It was lights, camera, action for the Harlem High School marching band.
As part of Lauren Kent’s senior project, the 65-member band and flag corps were filmed for a 30-second commercial the band member created.
The TV ad is meant to drum up membership and booster support.
“I just want people to know that band is out there,” said Lauren, a clarinet player in the band. “I wasn’t planning for the commercial to have this message but at the end of it, I realized it might just encourage kids to join band.”
The 17-year-old was involved in every step of the filmmaking process.
After writing a script, Lauren orchestrated a two-hour, full-uniform practice on Harlem’s football field in the fall. She then sifted through about 45 minutes of footage to develop the 30-second clip.
“That took hours,” Lauren said. “You have to be very open-minded and very patient.”
Lauren has been in band since she was a sixth-grader at Harlem Middle.
Last January, she traveled with the band to Miami and performed alongside the group Train at the Orange Bowl. The marching band also might head to New Orleans in 2014 for a halftime performance at the Sugar Bowl.
As exciting as these trips and band competitions are, they cause a huge travel expense for band members.
“In the last few years, we’ve had to spend so much of our band booster fundraising money just on the basics, which leaves not a whole lot left for the stuff that makes it big and that makes it exciting,” said Harlem High Band Director Stacey Wade.
Wade said the commercial is a great way to promote the band program.
“The publicity that is resulting from this, it would cost us thousands to get that,” he said.
Lauren paired up with business owner Bert Dean to create the ad. Dean, who has filmed local commercials for Wife Saver and other businesses, covered all production and broadcasting expenses, Lauren said.
The commercial has aired on several TV channels and could run for several years, Lauren said.
“I think every day I have someone come up to me and tell me, ‘Oh, I saw this commercial. Did you know about it?,’” she said.
Lauren also is planning to modify the ad for radio to coincide with her research paper comparing TV and radio commercials.
“It’s a really cool thing that it is getting buzz,” Wade said. “I think that when people see it, they will understand that what band members do, it does take skill and it does take effort.
“It takes commitment. It is something that’s a positive experience and positive experiences can come out of it.”