(See video below)
Super Bowl is the most widely viewed event in America. For my non-U.S. friends, it centers on a game played with a miniature zeppelin that only Americans (and Canadians, eh) call a football (Aussie’s have their own funny version, but then they have their own funny version of everything). Bottom line: it’s huge! I even gave my wife a Super Bowl-themed Valentine’s Day card this morning — after we’d watched our new hometown team (Bengals) narrowly lose to our old hometown team (Rams) last night!
Super Bowl commercials are watched by more people than the biggest superhero movies! For years, Doritos sponsored a contest. The winner not only got their home-made commercial seen by over 100 million people, they got a cool-ranch million bucks and a Hollywood contract to boot! So, when a killer Super Bowl ad idea popped into my head, I ran with it (note clever football reference).
The only problem was: my idea was big, really big, and my budget was small, really small. Like non-existent. It involved a British archaeologist in a mummy’s tomb and an ancient Egyptian court. So, as soon as I had my script about Doritos-loving Pharaoh Amenhochip the 48th, I started calling my talented friends and asking (begging) for help (we’d share the prize money)! Once Emmy-winning cinematographer Jeff Barklage and Lynn Meyers, casting director for every Hollywood movie shot in this region, came on board, we were half-way down the field. Then an in-demand editor, a brilliant costumer, a top make-up and hair designer, and a scenery-making genius who’d once built a styrofoam prison for The Shawshank Redemption all signed on. Finally, in a shameless act of self-promotion–and because I work for free–I cast myself as Pharaoh Chip.
But where could we shoot our little epic? Cincinnati is on the Ohio River, but to say it looks like the Nile would be an act of, um, denial. In addition, there are very few ancient Pharaoh’s palaces here. And then a friend told me that the Creation Museum—just 20 minutes away—had a full-blown Egyptian courtyard! Cue angelic choir! And so, for six hours before the museum opened, our cast and crew of thirty lit, staged, and filmed a 47-second-long golden age movie classic.
And now you get to watch it for free!
Out of over 8,000 entries, we were one of the three most watched videos, even receiving “favorite” status from several previous years’ winners! But alas, the Doritos execs did not give us the trophy. Nevertheless, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life, indirectly leading to my working on half-a-dozen feature films, and becoming part of a whole new team of super-pros.
Talk about a great Valentine’s Day gift!