Commercial Appeal

Couple months back, Pam told me about a film festival contest for commercials with a horror theme. Turns out the festival was Denise Gossett’s Shriekfest, a long-running California event that I love to promote because I know Denise from my earlier work and she runs one of the best in the country.

A one minute commercial hyping Shriekfest’s 13th year? No brainer. I was in. Unfortunately, weather killed my original idea. We had horrendous rain all summer, and it just didn’t let up enough to allow me to shoot the original concept. So, I went to a backup possibility. Problem was, I couldn’t assemble the necessary crew to get it done on such short notice.

The contest deadline was fast approaching, and for a day, I thought about just not shooting anything. Then, I had the idea to do a spoof commercial that could be shot without much crew, hardly any cast, and with total control over the location. I scripted it out, got some recommendations, and with only a couple days to pull it together, made it happen.

During the shoot, I got it in mind that maybe, regardless of how we did in the contest, I should figure out some way to multi-purpose the thing. We were all there, after all, makeup was set, cameras were rolling, why not?

So, we did some alternate takes, and bingo, the end-product was just what I wanted. BackStreets, our favorite watering hole and place to see live music, uploaded the spot yesterday. Sometime this coming week, it’ll be on their main site, and we’re talking with a local TV station about airing it.

Shriekfest is going on right now, which makes this even cooler.

Having multiple outlets running my spot isn’t something I expected, especially when I had to strip it down like this. Still, I’m thrilled about what we accomplished, basically in four and a half hours in one room without a professional makeup artist or the cameraman I’d expected to be behind the lens.

Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants filmmaking? Sure was. Successful? Hell yeah, beyond my wildest dreams. Here’s the extended cut, which allowed us to get a little more creative and have a lot more fun. Hope you like it. Denise sure had nice things to say about it, and if it’s good enough for Shriekfest and BackStreets, that’s good enough for me.

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