Friday, December 2, 2011

Scholastic Filming Event

Back story
In fifth grade, I learned to love books.  No, I mean seriously-- books were my daily dose of glorious imagination captivation--delving into the stories of people from someone's mind that were a lot like me--insecure, determined, youthful,  and in pursuit of something amazing. 

My son R.
Taking home the book orders seemed equal to or greater than going to the toy store because I could sit and crave every single book as long as I wanted plus beg my parents for one or two books, which they often obliged.   I loved book orders so much, I took the extra ones my class didn't need and pretended to be the teacher collecting book orders from students to send to the book order companies.

My kids are a lot like me--minus asking their teachers for leftover book orders.

When the opportunity arose to actually go to the Scholastic building for a paid gig--I was over-the-moon ecstatic (as you can assess from my last post). I felt like Charlie Bucket going into the chocolate factory for the first time.  I tried really hard to look at everything and just absorb the moment.  The red flag waving a welcome, the kindly security doorman, the amazingly decorated tree and goodness underneath, the brightly colored rooms and the stunning auditorium. It was like my daughter once told me, "Dreams do come true!"

I walked into the auditorium with the golden floors and the red seats all folded up in a modern-looking way and then down to the stage with its signature red curtains and lights blaring onto the green screen.  Did I mention that I've always wanted to do something on a green screen--because it can take you anywhere--digitally.

Director and Make-up Lady 
The director, Rick, and the make-up lady, Caroline, were down at the front and they looked surprised when they saw me. Call me corny, but I imagined they were surprised because when I walked in I imagined a bright beam of light streaming from my face right into their minds--so they could immediately grasp my excitement.  Mostly, they seemed momentarily stunned--I guess my excitement light was too bright.

The director came and gave the make-up person to "tame this"--pointing at my head and I had moment of attempted to cover-up terror-- and then he added, "all these fly-aways." Whew, that's a relief!

The director (Rick, I think) asked, "Did you bring any other clothes for your son? He's wearing green. He won't show up on the screen."

"Oh, I wasn't aware he was going to be filmed," I said.

Back story 2
In the mad dash to get everyone to school and I just got T (my 3-year-old) into some clothes he would actually wear.  He's on a serious outerwear strike lately and his wardrobe of acceptable clothing to wear has dwindled to three shirts (two of which are identical) and two pairs of pants, which are about three inches too short. And summertime shoes--ugh.  I choose to pick my battles carefully and my theory until this morning was that when he gets cold he'll be glad to wear different clothes. My theory is changing. Again.

Super Women
Gratefully these women, Anna Hemphill; (the girl in the middle who's name temporarily escapes me with great photography tips; and Jenn; knew precisely what to do.  They ran up to another department and borrowed some shirts. [Thank you very much for doing that!] They showed him these lovely shirts and he acted indifferent to all of them. Yeesh!  Then they picked one and he literally ran to the other side of the room.

Silently praying in my head that I would know how to get him to wear the chosen shirt I began to do the pretend-the-shirt-has-a-personality-and-a-voice thing and he came close enough for me to remove the shirt he was wearing and put the new one one while playing hide and seek.  Then we all complemented him on the shirt.  This was all while I was getting make make-up and fly-aways fixed [mental pat on the back].

The Filming
Then we zipped down to the green screen. The sound guy gave me a mic and I turned around to modestly install it.  Modest is hottest, right?! Caroline, the make-up diva, came and gave me a touch-up (another check on my dream list--the pre-film touch-up).

Then they fed me lines to say "like you are talking to your son, with animation."  Only thing is--it was all about thanking my mom.  Something about thanking my 3-year-old son for being a good mom, just didn't set right in my head so I chose to think of the camera as my mom and I meant every word.

"Thank you mom for teaching me to love others."  "Thank you for teaching me to cook."

They asked me to think of the things my mother taught me. . . I thought this thing was only supposed to last an hour--that question could take all day. I picked a few out of my mental hat and spouted thank you's to the camera.

In My Head Filming Back Story
Then they asked for a specific time that meant a lot to me and I thought of the hours my mom reading to us in the car and then having us read and hearing my dad's voice say, "Loud and fast, read loud and fast."

Or the time that we spent all morning cleaning and grumbling and afterward Mom took us out to the back yard and poured a pitcher of water on us starting the most momentous water fight I can remember--and there were a lot of water fights. I can still hear her laughter in my head from that day.

But I settled for the image in my head of all my family gathered around the piano singing and laughing together while my mother played the piano. . . good times.

T Filming
They asked T to give me a kiss. He did. Then he gave me a good hug. Then he kissed both sides of my face several times.

M.E.M. (Most Embarrassing Moment) 
Then they asked him, "What do you like about your mother?"
He buried his face in my shoulder.

"Tommy, I prodded. What do you like about me?"

He turned his face out to the audience and said loudly, "I don't like you!"

I accidentally rolled my eyes. Talk about pressure. My mind was hollering, "NOOOOOOooooooo!  I did NOT teach him that. Regroup. Regroup!!!!"

I did not regroup enough to have him apologize--which I would have if I had the presence of mind, but at that moment I was just intent upon the dismissal of potential future insults. [So if you were there and reading this, please consider yourself apologized to by a three-year-old and his mother].

They said, "Can you tell your mom you love her?"

Again his face was buried in my shoulder. Then entered the bribery.

"T," I whispered, "If you can do this then you and I can go get something special, just the two of us, right after we're done."

That did it.  "I love you, Mom," he muttered.

"Can you say it louder?" they asked.

"I love you MOM!"

"Do you want to see yourself on camera?" they asked T.

We walked down and looked at the screen.  It was an eye-opening experience.  I was not prepared for the immediate self fault-finding I found myself doing as I watched myself roll my eyes at the M.E.M.  Note to self: When they offer to let you see yourself on film remember that sometimes ignorance is bliss--though I learned a lot about myself in that ten seconds.

Is that how it is for everyone when they first see themselves on screen in front of filming professionals? I could swear I had a lot more personality.  I looked awkward, but I felt perfectly calm and composed for the majority of the time.

After that we gathered our stuff, returned the microphone and went to get our stuff from the lobby of the auditorium where another mom was getting ready.

The Scholastic Store
Then we got our gift certificate and went to the Scholastic store. That place is seriously kid heaven. . . toys and books every where--It is amazing!  I got a few Christmas presents and we went home exhausted.

Summar-ical Thoughts
This may shock you but it will not be a major motion picture.  In fact, it is likely you will not even get to see it.  It's going to be an internal magazine sponsor viewed clip only--isn't that cool? It's like an exclusive club. If you'd like to see it you'll have to be an advertiser in Scholastic Parent & Child magazine.

Can you feel my mental excitement beam of light? It's shining right at you. :D [That emote is me smiling at you like I'd just told you this whole story in person].

Thank you Anna, Jenn, Photography Tipster, Danni, Caroline, Rick, Sound guy, and Camera Man. I really enjoyed the experience!

Thank you Emily and Whitney for telling me about it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Scholastic Mom Taping

My friends, Whitney and Emily forwarded me something from one of the parent groups in the area with sweet notes how they thought of me when they saw this.  The forward said:

My coworker at Scholastic needs moms for a video being filmed this Friday. Please contact Anna Hemphill at . . . if you're interested. The details are below.

Judy (mom to T&E)
We are filming a video and we need moms! Unfortunately no P&C staff can be featured so we’re looking for friends and family to get involved!

The filming will take place in the Scholastic auditorium on Friday, December 2nd.  Each mom will be required for 1 hour, and we will schedule the day based on availability.  It’s a simple shoot – we will be working with each mom one on one, no experience necessary, little to no memorization needed.  We want women who will be comfortable speaking to the camera.

We are looking for a diverse group of moms with children of different ages (infant to teen).  The children do not need to be present for the filming, but we welcome any who need or want to be there!

As a thank you, we will give each mom a $50 gift certificate to the Scholastic Store!

If you know of anyone who would like to participate, please tell them to email me ASAP and to include a picture.  I am happy to answer any questions and will send them additional information about the details of the video.

We appreciate your help, especially with this tight turnaround. Thank you!


My curiosity was piqued. It was like it was shouting at me practically--if something can be truly shouted when read.  So I instantaneously emailed Ms. Hemphill with:

Dear Ms. Hemphill:

If the opportunity to be in your video is still available, I would really love to participate.  I heard about it from your friend Judy in the Sunset Park parents group.  

I would love to bring my son (age 3), if possible--but if not, I think I can make other arrangements.

My photo is attached.



She wrote back with:
Hi M,
Thank you for your interest (Love the pic!)! [M thought interjection--Oh! Thank you!]  We’re already booked now, but I will contact you if we need any last minute replacements before tomorrow!  Thanks so much, and we’ll keep you in mind for any other projects that may come up.

Thank you so much!


I was a little sad, but I thought--hey they want me for future projects. I don't know what it is about the phrase "future projects" but, to me, it sounds so full of possibilities.  

Then a little while later . . . .

Hi M,

So sorry for the late notice, but we need to fill someone in the. . . slot for tomorrow...  Would you still be interested?? [I'm anything, but sorry-thank you :D Yes! Yes!]. We’re asking each mom to allow about an hour, and we would love to have you and your 3 year old son join us! [Just how awesome is it that they'd be great if I brought my 3-year-old?  Super amazing great--that's how awesome. I am dancing a little happy dance inside my head].

Please wear a solid-colored top (no patterns), and please do not wear white or green (we will be using a green screen, and these colors will no appear in front of it).  You may wear whatever pants you are comfortable in – jeans, slacks.  We want you to look natural. [What on earth is my "natural" look?  Clothes party]. We will have a makeup person on hand to do touch ups [Ok, confession here. I have always wanted an experienced movie-making make-up artist to check/fix/do my make-up--YES!], but please come with whatever makeup you normally wear.  If you don’t wear makeup, don’t worry – the makeup artist is there to help you look natural on camera.

We will give you a $50 gift card to the Scholastic Store which you may use at any time!! [I cannot wait!!! I love books, books, and more books!  My kidlets love books, notebooks, and books and Christmas].

The address is . . .  Please check in with security – we will have your name in the computer [Look--I'll be official]– and you will be directed to the Auditorium where we will be doing the filming. [Hi Mom!]

Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to come in and if you have any questions.  We’re excited to work with you! [No way you're as excited to work with me as I am to work with you.] My cell phone number is . . . if you need to contact me! [Yay!  I am so excited!]

Kind Regards,

Anna Hemphill.

I'm so giddy right now with excitement.  I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.  Maybe I'd better get better at following the parent groups. I love opportunities like this!