Back in February or March 2013, I got an email from Vistaprint asking me to audition for their holiday commercial spot, set to air beginning in November. They were looking for a local musician and liked my sound... or something. I didn't really expect to land the part, and when I got the phone call saying I had been chosen, I still didn't really believe it.
But, later that week I found myself at Verité studios working with Sheldon Mirowitz, an incredible music producer and composer, and it started to sink in.
First order of business was writing and recording the holiday jingle. Vistaprint was looking for something catchy and modern, with just a hint of Christmas flavor. Sheldon had a sketch, and we worked from there, trying to find that sweet spot between a commercial jingle and a real pop song.
I think at some point we realized we were going for the Love Actually vibe. Well, I'm not sure we realized it until we were listening back at the end of the session. I pointed out that our track sounded like the song that crazy old pop singer is recording at the beginning of the movie, and that's when we decided we nailed it! Scotch for everybody!
* * *
About a week later, on a sunny, warm April morning, I drove out to a sound stage decked out with candy canes, Christmas trees and a whole bunch of people wearing reindeer antlers. The crew was definitely having an ugly sweater party in the middle of spring... but the eggnog was lacking. I'm willing to bet that the greatest Christmas music was recorded on some sound stage in L.A. on a sweltering July afternoon ("Baby, It's Cold Outside..." my ass).
I brought my Taylor and a suitcase of clothing options for wardrobe to choose. They threw some powder on my face and I walked onto the set, where a guy was meticulously steaming and ruffling a giant red curtain. Apparently, the crew had spent the entire day before hanging and setting the curtain -- making it look just right.
The crew was also wearing these cotton sterilization bags over their feet, like you might see at some haz-mat site, because the floor had been painted black to look like a stage floor, and they didn't want to scuff it. In fact, they gave my shoes a free cleaning so I could walk out onto the "stage" for the shot.
We filmed the commercial like it was a music video: they let the tracks run in the background and I played and sang along. We did a few takes; they switched angles. The hair and make-up artist ran over to touch me up. It was a little surreal. And then it was over.
When the commercial finally aired, I started getting messages and phone calls from old friends; Facebook posts with a picture of me on TV. Despite the fact that the commercial aired hundreds of times a day, I only saw it once on the air. I don't watch much TV! (Well I do, but only of the HBO / Netflix variety).
Anyway, if you haven't seen the commercial, you can watch it the same way I did right here: Vistaprint Holiday Commercial.