- Where Barn Banter Goes Global
Please support

Call a Friend production is a revelation

Published: 7/28/2011
View comments
By Maddy Butcher Gray

Me: Yep, we’re bringing a horse into a bar... It’s for a Designated Driving commercial.

Listener: Really? (chuckles and shakes head)

The creation and production of our first-ever public service announcement has been the most exciting, complicated, and challenging task yet for NickerNews.
Talk about eye-opening!
When I first thought about creating this ad, I thought, ‘ok, this’ll take a few hours.’
Then I started watching other commercials and mapping out the shots. There'd be about 15 shots, each just a few seconds long.
The 30-second story would need to be mapped out in detail, with camera angles, lighting, sequencing, weather, characters, theme song, voice-over, and myriad other aspects to be considered.
It gave me a whole new appreciation for your average entertaining commercial (Sorry, we’re not talking about Marden’s or Reny’s ads, folks!) Say nothing for feature-length movies.
The next time you’re watching a movie trailer, count the number of shots and watch the synchronization. An astounding amount of work is put into these mini-productions.

At least 100 hours was devoted to our production.

From a horsework perspective, it's taught me many things:

-- Getting a horse into a bar is easy.
-- Getting an unled horse to go into a bar is hard.

-- Getting folks excited about being with a horse in a bar is easy.
-- Getting non-horse folks to understand how to behave is hard. The horse might get antsy when they bang on the piano and hoot and holler.

-- Getting an unled horse to walk purposefully away from her pasture mates is hard.
-- Getting a horse to walk purposefully towards them is easy.

It’s brought together a wonderful batch of friends and acquaintances for this collaborative effort.

The 'Call a Friend' team:
-- Scott McIntyre, owner of the Old Goat in Richmond, Maine.
-- Alex Hadik, owner of AHH! Studios, and Brown University student, a Call a Friend director and co-producer.
-- Kerri Faladreau, Maine Equine Associates vet tech, horse woman, and the protagonist in the Call a Friend ad.
-- Shea, a PMU offspring and the “friend” in 'Call a Friend.'
-- Soundtrack: Never the Same by Crosswalk Kings, a Boston-based band consisting of Jon Simmons, Seneca Block, Justin Rodzen, and Roger Marks.
-- Supporting roles: Mike Ewing, Kelly Burnham (also our Make-up Artist), Hugh Robbins, Missy Libby
-- Sam Butcher, former Bowdoin College professor and my dad, did the pitch perfect voice-over.
-- Supporters – thanks to Marilyn Goodreau and Meris Bickford of the MSSPA, Missy Libby, anonymous donors and patrons at the Goat.
-- Kerri rode bareback but let's give props to Tom Lamprey, Granite Buckaroo, for the lovely bridle.

Read more about supporting the PSA.

View Reader Comments:

add your comment
7/28/2011 Jessie
Thats so cool.Love it!
7/28/2011 Missy L
Great fun, Maddy, and I was thinking the same thing......a lot of time and work for a 30 second spot! Shea was great! Hope she got her Guinness.
7/28/2011 kelly
I had so much fun THANKS Mad&Shea
7/29/2011 Michelle H
Awesome and so informative too!! Never a dull moment in the life of Maddy Gray!!
7/30/2011 Julie Kenney
Shea is so awesome and stands in testimony to your hours and hours of training and committment Maddy!!! Can't wait to see the finished PSA :)
7/31/2011 Kerri
thank you all I had so much fun and thank you Shea!!! U rock
8/25/2011 Nina Fuller
So cool! what a wonderful message and beautiful job!!
9/6/2011 Christine Giguere
I love it! Did the same in March of 1994, I rode my horse into the Martinique Tavern on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford...rode her from my Unle's ranch in Acushnet. We also stopped at the Blue Lantern Tavern to announce and hand out my wedding invitations via pony express. I got married the next morning on horseback...the 1st horseback wedding in that county! I love your work Maddy

"My horses are my friends, not my slaves" - Dr. Reiner Klimke