The Christian Broadcasting Network

The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Dave Bruno

Regent Adjunct Professor

Director, Varsity Improv Players

Part-time staff, Spring Branch Community Church, Virginia Beach

Recent credits: “Letters to God,” 2010; “Moving,” 2002, The New Detectives (Discovery Channel), The FBI Files (The Learning Channel), etc

Graduate: The Second City Training Center, Los Angeles, CA

Graduate: The Improv Olympic Training Center, Los Angeles, CA

Married, Holly

Child, Declan (2)


Derek Leonidoff: Making Man's Best Friend

By The 700 Club -MAN’S BEST FRIEND
Derek grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia and studied at James Madison in Harrisonburg.   His mother was a Rockette and his grandfather was vice president and senior producer of Radio City Music Hall.  Destined for theatrics, Derek met, got married and moved to Los Angeles.  After four years, Derek and Holly moved back to Virginia.  Derek says he met John Friedman and his brother Matt, a screenwriter, over 20 years ago.  “We had done a few short films together,” says Derek.  “But I hadn’t seen him a long time.”  One day last year, John called Derek on the phone.  He asked Derek if he could help out in a TV commercial he was producing for Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” ad contest.  John used Huff, a Great Dane, the pet of friends Joe and Betsy DiJulio.  John spent $20 on props, like the Doritos, dog treats and cat collar.  The commercial was shot in 3 hours.  The only time Huff sat still during the shoot was used in the commercial.  John poured chicken broth on the ground to get the dog to dig.

The commercial was shown during the second quarter of Super Bowl XLVI.  John competed against more than 6,100 entries.  Competitors spent between $20 and $3,000 (the baby in the swing ad, which was the closest competitor. Right before Christmas, they got a call that the ad was a finalist.  John didn’t’ know his spot would air until he was at the game, courtesy of Frito-Lay, makers of Doritos.  When his ad received the highest score of any Super Bowl commercial from a panel assembled by USA Today, John won the $1 million prize.  Derek will share in the prize of an undisclosed amount. 

Huff’s owners were also overwhelmed with the craziness of the win.  Betsy, who works at Princess Anne High School, was asked to bring Huff in to school last week.  Derek says it was exciting to be a part of the winning ad.  “I’ve known John a long time,” he says.  “Here we are, years later….you never know who you might be working with right now that could prove to be an advocate of your work later.  Even the smallest opportunity today could prove to be your big break later on.”

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