Student films are all about preparation. For every hour spent filming, double or triple the time is used for location scouting, rehearsing and blocking before the shoot.
USC School of Cinematic Arts student Shane Habberstad and Jack Heston ’13 took their work one additional step with their spec commercial “Dive” for the Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl contest by filming multiple skydives to recreate a group of skydivers fighting for a bag of tortilla chips.
“I’ve been a skydiver since I was 16, so the idea for ‘Dive’ came from that,” Habberstad said. “Eight months ago, after I had studied last year’s winning commercials, I thought I could bring my background to the process and do something different. Something action-packed. I had a loose framework for a group of skydivers chasing a bag of Doritos.
“We ended up working with an incredible group of talented people, and Doritos changed their marketing concept to ‘for the bold’ and I knew we could do something special with that theme,” he added. “We were going to do something no one had seen before.”
Heston added: “Perris Valley was our first drop zone. We storyboarded the whole thing and ended up doing 15 to 16 airplane loads for the shoot. We had to do one shot per jump — in free fall, you only have about a minute to film so there were very unique challenges. USC prepared me for just about everything, but this was a whole new level.”
Some of the cast members included Luke Aikins (The Pilot): professional skydiver/BASE jumper, Red Bull Air Force; Roberta Mancino (girl who drops the Doritos): BASE jumper/Wingsuit pilot, international model; and Laura James (girl on the couch at the end): model/actress, winner of America’s Next Top Model, cycle 19.
The winner of the contest receives $1 million and watches his or her commercial air during the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Feb. 2.