ArchiveBlogBlog 2011

39 hours in a bubble

It had been dark when I went to sleep and it was still dark when I woke up and slipped on my clothes, glancing at my roommates wondering when I’d get to talk to them again. Knowing that the tro tros weren’t running so early in the morning, I fought through the darkness and managed to hail a cab as I headed to yet another day of production.

My Internship while in Ghana is at Apex Advertisement Agency.  With time the small staff has lent me their confidence and allowed me to get more involved in their ongoing projects. This week’s commercial, for Vikin Oil, was one that I had been immensely involved in from script writing to prop selection and production. Despite spending the first part of the week sick in bed, I knew that I’d respond to the 5am call time in order to see this commercial through.

My first day was spent surrounded by people. I was asked to be an extra in a coffee shop and later again during a party scene. Luckily, I wasn’t the lightest one there. Days spent in the sun had darkened my olive brown skin and I now blended in well. Despite the added excitement of being an extra, my second production experience was similar to the first one.  I helped wherever and whenever I was needed with tasks ranging from make up to lighting. The only difference was the hours I put in.

Days on production don’t run on the expected 24-hour schedule. You start your day at the pre-arrange call time (usually before the sun is out) and finish when the director finally yells, “that’s a wrap”. If that means that you’re on set for 22 hours, then so be it. You don’t hurry home fro dinner with your husband, someone else picks up your child from daycare, and if you miss your 13 housemates well that’s just too bad. It was a whirlwind two days that made me as though I was living in an Apex bubble surrounded by the same 30 amazingly hardworking people. They rarely complained and only a few people fell asleep while on set.

But now, coming home to day of rest and no responsibilities, I feel as though I’m still stuck in my bubble. I’m standing on the sidelines waiting for someone to ask me to fetch the lens cap or tell the extras to go to hair and make up. Family and friends seem distant, my housemates wander through the house in a sleepy state ( it’s a personal health day for many), and I’m still waiting for the adrenaline to wear off and for that moment of relaxation to set in when I know that I’m no longer stuck in my bubble.

– Neethu



  1. I am curious how this experience would differ as an intern at an ad agency in the U.S. Is the process really the same regardless where you are? Are interns common in Ghana? Are there different responsibilities here and there?

    Oh, thinking back to other posts, I have read a couple people refer to the tro tro as chaotic. It seems that the locals know what is going on and that it is just a completely different way of organizing public transit than in Eugene. After the weeks there, does the tro tro seem to make more sense?

    I am glad you were feeling well enough, after being sick, to pull off 2 days in a bubble. I am enjoying reading your posts and can save all my questions for your return. 😀

  2. Dear Neethu,

    How exciting! Exhausting….but really fun!!! Too bad you won’t still be in Ghana when the commercial airs, you’d be a celebrity!!!

    Peace, Love & Joy,


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