Take care of yourself for Christmas 2020

24-Dec-20 9:30 AM by
Filed under Films; Comments Off on Take care of yourself for Christmas 2020

A lot of our fiction hasn't caught up to this reality: the few new television shows and movies that have been released tend to exist in the past or in some alternative reality where there is no coronavirus. There are exceptions, such as NBC series Superstore or the horror movie Host, though this sensitive topic hits so close to home that how it's handled in media can be hit or miss.

Yet sometimes, this denial of reality can be just what we need. Some marketing firms release commercials and advertisements that aren't really about the product come across more as short films. Apple's Frankenstein ad, now four years old, is a good example:

But for media created in a time of pandemic, I find myself watching and rewatching this season's "Take Care of Yourself":

There is so much emotion captured in these wordless two minutes. The glory of days gone: The frustration of lost agency — something my own father struggled with. The self-consciousness of trying and failing in public. The inspiration of the next generation. The self-sacrifice to do something for someone else. And choosing to live in the present, not the past.

I myself am missing my family this holiday. As a digital nomad, I was on the road in 2019, too — but at least then I found distant family to celebrate Christmas with. This year, I've been welcomed into the home of a family that is not my own. It still leaves me wistful for simpler times when everyone could be together.

By depicting an unrestricted family gathering, this commercial plants itself firmly not in the reality of 2020. Yet for some reason, it's something that I needed. Maybe it's because I have neither grandparents nor children, making its abstract lesson more noticeable than the setting or context. Or maybe it's the inspiration that if we work hard enough, we as a society can endure and accomplish anything — including surviving this pandemic.

Whatever comes after the pandemic won't be a return to "normalcy" as we've known it. But this Christmas isn't cancelled any more than last year's was or next year's is. Each year will be different, and if we can find the strength and motivation to adapt, then that itself is something to celebrate.

Duck Tape TRON

22-Aug-11 9:04 PM by
Filed under Humor; Comments Off on Duck Tape TRON

This TRON video came out just today and is sure to be a viral hit — so I'm doing my part and sharing it with Showbits readers, my favorite Internet denizens.

Has TRON's light cycle scene ever been so masterfully recreated than by this work of TRON Guy? I met Jay Maynard at ROFLCon a few years ago, and this advertisement for Duck-brand duct tape is the perfect amalgamation of his stereotyped perception and actual personality. Besides, what genius is it to advertise a specific brand of tape? It's like comedian Steven Wright has said: you never see an advertisement for string. All it takes is one ad to put your product ahead of the competition. I'd say Duck Tape just soared well past the other brands on the grid.

(Hat tip to 8 Bit Weapon)

Eat Like Snake

08-Jan-09 11:59 AM by
Filed under Television; 2 comments.

Having cancelled my television service nine years ago, I am rarely exposed to commercials. Sometimes I go looking for them, but rarely do they find me. When they do, it's often because they've made their way to the top of the intertubes by sheer oddity. Such is the case with this promotion, wherein Burger King wants you to eat like snake:

Note that they're not saying to "eat like a snake", or even to "eat snake" (which surely even you non-vegetarians couldn't get behind). The grammar and biology of the message simply defy explanation. I can't even blame a cultural gap. Whatever does it mean??

(Hat tip to RiffTrax)

Davis Advertising and YOU!

18-Dec-08 3:46 PM by
Filed under Films, On Stage, Potpourri; 5 comments.

I can't help but admire movie actors who are able to convey so much emotion and passion, because I know that the filmmaking process induces almost exactly the opposite. Big-budget films require inconvenient locations, long hours, and scenes shot seconds at a time, making it difficult to maintain energy from cut to cut.

I experience few of those challenges in my own avocation as a stage actor. Most of my work is in musicals like Brigadoon, or comedies such as Run For Your Wife!. But a good actor is a diverse one, and I try to reflect that in a portfolio that includes other media as well. I've worked on the silver screen before, but only as an extra, a role that's easy to miss. Recently, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to star in a commercial.

Davis Advertising of Worcester, Mass., recently wanted to create a short video for digital distribution in online and media press kits. They sent out some emails, which eventually circulated to a friend with whom I'd been in the chorus of the musical Camelot five years ago. When he saw that they were looking for a "clean-cut, Richie Cunningham type", he immediately thought of me — proving it's not who you know, but who knows you. A few emails with the advertising company and an agreement to shave my beard later, and I had the part.

Working with just two men behind the camera and only one in front of it proved a much more enjoyable experience than being a film extra. We were able to shoot multiple takes, change angles, and improve and improvise rapidly. I've been told that I am a good physical actor (think Donald O'Connor in Singin' in the Rain), and the format of this commercial suited that strength; I had all my lines down in no time flat! An hour of shooting and we were done — and a month later, the following commercial was unveiled:

(For those curious, the stock footage comes from the PSA "Are You Ready for Marriage?". Hat tip to Kahm!)

Thanks again to Jeff at Davis Advertising and Clyde from Sterling Community Theater for this, my first-ever commercial. It was a great experience and a new one to put on my theatrical résumé. I look forward to doing more such work!

The Enterprise Enterprise

17-Sep-08 1:00 PM by
Filed under Humor, Star Trek; 3 comments.

Jerry Seinfeld's recent team-up with Bill Gates for a bizarre set of advertisements has put me in mind of other famous celebrity endorsements — especially when it comes to Star Trek. The show's futuristic setting has left Star Trek relatively immune to product placement, but that hasn't stopped the franchise from appearing elsewhere to promote services both related and otherwise. I'm not speaking of the show's actors, taken out of their galactic context, hawking wares such as the Commodore VIC-20, but actual in-character sales pitches.

The most recent and famous example may be William Shatner plugging DirecTV:

Of course, once you find the DirecTV channel you want, put down the remote and get your hands busy with some finger-lickin' goodness:


Super Happy Fun Hour

26-Dec-07 9:58 PM by
Filed under Potpourri; 2 comments.

Christmas future is far away; Christmas past is past. Did everyone get what they wanted?

Whether you've a Christmas bonus to spend or you're planning for next year, consider this fun-filled potential stocking stuffer: infinite bubble wrap. I confess to being easily amused and unable to walk past bubble wrap without deflating its purpose… but this commercial suggests a cultural difference far beyond anything I've previously encountered. But hey — if popping plastic from dawn til dusk brings tears to your eyes, all the more power to you. I wish I could be so entertained for only 819 yen!

Tip of the hat to old friend AliTak!

Montagne de Brokeback

17-Sep-07 9:18 PM by
Filed under Humor; Comments Off on Montagne de Brokeback

(Tip of the hat: IT Blogwatch)

Cow Tipping Gone Horribly Wrong

15-Jun-07 2:45 PM by
Filed under Humor, Television; 1 comment.

I haven't posted a video in awhile, so to kick off the weekend, return with now me to 1993 and the debut of the "Got Milk?" ad campaign with this hilarious, award-winning commercial: