Driver's Apprenticeship

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New York-based independent production service company Driver, founded by veteran agency producers J.D. Williams and Scott Weitz (see, took a sidetrip into the world of reality TV last month on an episode of Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice. The company was called in to help the two opposing teams, who had to create in-flight commercials for Song Airlines (for which, coincidentally, Driver happened to produce real spots, out of SS+K). Not surprisingly, this proved to be more exasperating than the typical commercial gig. "We could be facilitators but couldn't give them advice on whether something was good or bad," explains Williams. For example, both teams had a generous production arsenal at their disposal, including a real airplane at JFK and two huge studios at Silvercup, including an interior set of a fuselage. "The contestants got their cast together at Silvercup and said, 'OK! Let's all go to JFK and shoot on the plane!'" recounts Weitz. "But as you're looking at them, right behind their heads is the fuselage set. You weren't allowed to say, 'Your cast is right here, get your camera crew, have them sit in the fuselage now and film them.' It's very anti-instinctual for a producer, but we were monitored. Mark Burnett productions kept the game very fair, and if you said something, they'd hear it." To cut the spots, Driver recruited Cut+Run editors Mike Douglas and Chuck Willis, but the star of that segment was the editing shop's beer-stocked fridge, repeatedly raided by one of the would-be apprentices.
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