By Evelyn Hendrix
As a youngster growing up in Thatcher, Arizona, Chris Capel dreamed of becoming an actor. With 13 siblings, he had a ready-made audience, so he jumped on the nearest stage.
Soon, Capel realized he felt more at home behind a camera. It was a good move. One that propelled him to a chance at fame associated with the most popular televised event in the world: the 2014 Super Bowl.
With the help of a friend, Richard Price, Capel created a commercial for the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” advertising contest. His ad was one of five finalists selected from thousands of entries from 30 countries. The winner, chosen by public voting along with a second ad chosen by a team from Doritos and Marvel Comics, aired during the Super Bowl. The creators of the two top ads also won a chance to work on the upcoming movie, “Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Although Capel’s ad did not win the top prize, he and Price split a $25,000 prize.
Capel, 33, says his ad is “just something that a couple of regular guys did.” But, this “regular guy” managed to convince a couple of seasoned actors to help him out. The result is a hilarious look at the stereotypical “office thief” who steals only one thing from his co-workers: Doritos. He denies his crime, in spite of the orange evidence smeared all over his clothes and face.
Capel was surprised his ad was chosen as a finalist. “Stan Lee, the godfather of Marvel Comics, called me,” he says. “I thought someone was pranking me. It was pretty surreal.”
As a teen, Capel enjoyed the comedic satire of movies like Monty Python and Ground Hog Day. After a stint at Eastern Arizona College and an LDS mission in Toronto, Canada, Capel returned to Arizona. He connected with Price in Phoenix, packed up and headed to California. Capel landed a job as an animator with DreamWorks, working on movies that included “Shrek 4,” “Monsters vs Aliens” and “Turbo.”
When the company downsized last year, Capel found himself with plenty of spare time. That’s when he decided to take on the Doritos challenge. Capel and Price brainstormed until they came up with the idea of an office thief.
“I wanted to enter for a long time,” says Capel. “But we waited until we found the right concept.” After writing the script and a week of preproduction, Capel brought out his camera. He rented a nearby office and shot the video in just six hours. His budget was only $1500. He might enter again, and if he wins the million-dollar prize, Capel has plans to share.
“Seven of my siblings were adopted from Africa,” he explains. “I would like to give a big chunk of [the money] to a charity that helps with adoption.” Capel‘s wife, Lindsey, also has plans. “She says we are going to start a family,” he says with a chuckle.
“More than the money, I’m excited about the career opportunities,” says Capel. His goal is to direct science fiction movies someday. Perhaps he will even have an office with a thief who steals his Doritos.