TSA is focused on publicizing the need for the public to get REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or ID cards this year. These efforts entered unchartered territory when six TSA officers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) participated in an overnight television commercial shoot to promote the Arizona Travel ID, the Grand Canyon state’s version of REAL ID.
The commercial featured a local actor who played a traveler with an Arizona Travel ID. About 30 background extras also posed as travelers in various locations around the security checkpoint. The Arizona Department of Transportation footed the bill for the project, which included a production crew of about 10 people. The shoot lasted more than four hours and took place in PHX’s Terminal 4, checkpoint B after the security checkpoint was closed to ticketed travelers.
“The production crew quickly transformed the security checkpoint into a virtual movie set by adding lights and moving stanchions around in the queue to get just the look they wanted,” said Supervisory TSA Officer Adhem Ahmed. “We tidied up the checkpoint to ensure the space would show well in the commercial, making sure the signage and equipment were in their proper places.”
During the shoot, three TSA officers served as travel document checkers while three others were divesting officers. The extras were each assigned different roles and interacted with the officers.
“It is surprising how precise the timing of each scene needed to be,” said Lead Officer Kendra Coleman, who, in the commercial, verified the actor’s Arizona Travel ID. “Being patient was key. We repeated the scenes multiple times to ensure they were exactly what the director and crew were looking for.”
The commercial, which is scheduled to begin airing statewide in early March, encourages Arizona residents to be ready for federal enforcement of REAL ID starting October 1, 2020. The ad will be available in both English and Spanish.
“I was happy to be part of a project that is raising awareness among Arizona residents about REAL ID and upcoming enforcement,” Ahmed added. “Anything we can do to prepare the public for REAL ID will make our jobs easier come October.”