HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. — From his post in Hollywood, Britton Foster is hoping to find an East County-based cheering section.
A commercial on which he worked, “Birds of Prey,” now is a top contender in the Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest. Foster, son of Keller Williams Realtor Tierney Foster, now needs the help of friends and family back home to see it debut on national television.
Through Jan. 29, five commercials are up for vote to see which film will earn $1 million and a prime-time spot as it airs during the 2012 Super Bowl.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Britton, who grew up in the East County. “I’ve done probably 20 of these (Doritos commercials) over the last couple of years. There was definitely an air of excitement around this (film).”
The “Birds of Prey” piece depicts a man who turns into a bird whenever he craves Doritos— a fact his co-workers find entertaining as they watch “Gary” flap his wings and hop around, peck at bags of Doritos and even fly into a window.
Writer and director Joby Harris and director of photography Lance Kuhns, among others who volunteered for the project, are friends with Foster.
“They told me the pitch (for the commercial), and it didn’t sound creative,” Britton admitted. “But, once I (saw them rehearsing scenes), I thought it was really funny.”
Because Britton has worked on about 20 Doritos contest commercials over the last few years, he first viewed “Birds of Prey” as an opportunity to work with his friends, not necessarily as a winning film.
But after learning actor David Schultz would play the part of the bird, Britton had faith the commercial would do better than he originally expected.
“(Schultz) was absolutely hysterical in (a) film we made (before),” Britton said. “When I found he was going to be on this, too, I thought it would be substantial. He cracked us up all day (while we were working on it).
Britton and the rest of the crew learned “Birds of Prey” was named one of five finalists at a party for the film earlier this month.
“It surprised me,” said Britton, who had yet to see the completed commercial at the time. “I wasn’t ready (for the news).”
As the commercial’s gaffer, Britton was tasked with handling the electrical side of the film’s production and helped with lighting on the set.
The momentary shot involving a light switch, just before viewers see the bird fly into a window, was the most difficult scene to set up and shoot. The crew spent about two hours hunting for the light switch itself, Britton said.
“It was the most difficult part of the day, including building scaffolding for (Schultz) to jump off of,” Britton said, laughing.
But, despite its logistical challenges, the clip perfectly sets the stage for Britton’s favorite scene — when Gary flies into the window.
Britton and others who worked on the film now are hopeful their hard work — and humor — will pay off. If they win the top award, 40% of their earnings would cover taxes, 50% would be distributed evenly between the film’s volunteer cast and crew and the remaining 10% will be donated to charity.
Individuals can vote for “Birds of Prey” through six different mediums each day.
To view the commercial, visit www.vote4bop.com, or scroll down.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE CONTEST
Each year, including this one, aspiring filmmakers submit about 6,000 entries for the Doritos commercial contest in hopes their entry will win the grand prize of $1 million and a showing on national television during the Super Bowl.
Five finalists, including “Birds of Prey,” remain in contention for one of two spots to be shown in the Super Bowl and one of three cash prizes — $1 million, $600,000 and or $400,000 — from Doritos.
This year, in fact, Britton assisted with about five different commercials, each with their own storylines and budgets.