Lights, Camera, Action…
Residents and Little Sisters Share Joy of Knowing Jesus
Residents and Little Sisters from Jeanne Jugan Residence, our Home in Washington, D.C. answered an invitation from the Archdiocese of Washington to participate in its “Find the Perfect Gift/Regalo Perfecto” TV commercial. Through this annual endeavor the Archdiocese of Washington attempts to put Christ back into Christmas by encouraging individuals to share the joy of knowing Christ and the difference He makes in their lives. The film shoot for the commercial involved seven elderly Residents and six Little Sisters and proved replete with directors’ clapperboards, make-up person, lights, cameras, gaffer, multiple takes, music director/choreographer and script supervisor. It was a fun experience for all involved.
On November 6th, Christopher Strackbein, director, multimedia production for the Archdiocese, arrived on location with his film crew. Within one hour all equipment was installed on the “set” — With Christmas linens and other décor the Residents’ dining room had been transformed. At 2:00 pm the “volunteer actors” were on site, made-up and camera-ready, then briefed on his/her role and given an explanation of the “story board” and script. To be noted is the amazing statistic that the combined ages of the seven Residents is some 616 years and the average age is 88!
Amid much friendly banter and encouragement Leonard and Richard were the first initiates as they challenged one another in a quick paced game of checkers. However, the repeated efforts to land the winning checker on the final note of “Joy to the World” drew laughter and a comical grimace from Leonard. More coaching and maneuvering of cameras and kindly repeats ultimately created the perfect shoot and Leonard’s winning plop of the checker as the song ended: “…and heaven and heaven, let nature sing”!
A second scenario caught two Little Sisters and three more Residents, Miriam, Antoinette and Jean joining Leonard and Richard for caroling and rhythmic movements/dancing. To the beat of the music Sister Jeanne Veronique guided Antoinette in her wheelchair, Marian picked a dance step and others sang and clapped. Repeated takes procured a great scene and finale with background action, that of a staff member and Sister Mary Alexandra hurrying by while giving a giant, enthusiastic wave. It was on this eighth take that Christopher proclaimed, “That’s a wrap”, and gave a deep bow to the actors and crew.
Clips from this afternoon shoot were used in the 30-second archdiocesan TV Christmas commercial. Joyful shots of the Residents and Little Sisters will make you smile. Of greater importance for all the participants was the opportunity to be part of such an inspirational initiative.
The TV ad ran on stations in the DC metro area and is featured on findtheperfectgift.org along with four web-videos (Donate, Reflect, Share Joy, and Invite), which include testimony from our Residents and Little Sisters. To see the TV commercial and the videos, visit www.findtheperfectgift.org