June 11, 2016

Lights, Camera, Omgoddie

Day One

Memorial Day 4am: The shoot is to begin Tuesday morning and I still haven't fallen asleep. Mr- Fix-It awakes to pee and I get up, hug him and say, "I am SO scared." After snuggling him tight, I am able to sleep for 5 hours.


I awake, wishing that I could meet with a professional for a pep talk.

No time for that.

I fret that the crew has bought plane tickets to Boston, and made hotel reservations and that I won't be able to deliver what I think they are looking for.

But deeper inside, I know that I probably can.

Tuesday 2:30am: First day of the shoot. I awake for good after 3.5 hours of sleep and linger in bed for eons. I try to calm myself by reading.

7am: Finally I get up and dress in the casual outfit that the food company has chosen, from photos of different clothing options that my daughter and I had sent them. I force myself to have breakfast and then put on some make-up. I feel anxiously excited for the crew to arrive and keep telling myself that all I need to do is..... be myself.

7:45am: The director and the production manager pull into our driveway 15 minutes early, followed by a cameraman.

"Oh thank god," I say to one of my daughters," There is only one cameraman and they said there was going to be two."

I'm so relieved.

8:00am: Another cameraman pulls up in front of the house. Uh oh. It turns out he's the audio guy though. He seems really nice. Everyone does. Next, a woman drives-up and gets out of her car with some cases, one of which is on wheels. "Who are you?" I ask. She says that she is the hair and make-up stylist.

REALLY? I had no idea she was coming but am relieved to have the tired circles under my eyes taken better care of.

I go inside and wash my face and she gets to work. She has this funky little spray gun that sprays foundation on my face and other neat tricks that I've never come across before.

I start to feel more glamorous then I've felt since I was four-years-old, when I wore my mom's high heals, too many pop-it bead necklaces and her fancy lady's hat.

Photo by Danielle Keefe

Scene 1: They switch the green shirt that I had put on to a periwinkle one, because of all the lush greenness outdoors- the sweaty, periwinkle t-shirt that I wore when I cleaned the house, in the heat, the day before.

Scene one is shot out on our front lawn, casually sitting atop the picnic table with creative director, Lauren Sally. She asks me to interview her on camera. What a smart move. This I can do. I start to relax. Then she asks me a gazillion questions about my life. One of them was about swimming and it becomes immediately apparent to me then that I wasn't chosen for this docu-ad because of it, as I thought it was. I was chosen, I think, because of my simple mindset and lifestyle and because I am an active, outdoorsy, mid-lifer.

Suddenly I wonder if I am simple enough. I also wonder what it was in me, that convinced her, that I can pull this whole thing off from just having had a skype interview with me. How did she know that I wasn't going to be like a deer in headlights?

I feel at home with Lauren though, and trust her and can see already that she is adept at bringing out the best in me.

So I begin to relax a little more.


Then another camera man arrives.


I think that maybe the first cameraman has to leave for another shoot.

This is not the case.

Scene 2: Hiking at the highest peak in our town, which takes only 5 minutes to summit. It's a family hike with Mr. Fix-It and our younger daughter. Easy peasy except that it is pretty hot out. The make-up and hair artist Danielle Keefe, comes with us. I ask her if she is here for the whole day. She says that she is, in case I sweat and need a touch-up or have to have my haired sprayed again .

This is all so surreal.

I keep feeling like I am in a dream.

Then the crew and I eat a late take-out lunch at the house, out on the picnic table.

Scene 3: Knitting in my studio on a knitting machine. Lauren, the director, asks me to bring down my favorite sweaters so she can pick one for me to wear. She chooses one that I knit in the1980s. I say that I think that maybe it's too boxy. She says she loves it, so I put it on.

Scene 4: Knitting-by-hand out on the front porch.

Scene 5: A running scene on beautiful, stonewall-lined Baker Bridge Road in Concord. There is a tractor mowing a field in the background. Some of his dust billows up beautifully into the late day sunlight. They take several retakes of me stopping and putting my sneaker up on the stone wall to retie it. I wonder if the camera will catch the little hole in my sneaker, where my baby toe is slowly making its way through.

Sweet & petite production manager, Liz Caven, stops the evening traffic, so that they can shoot me running. I imagine that people probably think her car has broken down and she needs help. It feels a bit like I am in a Hollywood movie.

Scene 6: Swimming at Walden Pond with a handful of my swim team as extras in the background, including Mr. Fix-It. When the team takes off for their swim around the pond, the crew does some neat underwater shots of me swimming. I am in my element here and feel happy that the first day of shooting has gone well and that my comfort level with the project is continuing to grow.

Then the crew stays to photograph the Walden Pond sunset and Mr. Fix-It and I stop on our way home for a big bowl of soup and a glass of wine.

I go home and tumble into bed and sleep like a rock for 7 hours.

To be continued.