I have a fun story to share with you today. I am currently involved in the PhRMA Go Boldly campaign.
PhRMA is the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufactures of America and they represent the country’s leading biopharmaceutical research companies and support the search for new treatments and cures.
I am involved in a print ad and commercial for the Go Boldly campaign. Here’s my story about how it came to be.
Last February I received an email from the same casting company that I worked with during my Go Daddy contest (check out the story of me pitching my jewelry business to Danica Patrick in a racecar here if you missed it) They were casting for a nationwide commercial for a pharmaceutical company and were looking for people who suffer from different medical conditions or diseases like hep C, HIV, heart disease and cancer.
One of the diseases they had listed was depression, which I have been diagnosed with, so I filled out their online application not thinking anything would come of it.
A week later I received a call from the casting company requesting to do a Skype interview.
I interviewed with one of the casting directors about my diagnosis and battle with depression and shared my story about how I have had depression most of my life and decided to finally get help after my daughter was a year old.
I take a few different medications that help me manage my depression and let me live more of a “normal” life and honestly, make me feel a whole lot better than before I sought treatment.
A couple of weeks after the interview I got a phone call that PhRMA wanted to hire me to shoot the commercial and that I would be headed to New York City the next week for three days for filming. Eeeeeee!
I packed my bags and was flown first class (woo!) to NYC and stayed at the Ritz Carlton (double woo!) in White Plains NY, (about 30 mins north of Manhattan)
I flew in on Wednesday night, on Thursday morning bright and early at 7am I was shuttled to the film set at the White Plains Women’s Center which is a country club type-of-place to film the commercial.
On set I met some of the other patients who were also shooting their commercial. The campaign is called Go Boldly and this portion of the campaign was called “Finishing Sentences”. They took each of us patients and paired us with a scientist who is researching our disease. Then they spliced the interview footage together to make the commercial.
The man in the first pic of this post to the left of me is Wayne, the scientist working on depression treatment. I didn’t get to meet him because they filmed the scientists the day after the patients and I was already on my way back home.
On set I had my hair and makeup done and was dressed by the wardrobe folks and then I sat down for a 30 minute interview with the director, Nanette.
The way the interview was set up was pretty cool. I was seated in a chair with a background that looked just like a nice living room and then all the crew people were blocked off with giant screens so I couldn’t see them. I suspect this was to make us patients feel more comfortable being interviewed. The camera that I was looking into had a screen in front of the lens that showed Nanette’s face, so instead of just looking into the camera, I was looking directly at Nanette on the screen while she interviewed me, even though she was off to the side of the camera and I couldn’t actually see her. It was really cool.
The interview was more of a casual conversation about how I suffer from depression, what I do to manage my “disease”, and what kind of treatments I have tried with the goal of inspiring others who also have depression to have hope for the future.
After the on-camera interview I was brought out to a different set in a large tent outside for the photography portion of the campaign which is where the photo for the print ad was taken.
They took portrait shots of me and then I was interviewed by the man in charge of social media for PhRMA about the campaign and the whole experience.
By this time it was about 11am and my work was done. I was brought back to the hotel where I had the rest of the day to do whatever I liked in White Plains NY. I did a little shopping, grabbed some authentic NY pizza and then headed back to the hotel for a massage and relaxing at the pool. The massage that I had at the Ritz was seriously the best massage I have ever had in my life (and this comes from someone who used to do massage for a living and gets them regularly)
I was scheduled to fly back home on Friday afternoon. The production company heard that I had never been to New York City before they insisted that I get a chance to see Manhattan before I left. They had the driver that was supposed to bring me straight to the airport pick me up from the hotel early and give me a tour of the city. It was so awesome. I got to see everything.
We drove past the Bronx, around Manhattan, past Central Park. Rockafeller Center, Trump Tower, Times Square, the WTC and Wall St. I saw it all from the car and got to step out and take pictures when I wanted to.
Then, the driver dropped me off at the airport and I made my way back home.
After several months of waiting my portion of the campaign is finally airing. The ad is running in the Portland Oregonian newspaper several times over the next couple of months. The commercial will be airing on the web in the next little while and I will keep you posted and share it when I can.
Pretty crazy experience, right?
Big thanks to PhRMA for a great time and fun trip to New York!