Tuesday, November 13, 2012


This is a Churches Fried Chicken commercial I did it the 80's.

I don't know how it is today but back then you did the commercial for scale and were paid based on the number of times and markets it was played.  If it was a national commercial and played a lot then you could make some serious cash. This shoot had a twist that I didn't see coming.
It was a fun day, the crew was great, so I was kidding around with Bob. Churches was in direct competition to McDonalds McNuggets as the dialogue implies. During one of the breaks, for benefit of the crew and director, Bob started going off on McDonalds. He joked about their CEO being a clown named Ronald, he questioned that there was actual chicken in McNuggets. The more the crew laughed, the more extreme Bob and I got. I wasn't paying any attention to what we were saying as long as we were getting crew laughs. (note: for me crew laughs are the best. If you can get a jaded Hollywood film crew to crack up it is a better feeling than almost anything). What I didn't know is that on one of my longer "rolls" with Bob the camera was still rolling.  They had my McDonald rants on film. The director said that they wanted to use some of the "outtakes" for a Churches advertising meeting would it be okay with me.  I casually said, "Sure if it is not going anywhere else."
On a break my agent called to see how it was going.  I told her what fun we were having and that Bob and I had gone off on McDonalds. There was a long silence followed by "What? Do you mean 'go off'?" I explained remembering then some of the jokes we had made at McDonalds expense. 
I proceeded to get a lecture from the agent on what a bad idea that was.  What if McDonalds got a look at the film,  they do tons of advertising and that would insure that they would never hire me. In today's world when film can go viral on the Internet it would have been an even  bigger deal. The agent said she would call the producers to get restrictions on the usage.  For the rest of the day Bob and I were better behaved toward McDonalds.
As it turned out the producers and the ad agency loved the adlib stuff as much as the commercial copy. They wanted to incorporate it into their presentation to Churches, and maybe use it at their next corporate meeting. The agent went back and forth with them and eventually negotiated the restricted use along with a payment to me at my "industrial film" rate. (I didn't know I had an industrial film rate, but that is why you have and agent).
I made a lot of money for the commercial with residuals as it played for the next year, but I made almost that much up front for my "industrial film" contributions.  All in all it was a the most profitable day on a set I have ever spent, and some of the most fun. 
Seven years later McDonalds hired me to do their "industrial tour".  It was at the time the cherry job of corporate shows, 12 cities and 24 shows. I never found out if they saw the film where I roasted them on camera for Churches, really didn't want to know. If Churches followed my agents demands the industrial film was destroyed after it was used once.
As you were,

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