Eating the Elephant Bite by Bite – Great Acting in Our “Call 811 Before You Dig” Ads

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As I’ve mentioned before, when we set out on our journey to become a Creative Powerhouse (terrible name, but what the hell else do I call it?), one of the things I wanted to be sure of was that we didn’t try to do everything at once, or to leap across every chasm in one bound. I figured we were sure to fail, get disillusioned and just go back to making videos for military tent manufacturers (painful). Chris Koser likes to say, “How do you eat the elephant? Bite by bite.” So, I took Chris’ advice, and we decided to focus on small improvements to our films that would yield big results.

For our new “Call 811 Before You Dig” ads that we were lucky enough to be chosen to make we decided to make our focus on the acting. One of the hallmarks of great work vs. mediocre national work is very good acting. People that seem real, can deliver their lines, and in this case, are funny.

So, we first of all managed to get our client to give us a bit more $$ to make this happen, because good acting (usually) don’t come cheap. Next we set out on an all point search across the West coast for the best talent what we had to spend could buy. For this, we worked with our regular casting director, the dauntless Avielle Heath. She, with the help of stellar local talent agencies Big Fish NW, TCM Talent, Tiffany Talent, and Colleen Bell Agency, rounded up hundreds of resumes and headshots which she and director Julien Scherliss waded through, and then distilled down to a small group who came in for auditions. The client jumped into the process, too, offering some things that they needed in terms of demographics and the like, and we were on our way.

We found out a lot of great things about having higher caliber talent on shoot day.

  • One – you can work MUCH faster. When people know their lines, and know how to act, you can spend time trying a different variety of takes instead of stressing about just getting one decent take.
  • We also found you have a much better time on set when everyone is a professional.
  • Finally, we found that these folks did, in fact, lift up the quality of our ads considerably. The client loved ’em, and so did we.

Enjoy the spots here, and let us know your thoughts about the acting, the spots – you name it.

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We’re going for the emotions. Joy, sorrow, laughter, love - we want it all. And we want to work with people that understand that language. Partners who will challenge us to be better and push us to grow, so when we share it with the world, we've made something that matters.