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Manteca crew ACEs contest
BackYard Studios produces winning TV commercial
Manteca resident Elena Gomez chats with friends on her iPad while riding Altamont Commuter Express as part of a commercial promoting the commuter service. - photo by Photo Contributed

One commuter hits an app on his iPhone waiting on the platform for the train. Onboard, another commuter catches up on paperwork.  One reads a book while another carries on a video conversation with friends via her iPad as the sun rises.

It’s definitely not your father’s commute to the Bay Area.

That’s the message conveyed by the winning 30-second commercial created by Manteca-based BackYard Studios in a competition staged by Good Day Sacramento on Channel 31 and the Altamont Commuter Express Service.

“It was an easy story to tell,” noted Ricardo Granados who, along with partner Ian Trueb, serves as the heart and soul of BackYard Productions.

The commercial won against a number of entries in the contest that were submitted by groups and individuals from Modesto to Sacramento.

“It captured our message,” noted Thomas Reeves of the Altamont Commuter Express service. “Rail is the future for young people today.”

ACE has been transporting commuters back and forth to the Bay Area from San Joaquin County since Oct. 19, 1998. It has 10 stations including the Lathrop/Manteca station.

The two hour and 10 minute trip from Stockton to San Jose takes roughly the same time as by car during the heavy morning and evening commute minus the stop-and-go traffic and stress.

That is what the commercial directed and produced by Sierra High alum Nick Erickson working with BackYard Studios sought to convey

Reeves said the message is one that is appropriate for the 20-something commercial production crew to have zeroed in on especially given ACE plans to offer high speed rail service between Stockton and San Jose with trains pickup top speed over the Altamont Pass segment between Tracy and Livermore to reduce travel time down more than 50 percent to 55 minutes if and when the system is upgraded.

“High speed rail is being developed for them as well as their children who will be the ones riding it,” Reeves said of the age group.

The commercial took two days to shoot. It included shooting sessions on the train from the Stockton station to San Jose and back. They also did shots at the San Jose station as well as from vantage points along the Altamont Pass corridor.

Granados noted that 90 percent of the cast and crew consisted of Manteca residents.

Yuki Noguchi served as the director of photography while Neologic Studios owner Cameron Bashaw handled the sound.

“(The) producers would like to thank the cast and crew, and especially the members of ACE Rail,” Erickson noted.

BackYard Studios offers a repertoire of video and digital services having produced movies, and cable TV commercials to wedding videos and video presentations of high school athletes vying for college scholarships.

For more information on BackYard Studios e-mail or contact Granados at 612-9142.