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Phoenix Haus is a high-performance prefab builder based in Grand Junction, Colorado. The origins of the company are rooted in hard-hitting conflict, one that many families face. Bill McDonald's strong desire to find the healthiest way to build a home was inspired by moments throughout his life where his health was challenged.


Grand Junction, USA


Origin Story


5 mins 14 secs
Woman smiling during interview
Image of a interview scene for a film

Set Yourself Apart With The One Thing Your Competitors Can't Copy – Your Story.

Man and woman on jobsite looking over architectural plans
Wood cutter using blade saw cutting wood
What stood out about this story?

The first thing that stood out to us was how self-aware Bill already was, and how the whole team was, regarding the company's story. They had already written it out in great lengths on their old website, so it made the StoryFinding stage much easier for us.

Not all characters are self-aware, many haven't had the opportunity to answer the question, "what's your story?", but it wasn't the case with Bill.

The biggest standout of his story was the ethos of not taking no for an answer, reflected by his mother, Hilde's, search for a solution when he was a child, through to Bill's desire to optimize and optimize to build the healthiest homes possible.

Why did you build out the story arc in this way?

We had a variety of options when building out Bill's narrative. Either tell it from his sole perspective, including his childhood, or, given that Phoenix Haus is a family company, involve supporting characters.

Bill was still what we call the Heart, the main character, but his mother, Hilde, and sister, Kate, providing a strong perspective, even if this film is a touch over 5 minutes long.

We identified two conflicts. The first was Bill's childhood experiences and struggling to breathe. The second was when he was reintroduced to these struggles, many years later as a retrofitter, exposed to chemicals in spray foams etc.

The second was more appropriate for this story, as it birthed the desire for building homes in a healthy manner, and we knew we could use the initial conflict idea in the journey to give context.

Telling Bill's childhood conflict from Hilde's perspective created a deeper sense of truth, as you can feel the reality of the situation.


We tactfully introduced this level of vulnerability so that the viewer releases oxytocin, the neurotransmitter associated with trust, which is incredibly important for someone considering building a home with Phoenix Haus

Wooden mountain house at sunset
Family of three enjoying an evening meal together at home
Can you elaborate further on the cinematography style and color choices?

Firms in the built environment all have an emotionless and empty aesthetic. They don't have soul, yet the things they design allow the end users to create wonderful memories.

Homes are full of wonder, of growth, full of the ups and downs of life. Because a home uses high-end design doesn't rid that family from the realities of the human experience.

This is why we chose a real aesthetic for the film. We chose to shoot much of the film handheld, including the interviews, that add a personal touch, as if you're there with the characters.

Much like great design, we subtlety played with light and color, ensuring strong contrasts in the final images, akin to the cinema feel. Bill's story was real and tangible, and full of the contrasts of life, so it only made sense to choose an aesthetic that matched this.

The edit style and music selection also matched the tone of the story; with slower pacing early on to digest the truths of the conflict; to faster, more energetic pacing when the company was moving forward and growing; to a more calm, uplifting approach for the resolution at the end.

For the color grade we ensured a filmic, contrasty look, while matching the colors to real life, so not to create a subconscious disconnect when viewing the film.

Film crew of 2 looking over shot list
Filmmaker holding a RED cinema camera
Man and woman wearing sunglasses in car taking a selfie

Director - Robert Bean
DP - Kody Kohlman
Producer - Callahan Woodbery
Writer - Lila Morency
Editor - Robert Bean & Adrian Hylka
Colorist - Jonnie Sirotek

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