This project has a special place in my heart because George Lawrence is my dad. It is set in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada, where I grew up. I know my dad in and out, and he was the perfect real life subject for this project.

George Lawrence for Coca-Cola
Production Company: Variable
Creative: Joey L & Variable
Directors/Cinematographers: Joey L & Variable
Producer: Tyler Ginter @ Variable
Editorial: GoodPenny
Post Production Producer: Rasha Clark @ GoodPenny
Editor: Bruce Ashley @ GoodPenny
Original Score: Mike McFadden

Jonathan Bregel, Tyler Ginter, Khalid Mohtaseb of Variable and I took our production team to Canada to make a video spot on my father for Coca-Cola. My dad has been restoring the vintage machines since I was a kid- slowly turning his hobby into a profession and winning the eyes & hearts of collectors worldwide. Coca-Cola is his favorite drink besides beer, and the delicate craftsmanship in the world of nostalgia from the past has always fascinated him.

All the lines in the video are things I heard constantly as a kid. Growing up around my dad, he always told me to “do the job right the first time, or don’t even do it at all.” It means that it’s better to do something right and take a long time, then doing something the quick and easy way, which you won’t be proud of. It’s a slow way of thought that needs attention in our fast-paced modern culture.

My dad is a funny guy. A perfectionist. An absolute creative fusspot. I remember sitting watching one day as he restored an old Coke vending machine from the 1950s. He was lining up all the flat-head screws so they’d all be pointing vertically. If he messed one up, he’d curse and try again until everything was perfect. What would take an average guy who didn’t respect his craft 5 minutes, took my dad nearly an hour.

The more I think about it, the more I realize I’m turning into my dad. I really think what he’s taught me has made me into who I am now. In a way, as a photographer / director, it’s my job now to be picky, and to never settle for anything less of what I am capable of. I know that if I did put my name on something I wasn’t proud of, it would haunt me and eventually drive me nuts.

I saw a little bit of my dad in me when just the other day, I told a book publisher working with me on a project I didn’t like the shade of grey they used. I threatened that I would pull the plug on the whole thing if they didn’t choose a grey with the hint of an earth tone. I am turning out to be just like my dad, but to me that’s not a scary thought at all. I learned from him to take great pride in anything I do, and never settle for less than your vision. 

When I emailed my dad this video, he wrote back the way he usually does.

It was his one-line, one-finger typing response.

“cooooooooooooooooooool scenes Dawg”

I think that means he likes it.

Thanks Georgie.


Update June 17th, 2012: In collaboration with Coca-Cola for Father’s Day 2012, Variable wanted to share a deeper look into the motivation behind “The Perfectionist.”

  • May 03-2012, 12:11 pm
    Great, inspiring piece. Delicate visuals with deep meaning, that´s what real storytelling is. Awesome, Joey!
  • May 07-2012, 05:10 pm
    Love it Joey! Kind of reminds me of growing up in the country and spending time with my Grandpa. I'm glad you actually admitted to being from Lindsay in this post... and didn't call it "some little town in Canada that no one has heard of"! I'm also from Lindsay and this video actually makes me miss it a little!
  • Gill Cad
    June 14-2012, 07:37 pm
    Nice job guys,
  • June 15-2012, 06:53 pm
    great tribute Joey, made me think about me and my dad
  • June 20-2012, 10:56 pm
    Awesome work as always Joey. Watching the last video of you talk about your dad was awesome. Seeing him act in your video made me smile. I love it. I love what he told you and what you've become because of it. I can't wait to see what comes next from Joey L.
  • June 21-2012, 08:13 am
    I like you books .
  • Don Angle
    July 22-2012, 12:01 am
    There's a lot of pain and things wrong in the world caused by troubled father-son relationships. Thanks for a ray of hope and encouragement for us fathers who want desperately to help our sons be all the were meant to be. This was excellence in both craft and spirit.
  • July 24-2012, 09:23 pm
    Great video and so refreshing to see some positive examples of father son relationships. This video reminds me of father. He was a farmer for most of his life but always has a passion for people and art. A very patient man that could slow down and enjoy the moment. He has always been an inspiration for me to do my best to stay humble and to respect and learn from all people.
  • September 08-2012, 06:03 pm
    That was beautiful and very touching, nice to get a glimpse of your relationship and see where your drive came from. Good work as usual. Keith
  • September 26-2012, 01:58 am
    Profound. Audacious. Bold. Truly what the definition of "amazing "is.
  • November 11-2012, 02:10 pm
    Beautiful, my Dad used to tell me "Do it properly or not at all." we seriously clashed but in the last two years of his life we found true respect for each other and found a very strong bond again as father and son. This tribute has reminded me about this, thank you Joey...
  • July 31-2014, 10:00 am
    Incredible finally work! Congrats!!!
  • January 29-2015, 07:11 pm
    Did you shoot this on a Red Epic? And which lenses did you use, ND's etc. They are fantastic images. I just discovered your photography work and am blown away. I'm a cinematographer and can easily learn a thing or two from you.
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