TV vs Commercials (328th new thing).

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Day Three Hundred Twenty-Eight I worked the first shoot day on my first television pilot. I had worked as a Production Assistant on many commercials in the past year, but the only TV series experience I have is my one year at Whole World Theatre when they shot for Turner South. And I guess Gem Shopping, although that is an entirely different beast. Everything else has been commercials or promos. I suppose it’s been better for me financially (since commercials typically pay better), but I also like the range of work that comes with working on different narrative formats, even if I can usually be found doing office work.

The TV pilot I worked on was like Fight Club. We do not talk about Fight Club, at least until it airs (next January). However, I can spend a little time waxing about the difference (in my opinion) in working on on a television advertisement versus a television pilot. There aren’t an extensive amount of differences, but here are the ones that stuck in my mind:

The narrative. I liked reading the script of the TV show much more than any commercial. There is more dialogue, a plot, and developing characters. In a commercial the script can be an outline of movement, a suggested line, or even just an idea. Point one, pilot.

The activity. The activity on a commercial varies based on the budget, client, etc. I’m sure the same is true of a television show. However, being a PA on a commercial shoot that is longer than a day, it usually takes me about that time to establish myself to everyone, letting them know that I am not a slacker, but a smart, funny professional. It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough to where I begin to believe it. So I think the length of filming on a TV series would win in this battle, although I have worked on a few commercials for a week or more, so it’s kind of a toss up when comparing commercial and pilot.

The pay. Commercials pay better, across the board. So they win in a daily battle.

The titles. I was bumped up to a Production Coordinator title on the TV show I worked on. It’s a step up from Production Assistant, even though I was doing similar office work, just more of it. Resume-wise, though, pretty cool.

In all actuality, there wasn’t too much of a difference between my experience working on a commercial shoot and the TV pilot. The latter had a lower budget than a typical pilot shoot, which basically meant that I was working as a coordinator for commercial PA rate. And that the crafty selections were more limited. But I liked working on the pilot, liked the longevity that it could mean. And most importantly, I liked the project and the people I was working with. Which happens often on other freelance jobs, but this one just seemed cooler.

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Super Bowl Commercial (255th new thing).

January 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Five was our first shoot day (of four) at the Hyundai plant, and my first time working on a commercial that was to be aired during the Super Bowl. Like right before kick-off during the Super Bowl. It was pretty exciting, or at least it will be when the football game airs.

I spent my day shuffling people to and from the plant, assisting in the production office, and generally trying to stay out of the way of people working hard, but still be available should anyone need anything. You know, a typical day as a production assistant. It wasn’t too eventful, although I did get to don safety goggles and a helmet.

That’s pretty exciting, huh?

Community Q (176th new thing).

October 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day One Hundred Seventy-Six was one of those where I ended up home after a long day and lay in bed, reflecting on what new things I may have done. Because really, I can always nitpick and find something. That something for this post was to eat some pulled chicken from Community Q BBQ, a newish BBQ restaurant in Decatur.

It was the second day of working pre-production for the Comcast commercial, and this experience was not nearly as thrilling as the travel-filled previous tech scout day. I mostly helped with paperwork at the Four Seasons headquarters and went on errands for anyone who needed anything. So I was the lucky PA who placed our lunch order and headed across town to Community Q to pick it up.

We had ordered a platter of pulled chicken BBQ (which I don’t normally eat), some sides, and a “Kitchen Sink Salad,” a play on the common “everything but…” saying. The meat was really tasty, tender, and moist. But my favorite part of the meal was the salad. Eggs, cucumbers, onions, tomato, and beets. Maybe even more than that. I recently discovered that I love pickled beets, so I was down.

I will definitely be eating there again. Especially since I hear the banana pudding is to die for.

Day Fifty-Six. Green Screen and Muppets.

May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day Fifty-Six was the first of the actual shooting days for the Georgia Lottery commercials. As a PA, I was mostly responsible for driving the out-of-town director and producer to and from their hotel (The Georgian Terrace), manning the video feed for the agency, and generally helping out whenever a member of production needed it. The main new activity for the day was watching a green screen commercial being filmed with muppets.

It was kind of cool.

Atrium of the Georgian Terrace

And now that the commercials have been aired, I can share some of the pictures taken during the shoot.

Tilt Shift Green Screen

Actors, Crew, and Clients

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