I have had a dream of being a rockstar. Flipping my hair in an "I don't really care that I'm singing, playing guitar, and all of you are chanting my name" kind of way. Ripped jeans, cool scarves, and swanky coffee shops. When I sat down this weekend to play the piano in an MTV movie, this is not quite how I envisioned my rockstar debut as going.
Several weeks ago, our landlord asked us for a favor. Favors are how things are done over here. So we agreed to perform in an MTV movie about a man named Milton Gardner.
We did hair and make-up for a really long time. This whole getting pretty stuff takes a long time, that's why I don't do it very often. They tried putting make-up on Makaria. I just stood by and laughed. She looked like she had run through a dust storm, tripped, and dragged her face through a sand pile. After the make-up artist looked up at me with desperation, I told her that none of her make-up would look right on my gloriously black child.
They spent forever on my hair. I then went to another hair lady and she did it all over again.
As we started shooting the first few scenes, I realized that I had received no direction from the director. I cannot play the piano, so I just pretended like I was typing my name on a keyboard. That is apparently not correct. They called someone in to teach me how to put my hands and gave me direction on where to look and when to smile.
Kesed managed to get a picture with the most glamorous Chinese woman on set. All before lunch.
Malachi and Charis had to jump rope in a scene. The Chinese kid got the ax when we heard the director tell him, "You are an ugly jump-roper!" This took several takes because Malachi had to run in while Charis was jumping. The smaller kids had to be jumping up and down, counting, and clapping. There was lots of hand-eye coordination happening and well, you're dealing with 8 kids under the age of 10.
The director was so patient though and did a fantastic job instructing the kids. Another time he told a Chinese boy, "You are handsome, but you're a wuss!"
I was supposed to be teaching a music class. Without knowing how to play the piano or any ability to sing, it required an Oscar-like performance. I'm really not into theatre, so this was quite a stretch for me. But getting to watch my kids learn what it is like on a real life movie set was totally worth every hour we spent on that mountain.
Then they had Malachi (who was playing Gardner as a young boy) and a boy climb a 1,300 year old tree. It's a local historical landmark that I'm sure we didn't have permission to be climbing. They made a call to local officials to take a sign down because it was interfering with the shot. They made the call, but I'm not sure they ever got an answer. The kids yelled and jumped while the tree climbers beckoned them to come up.
Then we headed to a grassy area to play ball and other games.
All the family actors.
Then they brought out the piano that I was supposed to be gaily playing while the kids pranced around the yard.
We headed to another location where at one point, my son and a girl were dangling from a large wall.
The director explained things to the kids and kept commenting on how wonderfully my children were being raised. I was so humbled and also proud of how well they did.
They told Selah that had she been a few years younger, she could've performed too. The kids spent lots of time watching playbacks with the director.
In the middle of the shoot, an old woman shuffled by to fill her bucket at the well. We were making a movie and she was trying to cook dinner. Look how tiny she is! She would've taken me out in an arm wrestling match, no contest.
We had to buckle down the mountain a ways to get to the ancient well.
Losing daylight, the director asked for everyone's iPhones. They shot the second half of the scene being lit by seven iPhone flashlights.
The Chinese boy dropped his bucket in the well and no joke, 2.3 seconds later a mysterious 80-year old man come bouncing up onto the well. He hoisted himself down into the well and fished out the bucket with his feet. Then he pulled himself back up! WHAT?! Nobody knew where this guy came from. But all three of his teeth were beaming as we clapped his heroic rescue.
We aren't sure when the movie is coming out. They still have to come over one more time to film a dinner scene. They have said that they will give us a copy when it's finished with production. It was a long 12 hour day on the mountain, but we learned a ton and had a blast doing it.
And somewhere along the way my dream was full-filled of being a music star :).