Quiet on the set: State Farm ad on texting filmed in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN – It takes a whole Wednesday to create 30 seconds.

Bloomington-based State Farm Insurance was using the day to film a public service announcement about texting and driving, with powerful lights just south of the Cowboy Monkey bar, 6 Taylor St., C.

The production will be available to schools and online.

"We hope it will go viral," said Dana Spies of State Farm's auto-safety program.

The production is being done in-house, so Spies couldn't say how much it cost for the crew and cast of 30.

About a dozen cast members came from Parkland College, where auditions were held last week, Spies said.

"We like to use a homegrown cast," writer and producer Jim Kersten said. "The Parkland students are great."

Kersten was overseeing the audio from the third floor of the Jane Addams Book Store, half a block away. He said the day would be sufficient to produce the public service announcement.

Four powerful lights were focused on the brick pavement on front of Cowboy Money and Carrie's, where a controversial mural was painted over last week.

Spies said the location was chosen because it is "a charming Main Street location" that viewers will respond to. Champaign police watched over the scene.

Spies said the shooting shows the Parkland students talking and texting, but not driving.

She said the company wants to get the message across that students can text all they want, but not in traffic.

"We spend a lot of time telling teenagers what to do and not to. For this we talked to a lot of people, and we wanted to show that we can listen," Spies said.

For fans of Hollywood catering, it should be noted that there were snacks nearby, but no chef.

It wasn't the only recent film shooting here. University of Illinois President Michael Hogan shot a scene for a halftime commercial, also about 30 seconds. Part of its was shot June 30 at the new Business Instructional Facility.

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8sisters wrote on September 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

State Farm ad on texting filmed in Champaign the caption under the picture has that it is available for selected schools, why for only selected schools? I believe that it could be sent to all the schools in a web stream; just curious?

8sisters wrote on September 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Your page isn't very user friendly, has by submitting this form - where is the submit button?

this page you have save or preview? no submit button, does save mean submit?