This amusing promo / trailer for my favorite Hitchcock movie leads to a lament of sorts. It’s about an opportunity lost, though for understandable reasons.
During my two-year TV news hiatus, I did almost zero on-camera work. Nobody beat down my door demanding my craggy credibility as a spokesman for personal injury attorneys, automobile dealerships or salad dressing. It was OK. Advertising was a field of work I was happy to sidestep, unless I was producing the video for TomorrowVision Media.
One day, I got a pretty amazing e-mail: We need a fake TV news guy to do an on-camera pitch for a comedy / horror movie called Zombieland. The pitchman would appear on a faux news set, and gravely intone about the presence of zombies in your town. The fake newsman would then demonstrate, on cantaloupes and watermelons, how to effectively bludgeon zombies with instruments like hammers and baseball bats.
Naturally, I was all “hell yeah!” to this. Problem was, I had begun my employment with WXIA just mere days prior to getting the pitch.
Under normal circumstances, I would have written it off and not even bothered to ask permission from my supervisors at WXIA for such a commercial appearance. But this obviously was not a normal circumstance. Somehow, I deduced that having a WXIA reporter doing a commercial providing useful how-to tips for warding off zombies, while fictitious, could give the station some “cool” points.
Most bossfolk would have dismissed the notion instantly. Mine didn’t. She asked the General Manager, Bob Walker. Amazingly, Walker also didn’t dismiss it instantly either. I’m not saying they were enthused about it. But they considered allowing it. Walker ran it up the flagpole among his betters at Gannett in Washington.
As one might expect, caution reigned. The request was denied. Much as I might like to pin the blame on corporate, the bosslady stresses this was a collective decision.
Ultimately, this came as no surprise. TV reporters frequently appear as actors in movies (usually playing TV reporters). News radio anchors like Scott Slade at WSB are inexplicably allowed to deliver commercials. But I can’t recall an instance where a TV news guy also appeared in a commercial — at least, not since the Camel News Caravan days began to fade away with Barbara Walters doing commercials on the Today show…. but I date myself.
At least the folks in corporate know me now: That wannabe Zombie reporter.
Btw, Zombieland was shot in Atlanta and opens in theatres today.