Monday, July 19, 2010

The Real Deal

My phone rang at 9:00 yesterday morning.  It was Patty.  She said, "If you weren't intimidated before, you will be now."  What?  What was going on at her house?  She proceeded to tell me that her long winding driveway was filled with cars, at least 10 or so, and her garage was overflowing with technical equipment. There was also a large box truck whose supplies seemed to be endless.  If it wasn't already confirmed before, this was the real deal.

I arrived 15 minutes later to be greeted by the crew consisting of Paul the director, Steve who I believe is a producer, CJ, a writer,  Rachel and Ben who are producers, Nadesha from Marketing Drive who is the go-between for New Balance and Element, and several other sound, lighting, and camera crew.  After we signed our releases, Patty and I sat in her living room taking deep breaths and trying to stay cool.  We knew that they were interviewing us first, so we were looking forward to being able to relax, if only for a bit.

Patty's house looked amazing.  It was spotless from top to bottom, and her landscaping was gorgeous.  (I wouldn't expect anything less from Mike.)  As I looked out into the back yard, I saw what appeared to be a movie set.  There were two cameras, reflectors, coverings to provide shade, and lots of other technical stuff.  Yes, I was intimidated.  Steve came in and told us that he would be interviewing Patty and I together.  Yay!  That made us more more relaxed.  He said they enjoyed how we played off of each other.  He then looked at us and told us that our clothing needed to compliment one another.  I had on a red and white sundress, so Patty went upstairs and put on a brown one.  As she was doing that, they sent me to get my make-up done.  Wahoo!  Maria traveled up from NY that morning just to do make-up for us.  I was thrilled, but she told me that I would obviously not be made up too much as this was just a pool party.  I didn't care.  It had to look better than what I did.  After I was done, they sent me over to get my mic.  I had a small mic that was placed in the inside of my dress with a little battery pack attached to the back of my dress, just like you see on reality tv shows. 

When I was finished, it was Patty's turn.  While I was waiting for Patty, I chatted with the crew.  These people are AWESOME!  They are so friendly and make you feel very comfortable.  It didn't matter that they had head sets on one ear listening to feed as they talked to you.  They were far from intimidating.  We talked about where they lived, what I did for work, how many kids they had.  The most important thing was that they all understood that this was our pool party, and they were trying to be as unobtrusive as they could be.  They wanted us to have fun too. 

Around 10:30, Steve tells us that they are ready for us.  Patty and I head over to the middle of the yard where everything is set up, and take a seat.  Paul and CJ are interviewing us, which definitely makes us feel more relaxed.  They were the ones that conducted our on-camera interview in Boston.  It was going to be the same questions.  Hopefully we could provide even better answers.  As we were sitting there waiting to start, someone came out with a clapboard, you know the thing that directors use to say, "Action!"  Patty was hysterical.  We didn't expect that.  Obviously, we know nothing about film production.  Then the questions began.  I don't want to tell you them, but you can probably figure out what most of them were.  I wish I had a picture of them interviewing us, but everyone had to stay way back because of sound.  I guess the mics are super sensitive, and I almost blew out the sound tech's ears when I put my hand to my chest.  Oops!  They even stopped filming as a plane flew overhead. 

Our interview lasted almost an hour, and was much easier than we anticipated.  When we finished, we went inside to prepare some food while our husbands were interviewed.  They were not as fortunate as us.  They had to be interviewed individually.  Mike went first, and then Andy followed.  It seemed like it took forever.  When Andy came out his eyes were puffy.  I knew he had been crying.  Oh dear, what had they asked him?

Back in the kitchen while we were putting appetizers together, we had someone following us around with a camera.  All I could think of was my friend and sorority sister, Melissa, who won The Next Food Network Star last year, and now has her own show Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa D'Arabian.   I had a camera man watching me slicing tomatoes and washing basil.  When he asked me to slowly take the tomatoes out of the package I was like, seriously?  It was just too funny.

This same camera man moved outside to film the kids making signs.  I have to say that the kids were super.  They had to be very quiet during the interviews, and could not go swimming until all the individual interviews were over.  We all brought lots of supplies so the kids could go to town with their creativity, and they did.  The tables were filled with glitter, glue, markers, and stencils--a crafty kid's dream.  I think Maddie and Mia could have stayed there for hours if the pool wasn't calling their names.  Patty's daughter Katie got a little creative with some of the glitter letters.  Check out where she put the word princess.  Patty is such a good sport.    

While all of this was going on outside, Kaitlyn was being interviewed inside.  Kaitlyn was a student of mine years ago when I taught at Waltham High.  She is now 28, and after visiting me during the 3Day last year, she decided to join our team.  I have no idea what she was asked in her interview, but when they called me in to see her, she was crying, which of course made me cry.  I'm sure the crew was happy to catch that on film.

At about 1:00 the guests started arriving, and the crew took a break for lunch.  This was a scene in itself.  I didn't really think about it, but legally they have to provide a lunch break for everyone.  The crew suddenly vanished and we were free to do as we pleased.  Patty and I still had our mics, but that was it.  As I was socializing, Patty came over to me and told me to take a look out front.  The crew brought their own tables and chairs, and set up their own little banquet in the front yard.

After lunch the crew began setting up for a group interview.  They set us up in two rows, one behind the other, sitting on platforms.  It felt like the reunion show on Survivor.  I was happy that they decided to talk to us all together.  They wanted to spark a conversation, and they did.  The interview took about a half hour, and we laughed, spoke admirably about each other, and even shed some tears.  I think when it was completed, everyone felt much better about having the cameras with us during the walk.

After they completed our interview it was on to the kids.  I was in the garage getting some dessert, talking to Nadesha and Rachel when they said that they heard singing on their headsets.  Alexa--they were interviewing her.  She did a fabulous job, in true Alexa style.  I am continually amazed with the amount of confidence and poise this young woman has.  I never would have sat by myself in front of a camera at her age.  Heck, I didn't even want to be by myself in front of a camera now!

 When they finished interviewing Alexa, they asked us to gather a bunch of our kids for a group interview.  We pulled many of them out of the pool, put clothes on them, and sat them down on the ground.  Zach and Mia decided to participate; however Maddie was a little shy.  They asked the kids what it was like to have their mom's walking and how it affected their family.  I was never so proud of Zach when he explained who the Tough Warrior Princesses were, and what we did. He made me start to tear up when he said I was his hero.  It just doesn't get any better than that.

After the kids were done interviewing they had everyone come over and join them sitting on the ground.  They filmed us as we said a little cheer and that was it.  They took off our mics, and they started to pack up their gear.  Patty and I immediately changed into our swimsuits and headed into the pool.  As long as the cameras were off, I was going swimming.  Once we cooled off, we could finally relax.

It took almost an hour for the crew to pack up during which time we socialized and ate.  We were able to chat with Nadesha, CJ, Rachel, and Ben to find out more details about what the weekend was going to be like.  We found out that the four of them would be walking with us for some of the time.  Luckily for them, they have the luxury of getting into the truck to move from location to location if they need to.  We joked with them asking if we could get access to electricity to dry our hair and charge our phones. 

Overall, it was a fabulous day--something that I will never forget.  There was one part, that was especially great.  While we were hanging out, Nadesha and Rachel told us that all the stories they heard throughout this whole process were so moving, that they have both decided to walk in the 3Day next year!  That is what this film is about.  By inspiring these two women, all of this chaos has been completely worthwhile.

I am sure that I will be writing more as the week continues!

Royally yours,

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