A star is born: Burgers put Ranchos boy on Hollywood radar
December 5, 2003
Of more than a 100 boys who tried out for the star role in a Burger King commercial, an energetic young man from the Gardnerville Ranchos got the part.
Christopher Frogget, 11, debuted as Hairy, a werewolf trying to get his hands on a kid’s meal.
“I want your big kids meal,” he stomps his feet in the commercial his mother Wendy replays at the Ranchos home. “I’ll get your kids meal yet.”
Chris said the producers liked the homemade outfit that he wore for his tryout so much that they used it in the commercial. For nearly 10 hours during a September day of filming, Chris stayed in costume.
Even during lunch. Even with makeup on and up his nose.
Actually, Chris discovered his love — of acting, not kids meals — in second grade when his teacher encouraged him to have fun.
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He fell head over heels in “love with plays,” and soon tried out for a role as a troublemaker kid amongst a group of troublemakers in a community college production of “The Music Man.”
He was chosen.
His mother says he did his own costume changes and never missed a cue.
Two other commercials he has filmed recently include one for Optimum Voice and one for SunCom. In the first commercial, Chris plays a kid who follows his dad out to the mailbox surrounded by four friends.
The group goes back inside and Chris noticing the Optimum Voice piece of mail says, “It’s here, it’s here.” His dad guesses the price of the bill before opening it which he can do because Optimum Voice gives him the same flat rate every month. Both a 30 second and one minute commercial were made.
The second commercial is for cell phone service.
Nowadays, Chris is taking four to eight hours of classes a week in Reno with the John Robert Powers agency. He has taken a variety of acting classes, including ones on cold reads, voice-overs, improvisation “where you get to go on stage and make up your own lines” and pre-teen acting.
Some of what he has learned is clear when he begins to talk about what happens when you audition in a cold read. In such a case, Chris would be given a script and have 15 minutes to prepare.
“You need to be ready,” he said. “You need to know what happened before the scene and what happened after. You need to know the characters and what this one wants and does not want.”
Just recently, Chris participated in a competition in Los Angeles called Best New Talent. He picked up awards for Best Child in a Commercial and for Broadway singing and cold read.
To win the commercial award, Chris made up an original advertisement about the ProKid Health Bar. He turns and walks out of the living room and runs back in out of breath. Panting loudly he begins his lines and then exits.
“(Acting) is a lot of work,” he said. “The more you put into it the more you are going to get.”
“The biggest thing is to have fun and to train, train, train.”
“And do a lot of auditions,” said Chris’ dad, Alan, who has now joined Chris and his mom along with Chris’ brothers Michael, 15, Cameron, 9 and Jason, 7. “And don’t worry about failure and don’t let anyone get you down and just go on.”
Chris may need to join the Screen Actors Guild next. His dad said that the guild ignores the first commercial you do, invites you to join when you do your second commercial and by the third commercial you soon join or get blackballed.
“Almost everything in LA is union,” he said.
Chris will get residual checks for his acting jobs. Much of the money he receives is being invested and the remainder covers expenses plus one item Chris picks for every job he gets.
What kind of acting does Chris want to do when he gets older?
“I want to be in all of it,” he said.
“As far as we can see, he’d like to go to L.A. now,” his father said.
In the meantime, every commercial the family watches on TV is a learning experience.
“Commercials give us ideas about what they’re looking for,” said Wendy. “We see commercials now in a totally different light.”
With the pilot season coming soon in February, Chris and his family are shooting for the stars.
“We never know,” they said.
– Maggie O’Neill can be reached at mo’firstname.lastname@example.org or (775) 782-5121, ext. 214.