As children dressed in oversized cardigans and blouses dance around on set, Benjy Gaither motions to them to keep the energy up.
Gaither, an Alexandria-based filmmaker and 1992 Anderson University graduate, was shooting a fan-submission commercial for Doritos. The hope is that the 30-second commercial will be selected to air during the 2012 Super Bowl in February.
The theme of the commercial is a group of senior citizens at a retirement home playing cards and other mildly exciting activities. Magically after eating Doritos, they are turned into much younger versions of themselves. [Photo on left: Kids act out a party as they take part in a commercial to be entered in the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" contest at Bethany Pointe on Wednesday.]
Penny Stevens, director of residential programming at Bethany Pointe Health Campus, came up with the idea while brainstorming with her two daughters. The finished product will be submitted as part of Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl Contest. If it’s selected, not only will it appear during the Super Bowl, but could win up to $1 million.
Stevens said there’s only a slim chance it will win, but said filming was great experience for Bethany Pointe residents, several of whom had parts in the film.
“We’re always looking for ways to do intergenerational activities. I thought ‘wouldn’t it be fun to mix our residents with children and film a commercial?’” Stevens said.
Getting Gaither to direct the commercial was an added bonus, she said. Initially Gaither said he didn’t think he could do it with his busy schedule; however, after hearing Stevens’ idea for the ad he found a way to make time.
“It was a lot of fun. The kids were great, the old folks were awesome,” Gaither said.
As soon as filming wrapped about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Gaither said he had to get going as he had an early flight to Los Angeles this morning.
Unlike most of Gaither’s previous work, including recently released “The Last Ride,” the commercial had no script, using improvisation instead. When one of the child actors accidentally spilled his bag of Doritos, Gaither told him not to worry about cleaning it up and continue with the scene.
Filming was a collaborative effort between Gaither and Anderson University’s Covenant Productions®, which provided the equipment and, more importantly, a production crew.
“It was a great opportunity, just great to see how everyone pitched in to make this happen,” said AU senior Andrew Stuart, who was an assistant director for the shoot.
Filming started Tuesday night with the crew filming the seniors’ pre transformation, and continued Wednesday. In all, Stevens said filming took about four hours. It was a bit surreal, she said.
“I had this little idea, and then I saw all this expensive equipment come in, and I was stunned,” Stevens said.
—Sam Brattain is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Photo credit: Don Knight. Story republished with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.