Sprite Football Commercial...circa 1981. Yea, I know that lots of you weren't even born yet...
This was the summer before my senior year of high school. One of the guys on the football teams' mom worked in NYC for an advertising agency, and they were having a tryout for this commercial. So, a bunch of us got to the city and went to the tryout. They had us throw a football back and forth on camera for a minute, and then that was it.
A couple of days later, I got a call telling me that a bunch of guys on the team were going to be extras (players in green) and that I was going to be one of the stars. Cool shit!
So we get to this ball field on the outskirts of NYC and there's a caterer, cameras...all the crap you'd expect for the filming of a commercial. All of the preliminary stuff - the "practice" session was easy....oh, let's back up a minute. Like a week before the shoot, a bunch of us on the team were over at Monclair State College, using their new astro-turf field to run around and catch some passes. I totally blew out my ankle - the thing looked like someone attached a water balloon to my foot! I got a nifty running cast fashioned from some skilled athletic Doc, and was able to run at close to full speed in time for the commercial.
All that sweat in the practice scene....water spritzer. I was totally acting! Downing the Sprite - yea, that's real sprite. We even shot some scenes of me dropping a few passes - yea, I had to "act" like I couldn't catch...but those didn't make the cut.
The "game" sequence was the worst part of the day. Someone said we shot that "diving catch" scene nearly 100 times. The guy just could not put the ball at a diving catch position. I had a bruise on my hip the size of a volleyball. But it was all worth it. A very cool memory.
I did get some royalties and got paid for the day's work. The royalties actually kept me from having to work in my Senior year and I had plenty of dough for dates and such. The last contract I signed was for some air time in Hong Kong, of all places.
Oh, and that's the Bigun long before he was the Bigun. I'm about 205 there, tops. Didn't really start putting on the beef until late sophomore year in College. Good times.