On Air…Well Sort of..

Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Theater, TV, and the Arts

  The ANA commercial that I am in began airing last weekend.  Unfortunately, I have got a lot less air time than I anticpated and I didn’t anticipate much at all.  Now that its on air, here is storyline of the commercial:

-The commercial begins with a press conference with Kazushige Nagashima (a once professional baseball player in Japan, sports caster, and commercial actor) and Team Nagashima (a basketball team made up of deer -or men dressed in deer costumes).  The reporters mumbles they’re deers!?, where he responds yaru shika! (meaning we have to do it!, but with a play on words -the word shika also meaning deer in Japanese).


– The scene switches over Team Nagashima Japan flying on business class on ANA to Chicago, or shika-go! (Go deers! -another play on words), with Nagashima mumbling ganbaru shika (which can either mean we have to do it! or Go deers!) 

DSCF0244The third scene is at a basketball arena, where we spend nearly 16 hours shooting the commercial. Its Team Nagashima versus what looks to be the Chicago Bulls. What has been cut from the commercial is a scene where the deer are desperately trying to make a shot, but the Chicago defense is too strong.  One of the deer’s manages to steal the ball but then gets seriously fouled by the opposing team.

As you can see here, I was pretty close to the court.  If this were a real NBA game, I would definately have the sweet seats.

– So, the aired commerical skips the above scene to where Team Nagashima are down by 1 point and there is only 10 seconds on the clock.  Its  Chicago’s ball and Team Nagashima needs to make the last shot to win the game.  Nagashima calls for a huddle and scolds one of the deers,  you’re just a deer by yourself.  But as five, we are a team!! 


Just an explanation: ANA is running a campaign where if you travel as a group of five, the fifth person gets a discount or travels for free, hence Nagashima’s comment about needing to work as a team of 5.

-Here is one of the reasons why it took nearly 16 hours to shoot this 15 second scene.   The deer who is suppose DSCF0252make the winning slam dunk kept missing the shot. It took nearly 25 takes with a 5 to10 minute break in between takes.  Everytime they resetted the scene, his teammate had to steal the ball away from Chicago and pass it to the him to make the slam dunk.  Ultimately, he only managed to do it once that night.  All the others will NG shots.  So when he did make the one and only dunk, the crowed went wild (as we were directed to) but instead of acting, we were truly happy that he FINALLY made the damn dunk! And we were all passing aroung high-fives as if we just witnessed Michael Jordan do one of his infamous gravity defying dunks.

One of the deers practicing his free throws

  Funny thing is, if you look at the commercial carefully, they didn’t even use the shot of the sucessful slam dunk!  They wound up cutting and editing one of his missed shots and splicing it with him making a standing slam dunk DSCF0248 right underneath the basket, with the camera mounted above the hoop. So, in essence, we had to sit through nearly 3 hours of missed dunks for nothing.

-The next scene was shot the next day.  It takes place as an American airport (really a convention hall in Makuhari, Chiba) where a we, a bunch of would be travelers, withness these big basketball playing deers walking through the airport. 

The huge task of mounting a camera above the hoop because the deer kept missing his dunk shot

The shoot lasted about 4 hours (yeah, 4 hours for less then 2 seconds of air time).  I was placed in the background, but in direct site of the camera lense. I was suppose to be a business traveler reading a newspaper while awaiting my flight.  After about 5 takes, they took away my newspaper ( they told me that they could not see my face) and replaced it with a camera.  So as the deers walked by in front of me, I was suppose to pretend to snap a picture of them, and then give an astonished look.  


 I sat next a 5 year old little girl and her mother. The director coached the little girl to jump up and down and shout look mommy deer!!!  After ever take, the director kept saying be more excited, give us more emotion!! to the little girl and her mom.

This guy sat in fornt of me and could clearly be seen in the final cut.

There were extras walking behind the deer as well, as well as people at a snack bar in the background.  The AD paid very close attention to every little detail as to the placement of people and props.  For example, in the glass doors prior to the shooting, you could see reflections of garbage cans that said Don’t litter in Japanese writing.  Since this was suppose to be an aiport in Chicago, the director had all DSCF0272of the garbage cans moved out of sight. 

There were a lot props such as Arrival/ Departure monitors placed  just behind the glass doors to simulate a real airport setting, a whole waiting room with actual people sitting in the chairs behind the doors, Ameican flags everywhere, and a huge poster in background giving hints that we were in a real airport the States. NONE of which was seen on camera. 

Naturally, with all this close attention to detail and emphasis on people and prop placement, I figured that we would be pretty well seen on

Tourist complete with suitcase in tow, practicing our walk in our mockup airport.

camera.   Futhermore, we shot a scene where we did our bit (me taking pictures of the deers, the little girl next to me doing her part, as well as the others doing their parts, WITHOUT the deers. So I assumed that we might even get a close up shot.) 


So far two versions of this commerical has been ran.  A 15 second version and a 30 second version.  With all of the scenes that seemed to have been cut, I am hoping that their may be a 60 second version coming up soon with the rest of the scenes.

You can see some of the detail. For example, you can see a reflection of a poster of an airplane on the glass doors

None the less, I had a lot of fun, and I would probably do the whole thing over again even if I knew the results.  For those who want to see the the current 30 second version of the commercial, click on the link below.

ANA TV Commercial (30 second version)

BTW, I can be seen in the background if you squint yourself carefully and look at the 0:29 second mark.


Author: mirai  //  Category: All Posts, Rants and Raves, Theater, TV, and the Arts

Lately, nothing too exiting has been going on with me. Since the ANA comercial 2 weeks ago, I have been getting a quite a few calls from my agent about auditions and other potential TV jobs, but none have really stuck. I went to an auditon last Tuesday. Apparently, the advertising company was looking for an “Indian looking” person to be in their upcoming comercial. My agent thought I qualified, which is okay, but when I got to the audition site, there were real Indian guys there. Compared to them, I didn’t look Indian at all (laughs), but I did fool one guy from Bangledesh. He thought I was from his country and tried to speak to me in his native toungue. Of course, I didn’t understand a word he was saying. My agent then explained to him that I wasn’t from his part of the word and that I was actually an American Japanese, to which he responded in astonishment. I assumed that he didn’t speak much English because after that he spoke to me in Japanese. He said that I looked like someone he knew back in his home country. I guess I just have one of those faces where I its hard to tell where I’m from.

The next day my agent called again to tell me that the comercial was cancelled. I guess that they couldn’t find a quality Indian out of our bunch worthy enough to do the comercial. At the same time, my agent told me about a couple of more jobs. One is to be a part of a movie. I thought that sounded really exciting. It was a small role and I would play an illegal alien. I immegiately heard the old Genesis song, “It’s No Fun Being an Illegal Alien” playing in my head and I laughed. My agent apologized thinking that he was beeing rude by offering me such a role and thinking that I would be good for it. But in contrast, I would love play a part like that. What’s the point of acting if you can’ play a role that is different from your true self…right? I told him that I would be happy to do the part, but unfortunately it also got swept under the carpet.

I have one more job still pending, but I won’t mention it yet in the fear that I might jinx it (if I haven’t already). Its not as exciting as the others but it does pay well. I am crossing my fingers on this one.

Over the weekend I rented some DVDs to watch. I rented “Roots”, a near-true story about the author, Alex Haley’s ancestors, and their lives as slaves in the mid 18th century. Although I vaguely remember my mother watching this on TV when I was a kid, I personally never watched it but I always wondered about it. So I rented it and sat through 4 hours of the first part on the mini-series.

Although VERY long, the story is facinating. Although I read about African slave ships during high school history, this version of the story seems much more true to life. History books tell the story, but in a very biased way so that it seemed as if the slaves, although slaves, had a fairly okay existence. Roots told about the real experience. It told about how the slave traders literally hunted down the African people and tore apart their families, kidnapped them, and sold them off, so that plantation owners in America and Europe could have free labor. It was sickening to watch, but definately an eye opener.