Thursday, June 23, 2011

Commercial Experience

Commercial Shoot location
These pictures have been on my computer for months and I almost forgot to share this experience! Tsk, tsk.

Last March (yep, that's three months ago), a friend of mine talked me into joining him and his friend to work as an extra in a commercial. He said: "the job's simple: just show up around 1pm, they'll provide us with clothes if needed, act like a "cheerleader" for about 4 hours of shooting and then go back home with the cash in the evening." If only it had been really that simple...

Commercial Shooting
Commercial Shoot

Here's the timeline (as I noted down that during the shooting):

1pm: We got on the bus arranged by the shooting people to go to the filming location. Bus half full of young Chinese girls, half of "foreign" boys and girls.
2:20: Arrived at location, out in some factory. And then, we wait...
4:30: The team finally gets started on giving us "costumes" (consisting of tiny shirts and skirts for the cheerleaders, joy), hair and make-up.
6:00: Sun is down, we start the shooting in the cold. There were essentially 3 scenes involving everyone. Each scene took forever to achieve and everybody was freezing off. No one in the staff ever gave us clear information as to how long the shooting will take, how many scenes we'd be doing, etc. It was very frustrating!
10:30: Some of us return to the bus but the shooting is not over. Now come the small group shots. I was part of the third small group to be shot and there were two more to go after us.
3:45am: We leave the shooting location to get back to Shanghai. Everybody's tired and still freezing, complaining about the experience. The Chinese girls were even calling their agent to scream at them ha!
5am: I'm finally back in my room, took a warm shower and passed out. Needless to say, I didn't go to classes the next day.

Foreigners can always find jobs as extras or "models" in China and usually the experience is not this awful. A month later, I went to another commercial shooting, this time for a spot for the Xi'An International Horticultural Expo 2011. It took place in Shanghai, 20 minutes away from school, and I only had to be in front of the camera for 5 minutes! However, as nice and easy as that was, I don't plan on doing this often in the future - I'm way too self-conscious to be in front of a camera.


  1. Wow, intense! They probably wouldn't take me as a foreigner, heh. Or as a Chinese person either. Poop. When do we get to see the final product?? =]

  2. V - Oh boy, I hope we never get to see it! The outfit I was given did NOT make me look good haha