Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Maybe It Was Frank All Along

Years ago, I shot a commercial for a dairy. It was shot in an idyllic location at a quiet farm located miles from anywhere. I chose the location because it was pretty, it was quiet, and it was the perfect place to stand an actor in front of a camera to extol the virtues of this dairy.

I hired an actor named Frank. He's got one of those fantastic bass voices and a friendly face, and, when in jeans and flannel, looks like the perfect farmer.

On the day of the shoot, Frank told us a story that I've never forgotten - one that I often tell students as a cautionary tale for production.

Frank was hired to play a heart attack victim for a medical training video. The scenario: A man (played by Frank) comes into the hospital complaining of chest pain. The nurses usher him into a wheel chair. While en route to the exam room, the man has a heart attack. Properly enacting the symptoms, Frank grabs his heart and his back and lets out a yelp. The nurses then, acting in accordance with hospital regulations, move him to the backboard and begin emergency care.

The camera rolls. Frank performs his task. A doctor, not knowing about the shoot scheduled that day, turns a corner. He can't see the camera, but he CAN see Frank having a heart attack. He runs up to him, straddles Frank's lap and starts beating on his chest (to hell with the backboard!). Frank emerged from the shoot a little bruised. The doctor was furious and embarassed... And the lesson is - always alert the facility that you're videotaping, what you're videotaping, and when you'll be videotaping.

Fast forward to my dairy shoot at my quiet country farm. As soon as it was time for Frank's standup, a barn a mile away - and directly in the background of my perfect, idyillic shot - catches fire. The smoke pillar is evident. We alter the shot to something not as perfect, but fine. Then, all the traffic is rerouted AROUND the burning barn - right in front of my quiet barn. It was pandemonium... I continue to tell students that story as a cautionary tale with this lesson: You've never seen everything. Be prepared to think on your feet."

I hadn't worked with Frank again until today. He was scheduled to do another shoot with Jenny, another producer in my office. Jenny's shoot was set at a scrap yard. She brought her dog, Eddie Munster, along to play the junk yard dog role. Apparently at some point during the shoot, Eddie got nervous and actually threw up all over Frank's boot.

Later, as Frank and I were reminiscing about my dairy shoot, and he about his medical shoot, we laughed about the puky dog... "Maybe it's just you, Frank. Maybe it's not arsons, irate doctors, or sick puppies... Maybe it's a magnetic field in your body that keeps producers on their toes!"



  • At 3:38 PM, Blogger Tiecen said…

    I was bored at work and I pushed the "next blog" button on my blog page and yours came up. I read through it a little and I have to say, you're very funny. You kind of remind me of me actually..


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