At that shoot, I met up with the people that do the music for the United Airlines commercials. A VERY nice agency!! They asked me if I'd be interested in shooting a behind the scenes doc on the making of a United commercial. I of course said yes, and a few days later, I was in the studio shooting a mini documentary for them. Originally, it was slated to play in-flight, or at least that's what I thought, and so that's what I said. And that sounded very good!! Very official!! My video was playing in-flight on United Airlines all across the world! Was it true? I don't know. It was a case of "ignorance is bilss". So it made a good sales pitch for the next year.
That aside, I have to say, that shoot was sort of a tipping point for me. I actually had to call in at work sick that day because it shot on a week day. It was really close to my birthday, and it was almost like a really cool birthday present shooting that gig. I made three times that day what I made in a day at the agency. And there I was sitting in a legendary recording studio with two concert pianists on 9-foot grand pianos back to back playing Rhapsody in Blue. It was nothing short of amazing!! And then after that, 25 members of the LA Philharmonic came in and played a few bars of strings for a couple of hours. It was really cool.
We interviewed a few of the orchestra players and cut together a nice behind-the-scenes video segment of the making of a United Airlines commercial. Here's the link if you want to see it.
I submitted this to the Telly Awards. I received an envelope back. I already knew what it was going to say. I was prepared to be denounced of any sort of peer accolade. After all, this was only a fake real job. One where I had to lie and call in sick to pretend I was in the industry.
I opened the letter of rejection, only it said that I had won a Bronze Telly! I was elated!! This was exactly the validation I needed. My work had been noticed by my fellow video peers that it was at least good enough for a second place Telly.
Just as a side note, a Telly is for video production that hasn't aired nationally on one of the major networks.
So this was a really big accomplishment, and one of the elements, that I feel propelled me to continue in the video direction.
In July of 2004 I had my first kid. I got a leave of absence from my ad agency job compliments of the state of California for a ridiculously long amount of time. I returned to work for two weeks and then quit to venture out on my own. So now I had a new kid, I had just bought a house the year prior, I was up to my eyeballs in camera debt and then both my wife and I quit our jobs about the same time.
Would I succeed? Would I fail? The housing market was about to fall out and the busted economy would hit in just a couple of years... It really was a stupid leap of faith.