This is the story of how Jonathan Demme almost directed this Carmelo Anthony spot I produced.
I was in LA producing some videos with Chris Paul and Ghostface Killah. It had been a long day of waiting around for our shoot during this activation. After the shoot we all returned to our hotel rooms to rest so we can get back the next morning. However, I was still working for a bit for our next Carmelo Anthony shoot. Then I had an epiphany. I had just seen Rachel Getting Married and I called my creative director immediately.
Me: Josh, you seen Rachel Getting Married?
Me: Why don't we shoot this like that wedding rehearsal dinner scene?
Josh: Yes! You think we can get Jonathan Demme for this?
Me: You know I would try.
The next day, I ended up calling Jonathan Demme's agent to send over our creative to see if this is even a small possibility. A few days passed and I heard nothing back. In those few days that passed, I had gotten the bird flu and that is the sickest I have ever been so far in my life. I even had to get myself to the ER to get an IV in because I was so sick and dehydrated. After I left the ER, I had to go to the pharmacy to get antibiotics. I was sitting in a chair slumped over at Walgreens when my phone rang. It was a 310 number from Beverly Hills. I picked up; it was Jonathan Demme's agent's assistant. I then spoke to the agent. It turns out that Jonathan Demme was very interested and wanted to do a creative call with us to discuss this shoot as soon as possible. I was in shock.
I then set up a conference call for us to discuss this shoot with my creative directors. Josh, Ez and I hid in the edit suite next to my desk to take this call and magic happened. Jonathan Demme began the call with the story of how he saw the NY Knicks returning at JFK. He had a way of storytelling. We could see what he saw, and it was beautiful and cinematic. He was excited and he loved the NY Knicks. I told him how I had this idea after watching Rachel Getting Married and we wanted to shoot this like the rehearsal dinner scene. He loved it. I was over the moon. He asked me flat out what the budget was so he can make it happen. We sorted out the budget. He was on board. It was very exciting and we were very giddy.
Another week went by and I get another call from this Beverly Hills 310 number. At this point, I knew it had to be Jonathan Demme's agent. Turns out, Jonathan Demme had a speaking engagement the day of my shoot in Napa. We were crushed. So we awarded the shoot to someone else instead, who did an amazing job.
Then the night after the award of this project, I was at DNA Lounge seeing Mortified. It was the Beverly Hills 310 on my mobile again. I knew I had to take it. I stepped outside to take this call. Naturally, it was Jonathan Demme's agent. It turns out that Jonathan Demme's speaking engagement was postponed so he was now available to direct this spot. A million thoughts came into my mind at this moment. I told him that I just awarded the job the day before due to the speaking engagement conflict.
And that is the story of how Jonathan Demme almost directed this Carmelo Anthony spot. I am sure you are now on to making more amazing things in the after life.