PF Company Member and Mission CTRL producer RayMOND Hobbs is in the latest series of Gain laundry detergent web videos – and he’s great! He’s funny, they’re funny, and Gain apparently gets stuff hella clean. Check out the video below, and a short-that-turned-into-lengthy interview (mostly because Ray and I are both longwinded blowhards).
PF: So Ray, have you ever thought about just doing laundry more frequently? Cause then it wouldn’t pile up like that.
RAY: Thanks so much for having me. First of all, let me clarify: this was not a documentary. I know that might be confusing for someone like you, who lives his life like a slapstick tragedy, but most people go through their mundane day-to-day existence without it seeming like a comedic laundry commercial. Crazy I know. Second, I have thought about doing laundry more often. I’ve also thought about calling my mom more often, getting a job that pays well and has a measure of self-respect, and starting a roth-IRA. Unfortunately, passively thinking I should do something meaningful while I’m slouched over on my couch watching breaking bad on my moms Netflix account rarely results in anything actually happening.
PF: This seems like a cool gig – how did you get it?
RAY: I worked on an AT&T spec commercial about a year ago with DP David Brashear, which you can watch here. He helped write this gain script, and as such the director, John Tomma of Extraneous Noise Productions, saw my work on Brashear’s website and evidently thought I was pathetic enough to play the part. The deal was sealed when Joe Lindsey, who operated the camera on this project, thought the script screamed my name. I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted. Wait a minute, no I’m definitely insulted.
PF: Did you use Gain before shooting this commercial? If so, why? If not, defend yourself.
RAY: Thankfully, I’m fairly certain there is not a non-compete clause in the contract I never signed. So I’m going to come out and say it: TIDE ALL THE WAY. That is unless Gain wants to hire me for an actual TV commercial, in which case, Gain is the best fucking laundry detergent ever. I bathe in it, I drink it, I would marry it if it was legal.
PF: How long did that take to shoot?
RAY: This shoot was, despite the pleasant demeanor of everyone involved, somewhat excruciating. We shot it in a tiny apartment in SOMA that had little ventilation. They rented the place through AIR BNB, which means we really couldn’t leave the apartment (around 300 sq ft) to get some air or just escape the production. On top of that, we went about 13 hours. I literally dropped that “donate” box on the bed 13 times or so. But that’s how you get a good product, and I would totally work with Extraneous Noise again, they are classy folks.
PF: What other stuff are you working on right now? And how does that compare to the Gain commercial?
RAY: I’m riding a wave of advertising work. Just got done filming this spot for Square that will live on the front page of their website, so huge exposure, and I filmed an Intel spot with portal A which should be really funny. This all compares with the Gain spot in that I completely debase myself and mortgage my future as a serious actor for very slight monetary compensation, free food, and cheap laughs.
PF: What I like about this commercial is that it doesn’t hide the chore of doing laundry. In fact, just by the sheer number of clothing items you try on and rationalize, it’s clear that laundry is an arduous fucking task. Is this reverse psychology? Like, “Hey, doing laundry totally blows, right? But if you do it, chick’s might dig you more.” Or is it more like, “Hey you fucking slob just do your damn laundry already it’s disgusting.” What’s the Mad Men messaging here?
RAY: Really, Rob, it’s less “Mad-men” and more James Joyce, you fucking plebeian. I think that the message is far more sinister and tragic: this man is trying to hide his dark and dirty character by focusing on his appearance. Would this ‘woman of his dreams’ continue to allow him to buy her dinner at the cheesecake factory if she knew how fucking disgusting he was? Absolutely not. Does she even exist, or is she an unconscious projection of some ideal he will never attain? Has he ever left his apartment? We cannot know, and therefore I am inclined to say probably not. His entire public existence, if he has one, is predicated on a lie: outwardly he wants to display himself as clean and orderly, but what goes on on the inside of his apartment is quite the opposite. The hallucination of the ref is somewhat the emotional climax of this post modern masterpiece. His super ego is incredibly controlling and abusive, but up to this point, is completely ineffective. So what transpires is a schizophrenic breakdown precipitated by his inability to reconcile his internal war. The result is that his character splits into two. Think Fight Club meets Ingmar Bergman’s classic masterpiece ‘Through a Glass Darkly’.
But what does it all mean? You’re right, laundry is hard, and so is life. I, for one, have worn the same underwear 3 days in a row. Which means, I haven’t done my laundry probably since this was filmed a month ago. Do I feel bad about it? Yes. So I guess in that sense it worked: at least I feel bad about not doing my laundry. But some people, like you and me, are beyond all hope either because of poor parenting, or something more ingrained and genetic. We truly are the lost generation, Rob. Perhaps, then, Gain is means to answer life’s greatest quandaries: a way of changing our fate. But then, what is the question? I would like to think it is as follows: “What do we have to gain by using Gain?” Life Rob, we Gain Life.
Seriously though its the most well crafted spot I’ve been in to date, and I give every last bit of credit to director John Tomma.
PF: Thanks for doing this and congrats on the clean clothes!!
RAY: Okay, I get it. Big joke, Rob. Ray did a laundry detergent advertisement . He looked like a slob and everyone laugh at him. HA HA HAW. Go fuck yourself.
Posted August 12, 2013 at 11:56 am