Over the course of day, a home in the Hollywood Hills was the setting a four part PSA commercial campaign for the ALS Association. Freshco Productions, along with Hoffman York Ad Agency, shot this series to increase awareness for this horrible and always deadly disease.
A New York Magazine story is being written on Stacy Title who was in the PSAs. She is a feature film director who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. Today, she is in a wheelchair and cannot speak or breathe without the help of a computer and ventilator. The story is about Stacy's desire to keep directing and being productive in her professional life.
As a contributor to this project, I was interviewed about my perspective as a director who just worked with Stacy on how hard her journey was to get back on the set. In response in the article, I said, “It’s difficult enough just to be a director. You need persistence. She has that and knows what it takes. I don’t doubt she’ll get there again."
Three of the four PSAs were with renowned actor, Courtney B.Vance, who’s mother passed away from ALS. Some time ago Courtney and Stacy worked together, so this was the idea behind the very moving PSA series, which is called “Hollywood Directors.” As Courtney addresses the camera, we slowly start to pull out to reveal the beginnings of a wheelchair. We hear an electronic “CUT.” The camera moves behind Courtney to show Stacy moving in to give a note. We hoped to convey determination and the bravery it takes every day.
In the first of the four PSAs, called “Body Dead,” Emmy and Tony Award winning actor, Courtney B.Vance, takes us through the heartbreaking stages of ALS.
The second of the four is called “The Cure,” where Courtney B. Vance recounts his very personal story of losing his mother to ALS.
In another ad in the campaign is Stacy and her husband, Jonathan Penner, also an actor. His story is really his story. So we decided to tell it, and it is strong. In “ALS Effects,” Jonathan tells us about living with ALS from the perspective of the caregiver. It is an emotional and powerful story.
For this project, we had a moderate crew size and shot on a Red “Monstro” 8K Camera. The location was Beachwood Canyon at the home of Stacy Title.
Below are some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot, and over the course of the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the PSA commercial spots as they released from the ALS Foundation.