When a man knocked at Lisa Lemmens’ door about a month ago and asked if she would like to be in a commercial, she didn’t hesitate.
Absolutely not, she told him.
Not you, he clarified. Your house.
Lemmens reconsidered. “I thought, well, that sounds like fun,” she said.
So it was that house shared by Lemmens, husband David and 17-year-old son Landon was transformed temporarily into a film set for one whirlwind day earlier this month. The home in the center of Hudson was the setting of a holiday commercial for Northeast Ohio Ford Dealers, which is expected to run regionally starting next week.
Even though Lemmens received some insurance paperwork a couple of weeks before the shoot, she remained skeptical. And when the big day came around and the expected arrival time of 10 a.m. came and went, “I thought this was a scam,” she said.
But at 11 a.m., three semis pulled up filled with Christmas trees, decorations, lanterns and every other bit of paraphernalia imaginable. A crew swooped in to create just the right evocative illusion, even retrieving leaves from the curb and scattering them just so in the yard.
The Lemmens’ front door wasn’t in quite the right place, but no problem. The crew just brought in a framed door and set it on the porch, making it appear that the door led to the house when in actuality it just led to more porch.
By 3 p.m. the set was ready and the production crew showed up to start filming. The cast included six or eight people in party garb stationed in the Lemmens’ front room, awaiting the arrival of a guy in a Ford with a tray of hors d’oeuvres.
While all the commercial-making action swirled around them, the Lemmens tried to make themselves available to answer questions and otherwise stay out of the way. “We tried to get my Boston terrier in it,” she said, “but they had no interest.”
The commercial was created by local production company VRA for the advertising agency Team Detroit.
The company wanted to shoot in Hudson because it had picturesque houses and a retail area that would also be ideal for the storyline, said Frank Fletcher, the location scout/manager and the guy who had knocked on the Lemmens’ door. He was driving the city with Director Allan Vajda and Executive Producer Joe Ramey when he spotted the Lemmens’ house, and he decided to stop just because it struck him as beautiful.
“I thought, This would be a great place for Christmas,” he said. “And it was.”
Lemmens said the production company thought of every detail. It asked the neighbors for permission to use their driveways for vehicles and equipment so they wouldn’t block the street. It had police direct traffic. It even took every one of the leaves back off the lawn during a couple of hours’ worth of cleanup after filming was finished around 11 p.m.
“It was just a very cool experience,” she said. “… We just had a really great day.”
And her house got its turn in the spotlight.
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MBBreckABJ, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckABJ and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.