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Doritos ad shooting for Super Bowl spot has Fargo tie

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Patrick Schaefer's career in audio production started when he recorded jam sessions with his buddies in his parents' basement.

On Feb. 7, his work could be heard on one of the world's biggest stages.

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The Fargo North alum was part of a cast and crew of 20 people who shot a Doritos commercial that's now one of six finalists for three spots during the Super Bowl.

The ad, "Snack Attack Samurai," takes place at a gym, where a bearded slacker in sweats and a headband finds out the hard way that he swiped the wrong guy's Doritos. The 30-second spot wraps up with the chip thief shrieking in fear as the samurai - dressed in orange battle garb made entirely of Doritos - charges at him.

Schaefer, a freelancer who lives in St. Paul, was responsible for mixing the scream, dialogue and other sounds, and doing the audio post-production.

He's worked with the ad's creators, Ben Krueger and Cole Koehler (who plays the chip thief), on several other projects, and they asked him to help out with the commercial, he said.

Doritos received more than 4,000 entries for its "Crash the Super Bowl" commercial contest. The six finalists each won $25,000, and the three ads that garner the most votes at www.crashthesuper

bowl.com by Sunday will air during the big game.

Schaefer's team won't find out whether they've won until the game.

"We just have to watch and see if it airs," he said.

In addition to being a "great resume builder," he said, there's big money at stake: If the ad airs and USA Today rates it as one of the top three ads of the Super Bowl, Doritos will give the winner an additional $1 million for first place, $600,000 for second or $400,000 for third, according to the contest's Web site.

Schaefer, who studied media production at Arizona State University and has been specializing in audio for picture since he graduated in 2008, said word of mouth "has been huge" in getting the message out about the ad.

"It's been really interesting to hear stories from people about how someone they told has been actively spreading the word - it kind of feels like a grassroots political campaign," he said in an interview by e-mail.

The ad features another North Dakota connection in actor Mike Rylander. The Minot native plays the character who gets hit in the neck with the samurai's "throwing star" - a deadly Doritos corn chip.

One of the final five ads in last year's Doritos contest also featured a Fargo tie in Matt Charpentier, a member of the production group called the Dandy Dwarves. The group's ad didn't air during the Super Bowl.

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