Length: 30 Sec.
Completed: 22 July 2007
A Super Bowl Heinz Ketchup Commercial: Ketchup Man and his ketchup transform the lamest BBQ birthday into a flavor-packed rock 'n' roll mega party.
Shaun and I were brain storming ideas for a Heinz ketchup commercial. Ketchup as a product is extremely boring, I barely use it except for some sauce recipes and on fries and burgers, but otherwise who cares? In the rules Heinz said to make a commercial you would want to see - I never want to see a ketchup commercial but if I did, it better be funny as hell because there's no way you can convince me one ketchup is better than another. Shuan and I made the storyboards and showed it around to some folks. The older people said it was too racey and wouldn't win, but if we took out the devil, bikini girls, dirty clown, and violent slaps it could have a chance. But then we might as well make a different commercial. We did it our way and lost - they were right. But screw them the kids love it! If commercials weren't PC I would like them a lot more. My favorite are Budlight commercials - they're funny. But no way in hell would I ever drink that piss water. That's why I shouldn't make commercials, they have no effect on me. Maybe in the future companies will just make quality products that sell themselves by word of mouth rather than rely on advertising.
There was about two weeks of pre-production work. I got the Sons of Susan to write the music during this time. While I Spent a ton of time running around dollar stores and thrift shops for most of the props and costumes, and the foam core of ketchup man was made from soaf cusions from the garbage. Robyn made my foam abomination look super professional. Someone who knows how to use a sewing machine well is indispensible on a production. I wish Shaun had gotten the Heinz label done sooner because pray glue did not hold it on, it should have been stiched. Finding all the kids was a snap. I had been editing Harand Camp videos, a musical and acting summer camp, so the camp director hooked me up with a whole bunch of extras. The fence break was lucky because our neighbors were building a new fence so we took the old one down and set it up in Mike's backyard to be broken down.
This was one of the smoothest shoots, considering the amount of people involved, we started at 7 am and finished by 5 pm. It took us a till ten or so before we got the first shot done, but once everyone was in place we were getting three to four shots done an hour. First off, I've worked with kids on shoots (and taught swim lessons) before and they can be pretty difficult to get what you want out of them. But these acting camp kids were amazing, all it took was one line of direction and they were one take wonders.
The break away fence was made to fall apart but the boards had to be placed just so they were resting on the screws. It was placed a little too tightly... and Paul with balls of steel ran face first right into the fence which didn't break away. His bloody nose was concealed by the fact that his face was completely red. We couldn't stop laughing.
We had one more short day of pick ups: shots of the ketchup hand and arm in front of green scree, and flames for the fire. Kurt was going to do this good looking computer animation hand, but I like puppets, they have a more comical and real feel to them.
There was about two more weeks of post work. A lot of composting and masking to get the slaps to hit the people right. And recording all the sound effects, and mixing the music. The Lyrics had to be rerecorded to try and get more clarity. I always love thinking about what my neighbors must be thinking when they hear Alan singing at the top of his lungs:
It's Heinz Ketchup Man,
it's Heinz Ketchup time, man!
Ketchup Man rocks your world,
cause ketchup can!
Hey lame old man,
ketchup changed the plan!
Hey kid in pool,
ketchup makes you cool!
Hey scary clown,
ketchup takes you down!
If he can't do it - no one can,
but he can - cause he's Heinz Ketchup Man!
I'm still amazed Alan got all these lines to fit into 20 seconds, there's no time for breathing. I think the final thing before turning it in to the Heinz contest was to figure out the end slogan. Problem was there were about 30 shots each a second long, so you only have a second to read it. But I think "Get Some!" just fit right - in so many ways.