If you watched the US Olympic Marathon Team Trials earlier this month you surely noticed the 30-second ad from Brooks which aired a few times during the two-hour event. What may have seemed like just another shoe advertisement was actually a lot more than that. It represented the first time the Seattle-based company produced a television spot. And I was a part of it all.
Back in December, I was asked if I would be interested in being a part of the filming because they were looking for a few “runners” to give the spot a more authentic feel. The request came with only about three day’s notice and it would require two long days on set. I had an idea of what to expect since I have spent a lot of time around the television industry of late and was excited to actually take part in the project instead of watching from the sidelines.
Day one of shooting required me being on site at 4:30 am. It was well over an hour drive to the location so my day started super early. Luckily for me, they had breakfast catered and I was able to grab a breakfast burrito and coffee before heading to the makeup trailer.
I am not sure if it was a good or bad sign that it only took 30 minutes to turn me into death warmed over but I have to give credit to the makeup artists because I looked like a member of the walking dead. Since I was only an extra in the shoot, my time in the makeup chair paled in comparison to the principles of the shoot who spent upwards of four hours getting ready.
Luckily I was joined by a friendly face in Megan for the day’s work. We, along with a handful of other real actors, piled into a van and took the smallest trail of a road they could find to the top of a mountain before sunrise.
After running up the trail at least a dozen times, our group was done with its part. Back into the van and off to base camp we went where we waited until it was time to head over the second shooting location of the day.
Waiting. That would be the theme of the two days. A handful of rushed seconds of “action” would be followed by long periods of waiting for whatever was next.
Every now and then the director would call for some of the extras to come be part of the scene they were shooting but I guess I my stretching was not believable since I was only around for a couple of takes. It makes sense though, I do not really stretch before I run.
Everything shut down for lunch which was another delicious meal and then off to the final location for the day.
The production company basically shut down a residential road and it looked like World War Three had taken place. These were nice houses which people currently lived in but on this day the windows were boarded up, there was trash all over the road, and there was a car on fire.
For the final scene I traded in my zombie wardrobe for that of a survivor. Oddly, it took almost as long for makeup to turn me into a survivor as it did for them to kill me. Again, not sure what that says about my natural look.
Dozens of more “action” and “cut” calls later I was wrapped for the day. All told it was about 13 hours on set and “lucky me” I only had a two-and-a-half-hour commute back home.
For day two of filming I was able to sleep in. Call time was 5:30 a.m. and this time we were only shooting at one location.
For the most part, day two mirrored day one in that short calls for action were followed by lengthy downtime. I was a much larger part of the day’s filming during the second day. As it turned out, my role in filming was over around lunch time although I was not told I was released until around 5:30 p.m.
I am not sure I want to take up acting as a career despite having a wonderful experience. Most of the time I was bored and I would not want to have to audition for part after part after part just in the hopes that I make the cut to be an extra with no speaking parts.
When the final product, a three-minute mini movie, was launched on the Brooks website, I was excited to see a few of my scenes had made the cut. I guess I am better at acting like a zombie than I am a runner. I guess I can eliminate being a runner from my list of career options as well.