On March 28, AARP and AARP Foundation staff and a 10-person production team gathered at the Oasis Studios in Pineville, NC to spend a day of hard work and lighthearted fun at the Jeff Gordon video shoot. The video segments of Jeff, NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, will be used throughout 2012 in a variety of commercials and video segments to raise awareness of and support for Drive to End Hunger.
Jeff, a veteran of many photo shoots throughout his lengthy career, approached the day’s demanding shooting schedule with aplomb. With a 9:00 a.m. start time, the schedule called for six hours in front of the cameras. Gordon’s calm and humorous approach to the shoot immediately put everyone at ease.
Shooting began with a segment titled “In an Instant”, which portrays how quickly a change in someone’s circumstances can lead to hunger. The second piece shot promoted the Charlotte 1 Million event that AARP and AARP Foundation are holding May 24 and 25; they are seeking thousands of volunteers on these two days to package one million meals for hungry older North Carolinians. Other spots included Jeff recording hunger-related facts for use in a variety of media, including DrivetoEndHunger.org and pieces for social media channels: Facebook.com/DrivetoEndHunger and Twitter.com/#!/Drive2EndHunger.
Jeff took an active role in ensuring the scripts for every video were authentic, both in capturing his own way of speaking and the interest of his ardent NASCAR fans. Once, for example, he suggested rewriting a segment that referred to a long day “running 300 laps around a track;” “400 or 500 laps is more like it,” he said. Unlike most non-professional onscreen personalities, Jeff often recorded his lines in just one take. The production team, which hadn’t worked with Jeff before, was surprised and delighted.
There was a good reason for Jeff to want to deliver his lines to his own exacting standards: He spent most of his time on the set under extremely bright and very hot lighting, often wearing his flame-retardant firesuit. “This is as hot as being in the race car,” he said.
The day wound up with Jeff taking part in a food production assembly line to put together packages of beans and rice. Jeff enthusiastically manned several stations, opening packages, filling them with food, and stacking them into boxes when they were ready. This was a perfect way to end a fun and insightful behind-the-scenes look into a day that focused on Jeff Gordon, Drive to End Hunger’s most energetic spokesperson, encouraging much-needed support for the campaign.
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.