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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

LA Commerical Shoot: swimming pools... movie stars...

One of the fun parts of my job is that we make commercials – well I should say we work with lots of groups and pay lots of people lots of money to make commercials – but I totally say I MAKE COMMERCIALS… So in December (yes this is a backdated post), after about 2 months of planning and organizing and WAY TOO MANY meetings, we headed out to LA to shoot our commercial for a new/semi-new product launch!
As I’ve mentioned before, there is absolutely NO JOY in flying out of Northwest Arkansas – it is nice only because there are only about 5 gates so there’s no worry about gates changing or getting lost. However, EVERYONE who works for Walmart (or their thousands of vendors located here) JBHunt, or Tyson uses that one single airport.
So, me being terrified of security – not flying, just security lines, I got the airport super early! 6 am out of XNA to Dallas, then on to LA – all smooth flights, no breaches of security! We landed in LA where it was cold and rainy, hmmmmm just like what I left at home, albeit 20 degrees warmer but still cold for SoCal.
We were staying in Santa Monica at the uber swank Viceroy, where I had high hopes of seeing famousness… we checked in and then headed straight to the studio to meet the cast and crew and review the next couple of days. We had our meetings on the original set of the I Love Lucy Show, which was cool, except we saw absolutely NO STARS – bummer. We went through every step of the process and every frame of the commercial, which took a long time actually – for a: 30 commercial. After many hours at the studio, we headed back to the hotel in the fog and rain to get ready for dinner.
We went to a brand new spot in Venice – AK. A Swedish fusion restaurant. I know what you’re thinking – really? SWEDISH – don’t they pickle everything? I had the same reservations, I’ve been to Sweden, I’ve eaten the “cuisine” and of all places available on my first trip to LA = this probably would not have made my top 100 for sure. However, it was really quite tasty! We had about 20 people at dinner so we had chef treatment and the food and wine and wine and wine just kept coming!
The next day, we actually had quite a bit of down time. I had brought my running shoes with great aspirations to run on the beach, especially since I’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean.
On a side note, MZ travels to LA quite a bit as his HQ is there. He’s always talked about how it sucks because you stay on central time, no matter what. Surely I thought, I could beat it! I’m invincible right? I totally figured that since I stayed up too and had a full day, my internal clock would adjust accordingly.
NOPE! 4 am (6 am CST) wide awake! So I watched TV until the sun came up, said HI to Robin and Diane on GMA, snapped some pictures of the sunrise over the ocean and headed out for my beautifully anticipated run. It was about 40 degrees out which was pretty warm for me, so I was peeling off layers of clothes as I passed SoCal locals running literally in their ski gear. I giggled and continued on my way to Venice Beach. It was so pretty on the water. I ran back to the hotel through the little neighborhoods and all the gorgeous beach houses. I made it back alive and emailed my boss who made fun of me to begin with for emailing her that I was leaving and where I was going – ya know, in case someone got me.
That afternoon, I met up with my team and we went to lunch at the famous Lobster on the Santa Monica Pier. I had a lobster BLT = fabulous! Then we met up with some more of the agency team and drove around for a bit of site seeing – we drove through Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive. Then we headed to the shoot location to make sure everything was moving smoothly. It was crazy – the crew had completely taken apart someone’s house for this commercial – just a regular person – turned out their kitchen was for “rent” so to say for needs such as ours… We were only there for a couple of hours – not bad for a full day in LA! That night we went to dinner at Capo which was right across from our hotel – it was a wonderful steak place and we all had a super tasty dinner!
The next day was shoot day! We were up early (yes I even ran before) and headed to the location where craft services had already been for a few hours with the rest of the crew – it was great to have them all set up there fixing whatever anyone could want for breakfast – I had an egg white omelet, nothing better than an omelet made out of the back of a food truck! Shooting went ALL DAY LONG! And it was super cold – all the crew were wearing their ski gear all day, it was wild! Finally one of the guys on set lent me his jacket because one we were out of the sun, video village was down right frigid! We wrapped about 8 pm with about 30 cans of footage and lots of new catch phrases: Quiet on the Set! ACTION!!! And CUT IT! All of which were said with delirious glee for quite sometime after. That evening we just hung out in the Viceroy bar, again hoping to see some celebs, apparently they don’t come out in the cold – or they all head to Aspen or something because even on a Friday night – NO SIGHTINGS! I had a super early flight on Saturday – 2 flights (connect in Dallas) of which I did not have a confirmed seat on… fun times the Saturday before Christmas let me tell you. However, I made it home all in one piece with no worries and a few bottles of wine from SoCal.
The commercial should start airing soon, so I’ll be sure to post it for all to see – but YOU will see it on TV as it’ll be in every market. One spoiler though – Walt from ABC’s LOST is in MY commercial – although he would never tell me what the F is going on on that damn island… trust me, I tried to pry it out of him.

4 comments:

Muffy Willowbrook said...

Wow - exciting work you do! And I'd give anything to run on the beach right now - even if I had to do it in ski gear!

Lela said...

Gracie, I am loving your blog! Thanks for coming to the training. However, I think maybe you should have been the trainer. And yeah, I'm jealous of your job. Sounds like so much fun. And you're based here? Wild.

Legallyblondemel said...

This post made me both laugh & miss home. You can tell the locals in southern California best in winter, because we're the ones in full ski regalia, convinced of our imminent wintry demise should the temps fall below 60; it's only the tourists who are running around in shorts, generally.

Love the pics of Santa Monica - isn't that a fun town?

Lisa said...

Too funny - LOVE that you sent the pre- and follow-up emails... you know... just in case. I would've done it, too!