Indiana Daily Student

Students featured in IU commercial

Students wait in position while the crew practices shot during the filming of a commercial Thursday morning at Assembly Hall. The IU promotional commercial, directed by Jo Trockmorton of Blue Ace Media, was filmed from 8 a.m. at various locations on campus.
Students wait in position while the crew practices shot during the filming of a commercial Thursday morning at Assembly Hall. The IU promotional commercial, directed by Jo Trockmorton of Blue Ace Media, was filmed from 8 a.m. at various locations on campus.

Three students in vintage IU T-shirts stood facing Assembly Hall.

About 10 others ranged behind them on the grass, awaiting their cue.

“Action!”

Film producer and adjunct lecturer Jo Throckmorton stood with a small crew under tents filming the extras as they strode toward Assembly Hall.

Throckmorton worked with IU’s Office of Communications and a small cast and crew Thursday to tape a television commercial promoting IU.

Throckmorton said it will air on the Big Ten Network, in Indiana cable markets, as well as on CBS during men’s basketball games.

The commercial is the second of a series featuring famous IU graduates, Throckmorton said.

Ailyn Perez, a soprano opera singer, starred in the first.

Filming began at 8 a.m. Thursday and continued into the afternoon.

Although the shooting schedule called for up to 150 extras for some scenes, few students showed up to take part in the morning’s filming.

IU junior Katie Hammett of Ellettsville said she came to the set after a friend texted her that the production needed more students.

She said she’s interested in the filmmaking process and thought it would be fun to participate.

Extras were paid $75 for their participation.

Throckmorton pointed her and another extra to a small clump of students standing outside the Assembly Hall doors.

Local Bloomington actor David Blackwell was cast as a young Mark Cuban, IU graduate and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

The commercial shows Cuban as he arrives on campus, goes to class and basketball games and begins his career as an entrepreneur.

After a few takes of Blackwell and other students walking into Assembly Hall, the cast and crew moved inside to film a scene in the bleachers.

The actors in the stands cheered for an imaginary basketball team, the Cuban character punching the air as an actor in a familiar red sweater and white polo shirt paced the court.

Throckmorton said although the crew had hoped more students would participate, low attendance wasn’t an unusual circumstance given the weather and the time of the shoot.

“We didn’t want to hire people from out of town, we wanted students,” Throckmorton said. “What’s important is that we gave them that opportunity.”

Throckmorton said they were able to film the shots they needed and composite editing would make up for the small quantity of extras.

The final scene of the commercial was taped last summer in Dallas and shows the real Mark Cuban thanking IU for his success.

Throckmorton invited about 10 students, including senior telecommunications major Dan McCullough, from his T436 Advanced Production Workshop to work on the production as production assistants.

“I thought it would be cool to watch and help out in any way possible and get some experience before I graduate,” McCullough said.

Despite the rainy weather, Throckmorton said most of the scenes were completed.
“We shot between raindrops,” said Jack N. Green, cinematographer and director of photography.

Green has worked on films such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Twister” and “Girl, Interrupted.”

The cast and crew will film the final scenes Saturday morning, and they are scheduled to finish filming by noon, Throckmorton said

Throckmorton said the project is staffed mostly by people who have a connection to IU.

For example, screenwriter Angelo Pizzo, who also wrote and produced the film “Hoosiers,” grew up in Bloomington.

“It’s hard to get someone of that caliber on the job,” Throckmorton said.

He said they hope to create more commercials for the series but production will depend on the availability of key crew members such as Green and Pizzo.

“We’re talking about doing as many as 10 more,” he said. “There will be more opportunities for students.”

Telecommunications students are already making connections in their chosen field as a result of the productions, Throckmorton said.

“Those students get hardcore, on-the-job training,” he said. “We’re showing the professionals that come out of IU, and students are making connections.”

Follow reporter Tori Fater on Twitter @vrfater.

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