No Business Like Local Business

Every other year the towns of Lake Forest & Lake Bluff (& Knollwood) produce an original musical called “Community Capers.” It is written, directed and performed by non-professionals from the villages. “No Business Like Local Business” is a celebration of independent retail operations in small towns everywhere.

In addition to the live performances that poke fun at the status quo, it also includes a few video interludes. In 2011, Blue Sky Video Productions produced two videos for the musical. The first was “Kidlaw” a follow up to a video that we produced in 2009 called “Pet Law Emporium” In “Pet Law” a prominent local attorney, because of “hard times” decided to branch off of his traditional representation of humans to take on animals as clients. The pets included dogs, cats, birds and more. In “Kidlaw” the defender of justice took on kids as clients to defend against the boogey man, bullies and negotiated with parents for allowances. In “No Business Like Local Business”, you will see a quick shot of the lawyer behind his desk with a parrot on the computer screen behind him. This shot was taken from the “Kidlaw” shoot.

The other video that we produced for Community Capers was this music video that was conceived & written by Chuck Helander, owner of Helanders, Inc., a local stationary & gift store. It features his wife MaryLee, his son, Casey and his daughter-in-law, Stephanie, who also assisted with the choreography.

The video was shot in 3 days, and featured many of the local business owners who had never been on camera before. When first approached, they had no idea what they volunteer for.

The very first shot for the video was the last shot of the video where at a business after hours meeting at Lake Forest Bank & Trust we handed out Shop Local bags and had every one hold it up. I think we got it on the 6th take.

We started at Helander’s, a stationary shop that has been a staple of Lake Forest since 1922. They had recently moved from their original location in the historic Market Square to their new location a block away. The concept was simple, a customer comes in to buy 1 paper clip and when Casey doesn’t charge her for it, Chuck commends him on his customer service and then breaks into song about how there is no business like local business. I shot about 5 takes with the Helanders that covered the entire song so that if I could not find a business that could represent a verse, I could cut back to them singing and dancing.

The executive director of the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce contacted a number of the chamber members to see if they were interested in appearing the video, stating that it would be great publicity for them. What she, neglected to inform them was that they would have to possibly sing & dance in the video. I went through the song and matched up the businesses to the verses, so I would know what coverage I would need when I started shooting. Because we were short on time, by assigning just 1 or 2 verses per business, I could get in and out within 30 minutes and not have to shoot the entire song at each location. In the locations where the shop owner or clerks had to lip sync to the song, my iPhone came in very handy.

In other locations, the retailers only had to do a simple dance step, point or just smile.

The original video ended in silence with the chamber members holding up the “Shop Local” bags. We felt we needed something more. So after screening the nearly complete version at a chamber luncheon meeting 3 weeks later we asked all in attendance to do the “Shop Local” shout out.

I had a lot of fun shooting and editing this video. It gave me a chance to see chamber members that I had not seen in a while and to meet new business owners. And I thank all of those who participated in the making of this video.

Please add your comments. And if you appeared in this video, please add your experiences in the making of this video.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *