A commercial I shot recently is finally done – the company it was for has been unsure how to best utilize it (I assume they’re concerned whether or not the world is prepared this much wonderfulness), but I can share it now, at least. So I’m officially finished with that one. Yay!
Here it is, for the interested. No, I’m not in it, although that’s my voice narrating at the end:
You know why it’s done? Because it’s for a product called “Cats,” instead of a production involving cats. It’s a crucial difference. I’m actually finishing up another commercial for the same company and… it’s a little rocky. You see, since the product is called “Cats,” this commercial involves the participation, cooperation and on-cue action of a cat. A real cat. Therefore, as anyone has ever owned, met, or heard of a cat may have surmised, things got complicated.
The initial planning involved a lot of real cat activity. Cats interacting with people, sitting, responding on cue and engaging in specific actions. Ah, those were the days… so naive, so carefree. Then, as things got closer and the shot-by-shot planning came about, we got more realistic; Then we got started and the plan shifted to “Okay, we’re going to film a blur of a fake cat whizzing by, then insert the real cat later. Much later.” And thus the bulk of the day was spent hurling a fake cat at actors. Ever tried to throw a stuffed cat so it looks like it’s lunging at something? Of course not. Why in God’s name would you? Well, it’s harder than it sounds. It’s harder than anything, actually. Harder than Chinese math. Harder than stale Grape Nuts. Harder than bull’s-eyeing a womp-rat in a T-16.
The kicker, of course, is that we’re needing the cat to do cat things. Chase a toy or laser-pointer. Meow. Lie there. Areas where cats really excel. But that’s because you’re not asking them to do it. Pleading. Cajoling.
One moment involves a cat, who is by nature very cranky, being cranky. But he has to hold still. That wasn’t happening, so finally I scattered a little catnip and he nestled right in. I’m a genius!
Then he was so mellow from the catnip he couldn’t get angry about anything. I’m an idiot!
The shot involves someone being scared, trying to get his keys from this crazed, cranky cat and, even after I tinkered with the footage and added a yowl, he looked – at worst – like someone’s harshing his buzz a little.
It’s getting there, though. Now I’m at a point where the cat is largely implied. It’s going to be a conceptual meditation piece on catness, rather than merely focusing on some physical entity.
I’m hoping the next product they make should be called ”Sandwich” or “Glob of clay” or even just “Inert.” Anything but “Cats.”