Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille
This is why aging is so great: you learn how to avoid SITUATIONS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL AWKWARD.
Seriously. I don’t go on job interviews. I don’t date. I don’t do things that regularly leave me feeling flat-footed and stupid. It’s hard to feel awkward at the age of 62 unless you really push yourself out of your comfort zone…
…which is what I did yesterday.
I’m launching a Kickstarter on Nov. 1. (I’ll bore you about that later.) (Promise!) And it’s A Thing—something We All Just Know—that every Kickstarter project MUST have a little 60-second video on its webpage.
And when you think of it, well—duh. My generation grew up (a) reading and (b) watching one newscaster speak to the screen. No crawl at the bottom of the page, no stock market readings at the top, no multi-face panel of talking heads going at it. When I was ten, I was playing Monopoly. When my son was ten, he was playing some shoot-em-up in which he was looking at a screen which showed him a constantly-moving picture of where he was, plus at least six gauges showing where he was on a map, how many bullets he had left, the location of his team, his weapons inventory…and he “played” this living nightmare while talking with his teammates on his headphones and watching “How I Met Your Mother” reruns on the iPad propped up at his elbow. I mean, OF COURSE I have to include a video on my Kickstarter page.
So I turned to my son’s boyhood friend Charlie, who just graduated from George Mason University’s film program. Charlie, can I hire you to make me a 60-second video? YES I COULD.
I wrote a script that required very little of me (because I’m an old lady on Kickstarter; people might get scared). I have two lines—one of which is “Genius!”
The shoot took THREE HOURS. Charlie and his cameraman Brian arrived with crates full of equipment. They discussed Stanley Kubrick and Quentin Tarantino. They “bounced” light from here to there. They made decisions about color saturation and something called “nose room” that made me snort.
And they focused a steady-cam rig (no, wait—we call it “the gimble”) (as opposed to “the sticks,” which old farts like me call “the tripod”) (let me start this sentence again) And they focused a steady-cam rig camera on my face. Like, RIGHT on my face. Brian moved through a carefully-chosen path from there to here and then to HERE until I began to wish I’d taken the time to pluck the old lady hairs from my chin.
It was DEEPLY awkward, and very, very funny. And I kept having to make sure Charlie knew I wasn’t his friend’s mother at this point and he should definitely tell me what to do. Mostly I sat still and waited for instruction.
I was supposed to be writing in my “journal” (actually an old iPad case) at the beginning of my BIG SCENE WITH CLOSE-UP, and here’s what I wrote during the many, MANY “takes.”
I think that putting oneself in an awkward situation is the counterbalance to the inertia of age. Or at least, I flatter myself that it is so. I launched a new career in the romance novel game. Now I have a TikTok account (PruWarrenRomCom, if you want to see). I’m doing a Kickstarter. And I know the difference between a gimble and sticks. (Well—I thought I’d known that before, but now I have a new field of reference!)
It's not the Fountain of Youth…but maybe it’s the Fountain of Highly Entertaining Aging. And I’m okay with that.
Thanks, Charlie—thanks, Brian!