AFN wants Yokota residents to take part in local TV spots
Stars and Stripes August 26, 2006
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — If you’re stationed overseas, you’ve likely seen them a hundred times: Actors on the American Forces Network telling you to turn down your music, conserve electricity and return your shopping carts to the commissary.
Now it’s your turn to spread the message.
AFN-Tokyo currently is conducting an open casting call to all members of the Yokota Air Base community interested in flexing their acting muscles on local AFN informative spots.
Previously, AFN’s television production staff relied on members of their own office for on-screen talent, said Gunnery Sgt. Tim McGough, AFN-Tokyo operations superintendent. But after a while, AFN-Tokyo’s small staff found that they had to appear in multiple spots to meet the need.
“We were tired of seeing our own faces on TV all the time so we decided to reach out to the base community to find some new ones,” McGough said.
The goal is to build a database of people at Yokota willing to take part in local TV spots, said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Kurtz, noncommissioned officer in charge of AFN-Tokyo TV production.
The topics vary, depending on the time of year and what information the command wishes to put out, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Tal Reeve, AFN-Tokyo news production noncommissioned officer in charge.
It’s AFN’s job to find a way to communicate these command messages in an entertaining and informative way, he said.
Including writing, shooting, editing and adding music, “It takes a good week and a half to produce a really good spot,” Reeve said.
Becoming a local celebrity sometimes can be an unexpected side effect of participating in an AFN spot, said Senior Airman Daniel McKittrick.
The broadcast producer at AFN starred in a spot in which he “transforms” into the Incredible Hulk at the sight of abandoned shopping carts blocking a dorm entrance. Since appearing in the spot, McKittrick said he gets stopped all the time.
“People recognize me more as the Hulk than as someone who reports the news,” he said, adding that he even had to reassure two young girls at his church that he doesn’t turn into a green monster when he gets angry.
Interested actors and wannabes should set up an audition at AFN. Servicemembers who pass the audition will have to get their command’s approval before taking part in any TV spots, AFN officials said.
Reeve, who has played an “evil doctor” in a series of energy conservation spots, admits the scenes played out on screen sometimes can be a little cheesy.
“We’re looking for people who are not camera-shy and can take what they are doing seriously,” he said. “But it’s also important to remember to have fun.”
To audition, call AFN-Tokyo at 225-6324 or email email@example.com.