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News Story
Updated: 07/10/2014 06:49:24PM

‘Grittiness’ of Hardman Hall leads to infomercial shoot

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PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


As cast members (in the background) pause while adjustments are made, Brenda DyGraf demonstrates a workout device she and her company have developed.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


The "grittiness" of Hardman Hall --- bare, well-worn brick walls and unmaked trusses and support beams --- serves as the backdrop producers were seeking as they shoot an infomercial for the X-Step, a device that creates a cushion of air to reduce stress and wear and tear on joints when doing full-body workouts.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


Kimberly Dolson (right) gives a testimonial about the X-Step, which she has been using for several weeks. She was one of the clients of the device asked to participate in an infomercial shot inside Hardman Hall.

PHOTO BY STEVE STEINER


During a break in shooting, producer William Cameron (third from right reviews the script. At the same time, Brenda DyGraf (second from right) looks at a monitor that recorded the previous shoot. The director, Jimmy Huckaby (far right), whose production company, Huckaby Productions, is shooting the infomercial, smiles as he walks away from the stage.

By STEVE STEINER

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“An-n-n-n-d … cut!”

Come late January 2012, you might catch the scene in which those famous words were yelled if you view a 30-minute infomercial recorded Dec. 5 — Dec. 8 at Hardman Hall.

“We’re doing an infomercial for a product called X-Step,” said Holly Roark, a production assistant with Huckaby Productions, Orlando. “I find locations, and I was looking for an old gym.”

In the process, she came across the Albert Kirkland Sr. Gymnasium across the street, which prompted her to contact Harold Gallup, economic development director for Lake Wales.

“They sent a film what they were looking for,” said Gallup. Roark came down and was impressed with what she found. Still …

“We wanted a place more ‘grittier,’” she said. “It’s the new ‘in’ look. We call it texture.”

So Gallup directed her to Hardman Hall, directly across the street. Bingo. Hardman Hall had the look Roark was seeking: a building with an interior consisting of bare, weathered brick walls, along with trusses and support beams unmasked.

It all formed an excellent sound stage in which to record, and what was being recorded would not only become the 30-minute infomercial, but also nine DVDs promoting the X-Step, a training device that employs one of the latest advances in exercise technology.

Roark began putting together the logistics necessary, a process that took approximately three weeks. But once it was done, contacting cast and crew; arranging accommodations, contracting catering, everything was ready to roll, which it did Dec. 5.

An-n-n-d ... Action!

As recording was under way, Brenda DyGraf, an aerobics instructor for 28 years, looked on. It was her company that was having the infomercial made. She spoke excitedly about the product being promoted, the X-Step.

“We designed and developed the X-Step. People using it step on a cushion of air,” said Brenda DyGraf, whose company promotes the device. By providing a cushion of air, those working out place much less stress, wear and tear on their joints. “We call this ‘Hiit’ Training — High Intensity Interval Training.”

She called the X-Step the next generation, its predecessor being another device her company invented, the Air Climber.

“It’s much more of a serious machine,” DyGraf said of the X-Step. “We wanted something edgier, more raw looking.” That was also why a “grittier” background was desired, which the features of Hardman Hall fulfilled.

The machine is an attempt to reach a male target market, who DyGraf said do not, as a rule, enjoy aerobic exercises. However, once they experience the X-Step, they realize it is a device that provides a full body workout.

Following a short break, director Jimmy Huckaby called for another take. Before the shoot began, DyGraf asked some of the people participating — a combination of professional “models” and clients — to switch positions. As shooting began, with the participants in the background, one of the clients, Kimberly Dolson, of Orlando, was being interviewed. During all this, DyGraf pointed out that this particular shoot was different. No music.

“This is something we’ve never done before. In the past, people worked out to recorded music,” she said. “This time, we will score it afterwards, just like a movie.” The score, she added, will be very dramatic.

Want to learn more?

The X-Step will be available in late January, according to DyGraf. Cost will be $149, which includes the X-Step device, resistance bands, and DVDs. To learn more or to order, go to either: www.xstep.com, or TriStarProducts.com.


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