Posted by: anniewilson | September 13, 2009

How to Halt Production of a Tyler Perry Sit com

You know, sometimes I think that I truly am harboring the ghost of Lucille McGilicuddy Ricardo deep in my guts. Most of the time I know what I’m doing and things go off without a hitch. But every so often, I screw up something relatively simple…like every so often I break a yolk. I try NOT to break the yolk…I know how to flip an egg WITHOUT breaking the yolk…but, no matter how hard I try, every so often I break the damn yolk. Sometimes I break the stupid thing before it even comes out of the shell. I don’t know how that happens but it does.

But most of the time, I enjoy a nice egg, over easy, without breaking the yolk. And most of the time I can do basic crap pretty easily. I can walk, I can talk, I can even walk and talk. I can push a cart and place it where you tell me to. If you only wanted me to do TWO of those things, say, walk and push a cart…that should be easy enough, wouldn’t you think?

One WOULD think so. One would also think that you could get an intact yolk more than 9 times out of 10. But you really can’t. I don’t know if we get cocky, hurried or distracted, but one person out of a party of ten will ALWAYS get a broken yolk. And I don’t know why I couldn’t walk and push a cart the other day but I couldn’t. And because of that, I held up production of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns on Friday.

All they wanted me to do was push a cart around a corner, maneuver it to a position that the principles could work with later and walk away. Sounds pretty fricking easy on the surface and because of that I assured the director’s assistant that I would be able to, of course, walk and push a cart at the same time. I didn’t even have to talk. But for some reason, I kept getting it wrong until the director himself walked over to explain it to me in case the assistant was a moron. The director wanted to make sure I understood exactly what HE wanted. Naturally, he soon realised that the assistant was not, in fact, an idiot…but I, on the other hand, most assuredly WAS one.

Take Four is understandable if you’re giving the Gettysburg Address, but you shouldn’t hear it because of cart movement in the background of a sit-com. I felt like a total jack-ass.

All I had to do was walk around the back of a set and perform basic chores doable by most primates. Not only was I extremely confident in my ability to take direction, I even went so far as to “get into character”. I actually GOT INTO the character that I developed in my head. I KNEW what I was gonna do. Me and my character self planned to get through a 10 second job without a hitch. But for the life of me, I couldn’t do what they asked. I either did it too fast or too soon or just plain wrong. It was interesting how I found different ways to mess up. I suppose I would feel worse if I screwed up the same thing over and over again. But instead, I just found new and improved ways to evoke a loud “CUT!” and then…”Take Four..!”

You may not know this if you’ve never seen a show being taped or a movie being filmed but they go through a lot of preparation for one of those things. From placing magazines on the shelves to building the walls…things on a set are carefully placed and then everybody comes in and they practice a bunch of stuff. By the time the nit wit who’s supposed to push a cart around a corner comes on to the set, the production staff has been working their butts off. The last thing they need is some woman who is the age of their mothers on the set screwing up.

I don’t know why they didn’t get someone else to do it. My guess is they had too much respect for my age…which is cool…I’ll take that. But I absolutely would have understood if they traded me with someone who only had to WALK. I was even waiting for them to do that so I could run away and hide my shame.

Oh well. I just hope that somewhere, there’s useful footage of me pushing that stupid cart around the corner, realizing that I might have screwed up the timing before my amazing brain decided to fix the situation by arbitrarily pushing the cart off set. Yeah…that’s the work of a true professional, isn’t it? An ad libbing extra…or a nutty old lady on set…every director’s nightmare.

One good thing came out of that shoot…Tyler Perry wasn’t directing when I screwed up. One of the dudes in the cast was getting a shot at it, Perry is a good guy. But as for the poor schmuck who I worked with Friday…I don’t know what else he’ll be directing or if I’ll ever see him again. I DO know that I see Tyler Perry too often to have my face seared into his mind as the idiot who can’t walk and push.

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