Friday, April 16, 2010

Shooting a Commercial

Last Thursday, I went down to a production studio in Maryland to film a commercial. I had been cast a few days prior, and it just so happened to work around my somewhat crazy schedule this month. So at a time that is far-too-early for any actor to be awake, much less working, I was on the road for the studio. I arrived half an hour early, without any incidents, and I came inside ready to work. But since I was the talent (industry-speak for actor) in the commercial, I didn’t really have anything to do yet. At least, not until the camera crew was done with their rehearsals and the director decided they needed me to start getting into makeup. So I started my day with a break.

I ran through a few camera tests before anything else, with the crew just rehearsing how they were going to do their technical end of things. After that, it was time for another break. This break, though, also included me getting into wardrobe and having my makeup applied. My makeup artist Lorraine was very sweet and wonderful, keeping up a semi-constant stream of small talk and chatter, ample for the both of us. Then they called me out to the studio floor, and we shot a whole bunch of takes until they had a bunch that they liked. Another break for lunch, and then a brief series of still photography, and the day was done. It was literally that easy.

There was one thing during the shoot, however, that I was not prepared for. While I was on the (green-screen) set, the client and director were evaluating the takes on the other side of the room. I had to do some mental gymnastics to tune out of their conversations about me and my performance, since I think that listening to them would have given me all sorts of confidence problems. So I tuned out to focus just on the director when he came back to give me notes, and I essentially tried to ignore the client’s reactions. (Those reactions were mostly good, which was very exciting.)

For anyone keeping score, this was my first commercial where I had a speaking role. It was a pretty amazing experience, and I hope I get to do it again. Not only for the money (which is nice), but also because it’s legitimately a fun way to spend a day. Sure, it’s a crazy way to make a living, but I am constantly getting opportunities to prove to myself that I can survive this lifestyle, and I constantly come through those tests with flying colors. I have the abilities, and I’m starting to find all the opportunities.

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