Product : British Telecom 'Dancing Dad' (one of 2 x 30")
A one day Super 16mm mute location shoot
It's a very fine line between 'funny' and 'cringe'. Get it wrong and the cringe factor will haunt you forever, but get it right and you have a highly successful commercial. This concept could have been a recipe for such a disaster, but for the flair of the Director, the wisdom to get the casting right and for resisting the temptation to overplay it.
It took three lengthy casting sessions to finally be absolutely sure that the casting was spot on - Dad turned out to be the father who escorted his daughter to the casting session (Dad being the owner of a local pie and mash café) and had joined in purely to help his daughter out.
Needless to say that his daughter was so genuinely horrified by Dad's performance, she got the part of daughter too.
Working closely with a choreographer, we perfected Dad's moves and natural rhythms. He lived the part; he was that embarrassing Dad.
Two commercials were produced and were aired at either end of a commercial break. This enabled recall of the principle commercial and added greatly to the humour since the second commercial was entirely the girls' stunned and embarrassed reaction.
'When Tony (Dad) danced it all clicked, it was hilarious; so I just had to keep it under control, play it straight and watch the timings. The choice of music was critical, so rather than have music of a bygone era ('Earth, Wind & Fire’ and all that), and bearing in mind that he was being 'hip' with the internet, we composed a suitable rap track for him to strut his stuff to.'