Screen Magazine – Stepping Up to the Plate

Screen Magazine – Stepping Up to the Plate
septiembre 1, 2006 brian

Stepping Up To The Plate: BTFilms Crafts Baseball-Themed Spot For Home Run Inn Pizza

Home Run Inn Pizza, which opened its doors in 1947 within batting distance of Chicago’s Comiskey Park, recently introduced its very first television spot. GLOWAC+HARRIS and Blue Chip Marketing & Communications, the advertising agencies for the famous Windy City pizza makers, called upon the talents of another local powerhouse, BTFilms, to produce and direct.

“Home Run” features a little girl who imagines that she is a big league baseball player in an effort to score a slice of Home Run Inn pizza. The girl’s efforts are echoed by a pair of voice-over announcers that give viewers a play-by-play. After the first slice of pizza is taken away at the last minute, the girl wrinkles her nose, determined to get the next slice. She does, and the spot ends with the tagline, “Home Run Inn Pizza: Always a big hit at home.»

“The biggest challenge in directing this spot was that we wanted to convey the innocence of a very young child – and working with kids can be tricky,” notes Director Erick Bergstrom. “We had anticipated going with a six-year-old, but while casting we came upon four-year-old Mia, and her openness and sweetness just swept us all away.”

“Shooting this kind of tightly scripted spot with a child that young is a whole other ball game than working with a six-year-old,” adds Executive Producer Nicole Taghert.

“There’s quite a difference in their level of awareness and ability to concentrate,” she adds. “Children of four really can only play themselves, while a six-year old can take direction in a more goal-oriented way. But the fact that Mia was too young to play anyone but herself ultimately proved to be the spots’ greatest asset.”

Bergstrom, whose reel includes award-winning action, visual-effects and dialogue-driven spots, also has years of experience working with young talent. “Erick’s forte as a performance director and his sensitivity and empathy really comes through when he’s working with kids,” notes Taghert.

So how did Bergstrom direct young Mia? “You can’t get a ‘performance’ out of a very young child,” he says. “You simply have to focus on creating an environment, or set of circumstances, that will elicit a genuine reaction that fits the bill. When it works, it’s much more organic and captivating than watching a child ‘act.’”

Bergstrom was also determined to capture “the most mouth-watering” footage possible of the product. One shot uses a stainless steel pizza cutter to capture the reflection of the sizzling cheese and tasty toppings as it slices through the pie and the camera swoops by the action.

“This was also a very ambitious shoot, in that we had to work within the confines of a tight budget,” adds Taghert, noting that they only had one day to complete both the performance shoot and the tabletop shots of the product. “That’s highly unusual, and it takes a lot of planning and experience to pull it off,” she says.

Creative director/writer Doug Voegtle has high praise for BTFilms. “[Erick and Nicole] created the perfect atmosphere for collaboration from beginning to end,” he says. «I’ve got to hand it to the client for recognizing a big idea and then making a sizable commitment to advertising – and to BTFilms for creating a spot that surpassed their expectations.”

SPOT TITLE: “HOME RUN”, CLIENT: Home Run Inn Pizza, AGENCY: GLOWAC+HARRIS (Chicago), Blue Chip Marketing & Communications (Chicago), CREATIVE DIRECTOR/WRITER: Doug Voegtl, PRODUCER: Don Weil, PRODUCTION COMPANY: BTFilms (Chicago), DIRECTOR/DP: Erick Bergstrom, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Nicole Taghert, TRANSFER COMPANY: Film & Tape Works (Chicago), COLORIST: Bob SlegaPOST COMPANY: MPG Editorial (Chicago), OFFLINE & ONLINE EDITOR: David Szabo, AUDIO POST COMPANY: BAM Studios (Chicago), MIXER/SOUND DESIGNER/COMPOSER: Brian Reed