Niki Cheong blogging

My name is Kim and I'm in a global Shell commercial

During Chinese New Year, I got an SMS from an acquaintance asking if I would be interested in auditioning for a TV commercial. Julie, who I met when I went on the 8TV Quickie last year to promote The Swimming Instructor, had gotten my number from a mutual friend.

I have to admit to being a bit hesitant at first. First of all, it was Chinese New Year and I was in Malacca with the family. Then there was the thought at the back of my mind that I’ve gone for a few auditions and never get the part – why would this one be different?

Still, she asked if I would pair up with her because the audition requires talents to be cast in pairs and I thought, why not? I’m not a model or a commercial talent. The last time I was in a TV commercial that I remember was an Ovaltine commercial as a kid (never mind that I also appeared in an *cough* Oscar nominated film *cough* haha).

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I got a phone call from Jess, the talent agent, saying that I was short-listed and that the director would be in town to select his final choices (there was to be one lead guy, named Kim, and one lead girl who plays the girlfriend).

I got the part.

I was rather excited because I knew the job paid relatively well. If any of you wondered why I was able to suddenly, without notice, pay off my credit card in February, this was the reason.

The shoot went for three days (nights rather) at several locations in KL. All I knew about the ad was that I would be at the traffic light on a motorcycle with my girlfriend. The thing I did was freak out – I’ve never ridden a motorbike! Still, I was game to give it a try and got quick lessons from an expert at a parking lot in PJ.

I sucked.

Getting purdy

I wasn’t confident that I could do much with the bike, let alone trust myself to carry Fatin (who got the female lead role), who you can see in the picture above of me getting made up during the shoot. Being the leads were great in that we got to wait in the comforts of an air-cond trailer. There was a lot of waiting.

Good thing I’ve done this a couple of times, and have friends who do it for a living and have shared the horror stories, so I brought books, magazines, my iPod and a pillow in anticipation of waiting.

Lights, camera ...

Our call time was at 6pm most days and we’d be able to chill for a bit, have some dinner and then get dressed and get made up. By the time we’re done, it’d be about 8pm and shooting would have just started because it was a night shoot, and we needed the sun to be fully down.

Most of the time, though, I never walked onto the set until past 1am or 2am. My scenes seem to often be shot from 3am onwards before we stop at 6-something because dawn was breaking.

Seeing double

Another reason why I would shoot so late (and so few scenes) was because of the motorbike. The British production team (led by director Vince Squibb, who I hear is quite respectable in the industry) were very kind and kept telling me not to stress about learning to ride the bike.

That’s because I had a body double (that’s not me in the picture above, by the way)! Woot!

I get to feel like a star for a bit when I watch my body double doing all the dangerous stuff like, er, revving the bike for a close up or umm, zooming off into the distance. You know, the really scary stunts! :P

The times when I look like I’m moving on the commercial was, umm, when the bike was strapped down to a trailer and being pulled by a van in front of me!

Ready to Rumble

But hey, anything to get the shot right?

Truth be told, I had forgotten about the ad in that there was no point waiting in anticipation because I would never know when it was aired. Until a week or so ago when I got a few comments on my Facebook wall, SMS messages and even Twitter mentions from people in the US and the UK …

“Is that you on TV?”

I really couldn’t believe it, to be honest. When I signed for a global release, I assumed they meant regional. From a marketing and advertising point of view, I couldn’t fathom why Europe or the US would air an ad featuring Asian talents.

But I’m sure they had their reasons.

So yeah, here it is, my 15 seconds (well, 30 actually) of international glory. It’s not an Oscar-nomination but hey, been there, done that! :P

10.23am Malaysian time (+8 GMT)

Discussion (62)

There are 62 responses to “My name is Kim and I'm in a global Shell commercial”.

  1. fehmus!!

  2. wow not bad, you get paid, you get fame and now you know how to ride a motorbike!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nikicheong, Mun Yin Liu. Mun Yin Liu said: RT @nikicheong: On my blog: The Shell commercial I shot earlier this year is airing in the US and the UK! #syioksendiri http://bit.ly/bQP64R [...]

  4. haha grats on ur role in the ad!

    Dropped by from Lukey’s Rantings

  5. omg, haha, if you didn’t blog about it, I thought that you actually rode the bike, you looked like a natural wei! xD Anyway, congratz on your 30seconds of fame! haha.

    • Thanks Trecia. :) It’s film – so it’s meant to look real mah. haha Almost maybe *cough* good acting *cough*

  6. dawn j responded:

    · Reply

    Nice one!! Love how they purposely had the “Malaysia” sign in the opening shot. the guy in the first scene is you, right? the one where the bike is stationary? this took 3 nights eh??? wah lau….luckily u smart, bring books all…i usually bring my laptop along hehe

    • Haha Yes, Angkasapuri in the background. How not to know it’s in Malaysia.

      And the first scene ah? Yeah, I think that’s me. It was middle of the night, everything quite hazy :P haha

      I was considering the laptop but was worried about security for one, and secondly, I didn’t know if we’d have power there or not. Although I did bring phone charger :P

  7. Marvin responded:

    · Reply

    Nice! Luckily it’s not for BP…. haha…

  8. wah thats so cool!

  9. KY responded:

    · Reply

    wahh the lansi face is priceless!

  10. that’s just too cool!!

  11. Congratz~~ It’s cool!

  12. now i can finally say i know somebody who’s internationally fehmes! my mom will be so proud of me :P

  13. Lols…love the face when she hugged! Looks like you were going YES on the inside^^

    • Wah, thanks for saying that ‘cos we shot that 20 million times. LOL Yay!

      • Rita Prescott responded:

        · Reply

        The look on your faces at the hug moment is priceless…that is why I am online trying to find a picture of it (not video) so I can print it out. You are obviously a natural at either ads or faking …. lol.
        Best of luck in the future.
        Rita
        Orlando, FL

  14. WOOO! More fames now :-D eh, dont simply ride motorbike without license :-P

  15. ‘Kim’ sounds so…Korean. :P Nice one, anyway!

    • Not sure where it came from. But it was the working title right from the start.

  16. tat smirk in the face…ahahah

  17. Great job!

    Short advert yet quality and message was there. =)

    Plus u get to pay off ur debts.. awesome!

  18. Wah you femes liaw! :D

  19. Congratz wor. Although I don’t quite understand how does energy saving relate to you riding motorbike.

  20. Wait, then is this being shown on national TV here?

  21. wow awesome…:)

  22. Saw the commercial yesterday. Here in the USA! I was like, eh tht’s Malaysia, well, the wording only came out to MALAYSI but I know lah esp since the taxi was spelled teksi. lol. So, congrats to both of you!

    • Thanks a lot! Still quite amazing to hear from people around the world who have seen it.

  23. Imelda responded:

    · Reply

    Hey There!

    I’m a Malaysian now in Washington DC, currently watching The Food Network at 2:06am and I just saw your commercial! I saw the unmistakable red-and-white taxi image from the corner of my eye and it immediately caught my attention. Put me in a great mood and made my night to hear Malaysia mentioned, I miss home so much. Kudos to you!!

    *Malaysia Boleh!!*

  24. nice ad, succinct yet effective.

    • Hey! How are you? Been a while, hope you’re well.

      Yeah, effective ad. :) It’s part of a series (different stories and cast tho) but I haven’t watched them.

  25. Din responded:

    · Reply

    just saw u on the television minutes ago. quite confusing at first (eh, looks familiar. hey there is one big angkasapuri at the back! eh how come?). It was during a Monday Night Football halftime. Millions were watching!
    keep up the good work!

  26. Charles responded:

    · Reply

    When the narrator says “about to feel one of his favorite sensations”, is he noting the acceleration of the bike (this would make sense to me because you are on a scooter, or was it electric?) or the embrace of his girlfriend?

  27. kevin responded:

    · Reply

    hey kim, very well done commercial. i saw it from Queens, New York. Any chance you might know shirley chong? (anyways shoot me an e-mail if you get a chance!)

    kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      Wow – in New York! That’s quite a reach!

      I don’t know Shirley Chong, sorry!

  28. [...] I’ve got some behind the scene shots here. [...]

  29. harrold responded:

    · Reply

    Congrats on serving the illuminati with their mind-control commercials. The message is clear: as the quality of life goes down in the US from a shift of wealth distribution to the very wealthy (well beyond the gini coefficients seen in the 20th century), unemployment rises, home foreclusures rise, more people go to bed hungry, etc. etc. What Shell is saying is this: as the population grows in this world, half or more of the worthless humans (in their opinion) known as “indigents” will need to start getting used to rising oil prices and start putting their life and limb on the line by riding on a small motorcycle with their loved one. Mayalasia is even more dangerous. But even in the USA, would you want your son or daughter riding around the busy city streets on a small bike not designed for safety of two people on it? Well Shell is telling you: get used to it.

    Having read what i just said, go back and replay it.

    This is how mind control works. Slowly but surely you will be prepared for what they have planned for you.

    You and the girl were sweet but I felt more sorrow for you two, as though you were real, that you could not travel safely in a small but safe gas-efficient car. No, that message is too optimisitic. Let’s fast forward and get EVERYONE used to what’s coming.

    As an activist it is my goal to teach people to sniff and smell mind-control in the form of disinformation, misinformation, and propoganda.

    • Nancy responded:

      · Reply

      wow!! He’s the actor in the commercial! He didn’t write it. Relax!! And try to stop being so paranoid. Its not good for your stress levels. And please don’t attack the actors. You should be writing your concerns to politicians and corporation owners.

      • harrold responded:

        · Reply

        There is no way i was attacking Niki — anyone reading that would know I was using Niki to make a point. A point you did not address, except with a (sorry) lame suggestion to write my concerns to the politicians and oil company owners. That has to be a laughable suggestion. They are the ones that let us all get into the situation where we are today. They are (mostly) corrupt, greedy, and foot soldiers for the ultra-wealthy.

        No ma’m I am an activist — my job is to help shape the brainwashed minds of American citizens — help them see how commercials are used to get into your subconscious.

        And by the way, you have a lot of nerve call me paranoid — in debate theory, this is known as an “ad-hominem” attack, meaning you offer nothing to the discussion except to call me names. The only way you could call me paranoid is if you researched this and investigated it.

        Have a nice day. BTW, I graduated from Pitt and the school shames me — their is a law firm in pittsburgh (one of the top in the country) that was exposed on youtube with videos showing how they trained human resource managers a a seminar on how to get around all the rules and regulations to hire a qualified American first, for a job which the corp was trying to bring in an H-1B visa holder at 30% cheaper and was arguing they could not find a qualified American. I wrote over 100 Pitt professors and not one of them wrote me back. “Under-the-arm”-Pitt” shames me.

        Don’t bother comment until you read about this or watch the videos.

  30. Nancy responded:

    · Reply

    Are you wearing a “PITT” (University of Pittsburgh) shirt in the Shell commercial?

    • HI Nancy,

      I am! :) It belonged to the director (don’t think it was his, but it belonged to him if I recall correctly). Are you a PITT alumni?

      Thanks for dropping by. :)

      • Nancy responded:

        · Reply

        thought that’s what it was :)
        Not an alumni, but both my kids attend PITT! Was fun to see a Pitt shirt in a TV commercial. Made me look it up to be sure lol.

  31. Willian responded:

    · Reply

    The commercial is here in Brazil too. It is very interesting. Congratulations.
    William, Brazil.

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