Last night I did something I've never done...I shot a TV commercial in the middle of the night! My co-stars? A lovely lady named Greer and some animatronic swine.
I can't give too many details about the project just yet, but I thought I'd at least tell the story of my late night adventure.
It started at 8:45pm. That's when I got in my car to make the 30 minute drive to a town west of Charlotte. Remnants of Fay are providing some much needed rain to our area, and my rain gauge says my backyard alone has seen around 5 inches in the last few days. I drove slowly to my destination through tropical-like downpours.
I arrived just before 9:30pm, my call time. The reason for the overnight shoot was because we were filming in a restaurant during their off hours. One of the assistants helped me with my bags of clothes as we dodged giant rain puddles and a nice breeze that blew the water right into my face (despite an umbrella).
At 10pm, the make-up artist began trying to undo what Fay had done...and he had his work cut out for him! Once my co-star was made-up and ready (Greer, not the animatronic little beast), we began shooting. Since Greer and I are in every scene, we spent the next several hours repeating our lines as the camera caught us from every possible angle.
Now, I've shot more than a few commercials in my time, and this was the first time something horrible happened to me...the later it got- I simply could not remember my lines!! After the 2am hour struck, my brain shut off. Fortunately, I wasn't alone- the late night sleepies got Greer as well. I would mess up, and we'd start over...she'd mess up, and we'd start over. This happened for about 8 takes. Finally, we stood up- shook it off- and nailed the take they needed.
At about 3am, we broke for 'lunch'. Because the commercial takes place during the day, large spotlights had been set up outside to create the illusion of a sunny day. Sheets of paper were added to the windows to hide the massive amounts of rain falling outside. My body was completely confused. I'd been awake for 19 hours, yet it was sunny!
The shoot wrapped earlier than expected, and we were all on our way at about 4am. I called my husband as I drove home, knowing he would just have arrived at work. He kept me alert long enough to get me home safely, and I was sound asleep by 5am.
I've filmed desert scenes in 31 degree temps, I've stood in a huddle for 4 hours straight...but this was a shoot I will never forget! Despite extreme fatigue, we pulled it together and made it work (to quote Tim Gunn). The client was very happy, and we all can't wait to see the finished product!
As a funny side note...I'll let you in on a little secret about me. I am terrified of puppets, people in costumes, and things that move when they shouldn't. It's not something I'm proud of...but the Hamburgler at McDonald's seriously freaks me out! All that to say, this was my first experience acting with animatronics. I have no idea what my expressions will look like in the finished spot, but I sincerely hope my terror doesn't show! Keeping a smile on my face as a pile of silicone blinked, shed, and wrinkled it's nose may go down as one of my hardest assignments yet! I never told a soul on set about my little fear, lest it cause any unnecessary stress, but I guess it's ok to admit it now that we're done :)