Lights, Camera, Action!

On the set of the new CCBC TV shoot

It’s 6AM on the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County. The weather forecast calls for cloudy skies and a 40% chance of rain, and it’s overcast and humid. In front of the new Library building, white vans begin to pull into the parking lot. Portable tents are erected. Production equipment is unloaded, blue and orange balloons are blown up, and a 40’ banner congratulating CCBC’s graduates is hung between the columns on the front of the building.

Meanwhile, the talent has arrived and is directed to a room inside the building. For the first scene, which features a girl in Pizza Delivery garb, we have a young actress named Ana Maria. Her hair and make-up are being done by a stylist, and wardrobe options are laid out for her. (They choose a red shirt and a matching black/red hat.)  More “extras” arrive and enter the building for further instructions. This talent crew is made up of students, faculty and staff – all of whom will be important parts of the scene in both the foreground and the background, and all of which are volunteering their time today.

It’s 7AM, and production equipment is assembled and nearly ready for the shoot. Lighting is arranged in the foreground and the background, since there is no natural sunlight. The weather has held out so far, and everyone is hoping that the rain holds off until we can get this first shoot “wrapped”, as they say. The talent is eating breakfast at a makeshift outdoor kitchen, where the production crew’s chef has prepared egg and cheese muffins and turkey sausage. Coffee is brewing.

At 8AM, everyone is in place. The talent is ready. The cameras are rolling, and we are standing by to witness the beginning of the TV shoot. Most importantly, it is not raining.

In the midst of all the activity is the Producer, Lynda. She is detail-oriented and boisterous. She’s constantly on a walkie-talkie, instructing someone to do something or go somewhere. She is the consummate middle man and peace keeper. She’s also the keeper of the time on several levels: she makes sure everything is on schedule, and literally tracks the timing of each shoot to make sure the filmed segments are the proper length.

The director, David, is quiet and unassuming, but has a distinct vision. He prepares the scenes, yells “Action” and “Cut”, and is ultimately responsible for getting enough footage to complete this portion of the spot. If something is amiss, he knows it and makes adjustments. If he wants to change something, it’s changed. He is the genius behind the filming.

The Art Director and Creative Director are also on the set. They are in good spirits and focused on the shoot, ready to make creative suggestions if necessary. They were the ones who set this process in motion, creating the storyboards which would later be translated into film. They’ve been involved in the process from the start, and will ensure that the concept of these spots are carried out as they’ve envisioned.

CCBC’s video expert, Nate, is shooting some segments for a “Making of” video, and prepares to interview Chris, Director of Marketing at CCBC, about the shoot. Mary DeLuca, the Senior Director for College Communications, is standing nearby. A photographer and assistant arrives to capture some stills of the actors for the College’s internal communications and some digital ads. Jodi, CCBC’s Director of Creative Services, is there to greet them, and briefs them on the shoot.

After 30 takes and about four hours of preparation and filming, the Director has enough footage for the allocated eight to ten seconds of footage needed for this portion of the :30-sec. TV spot.  And, that’s a wrap!!! Check out CCBC’s first portion of the “Making of” video here:


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