Bubble Yum – Milo
This was my first national commercial.
Commercial auditions were a grind. I was 12 at the time and the routine was that almost everyday after school, my Mom and I would take the Metro-North train from Stamford Connecticut into New York City and hit up 1-4 auditions before turning around and coming back home. I had been seriously in the business for about a year at that point and hadn’t really booked anything major yet. I had no idea that 1990 was going to be the breakout year for me.
Riding the train and sort of pretending to do my homework, Mom gave me the rundown of the day’s auditions. Bubble Yum peaked my interest because it incidentally was my favorite gum. Turns out my agent at the time, Dianne Holland from CED NY, had fought to get me into that particular audition.
When I arrived at the audition, I understood why. I was the only kid of color being considered. I looked at the storyboard on the wall and yep sure enough, they had not envisioned a brown kid in the role. Definitely a bit intimidating when I looked around at the room of other kids and thought about my odds booking this commercial. But I looked at the storyboard again and looked at what was there. A ‘mathematical maniac’, a scientist, a smart kid complete with glasses. That was me. I WAS that kid! Long story short, I went in the room, killed it and booked the commercial.
Shooting the commercial – just some fun notes.
- That last shot is no visual effect. No green screen or CGI. Just a big pack of gum built out of wood on a huge soundstage filled with sand.
- Getting to get the globe to fly off its stand was challenging. There was an air cannon that blew it off the stand and it took many takes to get it to fall in the right trajectory.
- I chewed a lot of gum that day and my jaws were sore for 3 days after.
- I loved the wardrobe so much that they let me have it and I wore it a lot – probably more than I should have.
They played this commercial a LOT. It jumped started my commercial career. It turns out that the rest of the year was going to be very busy indeed.