Lessons Learned on the Set of Dove’s “Singing in the Rain”
Tuesday, I was on the set of a commercial. I know! I’m shocked too.
The commercial for Dove’s new line of Nourishing Oil products debuts online on March 15. Among the cast and crew were 15 active social media moms (myself included) who were asked to give up a day, come in , have our hair and make up done using the Dove products and then dance in the rain.
Sign me up.
It was as much fun as it sounds, thanks in large part to the great people that Dove enlisted to run things, but what I walked away with was more than a day of pseudo-celebrity status, fun with friends (new and old) and a fresh ‘do.
What I learned was the importance of not sweating the small stuff.
Aakomon Jones (AJ) , the man behind the choreography for Usher’s OMG video as well as work with Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, P. Diddy and others, was the shoot’s choreographer. His task, along with the able assistance of Drea Edmead – a dance powerhouse in her own right having worked with Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Sean-Paul and others – was to teach 15 women how to dance in about 2 hours.
I’m sure they were also very interested in not having us destroy their reputations while we did it.
And so we rehearsed….and we messed up, got giggle fits, stumbled and flubbed.
Each time our taskmasters would simply laugh along or guide us back to do it again. No yelling. No hint of the fact that they needed to have us up to par and quick. Eventually, we felt like we at least had the basics down.
Rehearsals over, hair, makeup and wardrobe complete we headed onto the wet, white set and began 2 hours of shooting.
It only took the first run-through or two for issues to begin to rear their heads
- The space on the set was smaller than we were expecting meaning the routine wasn’t fitting on to the camera
- A weaving effect where the two lines of women needed to cross was taking too long so we needed to eliminate a few steps and twirls
- A circular motion we had learned had to be reversed to better fit the space
All small changes that a group of professional dancers would’ve adapted in one take and never thought twice about it. We, however, were not professional dancers.
We did our best but take after take, we’d miss a step (me), or hook umbrellas (me again) or get so distracted by the shiny lights and rain (!) that we’d forget to move something we should (yup that was me too.).
Through it all, AJ guided us. Donning the pastel blue boots we were wearing to join us out on the set and show us how to make it better. The whole time he wore a smile.
“Laaaa—diiies” he’d call out in a sing-song voice, “we’re going to make one small change.”
And we would and it would work.
I know he’s probably been through this a million times. I’m betting he’s figured out a way to tune out the chaos of 15 women who can’t remember 4 steps and focus on getting things done, but it was also a reminder.
Despite how long he probably spent thinking through that initial routine, he didn’t hesitate to let it go when he had to.
It’s a lesson I’m going to try to keep in mind as I’m constantly being swallowed up in the stress of planning our year away. (3 months until we go!)
As much energy as we’re putting into what the next year will look like, the truth is that until you hit the set (or the road) and the cameras are rolling (you are living it), any choreographed routine can change.
AJ and my fellow dancing women, none of whom once complained or rolled an eye, at the changes taught me to focus on the fun this week.
It’s a lesson I’ll be keeping with me in the months to come..along with those dance moves.
A 5, 6, 7, 8…. ;)
Want to get a few other perspectives on the day?
This blogpost from Lynette at myweeview.com captures a lot of what we went through and Julia (and daughter Grace) from GoGirlfriend.com captured some great video of the rehearsals here and dress rehearsals here.
p.s. I was paid for my time at the Dove event but no requirement was made of me to write about the product or the experience. My opinions, deductions, emotions, etc. – as always – are my own.