January 17, 2012

Derek Leonidoff's Super Bowl Hopes

Regent Adjunct Professor Derek Leonidoff not only demonstrates a great rapport with students in his Improvisation classes, and with audiences as leader of the V.I.P.s (Varsity Improv Players) but also with an imposing Great Dane in his new commercial “Man’s Best Friend.” Derek’s commercial can be seen here, but he hopes you’ll do more than just watch it! “Man’s Best Friend” is a finalist in the Doritos sponsored “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, and he needs your votes to help him win.

When asked about the process of shooting the commercial, Derek said, “The commercial was shot over the course of just three hours. Jon Friedman, the creator of this spot, is a director I've worked with before on a couple of independent films. Having worked with me before, he thought of me to play the role in this spot, and gave me a call. The most difficult part of shooting was working with "Huff" the Great Dane. He's a good dog, but not "Hollywood" trained or anything. The few seconds he's sat still in the commercial are literally the only few seconds he was still during the shoot. The Doritos contest is in its fifth year, and we were up against over 6,000 other commercials submitted from around the country. We figured that if it didn't make it – ‘Hey, it's no big deal. We had some fun working together, and it'll look good on our reel.’ Then, right before Christmas, we got a call that we’d been chosen as a finalist. It was killing me because we signed a non-disclosure agreement, and I wasn't allowed to tell anyone!”

Here’s how the contest works: From the fan votes, two out of the five commercials will be chosen to air during Super Bowl XLVI. The one with the most votes will be deemed the grand prize winner and go on to create another Doritos commercial with guys from "The Lonely Island" (From Saturday Night Live.) In addition, if Derek’s ad is chosen to air, AND it makes it into the top five of the USA Today ad-meter after the Super Bowl, there’s a chance they could win up to one million dollars. Yes, that's competing against all the other great commercials during the Super Bowl, but last year, "Pug Attack," another Doritos fan submitted spot, was the Grand Prize winner, and came in first on the ad-meter, so they won the million. It can be done.

Derek adds, “If you go to our website, there are links to where you can vote, a blooper reel, a ‘Huff pick of the day,’ and you can even sign up for daily reminders.

It's exciting. You know - I went to college with Jon, I've known him for a long time, and here we are, years later on the verge of a big break with a national commercial spot. You never know who you might be working with right now that could prove to be an advocate of your work later. Even the smallest opportunity today, could prove to be your big break later on.”

You can vote for "Man's Best Friend" here.  Come back every day and cast a vote for Derek!

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