Alongside the national ads for Doritos, Bud Light and other well-known sponsors, viewers of the Super Bowl in the St. Joseph area this Sunday will see new commercials for the local Hy-Vee store that were conceived, shot and edited by members of a cinema class at Missouri Western State University.
“Creating a real spot for a real client to be aired during the most-watched television broadcast of the year is the best learning experience,” said Dallas Henry, assistant professor of theatre and. “It raises the stakes. It’s not much different from what I would have done with my production company.”
Henry said he and Brad McAnally, store director at the St. Joseph Hy-Vee, have been talking about the project since last summer. McAnally visited the class last fall, and students pitched their concepts. The commercial highlights Hy-Vee’s Fuel Saver card by depicting the celebration dances of several shoppers after they discover how much they will save on their next purchase of gasoline. Henry wrote the spot and was executive producer. Chris Rayle, sophomore from St. Joseph, was producer. Blair Stalder, senior from Liberty Hill, Texas, was director. Kelsey Houser, senior from St. Joseph, was assistant director.
“It was fun to be part of a shoot where everybody was fully invested in it,” Stalder said. “Everybody knew we didn’t have a lot of time and they were extremely focused.”
Creating a commercial for the Super Bowl, a broadcast known almost as much for the commercials as the game itself, also got the cast and crew’s attention.
“This is a big deal,” Houser said. “We’ve got to make sure it looks exactly right.”
“I believe this spot will be competitive in terms of production value and entertainment value with the nationally televised commercials we all love to watch,” Henry said.
Although the commercial production process was very similar to what students will experience if they go on to a career in the field, including state-of-the-art equipment purchased recently by the Department of Theatre and Cinema, there was one significant difference. The collaborative, creative atmosphere on this set was something you very rarely see, Henry said.
“Before every shot, we all got together and talked about what we needed to do to get the best shot possible,” he said. “We all contributed in our own special way to make every shot work.”
Students involved in the production say they learned a lot of practical lessons, including the importance of advance preparation.
“Organization is a huge part of a production,” Stalder said. “It’s not just time management, but making sure all the equipment is ready to use when it’s needed.”
The commercial was shot on location at Hy-Vee on Jan. 20. Shooting began at 5:30 a.m. and wrapped up at 9 p.m. after some outside shots were delayed because of weather.
Two cuts of the commercial, one edited by Stalder and one edited by Houser, will air during the broadcast on KNPN Fox 26 in the St. Joseph market. The commercials will air during the pregame, halftime and third quarter. The pregame show begins at 1 p.m. CST with the kick-off at 5:30 p.m. CST Sunday, Feb. 2.
Also involved in the production were: Curtis Edlin, director of photography; Larry Smith, sound engineer; Dan Banks, grip/second camera; and Meghan Vandever, wardrobe/make-up. Cast members include Jeff Jones, Stacy Stueve, Larry Clifton, Meghan Vandever, Keifer Helsel, Rhonda Gierstorf, Steve Catron, Chris Rayle, Kaleb Rayle, Matt Wright, Antonio Daniels-Braziel, Joseph Kellogg, Colton Connors and Amber Anyna.
photos courtesy of Jason Brown.
Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.