If you have ever been to the ballpark early, you’ve probably seen the public service announcements the Rays video folks play. They usually go on about an hour before the game and warn fans of the consequences of smoking in the stands, blocking the line of sight, using foul language, and generally ruining the experience of other fans.
Over the last two weeks the Rays have filmed these videos and other commercials for the 2011 season. Being currently between jobs, I had the pleasure of going to Tropicana Field and answering both casting calls for extras. It was a very cool experience.
The first casting call was strictly for the pre-game PSAs. These were done by people I think were part of the Rays’ media team and marketing staff. There were no trained actors, just the Rays Team girls, Raymond, a few employees, and a bunch of extras. There was also no script, just a format and a direction. They filmed the drunk fans bit, the people with crazy hats bit, the guy who sits in the wrong seat bit (coincidentally next to a very pretty girl – imagine that!), and as a very cool added bonus, the guy with afro bit. That’s right, there is a very good chance you will see my smiling face front and center in a Rays pre-game public service announcement. Of course, I’m not giving you any spoilers, but let’s just say it involves a rubber chicken and it’s funny.
(Oh, and for those who might think me acting in a Rays commercial will ruin my objectivity as a writer, I didn’t get paid. These were completely voluntary and we had to sign waivers releasing our image, etc. So fire Joe Maddon and trade BJ! Kidding!)
A few days later, I returned to the Trop for the second round of filming. These shots were for the Rays Baseball commercials that I think will air on TV. These shots had a much more professional feel to them. For one, the director wasn’t big on the afro wig and made me take it off. Second, there were professional actors delivering professional lines and professional models looking professionally pretty. Just being in the shot made me feel kinda Hollywood.
Being part of the Rays casting calls was a fun experience and hopefully I’ll see myself on either the scoreboard or on TV sometime this season.