Brighter Future Behind the Scenes

Dewayne's wife and two children all had roles to play in his Brighter Future commercial shoot, making the filming process a family project.

March 26, 2019

FirstEnergy’s newest commercial highlighting our Brighter Future ad campaign stars Transmission & Substation Services Testing Supervisor Dewayne Edwards, along with a strong supporting cast: his family.

His wife, son and daughter are prominently featured in the spot, which also includes family photos of his mother, who motivated him to pursue a career in engineering and become the first college graduate in his family.

Footage and voiceovers in the spot reveal Dewayne’s personal journey from a high school student unfamiliar with the concept of engineering as a career choice to his present position as a professional engineer. Today, he also dedicates time to empowering the next generation of young engineers by mentoring local youth participating in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs sponsored by FirstEnergy and The University of Akron.

For Dewayne, who spends his days working inside substations to help power entire communities, the process of filming a commercial was an entirely new experience – one that involved turning his home into a professional production set.

“The footage and voiceovers took three full days to capture,” said Dewayne. “We filmed at several locations, including Ohio Edison’s Pine Substation and the Pilot Lab in Building D at the West Akron Campus, which served as the set for shooting the indoor substation footage. The mentoring footage in the commercial was captured in a classroom at Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, and the rest was filmed at my house.”

As for convincing his family to do the commercial, Dewayne joked, “My one-year-old son had no choice. He was in no matter what. My wife was excited about it. My daughter was hesitant at first, but once she got home from school and saw all the action involved, she was all in.”

Though enjoyable, filming also presented a unique set of challenges for Dewayne.

“The hardest part was being at ease with talking and acting naturally with microphones, booms, lighting and a dozen production people around,” he recalled. “Sharing my story with strangers is not something I’d ever done before. I learned that I had a lot of courage to trust the process throughout the journey.”

The end result is something everyone, including Dewayne himself, is impressed with.

“I think the commercial did a very good job of communicating the Brighter Future message,” he said. “To me, the young man I mentor in the footage represents a younger version of myself. It’s figuratively me mentoring myself. I didn’t have anyone who guided me into engineering when I was younger, and today I want to be that person for a younger generation.”

Watching the finished product was also a proud milestone moment for Dewayne’s Mom.

“She loved it,” he said. “She was pretty much in tears when she saw it.”

Watch Dewayne’s commercial.