Behind the Scenes: Shooting a TV Commercial

I had a fantastic time the last few days being on the set as a dance choreographer of a few hundred thousand dollars commercial shoot. The female model, Dunia, was a gorgeous 180m tall beauty! I think my head ended up at her waist! You can imagine my horror when they told me the guy could not make it for the practice on Friday... Picture me, a 159m short dwarf spinning her (20 cm taller than me!) over her head and dipping her. An impossible task rite? But I did it! Salsa style on tippy toes, hopping all along the way! Yah, and then gotta sound and look professional too... Hmm I think I managed to sound pro without much prob, but I sincerely hope I looked confident hopping professionally around Dunia!  

On the day of the shoot, my 2 extremely tall charges looked marvelously expensive. Few thousand dollars gown, silk shirt, blink blink... But they looked beautiful in the shoot. The director, Humberto is a really funny guy. In his eagerness and zest to direct, he kept falling off the directing chair at the end of every shoot, nodding his head furiously. The assistant director, Roslini (I think?) speaks a load of languages... Spanish, Malay, Italian? I think he has a talent of breaking the ice, making the models relax and feel comfortable, cracking jokes...  

The camera men, lighting experts and all just seem to know when to adjust this or what equipment goes where without needing to exchange words! I had a little culture shock when I first came, dunno where to stand or when to move, but soon got the hang of it... Still, it doesn't look like they're working. These guys look like they live here and that this was what they were made for...  

Yesterday's shoot was outdoors. We went to the integrated resort to shoot, and found that the resort have not been built yet! So we built a platform, watched a jazz band play against the silhouette of the city skyline, while my charges imagined what a great romance it would be to walk along the yet-to-be-built boardwalk of the resort where they see the Singapore flyer (singlish for Ferries Wheel). After that we counted mosquitoes and got a butt massage while the van drove us out of the construction site, bumping away, heading for the indoor stadium for a night of celebrity-dom and cultured dance.  

Upon reaching the indoor stadium, I was greeted by half-naked men (the kind with abs - we call them models)! ... And a running cockroach. The cockroaches were a curious commodity... They had a propensity to offer themselves as free souveniors to take away from the stadium, for the thrill of hearing the female shriek or male yell when they pop out of our bags. Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened, but I was entertaining myself with such thoughts before we began shooting. It wasn't until the shooting began when I recognized that one of the models acting as the news-hungry papparazi was actually Justin Lim, who used to teach modelling at Xen, and then did his model's graduation at Actfa.  

Anyway, Dunia and Claudio was pretty amazing. Especially Dunia. She juz simply looks stunning, and she'll out-shine anyone because of her height.. If she towers over you, she is kinda the first thing you look at, duh. I think I'll have to wear stilts, do cartwheels with stilts, hop around like a mad dog and set my already fiery red hair on fire before anyone will notice me beside her.. haha!

I also managed to talk to more of the people in the shoot, they are really great and friendly people, who do their job really well. I can feel the happy and relaxed vibe in the team even though they were fighting against time to finish the job. I highly recommend Chris, the producer, and her team at the Shooting Gallery to anyone who is looking for someone good to shoot commercials! =)


- Yanqing, 28/9/2006

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Starlinn Actfa DanceSTARLINN CHOO YANQING joined the SFDF program in 2004 while studying in NUS, training 12 hours a day; she completed her SFDF, Diploma & IHDC courses in 3 years, using her teaching income to finance her classes in Diploma & IHDC. In 2008 she pursued her IMDC Dance Business & is now doing her 3 years IPHDC Dance Product Research. While pursuing her IHDC she was already traveling around the world for assignments. more

Bianca Actfa DanceBIANCA enrolled in the SFDF course after A-levels. Within 6 months she was dancing as a backup dancer for MTV. She has also traveled to many countries like Germany, UK, Taiwan & Hong Kong to teach & perform, & was offered a position to dance in a few Musical plays. 

 Libin Actfa DanceLB, a masters degree holder working for a MNC, decided to do a career switch after he completed his SFDF. He then worked as an International Sales Manager in dance products, an international artist & dance instructor. He is the Singapore Bachata Champion 2008 and the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship behind Serge and Polina from Russia in 2010. more

manfred Actfa DanceMANGGOH was one of the elite few selected for the Mediacorp Dance Academy in 2000. He graduated from NTU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and used to work as a Project Manager in the IT Industry. He passed his examination & evaluation for SFDF and is currently doing his Diploma & IHDC. more

maricel Actfa DanceMARICEL, a professional dancer from the Philippines, joined SFDF in 2009. In less than a year, she has performed at the Esplanade Da:ns Festival 2009, Salsa Cruise Asia 2009, & has also been to China to teach & perform. In 2010 she was offered a full time dance instructor job in Singapore. She has since gone on to set up a dance studio in the Philippines and comes back periodically to upgrade her skills.

rachel Actfa DanceRACHEL an undergraduate in NTU joined the SFDF in 2010 and was offered to open a dance studio in China.  She has taught and performed in Guang Zhou, Shen Zhen, Hong Kong, Singapore.

 derrick actfa danceDERRICK has over 20 years of dance instructor experience with more than 30 types of dance. He was granted an exemption from SFDF after taking an examination & evaluation and signed up for the diploma & IHDC simultaneously.

tamil actfa danceTAMIL, a professional dancer & teacher actively involved in competitions & performances for Hip Hop, Bollywood, Indian Dance. He was teaching dance in secondary school and choreographing for SYF. He joined the IHDC program to further his training as a dancer & teacher in 2009.  Since joining the IHDC, he has taught, performed & competed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan.

brenda actfa danceBRENDA joined the SFDF when she was 13 years old and was hired to teach and perform both locally and overseas after 6 months. She was also financing her own dance study while teaching private dance classes.  Under the SFDF, she was the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship 2010 and Singapore Bachata Champion 2009.  She was given opportunities to teach in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China.

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