The Director's Cut.
Production stories are the best. I can sit around all night and listen to people tell amazing stories about saving the day with a heroic effort or spontaneous creativity or a combination of both. Another production company and 5 years ago, we were handed a big-shot agency executive whose clients included a major soft drink brand (not Pepsi, the other one.) He came to us with a concept for a Doritos commercial for what is now (this was the first year) the annual Doritos Super Bowl commercial contest. We covered the cost of this spec project in exchange for potential reciprocal paid work.
This edit based upon the original script adds twins.
In the script, our hero is an everyman walking and eating Doritos. Like an Axe deodorant/cologne ad, the Doritos dust drives women wild - natch. There were other storylines including 2 guys hanging out shooting video who discover the power of the Doritos dust, go after the discarded bag, get hit by a car, are watched by more attractive women with even more attractive women as responding police. These elements were shot but were too long and difficult to convey to make it in to a 30 second spot.
This project occurred early days in the history of Insanity/Line Dash and early on in my experience as a producer. The location permit was to shoot at the restaurant Doc’s Motorworks on South Congress in Austin, TX. When the dp & director got together, one of the first shots they wanted to get was an establishing shot from across the street on the sidewalk next to a clothing boutique. The owners there have some experience in production and knew that they had not given permission for a camera to be outside their store blocking views of their window display. I waited and hoped for a PA to handle their apparent displeasure.
When the radio crackled with a voice asking for Colin, it was time to abandon that hope. I headed-in with the amount of 200 cash dollars in my head. I explained to the owners that we were a start-up spending our own money to produce this spot. They countered that the spot was for a major corporation and that the ad executive hiring us had another major corporation as a client. They weren’t accepting the low budget argument and were clear about their option to call the city on our production.
Colin Lowry & the bears.
The conversation was cordial and fun, but serious. Finally I said, “What’s not selling in this store?” One owner admitted that there were seven blue & green large teddy bears that had been on sale for a long time. The store’s focus is on black clothing and these cuddly color bears were out-of-place. Each bear cost $20 each, so I spent $140 total to get the retailers’ permission - $60 less than my pain threshold and we were able to give each bear away to the 7 volunteer talent from The Texas Bikini Team as a gift!