The Directing Bug Bites

A year or two ago I decided to try my hand at the Doritos/Pepsi Max Challenge wherein everyone and their dog was “allowed” to create one or more spec commercial videos and submit/post them on a website for consideration. The main prize was some dough, your commercial airing on TV during the Superbowl, and possible work in the commercial field.  I wrote and directed three projects, but only submitted two of them.  Alas, none of them won, but the experience was a ton of fun.  I got to work with many of my friends who graciously offered their time and expertise to producing something we all believed in.  Recently a client for whom I am rewriting a screenplay saw them and thought they were good enough to get me directing work.  I have no time for that (or desire to switch careers midstream), but it was quite the complement.  I thought I’d put both videos up here.

The first was a spot we made in East L.A. with a couple of actor friends driving cars.  It was a goofy thing with no dialogue, but it was a blast to shoot.  I got to drive the 1957 Corvette convertible that a friend of a friend loaned us (all original parts) and you can see why the car is a classic.  If I had to drive a Corvette, it’d be this one.  We also have a Smart Car in there and it felt like driving a cardboard box on wheels.  Still, it looked good.  One factoid: as the day was dwindling, we had to race to get a number of the final shots.

Most times shoots like this go awry and everything falls apart.  Here, everything came together perfectly.  From the start of the race sequence where we had to drive around and around until we got both cars at a red light to the final shot with the sun going down over the water.  That park, by the way, has intense security and only the bravado of my nutsy, but genius D.P. Ryan helped us get the perfect shot.

The second spot we shot was in a warehouse, but there too we underestimated how much time it would take to set up the scene.  Creating a mad scientist lab is no easy undertaking, and although we got there at 6am, we still didn’t start shooting until after noon.

Thankfully, the actors were generous enough to kick back and enjoy the craft services.  Once again, the crew came together to put a lot of special elements and moments into the short.  Had we the time, we could have filmed a movie there.  Okay, maybe not a movie.  But a good fifteen minute short.  The ending was thrown together last-minute when we ran out of time, but it came out well in my opinion.  Thanks to the talented cast for making it all happen and for P.B. for keeping this videos online.


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