Behind the Screens: Commercials

Kavitha ReddyPalace

We all watch tv and sometimes even watch the commercials, but for many, the opportunity to have a commercial for your own business doesn’t come along much.

Athens Movie Palace changes this. It provides the perfect venue for local businesses to advertise in full motion, sound, and color. The other thing that is cool about this: it allows our local residents to be on the big screen.
Click here to watch the ad about our On-Screen ads!

Our advertising costs include the cost of an ad production if this is needed. While several companies have their own commercials, we set up shoots for a few that didn’t.

Scott has a production facility in Crossville where he produces the pre-show ads for an independent theater there. Scott is the guy you talk to when you email our address. When he scheduled the first set of shoots, I decided to tag along and see how it all works.

The first two shoots were simple. He shot some footage of a local tattoo shop and a voiceover for a pediatrics practice. The third commercial was for The Hair Place. The owner, Rhonda, asked me to be a part of the commercial. (I am a customer!) I agreed, excited to be a part of the process.

I got to the salon around 4. The ladies had cleared their schedules to give themselves time to get ready and figure out a plan for the commercial. This is where us not having commercials becomes troublesome. I know there are all kinds of “rules” of advertising and things to do and not do, but the reality is… considering the venue and audience… we can do whatever we want.

Scott offered some advice and set up his equipment. Let’s talk about the equipment for a minute. We aren’t dealing with someone’s iphone. This is real film equipment, with a boom mike (if needed). He had a lighting set up and fancy headphones. We all watched with fascination, forgetting for a moment that we needed to decide on a plot.

We probably should have done this before the shoot, but I think we were all hoping for someone else to have a moment of brilliance.
As all of the guest stars started arriving, the conversation continued and we were at a loss. We knew it needed to be more than just “Here’s a hair salon. We cut hair.” I felt they should really highlight the proximity to the theater. I tried to count the steps when I walked over, but I forgot what I was doing and only counted 37.

Rhonda knew they wanted to offer a discount with the ticket stub from AMP. We discussed having this play as scrolling text. We had the option of actually talking during the commercial or adding a voiceover. We tossed around the idea of a choreographed song and dance routine. This was quickly shot down.

Somehow, we decided to walk in and hand our “tickets” to Rhonda. Then…it morphed into walking from the theater. Then… we decided to zigzag as we walked. So. Here we are, a group of random people, standing under the theater entrance, waiting for our cue to walk single file across the parking lot.

There’s something about the idea of being on camera that suddenly makes everyone very self conscious. Nervous chatter fueled our walk. Luckily, it was later in the day, so the traffic was minimized. Scott’s plan was to speed up our walk into the salon, so our minute walk would actually only take a couple of seconds on film.

Next, all of us who had brought our ticket in needed service. Scott set up the first shot. We all watched from behind the scenes as he filmed each employee doing a different service. Some of the customers actually got real haircuts. Haha! That’s multitasking!

The best part was watching Cassie. She was the most nervous of all the girls. She was putting pretend foils in a customer’s hair. She had a look of terror on her face as the camera rolled. We all cheered and encouraged her from the back and she immediately loosened up.

I’m serious, y’all. It gets scary if you think about it too much!
Then it was my turn. I was getting an eyebrow wax from Laura Beth while Rhonda did make up on Erin. The thing about these services… normally people see the “after.” The process is never that glamorous and while laying in the wax chair, you start to wonder how ridiculous you look. Laura Beth got distracted and tried to cool the wax before putting it on my face. It felt like this took hours!

I really hope we eventually have a blooper reel for the last scene alone. Two of the girls were showing products. The hilarious part of this was the customers were guys who probably know nothing about hair products and the commentary and acting… We were all in tears.

After the shoot, we needed to record the voiceover. Somehow, I got volunteered for this. We decided on the text and I did my first reading. It was surprisingly hard. My second time, I called it “the Hair Palace” instead of the Hair Place.

Then it was a wrap. Scott packed up his equipment and his assistant-nephew Noah.

A few days later, we had the finished product. It was exciting to see it even on the YouTube channel, but it will be even more exciting to see ourselves on the big screen.

The experience was really neat and tons of fun. We all laughed and had a great time. I think it’s going to be really neat to see all of the different ads and pick out the people we know! Hopefully, it will help local businesses be able to bring in some new business.

If you’d like more information about how your business can have some time on our screen, contact Scott: