By Emily Stonehouse
It’s lights, camera, action for Haliburton Highlands local, Jerelyn Craden, who just appeared in a prominent spot for a Canadian Tire ad that is currently being broadcast across the country.
While Craden is no stranger to the stage, having acted, sung, danced, and performed in front of audiences for decades, this was her first time in front of a camera in many years. “It’s not my first commercial, I’ve been doing this kind of stuff for many, many years,” said Craden, “but since COVID, it was my first time really getting in front of a camera again.”
The pandemic slowed down Cradens performative artistic endeavours for a few years, but that did not stall her with other art forms. “My first loves were always writing and singing, and I’ve been able to continue that,” she said.
When the opportunity to be in the commercial presented itself, Craden didn’t skip a beat. She noted that with COVID-19 still lingering, instead of entering studios for auditions, production companies were requesting “self-takes,” which Craden was able to take and submit via her phone. Upon submission, she received a call-back via Zoom with the director, where she worked through a series of lines.
“And then you wait,” Craden laughed, “and if they are interested, they’ll contact your agent.”
She noted that she has been working with the same agent for 40 years, and she is grateful that they are both professional colleagues, and friends.
Once Craden was confirmed with the spot, she went on to start shooting. The commercial was filmed over the course of two days in Etobicoke. “They were two very, very long days. One day we started shooting at 11:30 in the morning, and we didn’t wrap up until 2:30 a.m.” she recalled.
Craden noted that there was an “army” of people working on the shoot, including crane operators, grips, tech crews, and over 20 extras. She said she has a huge appreciation for all the moving pieces on a set, and how much time, energy, and effort goes into any sort of filming.
The commercial launched on Nov. 7 on all channels, and Craden said that the best part is not seeing the spot on television, but rather, connecting with people in the community over the ad. “It just puts the biggest smile on my face to hear how people respond,” she said. Craden says that she has heard from friends and family, coast to coast in Canada, reaching out to her and celebrating her spot on television. After years of limited connection, the opportunity to share the small-town pride is a breath of fresh air.
Craden noted that she considers herself a “homebody” these days, but would love the opportunity to act in another commercial in the new year. “This one kind of came out of the blue, but I am just so glad I did it,” she said.
You can see Craden in the holiday Canadian Tire commercial airing until Christmas on all Canadian television networks.