Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Have Officially Launched My Acting Career!!

One of the things Nick and I had read about before we moved to Taiwan was that, as white foreigners, we would probably get the opportunity to be in some type of advertisement while we were here.

Well, I guess the Taiwan Expat websites weren't lying because we've only been here for 3 months and we've already been in a commercial!

Apparently our boss is friends with a TV producer here in Taichung (this is the guy who shoots commercials for our company) and he was asked to find two white foreigners for an infomercial last week. The filming was on a day that Nick and I weren't working at our regular teaching job and we got paid $6,000 NT each so those factors, plus the fact that we got to be in a commercial made it an offer we couldn't refuse.

The commercial was shot at motel here in Taichung, and I have to admit, when I first heard we were shooting at a motel I thought.... hmmm, this sounds a bid sketchy... but Taiwanese motels are MUCH different than American Motels.

As the producer told us: Taiwanese motels are for lovers. Motels are very popular and common here in Taiwan. They are similar to American motels in that they can be rented out hourly or nightly, but unlike American motels, they aren't seedy or dirty.

On the contrary, they are actually quite nice places complete with romantic music and lighting, and large bath tubs and showers meant to be shared. Usually, when you rent out a motel for sex in the US, it is sex with a prostitute or a mistress, but I think this is typically not the case here in Taiwan. Nick and I believe that this is because many young married couples in Taiwan live with their parents (usually the husband's parents) so they need a place to go to for some private time...

Here is the room in which we shot the commercial:

And, I suppose, no motel "for lovers" would be complete without condoms! (we did remove these from the night stand for the commercial)

The product we were advertising were water-proof, dust mite proof sheets.We didn't have any speaking parts, but it didn't take too long for me to figure out that I have absolutely nooooo acting skills. My toughest scene was a close-up of me sleeping and sneezing because of the dust mites in my pillow. We had to do the take about 4 times because, according to my director, I kept smiling while I was supposed to be unhappily sneezing!

In the commercial, Nick and I were a married couple with a little girl. In the first scene our family is watching TV in bed and I have a tray on my lap with some food and a cup of water. Our daughter was supposed to jump on the bed and I had to act surprised and spill the tray on the bed.
Unfortunately, I did this so clumsily and awkwardly that I actually made the little girl cry after the first take! We were worried that we wouldn't be able to get her to act in the rest of the commercial, but luckily she warmed up to me and became the star of the show!

After the accident in the bed, my character buys these amazing new sheets and our bed is safe from accidents and dust-mites, Hooray!

The whole thing was quite a fun experience. There was only one slightly weird scene; In the scene I had to run my hands over the sheets and just enjoy the feeling of the nice sheets. We shot the scene like 6 times and the director kept asking me to do different things to show how much I was enjoying the feeling of the sheets.

After about 4 takes, it turned into me rubbing the sheets with my hands and then rolling onto the bed and running my hands over the sheets with a pleased look on my face. It ended up looking a bit... well a bit like the sheets weren't all I was enjoying. I have a brief little video of the director telling me what to do for that scene, so you can check it out yourself:

A lot of the day was spent waiting around or standing in one spot for a long time while they fixed the camera angles and lighting... it certainly wasn't very glamorous, but I had a good time.

I'm pretty excited for the commercial to become available for everyone to see... although I'm sure that it will just end up being embarrassing for Nick and I, haha! It should be up on the Internet by the end of May, so I'll post it up here as soon as it is available!

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