A woman is carrying boxes out to her car. At the same time, a vehicle speeding into the parking lot, strikes her down. As paramedics try to revive the woman, the viewer wonders why such things must happen. Luckily, there is a solution to such problems: the Guardian 2000 Personal Protection System. The scenario plays one more time, this time with the woman wearing the Guardian 2000 headset. She is able to avoid the accident and Guardian gets the thanks.
On-screen narrator: "Friends, how many times has this happened to you? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop life’s little misfortunes before they happen? Well, now there’s a way. Introducing the new Guardian 2000. Through our sophisticated satellite tracking system, your every move is carefully monitored for potentially life-threatening situations. When entering a danger zone, a signal is immediately transmitted to your headset. Followed by detailed instructions guiding you to safety."
Unseen narrator: "Don’t miss this special offer. To order the Guardian 2000 personal protection system for just 48 easy payments of $29.95, pick up your phone and call 1-800-DONT-DIE. That’s 1-800-DONT-DIE. Operators are standing by. But you’ll have to hurry. Supplies are limited, order yours today!"
Props and Gear
1) A parking lot. We recommend shooting in a quiet place away from traffic. You will need to have the freedom to shoot several takes from a variety of positions without disturbing or endangering passersby.
2) A truck. You’ll need a large vehicle with good brakes and a "stunt driver". See the Stunt section to learn how it’s done.
3) Several empty cardboard boxes.
4) The product. To make the Guardian headphones, we used what we had handy: a pair of headphones and a wireless mike receiver. When we tucked the receiver under the band of the headphones, the antennas stuck up and we thought they fit the part. You can use whatever you like to make your headset.
5) The Guardian technician’s workstation. At the very least, you’ll need a computer and a telephone. We had access to an elaborate headset. To add drama and intensity, we illuminated the scene with a flashing red light.
6) A few guinea pigs, err – friends. The spot calls for a couple of on-screen roles. You’ll need someone to star as the run-down box-carrying victim, a paramedic, a few on-lookers and a driver for the truck (this may or may not be your stunt driver). You’ll also need at least one person to speak on camera and someone to do the off-camera narration at the end of the commercial.
7) Buyout music. You’ll need a couple good music tracks to add emotion to the project. One should be suspenseful, the other should be up-beat and energetic.
For years the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live have produced commercial parodies. Many of them have become classics. "It’s a floor wax." "No, it’s a dessert topping." "It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!" Mock commercials are short, typically two minutes or less, so it doesn’t take very long to make them, and they are fun for friends and family to watch again and again.
At a recent Videomaker Workshop, one of our production teams wrote and produced this commercial for a fictional product called the Guardian 2000 Personal Security System with the classic commercial parody in mind. We thought you might like to shoot and edit it yourself. We’ve done the planning, the rest is up to you.
When you’re done, send us a copy of your version of the Guardian 2000 commercial. We’d love to see what you do with our script.
The script calls for a person to be hit by a speeding vehicle. But don’t worry your insurance rates won’t sky rocket. We’ll do it with a little camera trickery and some tight editing.
The accident will be comprised of three shots. The truck speeding into the lot (SHOT 3). A shot of the speeding truck locking its brakes in a panic stop (SHOT 4), and a telephoto shot from behind the truck showing the woman as she disappears in front of the vehicle, the truck rocking forward as it stops and the boxes flying into the air (SHOT 5).
When you shoot SHOT 5, have the driver of the truck accelerate for about 20 feet, then brake hard to stop about three parking spaces away from the actress. When the driver brakes, the nose of the vehicle will dip. Your actress should use this motion as her cue to throw up her arms and fall to the ground. It is important to shoot this shot using a telephoto lens setting. Why? Because when you zoom to a telephoto setting, the optics of your camcorder’s lens cause the image to look compressed. A wide angle lens setting would reveal the fact that the truck actually stops more than 20 feet from our actress, but the telephoto setting will make it look like the truck hits her.
Shoot SHOT 4 without anyone in the roadway. This way, your driver can accelerate and skid to a stop without putting anyone in danger. Pan with the truck as it passes you, but allow the truck to continue out of the frame so you don’t show the hood or front fenders. SHOT 4 serves two purposes. It establishes the speed of the vehicle as it moves through the frame and it provides a convincing sound track as the tires skid. To pull off the effect most effectively, continue the sound of the skidding tires and honking horn from SHOT 4 under SHOT 5.
Now, you can take this storyboard and go out and have some fun shooting your own commercial parody.