The Centenary Institute

This has the favourite opening line of any commercial I've written: "I died in 1980"

My art director, Peter Kirwan, and I had originally wanted to use John Wayne footage, but after months of correspondence with his son, we got precisely nowhere. Even though the Centenary Institute was a well deserving charity, John Wayne's son wouldn't come to the party - such meanness of spirit never ceases to surprise me. This was a shame as there was so much usable footage of the cowboy talking directly to camera - which is what was required if we were to succeed with our proposed digital magic.

We then approached the family of that other famous Hollywood cancer victim, Steve McQueen. His son gave us permission pretty much immediately. Only in the middle of celebrating our good fortune did we discover what proved to be an almost insurmountable problem: there was no usable footage of this icon of cool. We went through all of his films, all of his interviews (which were few - he

was a shy man) and only, when we had almost given up, did we stumble on a commercial he had made, ironically enough, for a charity. We were able to use that. Our commercial caused a real stir when it came out, resulting in articles in the press and Peter Kirwan being interviewed both on TV and radio - and soon coming to fancy himself as a bit of a media star!

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