Giving Thanks

I recently told you about some of the commercials I’ve been making. Here’s the first one. It will only run for the next two or three days in the US starting tomorrow. If you have the TV on while you eat your turkey, you’ll be hard-pressed to miss.

It was shot by Jeff Preiss of Epoch films, edited by Charlie Johnston at Lost Planet, scored by Mark Isham and produced by Drew Lippman.

Backblog 2

Just to recap and explain my absence over the past months, here are some souvenirs from my second consecutive shoot. We are making a big commercial that will run on Thanksgiving Day — if you watch American TV for even a minute on November 22, you’ll certainly see it. If not, I’ll post a copy later this month.

We filmed around New York City and Westchester in the days leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, we wrapped the evening the storm finally arrived on our shores.

Fall is here.

Our first location. This seems like ages ago, an idyllic Fall day in Brooklyn. Now all of these leaves have been blown away by the hurricane. Hopefully the house is still standing.

Jeff shoots in Ocean Park.

My director Jeff and I have made commercials together for over 20 years. We’ve shot in New York, California, Chicago, and Rome and the results are always spectacular. He’s one of my favorite creative collaborators and I can’t wait to see his feature film, scheduled to come out next year.

One of the three complete Thanksgiving dinners we prepared and shot.

We shot three scenes with large, extended, real families making and sharing Turkey Day. The food styling was extraordinary and cornucopian.

The crew films in a nut store on Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ave

We used real stores, streets, yards and homes as our locations.

Never mind the Bollexs. My director’s 16 mm. cammeras.

Jeff shot with several different cameras, film and digital: 35 mm., a Canon 5D, a Canon C300, and his personal collection of Bolexs.

A glass-blowing forge

We filmed a master craftsman as she and her team blew extraordinary glass vases.

Relics of the Industrial Age.

We shot a factory scene in a  giant warehouse full of old machines from New York’s dwindling manufacturing industry.

This isn’t a scene from “Armageddon” or “Independence Day”. It’s just the first arrival of Sandy on our shores.

On our final Day, we shot high atop the World Trade Center where crews were battening down their gear as the wind picked up.  Then we hired a ferry to drive us back and forth past the Statue of Liberty as the sky grew menacing.


Now that my house is back to normal, I want to catch up on the all things I have been doing for the past month.

Shoot #1:  Three weeks ago, I traveled to Los Angeles to shoot some commercials for AIDS Day (December 1st). We filmed near Santa Clara in a fantastic location, an entire Mexican village that was built just to be used as a set. It has a half-dozen streets lined with bars and churches and various hovels, all uninhabited and weathered in the hot California sun. I’ve used it as a stand in for West Africa twice now.

The new sherriff in town.

The town doctor.

Filming in our traditional African village. Tortillas on the side.

My limo awaits.

Back in LA, we shot in an abandoned hospital which was still full of equipment and supplies. It was like something from “The Walking Dead,” and filled me with an eerie feeling that resurfaced during last week’s power outage in New York.

This emergency room needs an emergency room.

Spell check. Stat!

I napped in here.

This left me in stitches.

A good subject for a drawing.

The shoot went very smoothly (I’ll post a link to the commercials when they’re done) and then I flew back to New York and immediately went into production for another client, shooting around the city and environs. More on that in my next post…