Teaming up with our friends at Yellow Bus Advertising is always fun and often a little adventurous and this time was no exception. As the new agency of record for Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, the team at YB contacted us to bring “The Magic of Trains” to the screen. The first two spots to roll down the tracks feature the Mountain Steam Train and the Beach Train. In order to capitalize on the busy season, we had but four weeks to go from concept to air.
It was key to bring the magic and mystery of the trains to the spots and to appeal to both a young audience and their parents and grandparents as well. This wasn’t difficult as the trains are so amazing on their own. Add in a great cast of characters, mix in a little mystical music, some aerial shots, and unique angles, and out comes two great spots that our client and their client were ecstatic about.
Casting is always a little bit of a challenge. Getting the right mix of ages and gender, while ensuring ethnic diversity representative of Roaring Camp Railroads’ target audience and park visitors. We set up our desired cast listings on SF Casting, followed by a day of auditions at Peachwood’s Steakhouse in Santa Cruz. But by the end of the day, we had a great group of kids, parents, and grandparents.
With two HDV cameras and two GoPros, we were prepared to capture all angles of our day. We spent the morning shooting with our families in the photo booth area and the general store. Then it was time to head out on the first train ride of our day, the Mountain Train, which would take cast and crew to the summit of Bear Mountain. We shot most of the way up, allowing our cast to just enjoy the ride they were taking. There wasn’t much direction needed for the talent as their experience alone was giving Tam just what he needed. Once we reached the top of Bear Mountain, we departed the train to capture the kids checking out the train engine and taking photos with the conductor.
We enjoyed a leisurely ride back to the Camp and it was time for lunch. After lunch, we were right back in it to obtain shots around the camp with our kids. I remember one of the parents coming up to me and saying, “Is he really getting paid to do this all day?” I thought this was so great that these kids were having a wonderful time while still “working”.
After our last shots at the Camp, it was time to climb aboard the Beach Train down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Another relaxing and enjoyable ride where the kids spent the entire time looking over the side of the train at what was coming by. When we arrived at the Boardwalk it was time for some last few shots of the day, capturing our cast coming off the train and again, more shots with the conductors at the front of the train.
This was such a fun day and I ask myself the same question that parent asked me, “Do I really get paid to do this?”