A Taste of Hollywood

- National Pest Management Association
Thursday, March 14, 2013

The past several weeks have felt very Hollywood-esque for me.  While sadly, there have been no sightings of George Clooney, no time in limos and no strolls down the red carpet, there have been lots of lights, cameras, and action as we develop several new TV spots and web-based videos. All of our recent pieces address the health risks associated with pests, and while the topics are serious and imposing, the behind-the-scenes work has been anything but. I thought I’d share a little glimpse of these out-of-the ordinary experiences.

The first pieces we shot last month were our Public Service Announcements (PSAs) which were produced in cooperation with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. The 30- and 60-second spots educate viewers about how prevalent pest related allergy and asthma triggers are in U.S. homes.  For instance, they note that 78% to 98% of city homes contain cockroaches and 82% of U.S. homes contain mice allergens, factors linked to allergies and asthma. (Watch for these pieces to air nationwide this spring.)

My Taste of Hollywood Take-Aways…


  • Casting calls are unique experiences. We watched no fewer than 100 actors audition for one part in the PSA. I loved reading the bios on the actors’ head shots where they literally list all talents imaginable ….yodeling, holding their breath, proficiency in jumping jacks, mastery of bubble-blowing, pig calling….I guess they are looking to share anything that can give them a competitive edge in being cast.  I must admit, my fascination with the actors’ life skills often distracted me from their actual auditions!

Actors on First Responder Set

  • It takes a long time to get quality production. It took nine hours to film a 30 second and 60 second spot for TV.  The lighting, acting, and angles all had to be just so. Then there were days and days of time spent in post-produ ction to complete the pieces. It was time incredibly well spent as the finished spots are educational and powerful.
  • There are a lot of people involved in shooting a PSA. There was a team of at least 30 to film our short pieces. They were all always busy, often adju sting things – a little to the left, a little to the right, a little higher, and a little lower. Yes, there were dollies, grips, and gaf fers which I always see listed in movie credits. No, I still don’t kn ow what any of them do!

First Responder Set

  • Movie trailers are very cool. We had a big production trailer from which to watch the filming.  It had a complete kitchen, a make-up room, a living room, and an array of production equipment. I felt VERY Hollywood-esque in my trailer.

Movie trailer


We also recently “wrapped” production on our new Health Checks videos and Pest Prescriptions by Parada, M.D. – both featuring Dr. Jorge Parada, medical advisor to NPMA. Dr. Parada, an infectious disease specialist, discusses health issues associated with a myriad of pests and dispelling common misperceptions about health care and pests. He talked almost solidly for nine hours and we will get approximately 45 minutes of videos.  Dr. Parada did a great job of taking complex medical jargon and sharing important information so that it’s easy to understand.

My Taste of Hollywood Take-aways…

  • Before the director yells “action,” the camera people say “speed” which means they are ready. It is a hold-over phrase from yester-year when cameras needed time to rev-up and be at the right speed to record. Today, a simple push of a button does the trick, but in deference to tradition, the terminology has remained the same.
  • The hot camera lights necessitate a lot of powdering for the actors. I would like to have a make-up person follow me around throughout the day for touch-ups as necessary!
  • Production sets are incredibly realistic. Every last detail is considered about what might be seen on camera.  Medical books and office paraphernalia, diplomas, etc. are all authentic, even those items that are likely not to be seen as the realistic representation is important.

Health Checks Set

I hope you enjoyed this slight deviation from my normal blog post. I look forward to sharing our finished videos with you shortly!

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