I got a text from Brent yesterday: “Are you in a Cisco commercial?!” And I knew my fraction-of-a-second of fame had gone live, on nationwide basic cable (namely, CNN). It all came about the Sunday after I moved from Echo Park to Venice (in October). I was walking around Abbot Kinney Festival when a young woman with a Flip camera stopped me. It was election season and I was initially skeptical as dozens of people were roaming about with clipboards and Roseanne/Cindy Sheehan 2012 stickers. Then she explained that she was sent out to cast a specific role for a commercial and the director really liked working with regular, man-on-the-street types found at farmers markets and street festivals. I spoke to her casually on camera about how I had just moved to Venice from Echo Park that week and was looking forward to a nice change of pace on the west side.
A couple days later I got a call.
Of all the “auditions,” the director, Mike Mills, chose me for the role of 40-something “CXO.” OK, so I’m only 37, but I’ve got the gray hair to pull off 40 and coincidentally, I do have a C-blahblahblah-O position (CIO at Adler). I showed up to a residence in Long Beach for my shoot. Mills was friendly and cool – I could tell everyone on the set enjoyed working with him. We rapped about east side / west side differences (he lives in Silver Lake) and after about 45 minute of sitting, looking at the camera and smiling / not smiling / smiling on the inside I was done. I learned from other people in the production crew that Mills had recently done a very successful ad for a beer company featuring fast-paced video stills and that a similar concept was at play for this Cisco ad (working title “The Next Big Thing”). I also learned that Mills had a reputation for bringing in musicians and others to entertain the crew during lunches on set.
As a “principal performer” in the commercial, I was compensated at the Screen Actors Guild day rate and will also receive residuals. I also have the opportunity to become a SAG member which I’d almost consider depending on the likelihood that I’d ever have such an opportunity again. After all, I do live in L.A. 😉
Check me out at 0:26 in the clip below (don’t blink!). There’s also a 60-second version of the commercial.
UPDATE: If the YouTube version isn’t available click here to watch at ispot.