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 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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
10.23am Malaysian time (+8 GMT)