This was our 4th year of shooting local and then 13 state western regional commercials for the Denver Region Toyota Dealers Association and the prestigious Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency in San Francisco.
This series of spots was built around the idea that almost all cities have at least two dealers and that they were in competition with each other to give you the lowest price on a new Toyota.
This year I rented out Old Tucson for 5 days to shoot 3 commercials. Since the days of big movies being shot there Old Tucson had converted itself into a tourist magnet with a theme park, musical revues, gunfights and food.
For 3 of the 5 days I would have to close down Main Street and the biggest side street. This meant not only closing down the little tourist shops on Main Street but shutting down the miniature train ride (too noisy) and slowing down the “movie history tours” since tourists could not cross the streets or backgrounds while we were shooting. Old Tucson also had to drop all of the flags and advertising boards near the front of the property as we would be looking that way for 2 of the 3 spots. These disruptions were easily accepted by Old Tucson because if no one did any actual production there it wouldn’t be “Old Tucson ” and what would they have to sell to the tourists….and the tourists LOVED watching us work….and even just looking at our set ups when we left the set with the guards overnight.
For this spot the idea was that a Cowboy is inside of the bar. He opens the bar room swinging doors and sees a half circle of new Toyotas as well as our Spokesman Cowboy and some extras walking around looking at the vehicles.
The carpenters had to build a frame and mount some swinging bar room doors and then build another frame to allow placement of a blackout drape over me and the camera as a blind to control the light hitting the “inside” of the swinging doors.
During this shoot I used a total of 13 cars, 12 extras, 2 primary talent, 2 drivers, 3 security people and a production crew of 9. There were also 3 Old Tucson Production Coordinators along with a number of producers from the agency and representatives from Toyota. At any given moment there could be as many as 26 people on the set. We worked hard to make sure these spots were very clean and high quality however these 30 year old VHS copies are pretty bad.