Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yesterday, Stage Mother tip-toed out onto the ledge that is the land of television commercial. She dutifully showed up 20 minutes early for Scarlett's half hour 'stylist' appointment downtown Minneapolis.

The office space was everything you might imagine: skylights, gleaming wood, expensive furniture, organic muffins, wi-fi for guests. Toss in bunches of super creative people, bearing bunches of super adorable clothing, who folded her daughter in as one of their own.

For over two hours.

That half hour spent, it turns out there wasn't time for the Matron to return home in between the stylist appointment and the first half of the commercial shoot; so she and her daughter had a lovely mother-daughter luncheon during which the conversation went like this:

Scarlett: "Why isn't there wi-fi in this restaurant so I can check my email?"

They ended up both reading books. Some days are just like that.

Next came the rush hour traffic snail's pace thread to Taylor's Falls, a good forty miles away. Remember how that half hour turned into two? Sorta like the scenic drive.

Then the director asked Scarlett is she was afraid of heights. Nope.

Wait! Nobody is asking the Matron this question! Here she is, trailing the pack with sandals and her laptop. Excuse her! The Matron is VERY much afraid of heights, yes indeedy. So fearful is she that it's all she can do to keep her eyes open while driving across bridges.

Turns out that this commercial was to be shot ENTIRELY ON TOP OF A GIANT DEATH CLIFF.

See that little orange dot with arms outstretched? This is Scarlett, two feet away from her potential death. You can't tell by this picture but this is HIGH. The Matron couldn't get any closer because she was afraid her loud gasps and 'TAKE A STEP BACK HONEYs" might be distracting.

This little jaunt stretched on for hours. The Matron pried upon the occasional eyelid to peek at her daughter, but mostly -- out there in the staggering presence of one of her state's most beautiful scenic spots--- worked on her laptop.

Producer to Matron: "You getting wi-fi?"

Matron: "I tried. Nothing."

They both sighed over such an unreasonable state.

Anyway, the Matron's half hour appointment and couple of hours outstate turned into a 9 hour day for which she was entirely unprepared. Imagine the difference a day makes. This morning, knowing full well what she was getting into, the packed the van for a cross-country road trip: lunch, water, extra contacts, glasses, antibiotics, laptop and charger, notebook - you name it.

Good thing. This day's schedule: 10 am until 7:00 pm.

Due to details of plot and design, Scarlett spent most of the morning - oh about four hours -- walking on a treadmill. Whenever the treadmill stopped, the make-up person dabbed face and tidied hair. Then there was about two hours of "Do you wanna go camping Daddy?!" Commercials are entirely repetition.

Scarlett on break: "Mom isn't this FUN! Everybody is so NICE! Can I do ANOTHER?"

During this great big party, the Matron was promptly directed toward the basement, the place where they store parents. This is the carpeted, bathroomed sort of basement that wasn't bad - except there's no wi-fi. So honest to God-Buddha-Allah-Oprah-Universe, she is composing this post in the van, where she spent 90% of her day grateful for BingSel2's unsecured wireless network. Thanks, Bing.

The insane part? Really because the whole rest of the last two days have been so boring? After two nine hour days of shooting this commercial, Scarlett also has an 8 pm theater audition.

Matron: "Are you sure you want to go? I think you're awfully tired? You walked on that treadmill for like five hours."


Who will have the more substantive mental breakdown? The over-taxed underpaid (hey wait she's not getting a dime for this) Matron if they DO go to the audition or the completely obsessed and single-minded Scarlett if they DON'T go to the audition.

God-Buddha-Oprah-Allah-Universe help her. It is September. Scarlett has shows booked through March--and is still trying to squeeze more in.

The breakdown belongs to the Matron, hands down.


smalltownmom said...

You have it far worse than me. Although I did spend most of my summer Driving Mr. 13yearold. He amassed over 200 hours at the zoo.

Susan said...

I thank goodness my daughter is without talent...because she would like to be like yours and I do not have your good will.

MJ said...

You have amazing fortitude.

Anonymous said...

When you were on the cliff in Taylor's Falls? You were a mere 20 miles from my house. Had you inquired, I could have told you about the free wi-fi at the St. Croix Falls public library just across the river. Next time...

Mama Ava said...

My 14 year old son is a "featured extra" here in Beijing in the Will Smith remake of the "Karate Kid". I took him the first 2 days this summer--it's in the city and he doesn't speak enough Chinese that I feel comfortable sending him. And, hey, I wanted to meet Will Smith and his family and Jackie Chan. Which I did. AND THEN THE REST WAS SO FREAKIN' MIND NUMBING. Seriously. When he goes to the set (he was hired for 20 days) he's there 12 hours (plus travel time) and he may only work 2 hours. If he's on the set they have rooms with Xbox and Wii for all the kids, but if he's on location....nothing. One infamous day at the Forbidden City it was 100, tropical humidity and he had to wear PANTS. He spent 2 days in a bus with A/C.

Ah, the life of a celebrity!

Minnesota Matron said...

Mama Ava - my guess is he would do it again in a heartbeat, right? It's insanity. Way cool to meet Will Smith and that beautiful family. His wife could NOT be any cuter.

Daisy said...

Will it be better or worse when she can drive herself? No, don't answer that.

Mama Ava said...

Matron...now that he has to miss school he's less thrilled. I just tell him to count his money (he's earning $4,500) when things get really boring! hee hee

I think he'd do it again, but it is a very very big eye-opener as to how slow things go...even the stars, who keep busier practicing and rehearsing, spend so much time waiting.

thefirecat said...

I believe the phrase we are looking for is, "Hurry up and wait." You think that's boring? You should be there during lighting focus. It's so boring they don't even make the ACTORS show up.

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