Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Big Break

So, the company I work for was shooting a pilot for a children's television program and asked if they could use the boys. I warned them that there was an excellent chance that little kid would be in the corner sticking a paperclip into a socket and that Big Kid would be tap dancing and doing jazz hands in the background but they were willing to take the risk.

I asked Big Kid if this was something he would be interested in doing.

Big Kid: So, dey want to gib me a show?
Ashley: Well, they want you to be on their show.
Big Kid: What is da show?
Ashley: It's a music show for children, something with a Tuba.
Big Kid: A TUBA? I love Tubas! I can't believe dey are makin' a show about me and a Tuba.
Ashley: It won't be about you and a Tuba. You and a Tuba will both be in the show, but the show is about a man that plays a Tuba.

We rode in silence for about 15 minutes before he piped up again:

Big Kid: I'm finkin' I should put my face in da hole for da Tuba and da guy can blow da Tuba and I'll be like, "Whoa!" and my hair will blow back and stuff.
Ashley: You are just going to show up and do what they ask. You aren't going to be trying to tell them what to do or coming up with your own ideas, okay? That is their job. As the actor you just do exactly what they say and try to act like a normal person would. Don't make weird faces or do that thing you do with your neck in pictures. Just act like the cameras aren't even there and be normal.
Big Kid: Where are we gonna get da Tuba from? Is dere like a music store around here?
Ashley: They will get the Tuba. We just have to show up.
Big Kid: Who else will be in da show? Actors or dest kids or what?
Ashley: I don't know. They will figure all of that out.

I was a little worried that the people shooting the show didn't know what they were in for with my two weirdos. I was going to send over "riders" prior to shooting, but then the funny left the building this week and I dropped the ball. That would have been hysterical though.

We got there early and met the Tuba guy, who is also our local weatherman and Big Kid's new idol. Those two hit it off. They had a million questions for each other and Big Kid even asked if he could try to play his Tuba and he let him! Big Kid was thrilled.

little kid was clinging to my legs, hiding behind me, and giving my co-workers dirty looks if they approached. He was playing with a yellow rubber duck and as I took it from him to put it in my purse, he took another one out of his pocket. We all laughed and I told them how he always has a stash of something in his pockets and as I took the duck away, he took another one out of his back pocket. Three rubber ducks smuggled out of the house without me noticing...

The person in charge assembled the kids and tried to earnestly explain to them what shots they needed and what order scenes would be shot in. little kid used this time to run up behind Big Kid and tickle him, which would make Big Kid scream "Don't you touch me! I'm listening to dis guy, don't touch me!", to which little kid would have to do it again to get a more intense version of the same reaction. I yelled at them both and we decided to just get started.

The children were each given a small instrument (there were 5 of them, Em was there too, they ranged from 2-5 years old) and were instructed to run up to set excitedly and play their instrument along with the Tuba. After the third take, Em's mom pointed out that this is why they use 8-10 year olds in Barney. This was not an easy age group to work with. The "running excitedly" part was near impossible for them to pull off.

The next scene they shot (they do it out of order, Hollywood-style) the kids were supposed to run up and one of them was to take the Marching Stick from the man with the Tuba. There was no clarification for who should be the one to get the Marching Stick so fighting ensued. I think it was three takes before Big Kid was declared the holder of the Marching Stick (only because he was going to freak the fuck out if anyone dared said otherwise, brat) and Em would get it in the next scene.

Then they were supposed to march around in a circle playing their instruments. Half of them didn't even know what a circle was, so that didn't go down quite as planned. Big Kid was extremely annoyed with everyone's inability to retain line formation and marched around rolling his eyes, shaking his head and throwing his hands in the air in disgust.

It was almost impossible to muffle our laughter so that it wouldn't be heard on camera.

Their final scene they were supposed to walk out, turn and face the camera, and play their instruments. little kid doesn't take direction well (as we all know) and decided to dance around the group, shaking his butt and his little rattling gourd in pure joy. The other kids either looked bored, wore bizarre and wavering smiles, or were looking at the Tuba man's shoes. It was a long song, so this went on for awhile. One child just wandered off set so that the last part had to be redone a second time.

The whole thing was hysterical and ended up being a lot of fun. The people in charge said that they got what they needed and gave each child a toy and promised to send us a DVD. Big Kid missed school for it and the teacher was probably wondering what the heck he was talking about when he went to school the next day telling people he was in a tv show.

I cannot wait to get this DVD. I'd kind of like the unedited footage too because it was all so funny. Especially Big Kid's neurotic "I can't work with this" disgust over the marching circle-that-wasn't. It should be interesting.

(I re-wrote this all for you guys so you'd get the unabridged version since I owe you for putting up with my boring-ness this week. If you're bored and want to see the other write-up, it's here)


Just Lisa said...

Friggin hysterical. Congrats to BK on being discovered!

Caren said...

That's a great story Ashley, my son would have loved to have a chance to do that. He's a budding star too! Can't wait to hear how the DVD comes out.

~Gretchen~ said...

a star is born . . .

Missives From Suburbia said...

Please get permission to post the footage. I'm dying to see this stuff.

PaperCourt said...

Please share the video with those of us visiting the Closet. Sounds hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I have to say, my favorite part of this story is Big Kid's idea to put his head in the tuba. Hilarious! And PLEASE get the footage.

Paige said...

I sure hope there is a way you can share the DVD with us, it sounds like a hoot--but you are right, the outtakes will be the best

Anonymous said...

Congrats, that's cool! And if I were flipping channels and came across "Big Kid and TubaMan" I would totally watch it. :)