WINTER GARDEN The grandiose and outlandish scenes of modern commercials often involve heavy usage of computer-generated imagery.
But for online retailer Fingerhut's commercial filmed March 18 by Drive-Thru Productions on Lakeview Avenue in Winter Garden, a scene involving sheep used to mow the lawn is actually real.
“This particular spot was about a dad that comes up with all these different solutions, kind of crazy to come up with,” location manager Jules Keeley said. “He had this crazy rig, where there are sheep eating the grass … like it's an actual machine. And then to trim the trees, he has this beaver, using it like a weed wacker or a tree trimmer … those little crazy solutions to everyday problems. It's for Fingerhut, so I guess the idea is that you don't have to do that – you can go to the catalog and order.”
Although Keeley said the beaver was actually a puppet prop, the genuine sheep's owners are West Orange High students Savannah Redfern, Brianna Segal, Alyssa Stewart and Amanda Lopez.
“They had sheep that they have raised and they take care of and they show that they were willing to work with me,” April Mackin, the Birds & Animals Unlimited animal coordinator for this shoot, said. “It's a totally different thing than training for showing at the fairs. I know this because I was in the FFA when I was 20.
Mackin raved about the FFA program at West Orange High, where she met the girls to have the sheep practice for three days so they could best meet the director's vision.
“If it wasn't those sheep, it would've been a lot longer,” Mackin said. “It took about three days to get them used to the props, because what we have to do first is the concept. You have a director who's talking to a prop master, who's then talking to me as the animal coordinator. And then I'm talking to the animals, saying, 'How are we going to do this?'”
Keeley said some neighbors have become accustomed to film production at the Connell residence where Drive-Thru filmed this commercial, but the girls walking along with these sheep drew attention.
Mackin said the girls excelled to the point she hired them for further work.
To see the commercial, don't let anyone pull the wool over your eyes while watching television later this spring.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].