For Frank Eaton, political ads are a combination of two lifelong passions: film craft and street-level, shoe-leather, retail politics.
“I started making online videos for candidates at the dawn of YouTube and Facebook,” he explains, “with no budgets and no real platform for them yet. It was a way to contribute to candidates I cared about. It was my version of stuffing envelopes.”
“It’s still a very personal, hand-made process for me.”
Following film school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Frank built a documentary company and honed his craft making settlement films for plaintiffs' attorneys in wrongful death and injury cases. He sought refuge from the brutal realities of the job by taking non-profit and music video clients until a shoot in Haiti in 2005, when he was kidnapped by one of the gangs vying for control of the violent Cite Soley slum of the nation’s capital.
Released after three days, he returned to North Carolina with a resolve to tackle social issues closer to home. He became active in state politics, served as creative director for the state party during the 2012 National Convention and ran for state party chair. He made successful ads for the mayor of Raleigh and Vi Lyles, the first African American female mayor of Charlotte.
After working with Mark Putnam on a 2010 US Senate primary in North Carolina, Frank became a cinematographer for many of the leading DC media firms. “But Putnam aimed for a level of artistry that I didn’t see anywhere else in the business. I always knew he’d recognize my best work, the stuff I’d put my heart into, and that became a real motivator.”
After nearly ten years of independent collaboration with the firm, Frank took over production duties at Two Frame Post and was behind the camera for many of Putnam Partner’s best spots of the 2018 cycle, including the single-camera shot on MJ Hegar’s “Doors” video.