Commercials, Commercials, Commercials


It was a summer of commercials at Thunder Studios! We were proud to be the venue of choice for productions of a number of the world’s most recognizable brands. Some of the companies we recently hosted include Calvin Klein, Target,, Heineken Beer, one of the world’s largest tech companies (I can’t disclose), and automotive companies including Kia, Toyota, Ford, McLaren, Mini, Honda, and Lexus. We were also delighted to watch the tremendously accomplished entertainers and star athletes who were the stars of these commercials.

With Olympian grace, a Mer-Mutt dives into the water flooding this living room for Farmers Insurance at Thunder Studios

Thunder Studios kicked off the summer with a multi-week shoot for The supremely talented Jeff Goldbum starred in the role of the odd, yet charming tech guru character “Brad Bellflower”. Interestingly, the ten ad spots were directed by none other than Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk.  Terrific work created on Stage 14 with one of our giant White Cycs

Heineken Light also called Thunder home for several days while filming their latest ad series featuring Neil Patrick Harris on Stage 3. The cheeky series of ads caused a bit of controversy among conservative viewers, but Ralph Rijks, VP-marketing of Heineken USA, said in an interview with Advertising Age “This year’s campaign more than others lets Neil be Neil. These were the most fun to shoot, and his improv skills we think came through perfectly on camera.” We’ll let you be the judge!


In addition, we’d like to give a big shout out to legendary motorbike stunt rider Robbie Maddison for his work in Kia’s “In the Zone” commercial. The whole series of “Zone” commercials for Kia were shot exclusively at Thunder Studios, and Robbie features alongside LA Clippers basketball star Blake Griffin to promote the Optima midsized sedan. Blake’s wry humor and natural screen presence suggest a career in Hollywood when his NBA playing days are over.

Can’t wait to see what’s slated to be shot at Thunder for the upcoming holiday period and Superbowl LI! Never a dull moment!


‘Motor City Masters’ Films at Thunder Studios

Automotive programming has been in the DNA of Thunder Studios since original owners General Motors broke ground here in 1965. In 2014, reality kings Bunim/Murray chose Thunder for their new concept Motor City Masters – a contest format where young designers had three days to design and build their dream cars.

Season One of the show serves as another example of the long-standing tradition of automotive projects that have found a home at our facility.

Motor City Masters featured 10 talented designers pitted against each other, eliminating one per week until only one contestant, Camilo Pardo, remained to claim the title of Motor City Master, $100,000 prize purse and a custom Chevy z28 Camaro.

Judges and the last remaining contestants on set with model designs

In an interesting final twist, Camilo honored an earlier pact he made with finalist opponent Bryan Thompson to split the prize should either of them win. As a final positive turn, Bryan used his $50,000 to seed a scholarship in his name at the College for Creative Studies in to help support aspiring design students.

Thunder Creator Network Highlights ‘Fathom’

Known for their monthly short films, Gearmark Pictures spooky story Fathom – a finely-crafted homage to the fictional supernatural character Slender Man – is a proud new addition to our Creator Network catalog.

Haunting takeaway from with Slenderman and a girl walking away

With over two million views, this story falls in line with recent Internet fervor that the Slender Man might make an appearance in American Horror Story Season Six.

FX’s hit horror show has released of a multitude of S6 trailers – seventeen at last count, more than any other season in AHS history – and while specific images of a Slender Man-style character haven’t appeared in this onslaught of promos, the rumors persist.

The question of whether or not he’ll appear is an apparition in its own right, so Fathom might be that perfect holdover until the September 14th premiere.

Gearmark’s talent for making high-quality content without million-dollar budgets represents just one of the many facets the makes the Creator Network a unique resource to empower creators across commercial, traditional and digital platforms.

Learn more by clicking here.


Farmers Insurance Films Olympic Dog Spot on Stage 3

Five talented dogs turn a flooded living room into their own Olympic pool for The Flooded House Dog Diving Competition

With Olympian grace, a Mer-Mutt dives into the water flooding this living room for Farmers Insurance at Thunder Studios One giant leap for K9.

The beagle has landed! Thunder Studios recently worked with RPA and MJZ on an elaborate production for Farmers Insurance. Featuring a flooded living room set, and tapping into the Olympic spirit, this new campaign stars some adorably talented ‘Mer-Mutts’ who refuse to be satisfied by a small step for man’s best friend, and take advantage of a domestic deluge to compete in aquatic events and perform a synchronized dog-paddling routine. Amazing work by the production in achieving not just the performances from animal actors, but also the build out of a life-like daytime living room set on an indoor stage, that can hold thousands of gallons of water. It’s not every day a set needs to be drained before it’s struck, and yet by the next day, it’s hard to find evidence those dogs were ever there at all.

The final product is utterly charming, so if you haven’t seen it, here’s the full video from Farmers’ Youtube Channel. It’s so cute we almost forget that when it comes to water damage: human, we have a problem…which is why Farmers has always been around and #seenitcoveredit.


Thunder Studios Partners with Lexus and the L.A. Clippers to Create the Ultimate Fan’s Dream Car.

Earlier this year we teamed up with Lexus and the LA Clippers to create a one-of-a-kind, Clippers-inspired dream car for one lucky fan.

The RC F model includes a steering wheel embossed with a basketball rim, a paint-job inspired by the clippers playbook, Clipper Nation bucket seats, backboard buzzer windshield, interior game clock and a locker room trunk.

For a closer look at the car and a chance to win, Click Here

Weird & Wired – Tech Mag Investigates Virtual Simulation of LSD

Can a mere collection of pixels presented to the eyes really replicate the experience of dropping the legendary 60’s LSD strain known as ‘Sunshine’?

Wired Magazine visits Thunder Studios to investigate just how deep the virtual reality rabbit hole can go.

Check out the fascinating article here at: WIRED


Behind the Scenes with Chanel West Coast and her latest music video ‘The Life’

Thunder Studios has been proud to welcome Chanel West Coast on the lot to film her latest music video For The Life, featuring Rockie Fresh.

Check out a sneak peek of some behind-the-scenes footage of her as-yet-unreleased video here:

Chanel West Coast has become a multifaceted breakout sensation, making her mark in modeling, acting, rapping, singing, songwriting, and television. She’s well known for, among other outlets, her starring role in MTV’s Ridiculousness, her albums Now You Know, and Waves, and her broad social media presence, particularly on Instagram, where she commands a massive 2.6 million followers.

Thunder Studios CEO Rodric David to Executive Produce ‘Nine Eleven’ Starring Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg

Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg are starring in the independent action-drama “Nine Eleven” with shooting starting Monday, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Nine Eleven,” directed by Martin Guigui from script he co-wrote with Steven Golebiowski, depicts five individuals trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and their struggle to survive. Luis Guzman, Wood Harris and Olga Fonda have also been cast.

“Nine Eleven” will be shot entirely at Thunder Studios in Long Beach, Calif. Thunder Studios is co-producing with Sprockefeller Pictures, Vitamin A Films and Sunset Pictures. Producers are Martin Sprock, Dahlia Waingort and Warren Ostergard. Sheen’s manager and industry veteran Mark Burg will serve as executive producer, along with Thunder Studios CEO Rodric David and Ryan Johnson.

Read the full story here… Nine Eleven Exclusive


Ken Block’s Gymkhana Eight Livery Shot At Thunder

For the eighth edition of this sensational internet franchise, Ken Block and his team have created a highly unique, directionally reflective, black-on-black livery that changes looks depending on the angle at which it is viewed.

Take a look at how Thunder’s Stage 2 turntable brought this vision to life, and see the first official glimpse of Block’s 650HP Ford Fiesta RX43 here: external link

The Gymkhana franchise has generated hundreds of millions of views on YouTube alone, and the latest installment drops February 29th.

Two Super Bowl 50 Commercials Shot At Thunder Studios

Known for our expertise in the automotive category, Thunder Studios was the home for two national auto spots that debuted during Super Bowl 50.

The first, the Defy Labels campaign for the Mini Clubman nameplate, features an ensemble cast of icons speaking about the labels they’ve overcome and even embraced on their paths to success. You can see the entire campaign here: Mini Commercial

The second, the What He Said campaign for the Acura NSX nameplate, is set to Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With The Devil.” Front man David Lee Roth howls and wails in an isolated vocal track to the car’s unveiling that you can see here: Acura Commercial

CBS charged as much as $5 million for a 30-second spot during this year’s telecast, and the two spots collectively have over 20MM views on YouTube.

Thunder Independent signs a sales agent deal with Imagine TV

Imagine TV, is a Singapore based Television production company that produces reality programming. Thunder Independent is representing four completed series, in the US and select international markets. The shows are The Apartment, a design competition, Fit For Fashion (season 1 and 2), a fashion and fitness competition and The Challenger Muaythai, a martial arts competition. In all there are 10 one hour episodes of each show available. Imagine TV is a leading producer of reality programming. The shows are all in English with a mixed cast of international hosts and celebrities from both the US and other parts of the world.

Thunder Independent has acquired worldwide rights to feature film A Winter Rose

Thunder Independent has acquired worldwide rights to this completed feature film and is planning the worldwide release of the film in August 2016. The film tells the inspirational and emotional story of A Winter Rose, a young down and out but highly talented singer/songwriter. She is given a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a star, when she is discovered during a talent search by her idol, Rachel Love and a chance at success and stardom, if she can handle the pressure. The film star Theresa Russell, Paul Sorvino, Billy Zane and newcomer Kimberly Whalen as Winter. The film was directed and written by Riz Story.

ThunderTV MCN signs independent short form production company Gearmark Pictures

ThunderTV, the MCN division of Thunder Studios, has signed Gearmark Pictures as the newest member of its digital network.

Gearmark will continue to produce monthly short films and leverage Thunder’s core studio assets to realize significant cost efficiencies. Resources available to Thunder partners include a 30,000 sq ft creator stage, standing sets, house lighting packages and G&E, and technology suites.

Since joining Thunder’s network, Gearmark has produced the viral hit Gym Wildlife (20M+ views) and released the POV Lovecraft-inspired thriller HARBINGER (90k+ views).

ThunderTV partner Gearmark Pictures write and direct 2016’s first viral hit “Gym Wildlife”

ThunderTV partner Gearmark Pictures has struck internet gold, producing and directing the first viral hit of 2016 Gym Wildlife (20M+ views). The short film, produced in partnership with frequent collaborators The Buff Dudes, spread rapidly across digital platforms and built an enormous organic viral audience. Gearmark previously had viral success with their Slenderman inspired FATHOM (6.5M+ views).

Gearmark will continue to build their content library in partnership with Thunder Studios, an MCN focusing on empowering creators in niche verticals, including cinematic short films.

Thunder Independent acquires worldwide distribution rights to feature film Rip Tide

TI has acquired worldwide distribution rights to the feature film, which is scheduled to commence production April 2016 in Australia. The producer is Steve Jaggi Company.

The film is a coming age story about a young teenage model, who suffers a disaster during a runway show and is sent to Australia to visit her Aunt to get away from the pressures of modeling. In the process, she discovers and embraces the casual “surfer” lifestyle, meets a handsome young man and goes through a transformation…..when her mother shows up. Casting will be named shortly and the Director is Rhiannon Barnenberg.

Meghan Camarena (Strawburry17) shoots an entire month’s worth of content on Thunder’s Creator Stages

YouTube star Meghan Camarena has partnered with Thunder Studios to develop a new approach to filming digital content.

Instead of the classic YouTube “film, edit, post, repeat” model, Camarena (better known as Strawburry17) filmed her entire month of December, Burry Christmas in Thunder’s 20,000 sq ft creator stage over two days. By filming multiple videos in sequence and creating consistent formats, Camarena is able to produce efficiently and at scale, creating significant synergy with Thunder.

Through January, the “Burry Christmas” format has earned hundreds of thousands of views and represents a creative new media product in the rapidly changing content landscape.

Thunder Studios Contracted to Film 2015 Aruba Beach Tennis Open

This November, Thunder Studios was contracted by Sexy Beach Tennis to film the largest independent beach tennis competition in the world – the 2015 Aruba Beach Tennis Open.

During the seven-day event, Thunder Studios captured action from the world’s top players, as well as the nightlife and the spirited camaraderie of the global beach tennis community.

As much a sporting event as a week-long celebration, ABTO is known to be the premier lifestyle destination for beach tennis enthusiasts.

Our video currently has over 1MM views on the Sexy Beach Tennis Facebook Page