Our New Commercial Frontier

This past week, Hidden Woods ventured into our first commercial production TV spot for the healthy, fast food chain MAD Greens!  When we found out about this job a month ago, we were unbelievably excited, but started working right away.  Here is a first -hand experience from our associate producer and assistant director on this commercial, Maya Ferrario:

Maya our AD on the left; our wonderful PA Jen on the right

Getting started on MAD Greens’ TV commercial spot was so exciting and such an opportunity; I was so proud David & Patrick entrusted me with it.

I had to do some obvious but necessary pre-production work, such as sourcing crew and getting filming permits.  Because of the permits I had to get, I now feel confident knowing what permit offices want to hear from producers.  This in itself is incredibly helpful in case we get working a short film in the Denver area.  I was also in charge of creating the production plan for the week, so we could stay on time. “Production plans” includes addresses, contact information for the crew, and the times we would need to move from one location to the next.  They are an integral part of a Hidden Woods commercial production day.

In Golden, Patrick and David set up to film hikers walking through tall grass.

Another piece of paperwork I made my own was a more specific version of the production plan.  On this, I specified exactly how long we were able to stay on each shot in order to make our day, a phrase which here means, “stay under the pre-arranged time limit so our client is happy”.  This plan included reference images, our shot list integrated into the time limits, and the times we needed to be at and finished with locations.  This came in extremely useful throughout the production process, as sometimes we needed quick reference to how many shots we still needed at a location, and a clear picture of what the client needed.  I highly recommend this to anyone who needs lists to help complete their commercial production schedule (and life!), like me.

Before I talk about my experience on this set, I want to preface that I LOVE being on set, no matter what I get brought on to do.  I love the whole vibe – everyone working together to create this piece of work, all because we love what we do.  Being on this set as an assistant director was a different experience.  I have never single-handedly AD’d a set before, therefore this was a wonderful, creative, learning experience.  My work also became way easier thanks to the fact that I was surrounded with people who created positive experience and who all had a drive to work ourselves until all the hard work was accomplished.

On set with our talented “millennials” in Denver

We had a very tight schedule while filming inside of the MAD Greens restaurants, but because of the attention I paid to the time/schedule and the awesome energy from the crew, we actually got done early.  Something else that contributed to the ability to speed through the days was having a person for each necessary job.  Although this seems like a no-brainer, when you start a commercial production company, you start with small crews with a few people wearing a lot of hats.  For this commercial, we were fortunate enough to have the budget to hire enough people so each person had one title/responsibility.  Even though there were only up to six people on the crew at a time, the fluidity on set allowed us to over-achieve a lofty production schedule.  Fortunately, this was a trend throughout the whole time we were shooting.

Overall, the experience Hidden Woods and I had with MAD Greens was an immensely positive and one we would love to have the opportunity to repeat in the future.


~ Maya