The Story Behind The Reluctant Trading Hollywood Viral Video

July 22, 2013

"The Reluctant Trading Experiment Story"
Directed by Barton Landsman

Last Thanksgiving, I was catching up with my college friend, Barton Landsman, over coffee at a local diner. When he asked what I was doing, I told him the story about Divakar, my trip to India and how I reluctantly found myself in the spice business. Barton seemed interested and kept asking questions. Before long, he asked if he could make a little film about the story. I was flattered.

Barton is a super talented TV commercial director working out of New York and L.A. But I didn’t really take his directing offer seriously. Barton works for companies with big budgets and short memorable names like ESPN and Sony. That was two strikes against me.

Barton told me not to worry. (That's like telling a grasshopper not to jump.) He told me that we could just make a short film, run it online and see if we could get it to go viral. He loved the story and thought it would be fun to bring it to life. While I was momentarily disappointed that he wasn’t going to cast Ben Affleck in my role and then run the spot during the Super Bowl, I got over it.

Director Barton Landsman directing The Reluctant Trading Story viral video.

A few months later, I found myself in Hollywood shooting the film with Barton. It was the real deal. There were Indian actors in traditional attire. Sound guys. Even a lush jungle that looked like India - crazy. The last time Barton and I worked together on a commercial was in Mr. White’s ad class at the University of Illinois in 1987. It was a blast to work together again.

I want to thank the cast, crew and everybody else who touched the spot. In the words of the actor who played Divakar, "Too good! Too good!" I'd be remiss without thanking the real Divakar in India for having such a good sense of humor. So glad that you sent that original sample of peppercorns. And, of course, a very special thanks to Barton who had the vision for the concept from the start. Thank you for never being the least bit reluctant even when I was at my most reluctant. If you liked this post, you might want to sign up for the newsletter. 

Actors Abhi Trivedi and Mona Sishodia for Reluctant Trading.

Barton Landsman -- Director
Untitled, Inc. -- Production Company
Christopher Broyles -- Producer
Greg Schultz -- Producer
Noah Smith -- Production Coordinator
Corey Walter -- Director of Photography
Lucas Deans -- 1st AC
Bruce Perlman -- Sound
John Maynard -- Sound
Ron Sherouse -- Boom
Joe Watts -- Art Director
James Toth -- Art Director
Chad McKnight/House -- Casting
Scott Eirinberg -- Himself
Abhi Trivedi -- Actor
Mona Sishodia -- Actor
Nirali Shastri-Hill -- Actor
Shay Naqvi -- Actor
Cale Hanks -- Locations
Danelle Davenport -- Locations
Jodie Burke -- Scouting/Special Thanks
Clayton Hemmert -- Editor
Crew Cuts -- Edit/Sound/VFX
Justin Roberts -- Music Intro
Keslow Camera -- Camera
Julienne Guffain -- Sound Mixer
Ian Glaum -- Visual Effects
Eric Schwalbe -- Visual Effects
Josh Weiss -- Visual Effects
Chris Ryan/Nice Shoes -- Colorist

Funny man actor Abhi Trivedi played my friend Divakar.

Actor Nirali Shastri-Hill and Director Barton Landsman for Reluctant Trading

Actor Abhi Trivedi convincing me about the peppercorns for Reluctant Trading

The Reluctant Trading Experiment on set in Pasadena

The Cast of The Reluctant Trading Experiment Story.

My buddy Director Barton Landsman at the Reluctant Trading Experiment Viral Video Shoot.