Moab Stories and Tips

The Making of a Commercial

The Making of a Commercial Photo, Moab, Utah

Often it's just being in the right place at the right time. After driving up the scary, white-knuckled switch-back very narrow Shafer Road (named after ranchers Frank and John Shafer) leading to the Island in the Sky, I finally arrived at the location where the final canyon death scene of Thelma and Louise was filmed. There I saw a large film crew, preparing to make a commercial for the Mazda Car Company. Not ever having witnessed a commercial being made, I invited myself into the surroundings of this film-set and after talking to a few film-workers, was invited to witness the actual filming.

I had no idea how complicated and expensive it is to film a commercial. First of all, the Park Service requires that any wildlife disturbed must be replaced so there were a number of local Moab residents who were hired to restore plants, rake tire marks, etc. The actual commercial involved driving a new Mazda Miata over the canyon. Obviously this was impossible so a ramp was built with a stunt driver driving the car over the ramp, into the air...the car, by the way, stops inches from the edge of the cliff...gutsy driver but well paid. To appreciate this experience take a look at my photos.

I spent most of the afternoon talking and learning about making commercials. This particular location I was told is used for scores of commercials because of its spectacular views.

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