15-Second Ad #1: A Fast-Moving Video Montage Set to Inspirational Music
1) Footage of me flipping burgers at an inner-city neighborhood block party.
(It is interesting how the soundtrack of this ad drowns out all of the people muttering "Who invited this bozo?" and "Did that fool bring this potato salad? I think the mayo went bad.")
2) Footage of me hugging an elderly woman at a senior citizen center.
(Thank goodness you, the viewer, cannot hear her plaintive cries of, "Who are you? Why are you touching me?")
3) Footage of me helping children with disabilities paint a mural.
(It is helpful that the ad's soundtrack of inspirational music drowns out the children's complaints of, "Stop hogging the red paint!" and "You are a really bad artist.")
4) Footage of me hanging out with construction workers, trading quips.
(Honestly? They are making fun of me and I am thinking, "Who ate the garlic?")
5) Footage of me rescuing family pets from a burning building.
(The dog bites me. I am allergic to cats, so I hastily lob the kitten into adjacent shrubbery after they stop filming.)
6) Footage of me on a tractor, waving to the farmer whose fields I am plowing.
(First, nobody informed me that farms smell like poo. What's UP with that? Second, okay--technically, I wasn't plowing a field--the tractor got away from me and I laid to waste a meadow full of edible flowers that the farmer's wife has been marketing to high-end restaurants.)
7) Footage of me giving a speech to a gigantic, cheering crowd.
(Thank god for the blue screen.)
15-Second Ad #2: Me--Kicking Back and Relaxing, Yet Oozing Alert Leadership from Every Pore--In A Nice But Not-Too-Nice Living Room
1) Hello, my new best friend! I am going to tell you a personal story now.
(This seems spontaneous. Yet, the version you are seeing is my 50th attempt at telling this story. Feedback on the 49 prior versions included, but was not limited to: "Cut! Look into the camera," "Cut! You look dead--let's get some make-up here," "Cut! Stop jiggling your leg like that," "Cut! Suck the lettuce out of your front teeth," and "Cut! Stop hugging the pillow to your chest.")
2) Linking story to national issue.
3) Gaze into camera. Sincere.
(500 takes. Feedback included, but was not limited to: "That's not sincere, that's indigestion.")
(200 takes. I think I'm getting this sincere look down.)
5) Bold. Hope. Faith. Free candy.
(1,000 takes. This is a lot to try to communicate.)
6) Subtle crack at opponent.
(1 take. I'm getting good at this!)
7) Light humor chuckle chuckle.
(3,000 takes. Feedback included, but was not limited to: "That laugh sounded forced," "You looked like Nixon trying to be jolly," and "Can you laugh? I mean, do you laugh sometimes in real life?")
(You would not be able to tell, but this was the same sincere footage from before.)
To sum up: I would like to see the out-takes and cutting-room floor footage from candidates' television ads.