Shoot Production: Wegmans
Photographer/director Will Strawser was tasked by Wegmans to create a video to promote their Thanksgiving catering services, and Will brought us on to help coordinate the project. Wegmans has an internal creative team, and while they were planning to provide the location and the primary food/prop styling, we were responsible for lining up everything else.
Wegmans is based in Rochester, NY and they wanted to shoot locally. Considering the small market, I was initially worried that the talent pool and crew/resources would be limited, but with Will’s local connections, we were able to find what we needed.
“When Wegmans came to me to direct and create a series of videos that encapsulate their Holiday Catering packages I was all for it. Who doesn’t want to be on set all day with the smell of oven-roasted turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Honestly the hardest part of this project was keeping the crew from eating the set food (just kidding), but it did smell delicious!” – Will Strawser
Will Strawser sets up an overhead of the Wegmans spread.
For talent, we casted from cards by reaching out to local agencies WMA, AMS, NY Model Talent, and MTF, all of which provided a nice mix of options for us to consider. Once a shortlist was dialed-in, we asked them to provide selfies and a short self-recorded video just to double check current appearances in addition to their acting capabilities, even though the roles would be non-speaking. For the dialogue, we separately put out a casting call for voiceover actors, and ultimately found what we were looking for through a submission on voices.com.
We then moved onto the crew, and lined up a grip, gaffer, wardrobe stylist, makeup stylist, digital tech, and production assistant who would support the styling and creative team internally with Wegmans. From there, we collaborated with Will to develop a two-day shoot schedule and organized a shot list, all of which was integrated into a production book. Lastly, we were responsible for catering the shoot (yes, catering for a shoot about catering), and we of course worked with the local Wegmans store to prepare a delicious meal for the crew.
“Wegmans wanted these videos to be centered around the food itself. So we ultimately chose to use the cast as background elements to really let the food come through as the hero. We worked closely with Wegmans' own chef, Mark Makovec to flawlessly execute the food styling on set and make sure it fit with the marketing department's vision for the plating. It was also nice working with a medium-sized crew for this project; everyone had their perfect place with minimal amounts of downtime. Even with a bunch of us working in close proximity, it came together like a fine-tuned machine.” – Will Strawser
Wegman's in-house chef, Mark Makovec perfects a dish for the photo shoot.
The shoot went so well, they brought us back on for another project a few weeks later; this time to create a video promoting their holiday catering offerings. We got the gang back together, and since it was hot off the tail of the first shoot, we were able to leverage the same talent pool previously provided by local agents. The second shoot was in a different residential property, and with all of our efficiencies, we were able to cram a lot into just one shoot day.
“At the end of the shoots, Wegmans was beyond happy with the pre-production, execution, and post on these videos and we were happy to deliver them a great fun project under budget and on time” – Will Strawser