Tales from the shoot

Being in the middle of a dreary Canadian winter, we're jealous of all those marketers and creatives presently down south shooting commercials - or, shall we say, sipping margaritas and basking in the sunshine? Okay, so we know it's not always so glam, and concede that it might even be hard work. On that note, we asked industry folk for their most embarrassing, humorous and compromising tales from the trenches.

Being in the middle of a dreary Canadian winter, we’re jealous of all those marketers and creatives presently down south shooting commercials – or, shall we say, sipping margaritas and basking in the sunshine? Okay, so we know it’s not always so glam, and concede that it might even be hard work. On that note, we asked industry folk for their most embarrassing, humorous and compromising tales from the trenches.

Steamy hotel encounter

‘It was an overnight flight to England. I checked into London’s posh, newly

opened St. Martins Lane Hotel (by Ian Schrager) and unpacked my overnight bag.

I had ‘reversed and rolled’ a jacket that would be appropriate for the Kellogg

pre-production meeting that I had come over to attend.

‘The same Esquire ‘Tips for Travellers’ article that recommended the ‘reverse-and-roll’ technique also suggested that any wrinkles could be steamed out by hanging the article in the bathroom and turning on the shower. While I napped, the heat and steam from the multiple shower heads (artfully designed by Philippe Starck) set off the smoke detector.

‘With the head of security pounding on my door and the fire alarms blaring, all the other guests were evacuated. But both my jacket and the ad turned out beautifully.’

Martin Shewchuk, EVP/ECD, JWT Toronto

Sometimes you don’t need to be protected and served

‘The following happened while we were shooting a commercial for the United Way of the Lower Mainland: We had an actor pretending to have suicidal tendencies on a bridge. He was simply looking over the railing. We hadn’t shot more than a few takes when a cop car pulled over in the middle of the bridge. Within seconds, a police officer had leapt over the pedestrian fence and was about to tackle our talent. Then he noticed a P.A. with a phone, standing about 20 feet away. She waved at him and smiled. Puzzled, the officer looked down over the bridge railing. The entire crew waved up to him.

He got back in his car and left.’

Kevin Rathgeber, senior writer and Daryl Gardiner, senior art director, DDB Canada, Vancouver

Hey, it’s hot in this tin can!

‘One of my favourite shoots was for the ‘Tin Man’ ad I shot while at AGF, as part of the ‘Eventually Everyone Retires’ campaign. We did extensive casting to find an actor with just the right look to portray the Tin Man, and looked at actors in Canada, the U.K. and South Africa before settling on the perfect candidate: Julian. We flew him to the location in Cape Town (from his home in London) and he was very excited, this being his first acting gig outside of the U.K.

‘Let’s just say it turned out to be a lot more complicated, and a lot less glamorous than he’d expected. Once he had the whole Tin Man outfit on (which took a couple of hours to get into including makeup), Julian could barely move, never mind sit down. This made transporting him quite difficult so we actually ended up renting a Winnebago that was big enough for him to stand in. And needless to say one can get pretty hot while shooting for long days under the Cape Town sun, but drinking a ton of water wasn’t really an option given the time involved in getting in and out of costume. And having an ‘accident’ might have left the Tin Man a little rusty.’

Tammy Scott, VP, Canada brand building, MasterCard Canada, Toronto