July 1, 2015
Thank you to everyone for your sweet comments here & on Instagram regarding our Target commercial! We are so grateful for the opportunity we had to be featured as a voice for adoption. Many people have asked how we got the gig, so I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes post on how it all happened.
The process started in early March, when my sweet friend Joy (of Oh Joy!) emailed me about the casting. She knew that Target was working on putting together a series of nursery commercials and they were looking for different families to feature. She thought we might be a fit (since we were in the adoption process) and asked if we might want to audition. Of course my interest was piqued, but I didn’t expect Erik to want to drive down to LA for an audition. Surprisingly, he said we might as well fill out a questionnaire and see what happened. We were called for an audition shortly thereafter, with less than a day’s notice. (That is typical for the industry, but atypical for us since we live hours away from LA now…) I asked the casting director if we could bring our kids (they were just casting parents) and they said we could. So, two kiddos in tow, we made our way to the audition.
first audition // see noah sleeping by the monitor?
Our initial audition took less than 15 minutes. We checked in, waited in a large room with dozens of other couples, and were eventually called into an audition room. It was just us and a sweet cameraman who filmed us answering a handful of questions. The process was pretty simple and we felt honored to share our adoption story, even if it was just with the cameraman! The initial auditions were conducted over a few days, and they likely saw countless couples.
Imagine our excitement when we found out we made callbacks (aka round two of auditions), which meant another trip to LA. I saw nearly 50 families listed on the callback sheet! On this occasion, we were called in to meet the director and a team of creatives working on the film. Noah slept through the audition (of course!) but Olive enjoyed hamming it up for everyone, making friends with the production team and crawling up on the casting couch with them. It was hilarious! Once again we enjoyed the experience of sharing about ourselves, why we chose adoption, and how we had already been so blessed in the process. We also chatted about how our fast-paced adoption made it difficult to prepare for Noah in the way most expectant couples might prepare for their little ones.
Post callback, we learned we had been selected for the commercial. The casting director then let me know that Target loved Olive and wanted her to be in the commercial as well. We were delighted! We had some paperwork to handle (since Olive is a minor, she required a work permit as well as a special bank account for children in the entertainment industry) before things were made official. As a sidenote — at the time we filmed the commercial, we were not allowed to show Noah’s face on camera. This is one reason why he is not featured in the commercial.
in the studio
From there we scheduled recording sessions (since the commercial is a voice-over, Erik and I spent time in a recording studio), fittings, and call times. The recording session took a couple of hours in Santa Monica, where we sat in a sound booth with the director. He asked us tons of questions about our relationship, our family, our homelife, our fertility struggles and the adoption process. A lot of the questions were likely warm ups to get us comfortable speaking into microphones (with a handful of people sitting in the adjacent room, listening and taking notes on sound bites they might want to put into the final commercial). I really loved that the process was conversational, since it meant our own words were used in the commercial, not a script. It also helped us get very comfortable with the director (the brilliant creative, Mac Premo) before shoot day. We had a great time telling our story to him in full detail, even though only a few snippets made it into the 1 minute commercial. A little note: I was a little sick on the day of our studio session, so my voice sounds deeper than usual in the commercial. Of course no one could really notice but it still makes me chuckle when I hear it played back.
olive with director mac premo
The day we shot the commercial was an exciting and packed day. We arrived early to grab coffee and breakfast (catering + craft services = one of the best parts of the entertainment business! haha) and then were rushed into hair/makeup and wardrobe. I love that they observed what we wore to the audition (our own clothes) and just tried to mimic that. So, while the clothes we wore were selected by stylists (the hilarious Keith Wager), they were almost identical to what we had worn to the audition. Keith joked that it was actually hard to find quirky clothes for me. 😉 Everything we wore was head-to-toe Target, of course. Olive was put into overalls which looked darling on her, but there was a tiny bit of drama since she prefers to wear dresses everyday of the week. We all convinced her she looked perfect and distracted her long enough for her to forget what she was wearing. I then had the pleasure of having my makeup done by the talented Terri Apanasewicz. She is an industry star who styles some of the most famous faces in Hollywood (including Cindy Crawford and Gisele, nbd), yet she treated me with the utmost kindness and care. I told her I hope our paths cross again so she can really doll me up, instead of just giving me the everyday look we were going for with this commercial. 😉 We didn’t do anything to my hair (or Olive’s!) to keep it natural. From makeup I was literally whisked to set, and right into the first shots. Everyone on set was super friendly and accommodating, from the producers to the cameramen to the editors.
Also fun — they hired a teacher/handler for Olive, since she is a minor. She was so lovely and also had worked with some of the biggest child stars in Hollywood, including Abigail Breslin. I was really blown away by the talented crew that Target had brought on for the project!
Overall I was taken aback by the amount of people who were on-set to oversee the project. There was someone there from Target HQ, along with the creative team who had been at the audition, sitting in a “video village” to observe the playback. They would occasionally radio up minor comments and notes to help capture exactly what they envisioned for the project. There was a props team, a seamstress, and countless others. The energy in the air was palpable, and the pace frenetic yet upbeat.
It was a very full day of filming but I have to say I enjoyed every minute. I loved just getting a glimpse of the fascinating world of film/TV. SO much work went into putting together this spot; it made me pause to consider how much more time goes into shooting every scene of a TV show or movie. I certainly came away with a greater respect for the art and thought and effort that goes into creating the commercials we see everyday.
I hope one day Noah can watch this film and see how excited we were to welcome him into our family. He has truly been loved and anticipated from the very beginning. I can’t believe he has now been with us for five months!
Enjoy your day and see you again soon! Thank you for stopping by!