Hollywood Comes to Suburban Philadelphia

Hi folks, this is Ilena Di Toro, Debbie’s faithful associate and I have this question for you: How do you usually spend your Sundays?

Does it include attending religious services?  How about meeting friends for brunch?  Are you the exercising type and like to workout at the gym or get your exercise by running or biking along park trails?

Well, during one recent Sunday, I did none of those things.  Believe it or not, I was an extra in a film shoot.  One of our clients, Ross Schriftman is working on having his book, My Million Dollar Mom, made into a movie.  My Million Dollar Mom is about a mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just as her son is offered his last chance to be elected to Congress.  He must decide between his life-long dream and his mom’s wishes to remain in her home under his care.

One scene in the film took place at a Bar Mitzvah reception and I was one of the party goers.  I didn’t have to dance or do anything extraordinary.  I sat at a table and pretended to have conversation. Debbie’s son Joshua, a distance runner for University of Minnesota’s club team, had the opportunity to be an extra in a running scene earlier in the day.

Of course, this sounds very straightforward, still the making of a movie involves many parts.  The crew has to organize the extras, make sure the lighting is correct and see to it that the props don’t get in the way of the shots. While there were approximately 20 extras for this scene, the director knew how to utilize us so that scene would look like there was actually a party taking place. There were also numerous rehearsals of actions within the scene, so that people knew what to do and how to do it.  One part of the scene involved people walking through a doorway. Sounds simple, right? Well, that action had to be rehearsed five times and it was shot three times before the director got what he wanted.

The same can be said about many professional endeavors. What may look simple can have many different moving parts. For example, when Debbie and I worked last November to secure publicity for 108-year-old World War II veteran Bill Mohr’s visit to Washington DC, we had to work as a team in two geographic locations to make it all come together for Bill, his family and the media. We were able to get media coverage both in Philadelphia and across the nation. Not to mention Bill’s picture with President Obama which was taken by White House photographer Pete Souza and made it into Souza’s list of top photos of the year.

While the press coverage was gratifying to Bill, his family and us, the media didn’t just show up as Bill was leaving for Washington.  It took preparation of press materials and a lot of phone calls and emails from both Debbie and myself to the local and national news outlets in order to get the coverage that we did. It was truly a team effort. I was in Philadelphia calling and emailing the media and Debbie was in Washington with Bill and his family coordinating the on-site interviews. The end result was over twenty media hits and one very happy veteran and his family.

So, whether you are making a movie or getting publicity for a client, it takes a convergence of disparate pieces to create something that successful.  I’d go on but I need to work on my Oscar acceptance speech.

More information about My Million Dollar Mom can be found at www.mymilliondollarmom.com.