How to Make a Sad Story, A Happy Video

We were approached by a funeral home company to create a commercial. Let me guess, your first thought is how do you make a video for a funeral home company without making it look and feel morbid. That was our thought was too. 

To begin our process we asked the funeral home what makes them unique, what helps them standout. They said their approach is to help celebrate the people who have passed away by taking what made them special and what they loved most and use it to celebrate them. 

With that we created two storylines, a grandmother who loves baking and a neighbor who loves running. We created these stories to help a younger generation associate a certain activity with the older generation. The goal was to divert from anything relating to death and focus on celebrating life!

We filmed the scenes on two separate days. The first was the baking scene; in this scene we filmed the whole baking process. This gave us plenty of time to get those candid moments. For example the grandmother making a mess after she turns on the mixer and some of the cookie dough goes all over the place. What a great little moment that we would have missed if we didn’t take out time and wait for the moments to come to us.

As a rule of thumb it’s preferable to work with professional actors for commercials, but sometimes you have to work with what you have. In this film all the talent didn’t have any sort of professional acting experience. It’s possible to pull of certain rolls in a film, it’s just as important to take your time with them and really talk through the scene so they have a sense of how to feel.  

One last thing we realized was if they’re not actors then don’t force certain roles. For example, the runner and his neighbor. Initially we we’re going to have him play the role of a grandfather and grandson but we didn’t want to force the role and have it come off too staged so we stuck with a man and his neighbor which was their relationship in real life and we think it came off much more authentic because of it. For the baking scene, the grandmother and grandkids are family in real life so it was much easier to have those family authentic moments.