HOLLYWOOD IS CALLING!
No, Bronner’s commercial salesman Craig Fick isn’t getting cast for a role per se … but he has been helping Christmas decorations find a supporting role in Hollywood films for just over two decades! Sound like a dream job? It is!
A LITTLE Q & A
Q| What year – and how – did Bronner’s get into the movie market?
A| When I first started in commercial sales, I remember watching “Home Alone” and seeing a bunch of decorations sold at Bronner’s and thinking, “Why aren’t we selling these to the movies?” I then sent out our catalogs to every movie studio I could find at the time and nothing happened for a couple of years until I got a call from 20th Century Fox to help with [Arnold Schwarzenegger’s] “Jingle All The Way” in 1996 – that was 61 movies ago!
I also supply product to huge prop houses in Hollywood. Green Set in North Hollywood is one of many that I’ve visited that have warehouses the size of our original Christmas Lane storeroom, full of exclusively Christmas decorations that they rent to studios for productions. So through these prop houses our product has more than likely appeared in many more than 61 films.
Q| What kinds of props do they look for? (When one thinks Bronner’s, they think of Christmas. Are you selling primarily Christmas displays or other types of things, too?)
A| Basically everything I supply somehow relates to Christmas. On the rare occasion, I might get a call for something odd … like huge plastic rock displays!
Q| Do you help design the set displays (like commercial does for malls and cities, etc.)?
A| In most cases the art director or set designer already has an idea what they need, at which point they call me to find out if such a piece is even available and when they can take delivery. I may need to offer alternate ideas, which they may use, or take a completely different route based on what they can get at the time. It’s more fun when I actually get to play a big part with designing the set for them. “Jack Frost” and “Call Me Claus” were two movies that used most of my “handy work” that I helped design.
Q| What is your favorite part of the process?
A| Working with the people in the movie industry who are without a doubt the most interesting and nicest people I come across. Having the opportunity to work with them in person on the set is always the best time as they really go out of their way to roll out the red carpet and literally show you the “Hollywood experience.”
Q| Is there a movie you are most proud of (regarding how our product turned out)?
A| “Jingle All the Way,” mainly because it was my first movie production and helped provide “word of mouth” contacts/leads, which is how the industry works. I had two newspaper and three TV interviews in one afternoon, which really made my job stressful – just trying to take care of my other accounts on a typical day in November was pressure enough. One of the TV stations was TV-13 from Toledo and the other two were from Detroit; WKBD-TV 50 and the Detroit FOX affiliate channel 2, who actually landed their helicopter in Bronner’s parking lot!
Q| Are there any challenges you face?
A| Meeting their extremely tight lead times and getting product to them that they needed yesterday is always a big challenge.
I can work on a project for weeks and not hear from them for another 2-3 months until they call needing the product in the next day or two for a shoot in LA, Atlanta, New York, Canada, etc. Talk about a logistics nightmare.
Craig also shared how “certain productions (“Red” and “Just Friends” are two that come to mind) will order several pieces of an identical item at times. When I inquired about this once, I was told it was because the product was somehow going to be destroyed (blown up, lit on fire, shot up, etc.), and if the director did not like the way the first take went, they would need more product available for the second or third shots!”
We hope you enjoyed this peak behind-the-scenes at one facet from Bronner’s commercial department!
Craig has been with Bronner’s since 1984. (You might enjoy finding him pictured in 1985 with originators Wally and Irene Bronner in our birthday tribute, 90 Years Young.) Craig started out assisting with everything from maintaining storeroom displays to filling in last minute on a busy Saturday in November for an under-the-weather Santa. In 1989 after graduating from MSU, Craig became a commercial salesman and display designer where he launched into his “Hollywood career.”
Love movies? Check out our post: Who Are You Reely? To take a fun movie personality quiz. SPOILER ALERT! Arnold “Will Be Back!”