October 11, 2015

The day I got paid to drink

Click bait alert: To be clear, I got paid to drink coffee.

And 5-Hour Energy.

But, mostly coffee.

Which is ironic because the name of this commercial is When Coffee is a Hassle Try 5-Hour Energy.

And I was also getting paid to have my hair and make-up done.

And I was sitting around, waiting.

A lot.

Such is life while on set...

I had resigned from my post as Deputy Mayor of my hometown (Westland, Michigan) nearly six months prior to pursue my freelance writing career, and I was also studying to earn my yoga teaching certification -- a program which wasn't cheap and that I paid for by doing commercials and industrial films.

All but one of the commercials I had shot up to that point were for local companies, which meant the commercials were pretty much only seen in my neck of the woods.

On November 30, 2010, I auditioned for a national television commercial for 5-Hour Energy.

Honestly, I didn't give much thought to whether I'd get the part or not.

When you audition as much as I did, it becomes a grind, and you develop thick skin. (Which is excellent training for the real world, by the way.)

I may think I did well, but it only matters what the client (read: casting director of that particular company) thinks -- and I may have, in fact, done well.

But for whatever reason, if my look is not what they are looking for, I won't be chosen.

And it's on to the next.

So for this 5-Hour Energy audition -- which took all of 45 seconds -- the client asked me to act as if I was pissed off while waiting in line for my coffee.

That's it.

Nothing more, nothing less.

I guess I was the right kind of pissed because five days later, my agent, Linda, called to tell me that I got the part, that the commercial would be shot at a coffeehouse in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and that the client would be in touch within the next day or two with more details.

Fast forward to Friday, December 10.

I awake at nearly 6 a.m. and drive to the set with a suitcase filled with business attire in tow.

The protocol with regard to wardrobe on commercial sets is that actors bring four or five clothing options that the client would like, but there is also a stylist on set who may bring clothing as well.

Nothing I brought tickled the client's fancy, so they clothed me from head to toe in a pair of black slacks, a button-down shirt, and a thick, heavy down parka. 

Meanwhile, I was offered to try a smorgasbored of 5-Hour Energy, but because I had never had any before, I was afraid of how I might react.

I didn't want to become Carlton in that Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode when he takes speed at the school dance.

So I stuck with coffee.

And I watched Regis and Kelly.

And I think I read half an issue of Cosmopolitan.

And I read a newspaper.

And waited.

And then waited some more.

Finally, it was time for me to shoot my part, which, no lie, took not even twenty minutes.

My wait was longer than my actual work.

And then the crew had lunch catered.

It was delicious.

And then I blew that Popsicle stand and spent the rest of the afternoon at the T.J. Maxx up the street.

In all, my time on set was about four hours.

And I was compensated damn well for it.

So much so, that when my check arrived in the mail about a month later, it satisfied the balance of my yoga teacher training tuition. And then some.

Here's the finished product. You'll find me at 0:04 and 0:09 in all of my pissed off glory:

(If you are unable to view or click on the video box above, please click here.)

And to be clear, I was acting.

I would sooner leave an establishment before I ever looked like this in a coffee line.

I worked at The Coffee Beanery once.

I know what those baristas go through when they're in the weeds...


  1. I love it! What a fun opportunity and a quick way to earn some extra cash. You look fantastic in the commercial even if you are pissed off lol!

    1. Hi, there! And thank you for stopping by! Yes, commercials is a great way to make A LOT of money -- and there's no age limit to do so, which is also fantastic...

      By the way, I'm a Celine Dion fan, too! ;-)

      Have a wonderful week ahead.