Sunday, September 27, 2009

I am ready for my close up, Mr. Treadmill

This is not a food blog but a story about my adventure into making a commercial. If you have ever read my profile you will know that I have lost 125 pounds and kept it off during the last 4 years. During that time I used a treadmill as part of my exercise program. Several months ago the manufacturer sent out an email asking for success stories and I sent them mine. Mine was one of 12 selected. On Thursday I flew to Portland OR by way of Houston TX from Raleigh/Durham NC. I guess they thought that it was not enough for me to fly all of the way across the US from east to west but they would send me to Houston so I could fly the US from North to South as well. A total of 5,862 miles in 2 days. I was gone for 36 hours and spent 21 hours in the air or at an airport. Take out 7 hours for sleep and I was in Portland for a total of 8 hours; about 4 of those hours I spent working on the commercial.

We were told to be ready to leave for the location at 6:15 AM. So I set my alarm for 5:15 AM. I am not sure why as my body is still on east coast time so I was up by 3:00 AM. I went to the lobby of the hotel around 6:00 AM and found I was not the only one in our group who couldn't sleep. There turned out to be 3 others: Laura, Perry and Matt. As we waited for our stretch limo to show up we talked about how far we had come. Our limo arrived about 5 minutes later. Our stretch limo turned out to be a Chevy minivan. We drove out of the city to an area I think was called Canyon Creek, but I am not sure. We went to a house high up on the side of a mountain that had a gorgeous view of the valley below. The house matched the view and you could have easily fit 3 of my houses inside of this one. They dropped us off by the pool overlooking the gardens and the vineyard. We waited for a 1/2 hour or so before they were ready to tell us what to do. I got to go first because I had to leave at 10:00 AM so I could get to the airport for my 12 1/2 hour flight home.

A gentleman, I think his name was Scott, walked with me through the gardens and talked with me. Scott had a small video camera that they were experimenting with and I was the first guinea pig.

Then I went to wardrobe, which was a corner of the 3 car garage. We were instructed to bring, workout, casual, business casual and dress clothes. "Critter" the wardrobe wizard, looked at me and said the clothes I had on were good for the interview. She wanted to see my workout clothes. I showed her my t-shirt and shorts and shoes. The shirt and shoes were fine but my shoes had a logo on them so she pulled a pair out of her Target bag (I think this is a hot new French designer). They had a logo on but it was much smaller then the one on my shoes. She took my work out clothes and the shoes and did her magic. She steamed the clothes to get the wrinkles out and painted the logo gray to match the shoe color so it would not stand out. While Critter was working on my clothes I was whisked off to makeup.

Make up was another corner of the garage, that is how I know what Critter did as I could see her the whole time. I cannot remember the makeup lady's name and I wish I could because she was very nice. I now have a new respect for women because sitting in that makeup chair seemed like hours, I think this is because everybody was watching me so they could see what to was going to happen to them. Apparently my eyes needed a lot of work as she spent most of her time poking me in the eye with various sizes and shapes of brushes. After I was sufficiently blinded, I was whisked off to the interview room. This room was on the lower level of the house and overlooked the pool and vineyards. They had 2 cameras aimed at a sofa that was turned backwards. I sat on the back of the sofa for the hour my interview took. They took a while to set the room up after I sat down to get rid of the weird shadows behind me. They removed and added furniture a couple of time to get things right. The room had large windows that looked out at the pool and the mountains in the background, but they put huge black screens over the windows so they could control the light in the room. Finally as we thought we were ready to start the interview the telephone rings. The phones were unplugged and then we were rolling. When the interview was finally over the screens and the furniture were removed so they could bring in the treadmill. I was amazed because when everything was moved I saw about 8 t0 10 additional people in the room that I did not know where there. I saw 3 camera men, Scott and a person who was standing at the edge of the screen who occasionally called Scott over and they whispered back and forth.

While they were setting up the treadmill, I was whisked off for still photos and then back to wardrobe to change into my freshly steamed clothes and painted shoes. After I changed it was back to the room. I only spent about 10 minutes with the treadmill mainly saying my name and the treadmills name. I also had to say a few bullet points about the treadmill. Then I had to go get still photos of me in work out clothes. Then it was all over. I changed back to street clothes after washing my makeup off, or at least I thought I washed it off. Every time I shower or wash I keep finding little spots of makeup that I somehow missed.

By this time it was 9:45 so I got to go grab some breakfast, my first food since I woke up at 3:00 AM. For the record since this is a food blog breakfast was an assortment of things everything from boxed cereal, bagels, pastries, various breakfast meats, breakfast burritos and bananas. Maybe if I would have got there earlier I would have gotten a better selection, but to me it all looked like buffet food that had been sitting out way too long but since we were outside there were no warming lights to keep it warm and nothing was done to make it look appetizing.

Then it was off to the car and back to the airport. Ransom, the lady who got us back and forth to the airport, hotel and shooting site handed me a stack of papers to sign in the car which basically gave the treadmill company the rights to use my story in their ads and website. By the way I got to keep the shoes with the logo painted over. They don't fit very well but since I was making a testimonial ad I can't get compensated so the shoes are my prize. I think I will bronze them and hang my size 12's from my Mini's rearview mirror.

Finally a special thanks goes to Laura Templeton. Laura was one of the other 3 people who were being taped when I was. She had enough foresight to bring here camera and took all of the pictures in this blog, well except the one above that she is in. Thanks for letting me use the photos Laura and congratulations on your weight loss!


  1. Congrats! That is a great story. You should be so proud of yourself for becoming healthy!

  2. thats so cool to be in a commercial oh and will follow your blog Rebecca

  3. Greg,

    Thanks for sharing your advice on dieting. I'm always skeptical whenever I hear the D word, but it was very straight-forward and sincere.

    Thanks again,


  4. That's really awesome how far you have come. Four years later the weight is still off. Congrats!

  5. This is such a great and inspiring story - congratulations on losing all that weight and keeping it off for years!! And what a great opportunity and experience you had here. :) Congrats again!