You might see a Doritos commercial during the Super Bowl on Sunday featuring a couple of 20-somethings dancing on a rooftop in Astoria, Queens.
The ad starts in the apartment of Alex Pepper, a 25-year-old dancer and actor. This was his production, so he had an inside track on the starring role. He plays a guy who -- with his friend’s encouragement (and bag of Doritos) -- works up the courage to introduce himself to the neighbor he’s had a crush on.
Watch for yourself, here. It doesn’t end well for the budding lovebirds.
But the real-life ending could be a dream come true for Pepper.
His spot was selected as one of 10 finalists in PepsiCo’s annual Dorito’s Crash the Super Bowl contest, which has already earned him $25,000 and a trip to watch the game at University of Phoenix Stadium this Sunday.
He found out in a surreal phone call from "The Hunger Games" actress Elizabeth Banks.
Alex says the $25,000 is more than he made last year as an actor and dancer. And the whole experience is more than he could’ve imagined when he was sitting on the couch watching Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium last February.
“I saw this contest was happening at last year’s Super Bowl and thought, ‘Oh, that’s really cool. Would love to do that sometime,'” says Pepper.
Two weeks before the entry deadline, he decided that "sometime" should be now. So he called a few friends, asked his girlfriend to shoot with his Nikon D800 camera, and set a budget for the project: $80.
“Low budget,” he laughs. “And a lot of that went to duct tape.”
Watch the end of the spot -- these amateur video producers managed to pull off a pretty slick industry editing trick. They needed duct tape to make a dummy that would stand-in for actress Morgana Phlaum, the star’s would-be crush.
She agreed to the shoot without hesitation, even after Pepper explained the ending.
“Can I throw you off a roof? And she was like, ‘Okay, yeah, sounds good!’”
Pepper’s resume includes theater and an appearance on NBC’s "Saturday Night Live." And the script was inspired by Pepper’s real-life professional nightmare: accidentally dropping a dancer during a move.
"There’s a lot you can’t control -- the floor lights get in your eyes or something like that -- and we took that idea and turned it into a commercial," Pepper said.
And if it airs as the grand prize winner on Super Bowl Sunday, Pepper will earn $1 million, along with a one-year "dream job" at Universal Pictures.
Worst case scenario? He’s headed to Phoenix with his girlfriend to watch the Super Bowl in person.
"The worst case scenario here is already pretty amazing,” he said.
Voting closes at midnight. You can vote for a finalist here.