The Untitled and Confidential Post: Exposed (Blogisode Seven)

I am sitting in a waiting room at University Hospital where my father is having an angioplasty surgery to relive congested arteries in his lower legs.  He should be done very soon, which will be a great relief to my mother.  She’s with me although she just ran back to her desk (she works here) and my brother is here, too, although he’s off eating lunch.  So ostensibly I am alone.  So, I am blogging.

Now my mother is back.  That was quick, right?  I’ll report in about my mother, she just had Chipotle, so clearly she is feeling better.  I think the worry about my Dad is wreaking a bit of havoc on her along with the digestive issues that already exist from her surgery.  It’s the perfect storm of stress and bad health and I hate it and I am worried about them.  But, I am still coming back to New York on January 1st because–and I have to remind myself of this fairly regularly–I don’t really live with my parents in Cincinnati.

Who thinks I’m going to be a wreck when I leave?

You would be correct.

Shall we get back to our regularly scheduled programing?

I left off with CUT!  CUT!  She missed her mark!

Here’s what happened.  I missed my mark.

Let’s go back.  I need to talk about what a “mark” is for those of you less familiar with the show biz speak.  A “mark” is simply the spot on the floor where you are supposed to stand.  This isn’t brain surgery, right?  (It’s funny to write that considering that I am sitting in a hospital right now.  Update: I am now sitting in recovery with my Dad and he is watching CNN and talking about how gun control has to be passed on those horrible assault weapons.  Good conservative guy supporting gun control.  I love it.  He’s doing great, by the way and eagerly waiting for his B-L-T and fries.  Yes, that is what he is eating after just getting his arteries cleaned out.  You can lead a horse to water….)

I derailed myself.  But I am a little scattered so bear with me.  I wonder if anyone else is writing a blog back here in recovery?  I’m thinking I’m the only one.

TIME JUMP

Now I am writing as I wait for Beatrix’s Christmas concert, and just to give to a proper picture of it, I am typing in the pew of Immaculate Heart Of Mary Church. Like, in the church. Again–and I am just going out on a limb here–I’ll bet I am the only person blogging as they wait. I am in a sea of preppy white people. I’m a long way from home.

Back to what we were talking about before, hitting a  mark. Not like a Mark (now I’m thinking New Testament Mark, but Jesus is staring at me), but like a mark on the floor. Right? Right. In theater a mark is usually a number that is glow taped in the front of the stage. It works like this. The center of stage is 0 and then it goes out by feet, with the even numbers marked. So, 2 feet to the right is “2” two feet beyond that is “4” and so on up to….oh I don’t know…maybe 16 if it is a huge stage? And then it is the same thing on the left. So a normal stage direction would be, “Sharon you move to right 8” OR “Sharon be about 7ish on the left”.
“Ish” is a big direction in theater. Unless you are a Rockette, I suppose and then you’d better hit that mark exactly so you don’t mess up the line, but overall it’s pretty “ish”y.

So when Auggie the assistant director said to hit my mark and showed me, I was like, oh okay, I can hit a mark, I’ve done theater forever. He wanted me to stand ion the doorway. Got it. I can do that.
Apparently I can’t do that.
Because I didn’t do it.
They had to cut because I didn’t hit my frigging mark.
So they are yelling CUT and I’m thinking, what do you mean I didn’t hit my mark? I’m in the doorway. I’m here. It’s fine.
Not fine.
Here’s why.
In theater if you hit your mark in an “ish” kind of way it doesn’t matter because for the most park you can be seen. I mean, okay, maybe you will be out of your light, but still, people can see you.
In film, they focus the cameras within a millimeter of that mark and if you don’t hit it EXACTLY then you will be blurry or not in the shot and they have to yell cut and it’s embarrassing and AGAIN a clear sign that you are a newbie on set.
Damn it.
So lesson #4 (or whatever number we’re on)
Lesson #4: Memorize where your mark is and hit it.
I’ll tell you how to do it because Auggie The AD taught me in an impromtu TV set lesson.  Get out your notebook and pens.  Ready?  Okay.  On the floor there was (I wish I could draw this) a few strips of tape shaped like a horse shoe with a line through the middle.  Auggie explained that my feet had to actually fit into those two alleys.  Which weren’t big, by the way.  I asked him how to manage to find my way to the mark without looking down and he said that on some sets they actually put sandbags down so you run into them in order to stop.  This wasn’t such a fancy shoot, so his words of advice are now yours.

“Practice.”

Duh.  I took a minute and walked it several times, counting the number of steps I needed to take in order to hit the mark and the exact angle I needed and we did it again.  And it worked. And I wasn’t fired. Amen.

TIME JUMP

This is the last time jump.  Now I am back at my parents’ house looking at my snoozing father comfortable in his chair, procedure over, Mom and Beatrix in bed, me just hanging out with you guys until I give him his insulin at midnight.  What a day.

Finishing up the first day of shooting, I’ll tell you that nothing was quite as eventful but I was on my toes for sure.  It was a riot to watch them shoot several episodes at once because they would set up shots in a room–let’s use the bedroom as an example because (let’s face it) it’s Lifetime TV and scenes in the bedroom are obligatory.  They would shoot a scene for one episode, clear out the actors, change the sheets and some of the art work in the room, and shoot a scene for a different episode.

OH–and this part is GREAT.  Several of the scenes were shot in the same big bed and the big bed was…

….wait for it….

a waterbed.

A king sized waterbed.

But they didn’t want it to look like a waterbed so all the scenes shot on the waterbed–you know, people in the throws of illicit Lifetime TV passion–those poor actors had to make it look like they weren’t rolling around on tsunami size waves.

I’m wrapping this post up because I’m so tired and it is almost time to give my Dad a shot, but I will quickly tell you a couple of other funny things.

They did have to cut because of me one other time but it wasn’t really my fault.  I think I told you that it was hot.  Remember I said “kiln hot”.  And I was in jeans and a wool sweater.  It seemed like any variation of clothing involved a sweater–oh and I was OF COURSE wearing Spanx, so that was another layer.  So at one point my TV daughter and I had to hold an embrace (actually we had to do this twice) and we were both in sweaters and it was a bajillion degrees and they would shoot from different angles (I’ll cover that in the next post) so each scene would take a very long time.  And we would have to hold the hug.  Like, for a really long time.  One of the best was the time they said, “Okay please hold the hug and we’re going to go again in slow motion.”  This immediately made my brain race as I tried to figure out–wait–do I hug in slow motion or is the camera slow motion?

The camera is slow motion.

But they had to cut for me because I was sweating and it sounded like this, “Cut!  She’s sweating.  She’s SWEATING.  MAKEUP TO SET!”

Sweating in TV is verboten and embarrassing.  And hey–it’s hard to stop sweating when everyone is waiting for you to stop sweating.  I would know.

So with all of this eventually we wrapped for the day, took a van back to Manhattan and crawled home to rest up for the next day.

Oh no–and I totally forgot to tell you this so now I am just tossing it in at the end–Rob was in Massachusetts and we had a new babysitter who’d just arrived from Ohio and was set to spend the summer with us in Vermont.  It was her first day in New York City and her first day as our babysitter and you’ll never guess what happened.  Just try to guess.  Just guess.

Beatrix spiked a fever.

Because of course she did.

So I spent the whole day texting back and forth trying to talk her through medicine, etc, and keep her IN New York City and not on the next bus back to Ohio.

So now Beatrix is sick and I have another day of shooting.

And the second day of shooting was my favorite day of all.  It was AMAZING and so very Lifetime TV and they said “be sure to bring a picture ID with you to the van” and  was like, well why do I need that?

Oh and it was good.

I’ll tell you in the next post.

I’ll figure out how to put the pictures in by then because we will need them to tell this part of the story.

Thanks for keeping me company today.

 

To read the next post in this series, go here.

 

 

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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4 Responses to The Untitled and Confidential Post: Exposed (Blogisode Seven)

  1. Pingback: The Untitled and Confidential Project: Exposed (Blogisode Six) | My Own Space

  2. Fan says:

    Oh the world of film… So thrilled to see that coming about for you. Equally dismayed about your dad. I'm thinking about you, and hoping it's all well, and that you're NOT a wreck.

  3. 1hippiechick says:

    Loved reading your blog…any idea when shooting will wrap and this will air?

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