Carvana And Ambient Surprise Pickleball Star With A Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift

By | Published April 3rd, 2023 | in Uncategorized

Carvana And Ambient Surprise Pickleball Star With A Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift


What do Carvana and pickleball have in common? Well… more than you think. The car vending machine company and the fastest growing sport in the U.S. linked arms last October when Carvana was named the official title sponsor for the Professional Pickleball Association. Pretty smart move for Carvana if you ask me. Don’t worry, I did my research…

Pickleball participation has grown an average of 158.6% over the last 3 years and is the fastest-growing sport in America. Players 18-34 make up the largest percentage of pickleball players at 28.8% nationwide (all via As the kids would say… “that’s cray!” Or do they still say that? I don’t know, it’s too hard to keep up. But you get my point.

So when Carvana reached out to the Ambient Skies crew about a commercial production they were doing with a special car giveaway to the number one women’s pickleball player in the world, Anna Leigh Waters, we were excited and it was a no-brainer to join the movement! And did I mention, this was going to be a surprise car giveaway?! Who doesn’t want to be a part of making someone smile on their sweet sixteen?

Ambient Skies - Video Production Phoenix - Carvana Commercial Production - Video Production Services
Ambient Skies - Phoenix Video production services - TV Commercial - Carvana video production


Carvana had a great creative crew lined up for this campaign. With Matthew “Matty” Conrad, Tim Mendez and Andrew Langdal leading the charge with other local Carvana employees, we stepped in seamlessly in production support for them. This was going to be a two day shoot, the first day being the car giveaway surprise to ALW for her 16th birthday.

This first part of this video production was happening at an Arizona-based Carvana vending machine location. The second day was to be filmed at a rented AirBnB house that would serve as a “backdrop” for Anna Leigh’s mom “preparing” for the surprise. And this house had a pickleball court too so we’d get to see Anna Leigh and her mom in action for b-roll capture.

One of the most important elements was making sure that we all kept this a surprise. So ALW was under the impression that she was going to “tour” a Carvana facility while she was in Arizona for a tournament that the car company was sponsoring. Easy enough.

From a technical standpoint, a lot of pre-planning…. Making sure the surprise car came down the right “ramp” at the right moment to surprise her, making sure we were avoiding the reflective glass that the building is made of as best as we could in the shots, capturing the moment Anna Leigh realizes she is getting a brand new car for her 16th birthday and – since we were shooting the whole concept out of sequence – making sure we matched looks and wardrobes for all involved since we were shooting the prep of the surprise the next day, after the surprise had already happened in real time. Ahhhh the production life!

The goal for this two-day shoot was to create a main, narrative video for Carvana’s social platforms and other marketing/social collateral as needed. 


We put together a great support crew for the Carvana team. Our very own co-owner, Producer and Director of Photography, Trenton Massey, came in as the B-cam op to tag team filming with Carvana’s DP, Andrew Langdal. From a talented AC to audio to production assistants to grips to gaffers, I would say that we had put together a championship team to cover the pickleball phenom and Carvana. I wonder how we’d all do on the court? Meh, let’s not get ahead of ourselves… we’ll stay in our lane and leave the championships up to ALW. 


After a half day shoot at the Carvana vending machine and a full day shoot at the AirBnB, everything went great! The Waters were a wonderful family and so easy to work with, the Carvana team and Ambient crew had so much fun together that we were all sad when it was over. Well, not sad like “oh man, I’m so sorry!” Just sad like, “Hey, I really like these people and wish we could hang around a little longer.”

Who would’ve known that the game of pickleball, a game we used to play in middle school and high school gym, would now be the #1 growing sport among youngsters? Maybe I should’ve seen this coming. Afterall, literally every article of clothing I used to wear when I was 16 is now back in style, so it was only a matter of time that pickleball would get its time in the spotlight! 

I have a feeling this is not the last shoot we’ll be doing around the sport. And I have a feeling Anna Leigh Waters and Carvana will be celebrating a lot more wins in the near future. And… hopefully… we’ll be there to capture some of the action!

Checkout the final cut below!


Carvana Team:

Carvana Producer – Tim Mendez

Carvana Exec Producer – Matthew Conrad

Carvana Cinematographer – Andrew Langdal


Anna Leigh Waters

Leigh Waters (Anna’s Mom)

Carvana Rep – Janrei Villavicencio

Ambient Crew:

HOP – Rebekah Nylander

Producer – Heather Berry

EP – John Schaus

B-Cam Op – Trenton Massey

AC – Said Ramirez

Photography – Brandon Sullivan

Sound – Joe Bohannon

Gaffer – Mark Harrison

Grip – Matt Kyhn

1-Ton Truck – Pirate Grip

HMU – Allison Pynn

PA – Judith Castro 

PA – Dominique George “Nicolla”

About The Author:

Heather Berry


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