Friday, May 06, 2005

Japan-easy, not

I arrived at the advertising agency at 6am, where the 3 talents would be taken to the filming location of the TM Net commercial. It was in my very own neighborhood but in a recreational park which I had never come across before, Rimba Kiara.

There was a breakfast spread and I wolfed down some french toast and tuna sandwich before getting my makeup done right away, and my co-star Nigel started getting a crash course in Japanese pick-up lines by the speech coach, Jeffrey.

The sun rose quickly as I dressed into my outfit and got my hair done, all the while with no knowledge of what I was looking like. My only reference was the crew's fascinated reaction when they saw me trod on set for the first take of the morning.

Crew members softening the sunlight over the bench where the shoot will take place
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Makeup artist Ferlina adjusting my leg-warmers
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Ferlina was asked to help attach a tiny microphone underneath my blouse. "Stick it on her bra, or somewhere on her cleavage," one of the sound crew told Fermina. Ferlina unbuttoned my top, peeped in and probed around for a suitable spot, which probably took her a while as I have the chest of a prepubescent boy. Meanwhile, a sound guy behind me was trying to discreetly clip the battery pack onto the back of my underwear. My attire compounded my momentary state of innocent vulnerability; the men standing around in close proximity pretended not to show interest.

The scenario was that a Japanese schoolgirl's crush (played by Farez) would try to win her heart with the help of his friend (played by Nigel) who would translate to her on his behalf.

Jeffrey taught me a line which my character had to say ("Mo... Shin ji la naaaiii!"), and having so much trouble with that one line alone, I was unable to fathom Nigel's mental challenge of sounding like a fluent speaker.

Nigel's cue card
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My skirt was a little shorter than expected, so trying to comply with the regulations of the national Censorship Board, I was required to cover my hands over my knees for the entire duration of the ad. The camera was angled in such a way that I had to also make sure that my knees were locked together at all times. Harry was the only guy to keep reminding me to stop flashing, at one point even mentioning that he saw the color of my knickers. Yeah, so it was his job to be a perv. But I personally think flourescent orange lycra deserves a bit more slack.

Director Off throwing around ideas
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I underestimated the ease of shooting such a short scene. As the camera rolled, I had to keep in mind the position of my legs, my reaction to what was being said, my non-english line, its intonation and pronounciation, when to grab my schoolbag, how to keep my skirt down while standing up, where to walk off and how to do so without muffling my microphone... A commercial twice the length would have spelt 'aneurism' for me. The long hours started to manifest themselves on our weary faces. Nigel's tummy growled and I clawed at my mosquito bites.

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The day was pleasantly cloudy, but the lights on set made everyone sweat buckets. My main issue was my upper lip, which leaked like a faulty tap even with the makeup artists coming over every 5 minutes to dab us off. A fan would be switched on between takes to cool us off, and I was strongly advised to stand in front of it whenever time allowed it. It was during one of these little fan breaks when I felt compelled to pull a super kawaii moment.

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At one take, the director suggested that Farez gaze at me and that I also "get lost in his eyes and his love". Getting lost in his love required acting. Getting lost in his eyes didn't. They were big. And bright. And a gorgeous labryinth of hazel.

We shot take after take of several versions of the storyline; I recall the final count going over 35. The shoot lasted until 1pm. Thirteen seconds to be selected from 5 hours' worth of film... You seriously gotta hand it to post-production.

Crew watching the playback
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After the park shoot, lunch was served and Farez and the crew and to rush off to the production house to shoot the final scene. While the equipment was being disassembled, word got round that it was my first-ever tv commercial experience, and I was congratulated by the crew on a job well done. I cocked my head, put my hands to my heart and let out a sheepish "Hontoohh?"

I could get used to this.

Ferlina and clothing guy Darren
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Retard, Nigel, Farez
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Crew and official ad mascot
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Blogger Elaine said...

hey!! at least you got the super kawaii moment really really cute!! hehehe... super kawaii indeed... and very authentically japanese ;)

sound like a fun day though! ^^

10:21 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Like the outfit! ;-) All that's missing is a Salaryman

11:27 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Kudos to the image consultants. You sure looked like a Japanese schoolgirl. I wouldn't know any better.

I especially like the part where you made full use of the 'japanesey'look and embraced your inner-kawaii, haha!

Did you get to keep the uniform? ;)

6:14 PM  
Blogger cyber-red said...

oo oo...Just like Malaysian's answer to America's Next Top Model episodes in Japan. Hehe! Can't wait to catch the ad, woman!

7:12 PM  
Blogger rei said...


Did you speak in the really high-pitched Japanese schoolgirl tone of voice? I'm trying to imagine it, but I think I will end up dying of laughter before the mental picture solidifies :D

Sounds like you had lots of fun! I still miss KL.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Prianna said...

D, now I will ALWAYS see you as a Japanese girl.....

11:22 PM  
Blogger Muddy said...

Wow, looks like fun babe! And totally dig the outfit. (PS : That skirt should be bit more shorter. Teehee.)

8:37 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

You make such a cute Japanese school girl.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Fashionasia said...

i am totally gonna look for em plaited skirts.......ichiban.

10:58 AM  
Blogger The Everglades said...


What a cool experience. I loved the part about the perv, trying to sneak a peek and cop a feel. You need to get them to run that commercial overseas!

Also, thanks for the kudos you left on my blog!

All the best,


12:26 PM  
Blogger KaiserSoze said...

I have to agree with everyone else. You make one heck of a kickass japanese girl

and an additional vote for Muddy's suggestion too..hehehe

2:03 PM  
Blogger KaiserSoze said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:05 PM  
Blogger HabitualDamnation said...

bring back the deleted comment! what was it about! bet it was somethin sexual!

10:31 PM  
Blogger random-girl said...

i've never met you before, but had i bumped into you then, i really would think you were japanese! cute :)

1:16 PM  
Blogger rei said...

Oh, and by the way, the guy standing on your right in that last picture ... looks a lot like one of my exes. I'll have to tell him he looks Malaysian :D

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Ursula said...

Hy Davina

Those are some really great pictures..respect ;). Just too bad I wont be able to see that ad:(.
By the way..that school dress is really suiting..Melissa should wear one like that when she is big enough for school :P.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous ah pink said...

Hey! You got Darren as wardrobe stylist! He's a hoot, eh?
and pretty darn good too!


4:37 PM  
Blogger seth.frostheart said...

caught your ad the other night... goddamn, you're super cute!~ uhm, what's that phrase? anatano kawaii desu? lol... hell yea :D

1:32 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

after keeping quiet on this entry for the longest time, i just wanna say thanks a mill for everyone's zest and support. it's wierd seeing myself on tv, i don't know how good my acting is nor expect how i would have looked like on screen. but i love how comical the final product is. the subtitle timing was superb! the post-production crew did a smashing job.
take care y'all. :)

1:53 PM  
Anonymous AKMAL! said...

Daveena! long time no see? when's this commercial comin out? out oredi kah? hahaha...u make a cute retarded japanese schoolgirl. hey, where can i find a uniform like that for my gf aa? i've always had this thing for japanese schoolgirls..hah! my fishtank friend's a beeg ACT-TORR now..big ups!

5:54 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

hehe, thanks for dropping by. the ad came out a lot during the second season of Malaysian Idol, but got pulled of the air shortly after for the usage of an inappropriate word... don't worry, you can still see it, i believe, in streamyx customer centers.

4:58 PM  

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