A Lesson In Making A Tv Ad

June 15, 1994|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,Sun Staff Writer

The plan to put Corkran Middle School's students in a commercial for J. F. Johnson Lumber began with Cathy Livingston, a seventh-grader at the school, and a discussion about the company's jingle.

Cathy was interviewing William B. Johnson, the company's president, about his experiences living near the Corkrans, who were heavily involved in community projects and education.

"We were talking, and he said something about the company, and I recognized it from the jingle that's on TV," said Cathy, who didn't know Mr. Johnson was the company's president. "I started singing the jingle and told him that it was kind of annoying and that he should let my school do a commercial for him."

"When I heard the idea, I just immediately liked the sound of it," Mr. Johnson said.

Thirty sixth-graders are working on a commercial that would run on Jones InterCable. They finished taping last week after spending about a month on the project.

For Marty McBurney, 12, the taping was a lesson in patience.

"Sometimes you have to do a scene over and over again. We've done some parts 15 times at least," said Marty, a sixth-grader who wants to become an actor. "Either airplanes are flying overhead, messing up our sound, or the microphones aren't turned on or the taping gets messed up."

The school already has had some success with the camera. About 36 sixth-graders and six seventh-graders used their imaginations, acting skills and camera equipment to make videos on the effects of budget cuts and a slide show about nutritious foods.

Both won awards at county and state film festivals and are headed to a national competition in the fall.

"The projects let children see that they have a certain power in making ideas into a reality, because each person has to hold up their end of the job when you're working on a video that requires actors, actresses and a crew," said teacher Mary Ellen Ouslander.

For the Johnson Lumber project, some students played the roles of clubhouse members who call lumber companies to find the best deal on wood to replace their run-down island clubhouse. Others operated the cameras and audio systems, applied makeup or adjusted costumes. Three worked with technicians at the Center of Applied Technology on clubhouse design.

"The qualifications to be an actor or actress in the commercial were to be small, cute and to never have seen a PG-13 movie," said librarian Val Emerich, who directed the video.

"It was a great experience to learn how to use different equipment," said Nick Dacheux, 12. "Not many people would let kids do a commercial, especially since we started out rough, but we got better, and we did it."

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