before the bark
After traveling to the Red River Gorge to produce a long form commercial featuring UltraRunner Harvey Lewis and subsequently traveling along the Appalachian Trail following Harvey for our feature length documentary “Like Harvey Like Son”, as well as numerous other photo and video shoots, it’s safe to say that we like ROAD iD and they like us…we think. Well, we are pretty sure anyway. In early 2019 they approached us with a mission, promote their PET iDs in a commercial short film; drawing inspiration from the Harmon Brothers. Our concept pitch to them: Have a dog explain why the PET iD is better than all the rest. But not like hire a voice actor and shoot a “Homeward Bound” style sort of thing. Instead, we use a man-dog, like Wilfred. And that’s just what we did. Meet the hero of our jingly tag turned silent tag tale, Barkley.
Writing the woof
Meritocracy…the concept that the best idea wins no matter whose idea it was. With that in mind, 6 people from both ROAD iD and HARRIS MEDIA Co took a shot at writing scripts. After reading 5 scripts, one last script was set to be read during the scripting meeting. and it was the clear winner. It had it all. A dog drinking from the toilet. A dog with his head out the car window. And yes, even a dog humping its owner’s leg. Yes, this script had it all and was masterfully written by ROAD iD’s Andrew Roe. Once Roe finished, Edward (the founder of ROAD iD) looked at Rudy and said, “Well, what do we now?” To which he replied after closing his laptop, “I think it’s clear.”
Casting a Canine
Once the script was set, it was time for a few dubious tasks - Casting and Costuming. We looked first at hiring someone within all of our social networks. After the auditions came back, there were a few standouts but nobody that truly fit the part. That’s when we reached out to Heyman Talent, our go-to talent agency. They sent back 30+ auditions that we at HMCo sifted through. Although there were a few that did a decent job at capturing the essence of “Barkley”, there was one that shined right through the crowd, Chaney Morrow. His audition (screenshot picture left) was absolutely perfect! With Chaney set as the lead, the search for a costume began. Long story short, we looked no further than a good friend of ours, Mallory Muddiman. Mallory is the brain behind Mallory Kate Style, which is her own fashion line and blog. Although typically, she makes women’s skirts, dresses, and tops, she rose to the task of making a dog costume and knocked it out of the park!
Over the course of two full days we took over a house, a residential street, and the ROAD iD offices as well. The shoot went by very fast. The nature of the script has very short lines being delivered in each scene. As such, typically it took much longer to set up than it did to film. The first scene of the production was scene 4, the digging scene. Chaney was ready, given the direction, set himself up to start digging and action was called. We trusted that this piece was going to be great, but it wasn’t until after the first take of the first scene on the first day that we knew just how good it would be. Hearing the contempt in Chaney’s delivery as dirt flew through the light of the morning sun made us all have to try hard to contain our laughter. Things only got better from there. We want to thank our hosts, The Craig family, for allowing us to totally take over their house for a day and a half. They had just moved into that house, as a matter of fact, and we had a man dressed as a dog hump another man’s leg in their front yard. Arguably the best first impression in neighborhood history.
Throughout the entire production Chaney absolutely crushed it, never complaining once and constantly going over his lines while the crew was setting up the shots. From the beginning we said that the project would live and die by the actor, and Chaney delivered.
We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the piece. We want to thank all the folks at ROAD iD (Edward, Matt, Mike, Andrew & Marty ) for all their hard work over the past 6 months and want to thank all the work of our crew who made the vision come to life!
Director - Rudy Harris
Creative Director - TJ Bitter
Associate Producer - Cayleigh Kerns
Director of Photography - Alex Elkins
Gaffer - Brandon Weaver
Audio Engineer/Sound Design - Joe Dunlap
Photographer/Craft Services - Tammi Harris
Editor - Lindsey Michels
Costumer - Mallory Muddiman
Makeup - Andrea Veith
Storyboards - Daniel Dufford
Scriptwriter - Andrew Roe