Making of a Disney Commercial

Friday, March 18, 2011

I'm still pinching myself.  And I may have never told you why.  I actually filmed a commercial for LifetimeTV and in January at Walt Disney World, and until now, I really couldn't reveal too many details. Now, that they are about to air, I am free to blab to the world!
Wishes at the Magic Kingdom only lasts about 20 minutes, and there's no "do over." So we had to be prepared with lines -- several different ones for various spots. All in 40-degree temps!
The commercials will air on LifetimeTV beginning next week through mid-April and on and from next week until the first of May.  Posted here are some sneak peak, behind-the-scenes shots of our week.

On our first day of filming, Richard from the Grand Floridian was patient as it took 18 takes to coordinate the extras, the buses, the guests and yours truly in order to film one little scene which you'll see in the commercial. I think I aged more than Richard did for that scene!
Also featured in the spots is my fabulous co-host, Erika Lehmann from who has become the Tweedle-Dee to my Tweedle-Dum. She and I were instant friends when we met on line, on the phone and on Disney's Magical Express. She shares my love for Disney, my passion for people and my heart for family and friends.

All the photo credits belong to the fabulous David Zaccaria -- producer, creative director and all-around great guy. (Therefore, he's not in any of these shots.) In addition, Mike Malone -- our fantastic Lifetime Producer -- dodged these shots, too. Along with those whom you will "meet" below, Kathy and the two amazing Laura's from Disney as well as a host of other Cast Members made us all feel like supa-stahs during our production week. I was surprised at how tired I was at the end of the day but how much fun we all had together.  "Memories to last a lifetime!" ;)
Kim Dobson and Meghan Woods, execs from LifetimeTV, are from NYC, and most of the creative, behind-the-camera types were from LA.  The "talent?" Well, Erika and I are from Louisiana and Alabama, ya'll!

Voice over work with Mike, the sound guy, in a Grand Floridian guest room. Fancy, huh?

That is one crowded tea cup...but overflowing with happiness!

Notice what the crew is wearing and what I have was freezing!
We took up at least the last 5 cars on Thunder Mountain Railroad...Lee and David were directing from one, then the camera ops, Erika and me and then two cars of extras. I think we rode it was a little bit of a blur.
Lee (our fab director) with Erika and me about to ride Test Track...this time just for fun!
The wonderful Disney Cast Members like Kim and Jeff who were able to secure our locations were coordinated by our Disney Producer Tony who escorted us everywhere. I always stuck close to Tony since he knew everyone...and since he didn't mind keeping us warm. What a guy!
We shot all the scenes out of sequence, and although we were familiar with the scripts, we didn't memorize them. Lee would feed us our lines as we shot each scene. This was the last scene shot.
We weren't going for a Guinness Record of how many people and cameras one can fit in a tea cup! Do you know how hard it is to "look natural" when the camera is inches from your face? I was afraid I was going to bust my teeth on the lens.
At the Grand Floridian, my part about resort transportation and Disney's Magical Express was filmed while the crew was on a fancy little piece of equipment we in the business like to call a luggage cart.
Here we are saying our lines as we topped one of the hills on Thunder Mountain Railroad. One of mine was, "Who would ever want to leeeeeeaaaaave!?!"
And...that's a wrap!
The crew getting their "game plan" together while Erika and I are pretending we're not cold, trying to remember our lines, keeping our hair neat and tidy...and oh, for the camera!
Lee would hold up a 1 or 2 and shout "Action!" when he wanted us to say our lines, and it could be as we're riding like this holding on for dear life. Not an easy task!
"Hi, I'm Andi and this is Erika!"
Even our time with the Big Cheese and his girl was calculated very carefully. Therefore, Erika and I had to say our lines with proficiency and efficiency.  Of course, Mickey and Minnie were perfectly on cue every time...such the pros!
The walking and talking thing is harder than it looks...especially when you're trying to stay between the trolley tracks and act warm when it's around 40 degrees.
You would think by this photo that Erika and I had a rabbit fetish, but in reality, it was the warmest we had been all day since he was so snugly.
Yep, they actually would snap this right in front of my face before shots -- which served as a keen reminder of just how many times I made mistakes.

Lee Brownstein, director extraordinaire, filmed us with a slo-mo camera as the other cameramen would film us in real time. You'll see the effects on the commercial. Cool!


  1. I love it!! I can't wait to see it on air!!

  2. This is just super cool! Would love to be part of a film crew creating spots like this!

  3. Thanks, Beth and Robert! It's "suppose" to air today on LifetimeTV and its site as well as I keep checking (nervously)! You all are sweet to post a comment.

  4. Saw this commercial and just looked up your blog--so great!

    B @