Television Commercials: Stop Amendment 42

Is Nothing Sacred - Moses holds stone tablets while talking to God.
In two weeks time, Commotion and the Stop Amendment 42 team concepted, approved, scripted, filmed, edited, and shipped two commercials with variations to television stations everywhere. The commercials air on CBS this Thursday night during the popular murder mystery show, CSI. Another big launch is on Monday throughout the Broncos game in Colorado.

View the commercials online at Stop 42's website:
http://www.stop42colorado.com

Up for vote in Colorado, Amendment 42 will raise the minimum wage for all tipped and non-tipped employees in Denver and Boulder. It also puts the minimum wage increase in the state constitution, raising the minimum wage at a constant rate every year non-stop. While 2% of the Colorado population will benefit from this amendment, the other 98% of the population is subject to increased costs, possible layoffs, and challenging job placement.

My big concern with this amendment is that it is being placed in the state's constitution. Once something is placed there, it is almost impossible to change. As one of the commercials says, it gets "set in stone". I feel that raising minimum wage should be dealt with outside of Colorado's "sacred document".

The production process was a fantastic learning experience! I was able to assist in concepting commercial ideas. I developed an animated background featured in one of the commercials, and attended filming and editing sessions.

Amendment 42 will grate on you.
The first commercial featured cheese grater toilet paper. The steel grater projected the message, "42 will grate on you". Greg Gorman, Captain of commotion emphasized, "Voting yes on amendment 42 will grate on your hide, leaving permanent pain for the rest of your life." The idea was stumbled upon by web intern, Guy Pierce, who was looking for sand paper toilet paper images at the time. Cheese graters seemed to inflict a more potent image of pain in the rear, and the idea grew from there.

Jim Phelan and the crew film toilet paper on the side of a bathroom stall.
Filming took place in a men's bathroom at the Oxford Hotel. Director and Vieographer, Jim Phelan, worked his magic to capture warm and fuzzy quilted paper. He made the cheese grater toilet paper from hell come to life using hard lighting and shreded red gel.

Xylem Interactive green screen
The fun truly began at Xylem Interactive where "Is Nothing Sacred" was filmed the same day. The facility hosts a large green screen where comedian John Jankow played as Moses. Moses talks to God somewhere in the Colorado mountains about how people are setting amendment 42 in stone. God tells Moses to spread the word about stopping amendment 42. It's pretty edgy!

stone tablets made of foam rubber substance
The stone tablets that Moses used looked spectacular, even up close. They were not stone however. They were light and rubbery! One prop was designed for Moses to hold. Another was designed pre-broke for the end of the commercial where Moses throws the tablet.

Comedian John Jankow goes over lines with Greg Gorman, Jim Phelan, and Matt Rulis.
Comedian John Jankow goes over lines with Greg Gorman, Jim Phelan, and Matt Rulis.

Makup artist worked hard to keep Moses's mustache attached.
The makup artist worked hard to keep Moses's mustache attached.

Moses was filmed in front of a green screen.
Moses was filmed in front of a green screen that was later replaced with my animated cloud scene.

Moses gets filmed
Moses is framed up to fit in the scene that cannot be seen.

Matt Rulis, Jim Phelan, John Jankow as Moses, and Greg Gorman
Left to Right: Matt Rulis, Jim Phelan, John Jankow as Moses, and Greg Gorman

Creative Director, Tim Ovesen, makes peace with Moses.
Creative Director, Tim Ovesen, makes peace with Moses.

Moses poses with web intern, Guy Pierce.
Moses poses with web intern, Guy Pierce.

Matt Rulis coaches Moses on his emotions and lines while makup touches are being made.
Matt Rulis coaches Moses on his emotions and lines while makup touches are being made.

green screen replacement
My work on this commercial was produced before any filming took place. I combined a still image of Mount Sinai with a time lapse cloud sequence. The challenge was adding moving cloud shadows to the images. Thanks to Photoshop actions, I was able to record and semi-automate the process, taking just over 14 hours total (900 frames).

The event was a blast. And best of all, there will be a political ad that people will actually watch, thanks to Commotion and a great team! Vote no on 42!

About Christopher Stevens

Me, wearing a tieChristopher is a web developer/designer who loves renovating and empowering over-sized web projects and exploring the unknown. He is powered by coffee, electrons, and passionate people.

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"Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives."
--Socrates