You do not have to live in Taipei to work in television. Just ask “Doctor Tim Finnigan.”
The Ohio native had only been teaching English in southern Taiwan for four months when he was chosen in September last year to help make a short “parental advisory” TV advertisement for a cable television station in Chiayi.
The ad is now being airing on MTV every hour on the hour around the clock.
The humorous commercial advises parents that if they want to block any TV channels that show porn or violence, a local cable firm can do so for free.
Finnigan speaks Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) throughout the 44-second ad.
The ad shows Finnigan dressed as a medical professional and using humorous Hoklo idioms and slang expressions.
Finnigan, 23, shares the spotlight with Zack Lee (李鴻志), a Kaohsiung native and member of the Chiayi Nguyen Theater group, who plays the role of a chubby child intent on watching pornography.
Lee stays silent and Finnigan does all the talking, although the American confessed that he had no idea what he was saying as he does not understand Hoklo.
“I read my lines from cue cards that the producer set up for me in the studio,” Finnigan said in a recent e-mail.
When asked how he got the acting gig — his first ever — Finnigan said: “I think that the producer in Chiayi contacted my boss at the language school where I was teaching English, saying that she was searching for a foreign teacher to do a commercial for the cable station. Pure luck and pure chance. And it was fun.”
The ad currently airs on several cable channels in southern Taiwan and is also on YouTube.
However, Finnigan is now back in the US.
“I injured my knee in an accident in Chiayi shortly after making the commercial and had to return to Ohio for surgery,” he said. “I plan to come back to Taiwan this summer.”