Behind-The-Scenes Set Secrets From TikTok


Bet you didn’t know tampons were used for food styling in TV commercials!

David Ma is a New York–based commercial/short film director and a food visualist.

BuzzFeed spoke to David, who said that one of the biggest realizations he’s had working in the industry is that people don’t actually eat the food in their scenes — they spit it out. “Because we sometimes need to do a dozen takes for a particular scene, the actors could get sick from overeating or eating food that’s been on set for too long. So there’s usually someone from the art department with a bucket for the actors to spit the food into after we cut.”

@davidwma

Reply to @sorencopper Today’s FilmTok Lesson: “Eat-Acting” #behindthescenes #foodstyling #film #filmtok #learnontiktok

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

He added, “Through some clever editing, we never actually show the food being swallowed, only chewed. Once you know this, you see it all the time on TV and in films!”

“Despite all the prep and planning with storyboards, blocking, rehearsals, and more, surprises will always happen. I always head to set expecting something unexpected to come up,” David said.

@davidwma

How me and @chrisvtv make a potato chip commercial 🔥 #slowmo #slowmotion #slomo #fire #filmset #behindthescenes #film #stunt

♬ Lose Control – Meduza & Becky Hill & Goodboys

“Maybe there’s a line we think of on the spot that’s funny for the actor to say, or there’s a ‘happy accident’ in the way something explodes in slow motion that creates a visual we didn’t expect to see. These natural moments in the performance of our actors or how the food naturally behaves on camera are things I’ve learned to embrace and run with, because you never know what you’ll get in camera. And it often results in something more unique/interesting/beautiful than what I had in my mind going in.”

In addition, there are so many roles on set beyond the traditional ones that come to mind. “We have animal handlers, pyrotechnic experts, prop masters, stunt coordinators, and more. We have engineers working alongside food stylists to build complex rigs that make food fly through the air or manipulating/controlling liquids to splash, swirl, tsunami, and defy the laws of gravity. These ‘food stunts’ are spectacular visual displays that are only shown for a couple seconds on TV, but take weeks of engineering to perfect and finesse.”

@davidwma

How I made the Iron Man Oreos video w/@rileyrigs #ironman #learnontiktok #behindthescenes #foodstyling #movieprops

♬ Rasputin (Single Version) – Boney M.

David also talked about how he is a self-taught filmmaker — he never went to film school. “I had to put in countless hours testing, trying different methods, and making mistakes all so I could show up prepared when the day finally came for me to lead a set. There weren’t many behind-the-scenes accounts at the time, so I want to share these moments to demystify the process of filming, both for educational purposes and to hopefully inspire others in the process,” he said.

@davidwma

This is the most I’ve ever used a treadmill 💀 #behindthescenes #learnontiktok #film #bmw #movieprops

♬ original sound – David Ma

“Whether someone sees the video and uses it for a tutorial to start shooting at home or hears my story and finds inspiration to get into filmmaking, it’s been a great way to connect with my community,” added David.

“I urge anyone who has an interest in filmmaking — either as a director or any other position on set — to be proud of their journey and share that with others on set. It’s how we can continue to ensure that stories are told in unique and innovative ways,” said David.

If you want to see more behind-the-scenes film and TV magic, be sure to follow David on TikTok, Instagram, and his website!

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