“Big Vinny” from the California is a Place series.
Once upon a time, he was a local celebrity. He earned his nickname after doing a tv commercial for a Round Table pizza named The Big Vinny. For over twenty years, he was the face and voice of a successful used car business in small town Alameda. He sold and he sold and he sold and Californians drove away happy. Today, everything has changed. The business is dead. The lots sit empty. Big Vinny is out of work. But he still remembers the good times.
The opening of this video is a great example of the power of contradictions. From the beginning, the booming voice of “Big Vinny” giving us his famous car pitch is juxtaposed amidst the imagery of a deserted and broken-down car lot. In just 10 seconds, the audience is already in a mood of melancholy.
This sentiment only builds further as the cinematographer employs shifting focus shots, directing the audience’s eye towards the lock on the fence or a dilapidated banner still floating in the wind from a previous sale. Natural shadows obscure parts of the frame to convey the fall of the business.
Additionally, candid soundbites and slightly overhead angles on Big Vinny keep the piece fresh and help convey the story of a man who’s still just as passionate about his work despite it being long-over.