Anatomy of a Commercial Shoot

To think this incredibly glamorous aspect of life existed so long and I am just now, due to the generosity of my daughter (who needs a driver and legal guardian) privy to it all.  The following are my live, on site, observations of her recent national television commercial shoot.

Learn on Monday she's hired for Wednesday.   Four hours away.  Wake up at 3a.m. Pack week's worth of stuff in backseat for a one-day shoot. So tired I can't even drink coffee.  Drive due east and wonder exactly when the sun rises.  Realize I never really worried about that before.

Get horrible directions from Mapquest. Discover Mapquest doesn't necessarily know when a road's been revamped, making it nearly impossible to turn left off a bridge.

Find production studios. Walk in and realize she's the only new kid here, as everyone else has worked together before.  There's no receptionist, producer or director in sight.

Text message husband and ask him to text back daughter's social security for paper work.

Fill out paperwork. Realize my daughter is getting paid more in one day than I do in two months as a highly envied and revered columnist.

Kids get wardrobes. Nag daughter to do homework.

Wardrobe changes.  Get hungry. Real hungry.

Parents raid cars and for anything edible and set up snack food buffet in middle of waiting room floor. Eat honey roasted peanuts and Coke for breakfast.  Try to remember the last time I ever had a real, live, Coke.  In the red can.  Have another Coke.

Rejoice upon discovery production studio has open Internet access.

Try to answer emails or write anything coherent but my brain is so fuzzy I' stare at the screen for 15 minutes and merely manage to type, "fuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz".

Production aide brings pizza and soda for lunch. He still does not believe in diet soda.  I wash down my pizza with another Coke, look at my daughter and say, "HashabushawashaaZa?" She confiscates my can and bans me from further trips to the cooler.

Listen to banter of teens whose sugar supply was not curtailed.

"What if there are no hypothetical questions?"

"Stop laughing and get to work!"

"Why do we park in the driveway and drive on the parkway?"


"Why do we ship things on trucks and put cargo on trucks?"

Sit around and wait for each kid to get makeup and shoot their scenes. Watch rain move across drought stricken land in sheets.  Seven hours after arriving, Mel shoots her scene. An hour later, I drive home hoping I don't get struck down for being anti-rain, but remember to thank God for the invention of caffeine, which I mercifully found in sugar-free form at a McDonald's drive through.

Epilogue:  Wait three months for the commercial to air. Call Grandma who will in turn endure endless hours of Nickelodeon to catch the 2.7-second shot of her granddaughter which took 8 hours to create. 

I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage