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My Walmart Shoot!


I shot the Walmart commercial yesterday, and it was a loooong day. Since I was the first shoot of the day, my call time was 7AM, but I got there at 6:40 so I could eat breakfast. Nothing like a morning BLT (hold the salmonella, please) before a shoot. It has become a ritual for me. I asked the 2nd A.D. what the schedule looked like, assuming I would shoot then leave so I could make it to my 2:05 audition. Ha! "You're with us all day long, Nicole." I looked at the schedule and saw that I was in 3 segments of the commercial, and would be shooting periodically throughout the day, which was scheduled to end at 5:30PM. I asked if I could leave during lunch to make my audition. He said it didn't look likely, but he would try to get me out for an hour around 4:30. Given the shoot schedule, the fact that lunch was only 1/2 hour, and that our cars were in a lot away from the shooting locations, I totally understood. I let my manager know and told her that we would play this one by ear.

After breakfast, we were all shuttled (by van) to our first shoot location: a park. "My" twins were there: Ian & Ethan Sturdevant. I had met them during the fittings, and they seemed a bit bashful, talking mostly to one another or their mother. By shoot day, however, they had thawed out and were an animated little duo. I pushed them in swings - one always wanted to go higher, and the other was on the verge of tears. I offered up a truce: I promised not to push him so hard that he would land in the tree across the street. We shook on it, and all was well. We had fun and lots of laughs.

After that, I went to my trailer (a split-room situation with 2 to a room), and chilled for a bit, talking to an actress who, after 18 non-union spots had just booked her first SAG commercial. She was so excited & had questions about how things worked, so I shared whatever I could with her. Then it was back to hair & makeup. The hair & makeup team was COOL (they usually are), and considering the fact that the client wanted me to have a different hairstyle for the second segment, it was a good thing that the hairstylist knew how to style black hair & curly hair (something I made sure of when I saw her pull out a blowdryer). Someone suggested that I have my hair straightened, and while I was open to heat-straightening (not chemical), that process would have taken a couple of hours, EASILY, so it didn't make sense to go that route. Reina worked it out with a diffuser, a comb, and some bobby pins. She fluffed my fro, parted it, pinned it, and I was ready!

By the next shoot, the kids were kinda antsy. It was hot, there were bees flying around, we were doing lots of standing, waiting, and repetitive actions (you know, SHOOTING), and they wanted their real mother, but they hung in there, everyone seemed happy with the footage they got, and the twins were able to go home be real kids instead of TV kids. Good times.


So, by this time I think we were 2 hours behind schedule, and it was pretty clear that I wasn't going to make it to the audition, and it was probably a good thing because I was really tired, and still had to make it the last mile. When I audition I want to be at my best, and when I shoot they are paying me to be at my best, and I didn't want to end up shortchanging anyone, so it may have worked out the way it needed to.

Wardrobe had another go at me, putting me in my 3rd outfit of the day, and then told me not to sit down (not sure why, and too tired to ask at that point). I thought I would be shooting shortly afterwards, but after about an hour and a half of standing, I said "heckwiddit" and sat my butt down somewhere. The time was 7:25, and according to the schedule, there was my shot handling the product (Hanes wedgie-free panties, I kid you not - how they engineered these, I don't know, and how they verify their "wedgie-free or money back" guarantee I don't WANT to know), and a scene with another actress. While I was waiting, I heard the call come in over the walkie to nix the other scene. I felt bad for the other actress - she had been there for several hours and was very excited to shoot. To get cut due to time-constraints really had to suck, but it was getting very late. Finally I did my thing, and we wrapped at 8:45PM. Almost a 14-hr. workday, and as tired as I was/ am, I can tell you that I'd rather spend 14 hours on set than 8 hours at most of the non-acting jobs I've worked (and kept quitting) throughout my life.

So it was a great time, everybody seemed pleased, and I would love to work with them all again: the director, the ad agency, and the client. It was a good collaboration, and I can't WAIT to see the spot!!

Sorry so long, but this was actually the CONDENSED version!

More to come...

--Nicole J. Butler

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Stacey Jackson

BTW, your new *long* hair looks fantastic! Congrats on a great shoot!

Nicole J. Butler

Thank you Stacey! (On both accounts.)


I saw this post and my first thought was "I want that top and her hair looks cute!" Guess it's unanimous...

Nicole J. Butler

Susan-- Everyone on set liked the top. I asked for it when we were done, but the answer was "no". I suspect that it found a new home with one of the admirers!

Thanks for the hair comment. I'm liking it longer these days as well.

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