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James sets up a shot with actor Kathleen Rees and intern Henry as a stand-in

Today we shot a promotional video for Bay Alarm Medical, which provides those snazzy pendants for the elderly to press if they get into trouble (fall down, get hurt, etc.) - really anything they need emergency support for. (Remember those old "I've fallen and I can't get up!" commercials from the 80s? I don't think it's the same company, but similar idea.)

Bay Alarm Medical is a branch of Bay Alarm and they're out of Concord, CA. They recently produced a television spot but wanted a web video that was less branded and more "authentic." It took some work to figure out exactly what we all wanted to do, but we settled on what we know best: testimonials.

We work with a lot of clients to produce corporate videos (wine videos, finance videos, tourism, high-tech videos) and many times they don't want anything too "salesy." Which, as someone who tends to do a lot of sales but doesn't consider herself a salesperson, I completely understand! None of us want to consider ourselves a salesperson for something that we're passionate about.  We just believe in the product/service and believe everyone should have one. (Yes, everyone should have a professional produced video. Everyone!)

Use of track for a shot with actor Joe Grady

So we went with the integration of testimonials, but decided to use professional actors to help deliver the messages that Bay Alarm Medical receives from dozens of customers a month.  The pendant offers It allows people to stay in their homes longer...which everyone wants.

So we're going to be integrating testimonials with professional voice over. I had a decent budget to work with, so I called up my buddy Jessica Berkey at Cast Images to pull up some talent and was excited to see who she pulled up for me...I ended up selecting three talent that I had worked with on previous projects (our documentary film, Death or Taxes, and a corporate video shoot for a local data center, Raging Wire): Kathleen Rees & Joe Grady, and Shannon Mahoney.  Boy, do I love working with professional talent! Even though they didn't have their lines beforehand, each one of them took any spare moment they had between makeup, scenes, etc. to work on their lines.  And when they delivered, magnifico! Plus, I even threw them some random questions and they were able to help me "create" a story on the fly about why they loved  Bay Alarm Medical. Improv skills were stellar and everyone made it so easy to work.

Besides the talent, we had the pleasure of working with a substitute makeup artist, Sherri Morris.  We normally contract solely with Sydney Chrismon who we've been working with for years.  She's a spunky young woman who just turned 50.  Sadly, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently in the fight for her life.  I'm actually scheduled to make a few meals for her and her darling family in the next few weeks while she focuses primarily on resting, eating healthy and building her immunities as she begins a rigorous round of chemotherapy.  We're all plugging behind Syd, and I was so pleased to hear that Sherri is contributing $100 from every full-priced makeup gig she gets from us over the period that Syd focuses on her health, to Syd and her family. Being a freelancer, Syd doesn't have the typical opportunities that most full-timers get if they're ill. So she's looking for all the help she can get.  Sherri does awesome work, but I was inspired and moved by the contribution she has committed to.

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