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Friday, August 27, 2010

Just do it!!

Nike's chart is finally setting up to give a good entry point--and you could hype it now that Tiger is playing better golf, or you could get a real story.  So the real story is below.

From the blog of AuH2Odesigns.com.

This isn’t AuH2O or eco-fashion related, but I participated in a Nike Commercial last Sunday, July 25, and since I have a blog, I’m writing about it. One quick justification since this is mainly a blog about socially conscious clothing (though lately it has been about the World Cup and nail art). I know Nike isn’t like the gold standard for sweatshop-free clothes, but they’re actually kind of green and making a significant effort to be sustainable. For one, they’re making shoes entirely from manufacturing wastes through the program Nike Trash Talk and for two, they’re recycling old shoes to make surfaces, like tracks. I read about it in the book “Style, Naturally” by Summer Rayne Oaks, and she’s for real, plus I checked out their site http://nikeresponsibility.com and it seems legit. So, Nike isn’t so bad at all. Plus, for the World Cup, they made all of their uniforms out of recycled plastic water bottles. Therefore, I am not the devil, or a sell-out, and do not feel bad about it. In fact, I feel totally awesome about it.

Here’s what happened. I got an email from my soccer coach Tuesday afternoon saying Nike was looking to cast 20 athletic, soccer-looking women between the ages of 18-30 with “crazy soccer skills” for a commercial featuring Hope Solo, the keeper for the US Women’s National Team. The commercial was also supposed to have Lebron James and Adrian Peterson in it, and I think they’re kind of famous. The casting call was the next day, Wednesday, from 3-8pm at a studio on 37th street. If we got cast, we’d be playing soccer on camera on Sunday in Philadelphia, and would get paid serious money. Now, I look pretty athletic and soccer-y, I’m 26 years old, and I’ve played some soccer in my life, so even though it meant closing up my store for a few hours, I decided to audition. I showed up at the studio, which was an official-looking place packed full of athletic-looking people, at about 4:30 and was assigned number 53, meaning 52 women had come before me. And the casting was still open for another few hours! Once our number was called, we went into the little filming room and answered a few questions, took a few photos, did some one-touch passing, juggled the ball a little bit and that was that. I couldn’t have been more nervous- I was sweating bullets, unable to stop talking, going on about how much I love Hope Solo but I’m a little jealous because my boyfriend thinks she’s hot, etc. Not very professional, but very enthusiastic! Dan, the casting director (super nice guy), asked me to take my hair out of its usual curly high knot-looking bun-mess and show him what it looked like in a low pony-tail because there would be a Brazilian team playing the US, and maybe I could pass for Brazilian? To be fair, I get that all the time. No, that’s obviously not true. But it was then that I thought I might, just might, have a chance at getting a role as a Brazilian National Team player for a Nike commercial. He told us they’d contact us if we were chosen, so I left the studio holding my breath.

Two days later, I got a text from Dan from Atmosphere Casting. It was the most serious text I’ve ever received, saying I was “officially booked” for the Nike Commercial, we’d be leaving at 5am on Sunday morning outside Penn Station. Good thing I was having a fashion show the night before that would last until midnight. Oh well!

So, Sunday morning my alarm went off at 4:20am, I somehow woke up, and somehow shuffled out the door and onto the train. I got to Penn Station by 5am exactly, checked in, and met up with a few friends from my team that were also cast, Julie and Veronica. Our bus took off at 5:15, which was, most importantly, when our pay clock started. We were getting paid an hourly rate that was more than what I paid my intern for that day. Just writing that makes me feel bad. She’ll get a bonus when I get my Nike check. Anyway, below is everyone getting on the bus at the crack of dawn:

I wish I could say I slept the whole bus ride, but I was too riled up from the show the night before, going to bed at 1am, and the upcoming day. I slept a little though, and we arrived at the Philadelphia Union stadium at 7:30am:


Once there, we registered, filled out some paperwork, and found out our roles for the day. Julie, my friend from my women’s team, was cast as the SWEEPER FOR THE US! She was going to be HOPE SOLO’S sweeper- SO LUCKY! OMG, so jello! So totes lime green jello! I don’t really talk like that, but I mean… what were Veronica and I cast as? Oh, bench players for Brazil. Not only was I on the losing team, but I was on the bench. Sort of felt like a loser. But super nice Dan from Atmosphere Casting said we were “hand selected” by the Director to play that role, so we shouldn’t feel bad. Plus, we got to be in the warm-up scene, and we had very important roles on the bench. Like sitting and cheering. And warming up on the sidelines. Very important!


Anyway, if you’ve read this blog before, you may know that I’ve always coveted movie set food. I’ve had it once, and it was good, but this commercial set food was the best. There were omelets, waffles, fried potatoes, fruit, bagels and donuts:

After breakfast, we went to wardrobe. I got outfitted in my Brazilian jersey, shorts, socks, shin guards and cleats. Here are my “teammates” with their uniforms. As you can see, all of the players on Team Brazil were tan and had brown hair. We were definitely typecast.
Amazingly, we got to keep everything but the jerseys, so FREE CLEATS. These are my precious new Nike Mercurials, and really made me feel like I was playing barefoot. LOVE:
Also, there were 200 fans/extras who would be sitting in different parts of the bleachers decked out in red, white, and blue, some had face paint, some guys with their shirts off, flags, posters, the works:
 
After breakfast and wardrobe it was still only 9am, so we hit the field to start practicing all of our plays. We weren’t actually playing soccer, we were playing choreographed soccer- we were told exactly who does what when. She passes to her, her defender dives, she gets by her and shoots, etc. There was going to be an entrance scene, one breakaway save scene, one upper ninety save, and one corner kick save all featuring Hope Solo. We had to rehearse all of the plays so that we’d have it down before Hope got there at noon, since we only had her for six hours. We rehearsed for about three hours, and of course it was one of those heat wave days, so it got nice and sweaty. I didn’t have to rehearse any of the plays since I wasn’t a field player, but I was in the entrance scene that shows all of us in the background warming up as Hope is introduced and steps onto the field. Here’s Hope’s stand-in, Laura, rehearsing the entrance scene where she walks through a crowd of officials, trainers, coaches and important people, while the fans in the stadium scream and go crazy, and we warm up in the background.
After rehearsing for awhile, we had lunch, which was just as delicious as breakfast. Then Hope arrived, and she started filming the warm-up scene that we’d rehearsed. We did about 75 takes, literally, and not like when people say “literally” and don’t mean it, I mean it literally, without exaggeration, we did the same thing over and over and over for an hour and a half. Some people were playing 4v1, some people were passing and moving, and I was doing high knees and butt kicks with two other players. The scene didn’t actually make any sense at all, because why would both teams already be warming up when she’s just being announced? No. Everyone warms up first, then everyone gets announced and everyone lines up for the National anthem and then the game starts. But whatever. Here’s a photo of me in my uniform, or “kit” as it’s so common to say now that the World Cup just ended and everyone’s been using soccer, or should I say “football” terms, as if they’re European.
Unfortunately, that’s my last photo since my phone died mid-way through the day. Though it turns out we’re not allowed to post any photos of Hope anyway because… something about her contract. But I swear I met her and have photos with her! And she was really nice!

Moving on, after we finally, finally, finally did the entrance scene successfully (wrapped it?) and went on to start the next scene, it started to rain. We couldn’t shoot in the rain for continuity’s sake, so we had to go in and wait out the storm. We all walked inside the locker room, laid down on the cement floor, put our soccer bags under our heads, and went to sleep. We must have looked like puppies, all sleeping on top of each other. I think that might have been my favorite part of the day- crashing on the floor with 20 girls I’d met that day.

Long story short, it stopped raining, we went back out and shot the remaining scenes (each one took another 75 takes) and I did a lot of running up and down the sideline. High knees, butt kicks, karaoke, sprints, etc. Hope had to leave at 6pm on the dot to make her flight back to Atlanta, so her stand-in Laura had to dive and make saves in her place after she left, even though she’s not a keeper. Poor Laura. Then we went on filming until about 8pm when we wrapped the shoot, had dinner, packed up and got on the bus back to New York. We got back to Penn Station at 11:30 at night, so you know, just another 17 hour day filming a Nike commercial. As they say…

Just do it.

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