Hodges Usry, a 2006 graduate of the Academy of Richmond County, earned a finalist spot for a 30-second commercial contest sponsored by carmaker Chevrolet.
Since he submitted his final edit for the Chevrolet Route 66 commercial contest, the short film has garnered attention from contest representatives and has spread across Facebook.
On the contest’s Web site – www.chevroletroute66.msn.com – Usry’s commercial, titled “A Soldiers’ Home,” ranks among a select few videos with the most views, shares over social networks and “thumbs-up.”
“The Super Bowl is the prime time for a commercial. It’d be huge if we could get it aired then,” Usry said.
The commercial features a soldier returning home from deployment, a topic Usry said was timely and newsworthy. After being greeted by his wife and child at the airport, the military-fatigue clad soldier cranks his Chevrolet truck in the airport parking lot. That key turn sparks flashbacks of moments with his wife and child at home before deployment.
The 30-second spot ends with a voiceover saying, “From the frontline to the home front, Chevy runs deep.”
Usry, 23, began filmmaking in middle school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in film and television from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Usry has two Chevrolet commercials airing in Brazil and Europe and stints working with a commercial production company in Los Angeles.
A representative from MOFILM, a London-based small filmmaker consultant, and a Chevrolet executive recently traveled to Augusta to help Usry refine his submission. The third shoot was filmed at Augusta Regional Airport and Sutherland Mill over two days in mid-December.
His brother, Havird Usry, and friend, Elizabeth Beman, play the soldier and soldier’s wife.
In an extra component to the contest, individuals, but not the filmmakers themselves, have a chance to win $10,000 by referring the most viewers to one commercial by sharing it on social networks.
Joe Stevenson, the executive director of The 12 Bands of Christmas, an Augusta nonprofit, has helped spread Usry’s commercial and hopes to win money for the 12 Bands pediatric cancer fund.
On Thursday, Stevenson was ranked fourth on the leaderboard of top sharers, according to the contest’s Web site.
Viewers won’t determine which commercial airs during the Super Bowl, but Usry is encouraged by feedback from Chevrolet and the reshoot.
“I’d rather them give me feedback than say it doesn’t work,” Usry said. “If they’re more involved in it, they’re more likely to go with it.”