Angry Asian Man has posted the story of one of the extras who appeared in the Chinese Professor ad. It turns out that the actors who played students in the audience were contacted after they signed up to appear in Transformers 3. Most were told that they were shooting a conservative political ad, but did not know the full storyline of the ad, the “joke” they were laughing about, or how widely the ad would be distributed. Here’s an excerpt:
So yes, I was an extra for this commercial. The way I got involved in this commercial is by signing up to be an extra for Transformers 3, which was being filmed in DC. So I got an email from my Kollaboration staff (I am on the board for Kollaboration DC) saying that they were filming Transformers 3 (Our show just ended btw too, like a week ago). Some of us signed up to be extras and a couple of us got called for this commercial because the Transformers 3 shoot was full, and they informed me that it was for a conservative – political ad, so I was aware of the political stance (thinking it wouldn’t be a serious issue). So thats basically how I got involved.
BTW, to sign up to be extras we had to fill out information like, our name, gender, age, height, ethnicity, and a picture.
It was filmed at a community college (NOVA in Alexandria VA) and when we got there, the production team did tell us about the ad, but in a misconstrued kind of way. I know that the ad was about the US deficit and they did tell us the premise of the ad (taking place in the future, and we all supposed to be “chinese” students in a lecture). I saw the commercial and it’s pretty intense and one thing I did not know that the commercial would do, is put this almost red-scare type of fear in the eyes of Americans (effectiveness wise, the political ad works, not saying I agree with the tactics).
What’s interesting is that the production team told us that we would all be laughing in the commercial because the “Chinese Professor” said something funny, so there were multiple shots where we all “laughed” after the “Chinese Professor” said his so called, “joke.”
It’s a fairly typical experience for people who find work as extras. There’s no reason to think that the actors in the commercial — save the Chinese professor himself — had any idea what they were getting themselves into. The morale of the story? Don’t appear in conservative political ads if you want to avoid having the entire blogosphere thinking you think owning slaves is hilarious.
But, on the up-side, the Evil Chinese Professor contest is really taking off! Due to the high volume of entries we’ve already received, I’m not going to post all the entries as they arrive, just some of the ones that particularly strike my fancy.
Here’s a great one that plays off the whole Transformers 3 thing.