Sometimes a learning experience in direct response marketing boils down simply to discovering one more name to put on the list of "people I never want to work with again." Producers are understandably reluctant to name names, but they can curl your hair with stories of difficult celebrities on infomercial shoots.
In the October 2010 issue of Electronic Retailer magazine, Ava Seavey of Avalanche Creative Services Inc. recalled a few of her most challenging shoots. Seavey once shot an infomercial in San Francisco that was hosted by a well-known actress whose contract stipulated that she could fly in her own wardrobe stylist and makeup artist.
"She showed up with the two people," Seavey says, "but they were her psychic and his lover." On the first day of shooting, the psychic predicted an earthquake, and the actress refused to leave her hotel room. "I basically said that there would be an earthquake, all right, if she didn't show up, but it would be me banging down her door."
Think celebrities are hard to work with? Try filming with animals. In the course of a campaign for an entertainment company, Seavey shot a scene with an animal trainer who was handling enormous pythons and boa constrictors. "During filming, a humongous snake attacked the handler, who fell to the ground bleeding," she says. The reptile then had to be "caught and subdued" by a very nervous crew.
If that wasn't scary enough, Seavey recalled another time on a different campaign when she tried to film a tiger and an elephant in the same scene, nobody having realized that "an elephant and a tiger rarely, if ever, would be in the same universe together. I probably aged five years on that one," she says.
Photo by tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.com
The above post was adapted from a feature article by Jack Gordon entitled "Notes From the Production Wars," which originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Electronic Retailer magazine.
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