had done other brand cooperation’s in the past, those were much more straightforward and didn’t take a lot of creative interpretation. For example, putting artwork on pajamas.
Archie Lyons and Sherri Duskey Rinker on set.
“This, however, was a far more intricate and complex leap, Rinker said. “I think that was our greatest concern – once we signed over the permission for Caterpillar to take our book, what would the end product look like? How closely would it reflect this “baby” that we had been nurturing the last ten years – not just with the original book, but we have six others behind it and more in the works. It was very nerve-wracking. But one of the wonderful things about Archie and the team at Caterpillar was their reassurance at the very beginning that they loved the book. Archie told me numerous times how he and his daughter have read it and how much he wanted to honor what his daughter loved in the book and also what we all like to think made the book successful.”
Jeff McAllister was the editor of the project. He did a lot of “previsualization” to sort out the accurate size of the machines, and how big the mound really needs to be to look like the book. How big do the girders need to be? What was the size of the building?
“In the book, for illustration purposes, a lot of that stuff is compact and tight,” said McAllister. “Tom purposely didn’t have machines overlapping for kids to be able to distinguish the shapes of the machines. When you get into the real world, we tried hard to not have that happen, some of these machines are large and they need good radius to turn or move the boom, so we really had to make sure it was functional too. So, I did a lot of that previsualization – figure out not only size but using maps and Google Earth footage of Tinaja Hills to figure out where we would shoot – what gave us the best vista in the background and the look we were looking for, which was as flat as possible.”
Archie Lyons and Jared Harris ensure the star is ready to take its place in the sky.
Jared Harris then organized the shoot from the equipment end of things for our Tinaja Hills Demonstration and Learning Center. His team did everything it could to bring the book to life. “The majority of the book is in the evenings and overnight, Harris said. “Getting everybody organized to work very, very late nights and then come back early in the morning to set up the day scenes was definitely a challenge, but they were up for it.”
Tom Lichtenheld says, he loves collaborating with other creative people but never expected to be able to collaborate with people who make and operate these machines.
“So, this has been an unexpected treat, Lichtenheld said. I’m so impressed with the way the entire team was committed to the integrity of the book as a story and visually. They were very focused on the look of the book, the look of the illustrations. They wanted to hear about how it was done. They did amazing things to recreate it. It’s been fun to be a part of this.”
Skilled demonstration instructors work hard to get the site ready for the shoot.
Aerial view as the crew preps the site.
Excavator dreaming of tomorrow’s work.
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