Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A fairy tale - um, sort of ...

Today's post is prompted by

Heads Or Tails

Today is Tails: Once upon a time. To play along, click on the coffee mug ... it's fun, you'll see.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who thought (ok, still thinks and is not so little any more) she was (is) a princess. Being that in her universe, she was called the center, it was quite difficult NOT to come to that conclusion.

As the story goes, she found herself involved as "background" in a made for TV movie. Now the plot was predictable, and the stars, although recognizable, were not "A list", and being that our little princess was not the center of the movie's universe, the challenge became, not to be the best background ever, but how to spin the tale accordingly.

So here goes ...

The movie, an ABC Family production entitled My Fake Fiance, was filmed on location in the Atlanta area. Titled in pre-production as "Your Presents Requested", which the princess personally thinks is a much more clever and elegant title than something with the word "fake" in it, the movie used the princesses church, Peachtree Christian, as one of the locations. It filmed beautifully and yes, it really does look like that. The church itself has hosted over 8,000 weddings in it's 80+ years and is hailed as one of the best locations for weddings in the area. The production staff even used the church's Wedding Director as a consultant in the film. They asked the congregation if anyone would be interested in participating as an extra (a.k.a. background) for the film's wedding ceremony.

Naturally, the princess volunteered - because not only did it sound cool to be in a movie, but they dangled royal coinage as an extra bonus. Who knew one could be paid to be background?

The big day came and went ... 16+ hours of sitting in a church pew (oh why didn't they invest in cushions?) ... standing, clapping, laughing on cue, and reading a book ... and then came the moment of truth ... apparently, the director didn't get what they needed after 16 hours ... so on to day two ... and another 12 hours ... more standing, sitting, clapping, laughing on cue, and reading.

They did feed the background (actual food), which was handy ... and they did get to go to "hair and make-up" - very glamorous ... "Yes, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

So at the end of day two ... and the dawning that maybe background was really just background, they asked for some volunteers to become background for the reception scene.

Naturally, the princess volunteered for that as well ... because she just knew there was going to be more opportunity for blog fodder.

The reception was filmed at the Atlanta Botanical Garden and coincidentally on the absolute coldest day of the year. Even though it was in the 30's outside, background had to "act" as if it were a lovely summer day (i.e. no coats, gloves, scarves ...) The princess wore ski silks under her lightweight gauzy short sleeved dress ... and cursed wardrobe for not giving her a hat.

At the filming of the reception, background drank fake champagne and wine, ate fake food, and wiped off fake sweat in the fake heat. As they huddled around the dance floor for the last scene, trying to stand as close together as possible for warmth, the princess was placed behind "the most beautiful woman ever" - or so the director said ... The princess, who by now figured out that it was not all about her (she's a bright bulb, that one), experienced a feeling of disbelief, because although the "most beautiful woman ever - TMBWE" was moderately attractive on a sliding scale of attractiveness, the princess didn't quite come to the same conclusion as the director ... who never stopped talking to or about "TMBWE".

As an extra bonus, the princess was asked to be a stand in
(also called a "Second") for the actress performing the role of the mother of the bride. Note: "TMBWE" was NOT asked to be a "Second" because she was too busy being fawned over by the director. Being called "Second" was a little disturbing to the former universe center (also known as the princess), but this role of background was quite illuminating in many respects. Plus, they actually pay "Seconds" a "real" bonus ... because they have to stand in for the "real" star. This entails, many hours of standing on tape - then waiting for the cameras, then having the tape girl move the tape, then waiting for the cameras, then having the tape girl (there was really a girl with about 20 different colored roles of tape) move the tape, then waiting for the cameras ... oh, and did I mention in the story that it was really freezing outside?

So the princess, amazed that the director was still gushing over "TMBWE" and gagging silently, froze on a smile (yes, Kel - that is why the smile never moves at the end of the movie, because it was literally frozen on ... and since there was internal gagging over the gushing director's comments to "TMBWE", the princess was afraid to unplaster the smile afixed to her face, for fear of what might come out of her mouth.

After about 8 hours of freezing outside, the director finally called "WRAP", made more goo-goo to "TMBWE", congratulated the fake bride and groom, formerly the fake fiances, and said thanks to the nameless background.

Unable to feel her toes, the princess stumbled her way back to wardrobe, returned the necklace she adorned in the film, and somehow got back to her car.

For months, she wondered how much "screen time" she would have ... or if she would finally see what the director saw in "TMBWE" ... they always say you look differently on film. Alas, the big day came, she sat through the movie, intrigued ... not of the acting or plot, but more in the mechanics of the film production. The big moment in the sanctuary came - the princess saw her own elbow as the bride enters ... she heard the laughing on cue, she saw the standing, the clapping, and then the reception - the bridal dance at the end ... the frozen smile ... head peaking behind the shoulder of "TMBWE" - but still didn't agree with the director.

And now, basking in the afterglow, the princess is grateful for DVR's and the pause button ... and for her friends who took the time to play the "Where in the World is ..." game with her. She is appreciative of the 1 - 5 seconds of screen time, realizes that beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder and that by not actually being the universe center, she can enjoy background experiences ... because sometimes it's much more fun to be the background - there's a lot less pressure than being the center ...

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Barb said...

Let me take a wild guess here. The princess was you, right? :P

This must have been a thrilling as well as chilling (haha get it) experience for you! It was exciting just reading it.

Psst.. they didn't give you a hat? Too bad you didn't already have your queen crown. :)

Tumblewords: said...

Ah, I enjoyed reading the narrative - I'm glad I have your autograph!