Yesterday morning I was able to view the making of a TGI Fridays commercial at the Sony lot in Culver City. My client directed the spot and I was invited to watch and get ideas. Anyway, I had been to Sony Studios back in January to see a taping of King of Queens, but it was cool this time having a VIP pass and not being escorted to the different stages. I felt pretty cocky actually as I passed the many busy people on bicycles and in go carts, I felt like I was part of some production, when in reality I was just there to view a food commercial, lol.
Here are some things that I found interesting. I always figured restaurant commercials, like Applebee’s or Chili's were filmed in one of their closed restaurant locations, it would make sense since it would be all set up, but no, it was all done in a sound stage with a mini TGIF themed restaurant inside, just minus a roof so that lights and cameras could be put in. They also used real food. One part of the sound stage was designated for a mini-TGIF kitchen, where real TGIF chefs prepared the food to create authenticity and actual portion sizes, which I thought was impressive. There was a beer foam guy employed too, his job was to refill the drinks to keep the foam frothy and at the just poured happy hour level.
Although I would have been bored being one of the extras who had to eat fried food at 9 a.m. and fake smiles and pretend it was happy hour, there lips moving as if in conversation when they weren't and laughing when nothing funny was said (not that unlike to what I did at The Galley shoot a few weeks ago) but the perks would have made the job worth it. The whole cast and crew were treated to an omelet bar with cooks making some awesome creations. One actress had corn and avocado on top of over easy eggs on tortillas, there was a man passing out shakes, plus a table of fresh fruit, teas, coffees, fondue and a collection of vitamins and aspirins were stacked including multi-v packs, ginseng, calcium, and so forth, right next to twizzlers, very weird and not sure why they were necessary. There was also wireless hookup and everyone on the business side of things had their Macs out and logged on.
Can you tell I had fun observing all this? Well, if not, I did. I wouldn't mind hanging on commercial sets more often. Anyone looking for extras...call me!