This blog is dedicated to all things Frank – past, present and future.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Working with Christopher Guest on RC Cola (2000)


Here's another career highlight... Back in 2000, I used to work on the RC Cola account at a small agency. When it came time to find a director to shoot our new campaign, on a gamble, we sent the scripts to Christopher Guest (Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show). Ever since I saw the "Men's Synchronized Swimming" short on Saturday Night Live back in the mid-80's I've been a die hard fan of Christopher Guest. Needless to say the 14 year old boy in me was ecstatic when we got the call saying Christopher was interested.

All the spots revolved around The RC Bottle Guy, who was basically a RC Cola mascot/spokesman, at his job in the supermarket. Out of the three scripts we sent, Christopher Guest only liked two of them. Rather than concept another spot he suggested coming up with random scenarios in a store that The RC Bottle Guy can improvise with – he'd think of a few, too. We'd then piece the scenes together with a voice over and use it as an introduction to the campaign.

During casting we chose Christopher Moynihan to be The RC Bottle Guy. Since then, Christopher Guest has used him in his last two movies (A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration). After the rest of the cast was chosen I then worked with a costume designer to fashion all my mascot sketches – The RC Bottle Guy's other co-workers.


On the day of our pre-production meeting my boss asked Christopher if he works with shooting boards, because he hadn't supplied any at the meeting. Christopher Guest looked at my storyboards and said "These'll do". He then went on to say that he can only draw people looking left and we'd probably want the actors looking right at times so really what's the point. It was his way of saying, "I'm Christopher Guest, I don't do shooting boards". I found that amusing.


It was a real privilege to watch Christopher Guest direct the talent on the set. He'd whisper something in the actors ear and then they'd just improv off of it, and most of it was hilarious. We had so many options that when it came time to edit, it was hard deciding what would make the cut. We actually had so many funny moments for the "Introduction" spot that we were able to knock off a few :15sec commercials as well.

In the end the spots to me feel more like mini-movies than commercials. Unfortunately, they had a limited run because right after we finished the spots, RC Cola was bought by Cadbury and they fired my agency. But enough talk, here's the Christopher Guest directed "RC Cola" campaign...

RC Cola "Introduction" :30...


RC Cola "Spud" :30...


RC Cola "Open Mic" :30...



And here's the :15's...

RC Cola "Juggle" :15...


RC Cola "Lady" :15...


RC Cola "Weights" :15...


After the shoot I asked to keep the RC Cola sock puppet from the "Introduction" spot. He now lives on a shelf in my basement.

1 comment:

  1. I love this! it's really interesting to see how Christopher Guest put his stamp on it, and also great to see an actor (Christopher Moynihan)succeed from doing a commercial to working with such a great director.

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