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Buying my first house - well, sort of buying

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The bright lights illuminated my half-eaten toast and cereal without milk. My tea cup - with the raspberry tea bag tangled on the handle - was empty. But in the moment, at that breakfast table I'd never felt so full - so fulfilled and contented.

This was Friday when I filmed my first televised commercial for First Federal bank.

With the crew from The Hinmon Agency in McMinnville directing, I played Ellie - a married woman having breakfast with her husband Jeffrey - and played by a hilarious guy named Craig.

As I sat glued to a story in the morning newspaper, Jeffery distracted me at the breakfast table and told me that we should buy our first house. Ellie was shocked and surprised but liked the idea after thinking about it.

The fun part of filming segments that aren't live is that you can tweak things until everyone is happy. If Craig and I needed to perfect our handholding while signing papers for our 'new home,' we just tried it again. Or, if my blank stare at the breakfast table wasn't 'blank' enough we'd just try it again.

'Count to 20 in your head and just focus on that,' said Jake Hinmon, directing the piece.

After two or three takes we found a place where everyone was comfortable.

After hair and make-up - love that part - our second and final scene was filmed at the loan office with an actual First Federal loan officer named Pam Anderson. No, not that Pam Anderson; we had a small budget.

She was wonderful and very nervous at first. But that faded quickly.

Hinmon - director of film and video production - told the three of us to have a conversation about the loan application paperwork on her desk. Since this short clip of us chatting was going to have a voice-over audible it didn't matter what we said. We just had to look natural and like we were inquiring about the loan process.

And so we did - no one would really hear it, right? True, but those of us filming the scene would.

While filming, Criag told Pam that we need our first house to be located, 'near a Wendy's because that's our favorite restaurant.' Trying not to die laughing, Pam just looked at me and we continued filming. But Craig's sense of humor was developing with every take we took. On our third take Craig told Pam this was our third house we'd bought that day because we are 'so rich.'

He was fun. The crew was fun. And our filming - while hilarious at times - was efficient. We ended much earlier than expected and with some great footage.

I graduated college with a media and film degree - and way too many all-nighter stories from the campus' television studio. This commercial reminded me of why I love the film industry so much - great people, unpredictable moments, becoming someone else for a little bit and watching the final product with a sense of accomplishment.

I hope the First Federal commercial helps those in Oregon looking to buy their first house. It helped me continue to pursue my love of the arts while making new friends. I miss having cameras around. I'd be a great candidate for a reality show.

That's a wrap! Back to writing for the newspaper, another passion - hilarious at times, helpful to others and somewhere I feel comfortable being me.

Nicole DeCosta is a staff writer for the Lake Oswego Review and the West Linn Tidings, is in charge of the Homes section that runs in both papers, is the lead singer in the band Macadam and, in her spare time, dreams of having a career in cinema.