Linda's Chamber Chat


Last updated 10/11/2018 at 2:07pm

The Visit California commercial filmed here on Sept. 19 will be released in stages, with the first release set for the UK this December. It will travel the world on a global junket with regional, national and continent release events.

What a blast for the millennials running this Visit California 2019 campaign, running Visit California, and coming up fast on running the world. I would have loved their jobs at their age. I would love their jobs at my age!

It was great fun hanging with the Visit California site selection team on a hot Aug. 22 day this summer. Borrego was in, already selected for the commercial, now just to pick what to shoot. Visit California had chosen Borrego Springs to represent the California desert as a global tourism destination in their multimillion dollar 2019 campaign.

An honor we earned with the full support of our major regional DMO peers, including our good friends in the San Diego Tourism Authority and the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hmmmm, now just to pick the money shot.

Having worked with film scouting crews of two to six persons, sometimes just one person, the Chamber’s representative was most certainly surprised when a caravan of shiny government black SUVs showed up with lots of people for the site selection. Wondered for a moment if someone forgot to tell us the President or some royal was coming to town at the same time as our site scouting team. Nope, they were all ours.

19 folks in seven vehicles, from the brand manager to the executive producer to the director to the travel manager to camera men and production assistants. Not a 4WD vehicle among them. We went everywhere around the valley, and even up to Culp Valley.

Any place scenic an Airstream travel trailer could go we went. We in a jeep tried to steer the leaders to take a ride to Font’s Point for a peak. Nope, only where an Airstream could go was for their Borrego Springs story this round. They found what they wanted early on and were just looking for a second site. Whew, we were still a go with their first choice.

Over lunch at La Casa Del Zorro Resort, they asked how many rooms they had. With our answer, the producer said, “Perfect, we will take them all.”

A month later, the day of the shoot provided loads more fun, as 100+ people took over the location selected for filming after having had the run of La Casa Del Zorro Resort the night before.

With a much sought after invite in hand, we arrived for the location shoot where right off they handed us a lovely Visit California swag bag, while being escorted to a premium viewing spot with our choice of tall and short director chairs. We were feeling pretty special.

Coming hungry, they made us even happier with a shiny red catering van dispensing never-ending trays of goodies to our VIP tent. Cameras were in volume catching all angles and real time viewing screens in makeshift tented rooms, like the one we were in dotted the landscape in volume along one side of the money shot.

A new twist for us, the person scheduled to be on location first in the wee hours of that morning, and now wandering around the set in a continuing slow meandering way with eyes to the ground, none other than a professional snake wrangler named Jessica.

Take-after-take, three actors did their thing in front of a Borrego icon. When I say take-after-take, we mean take-after-take. 20 seconds of action, over-and-over again with only minor tweaks here and there, with minutes between each call for “action.”

Witnessing easily, 50 takes to capture the perfect 2 – 7 seconds needed for our part in the 30 second commercial, and to capture the 10 – 20 seconds needed for the commercial’s roadshow promo.

Whatever the directors were doing between takes we can’t say, but with each take’s “cut,” umbrella and water carrying and sweat blotting production assistants converged on the actors followed by hair and makeup. The talent looked as fresh as the first take through to the end take.

Next stop, a coastal San Diego city with an iconic resort that has a bit in common with our La Casa Del Zorro. 28 locations to be filmed statewide, 17 days of shooting with our Borrego Springs shoot being on day three, following the shoot at a most popular member of the Channel Islands off the coast of LA. As you read this piece, all locations will have been shot, it will be a rap, but with us missing the final rap party. Oh well, we’ll survive.

We think, we may really hope our Borrego Springs shoot was so good and exceptionally unique and authentically awe inspiring as a destination draw for the global market to headline the commercial.

We can see it. Can you? Gobs of families of tourists from the world over sojourning to Borrego Springs. The kids begging their parent(s) to go to Borrego Springs. The parents planning a family holiday to include Borrego Springs as the big surprise stop on their family vacation to California. Kids of all ages from 3 – 83 years old, from many nations, coming to Borrego Springs to capture their own moment to share with friends back home.

Coming to be stars of a family selfie, captured in mock slow motion with all taking turns running and screaming with arms flailing about. Running in slow-mo across the breathtaking California desert landscape with the Santa Rosa mountains standing majestic in the background. Oh yeah can you see it too, that’s the money shot for a destination commercial focused on a family adventure for sure.

Shhhhhhh, now behave and don’t tell anyone if you followed the bread crumbs to the SoCal locations hinted at. It’s all to stay a secret until the commercial is released to the UK market in December. Oh yeah, one last thing, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone Jessica was here.

– Linda Haddock

Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce