A Summer With The Phamily...
Part One of... Many
I sat nervously at the computer. Should I click send? Would it work? So much thought and work had led up to this point. Finally, after reading over it a fifth time, I sent the e-mail. Now all that was left to do was wait.
April 5, 2013
You don't know me, but my name is Elizabeth. I am an amateur film maker and a senior in high school. I really adore your work with Family Force 5's music videos, Really Real Shows, and documentaries. I know that you and FF5 will be shooting a music video on June 14th and 15th of 2013, and I plan to attend and participate. As a film maker myself, I am always trying to improve upon my work, but I have never gotten the chance to work on a professional set. I am not requesting that you give me a job. Would you possibly allow me to help out as almost an unpaid intern or something of that nature? I just want to get experience in the film industry before I go off to college.
April 6, 2013
Its nice to see a young person like you taking the initiative. I'm not sure if unpaid intern is the correct term, but we can certainly find something for you to do. Go ahead and buy your tickets, then meet me at the sign-in desk about two hours before the official sign in time. We're looking forward to working with you!
Before I tell you what exactly happened when I read that e-mail, let me inform you that I do not react normally when something exciting happens. I rarely jump up and down and scream, like most other teenage girls. However, that is very close to what happened. Astonished, I stood up ad backed away from the computer, mouth open, in awe. "Mom!" I called into the other room. "What?" she said, coming over to the computer. "Can you read this e-mail," I requested. Unsure, she sat and began reading. By this time, I was smiling uncontrollably. "Well," she said, "we better buy those tickets before they're sold out." As I danced joyfully around the room and updated my Facebook status, my mother purchased the tickets: enough for me, her, and my 6-year-old brother, John, who was also a fan of Family Force 5. James, my other brother, disliked anything that I liked and my dad was a fuddy-duddy. The three fun people of the family were going to have a great time.
Over the weeks before the event, I talked the thing up with John. I do the same with any exciting thing that happens to me. This last year, I kept talking with him about dying my hair red at the beginning of summer. Basically, it keeps him occupied, keeps me excited, and gives me someone to talk with who won't get annoyed with me. My mom is always unsure of things like that. Personally, I couldn't wait to dye my hair red, even though it would take a great leap of faith.
The night before we left, it seemed to take forever to get to sleep. Everything was packed. I made sure that I had enough clothes and then some. I packed all kinds of things to entertain myself and my brother on the four hour trip across the state. Since we would be staying the night at a hotel, I had brought pretty much all of the necessities for my hair and whatnot. I could not wait.
At 6:00 in the morning, our car rolled into the set parking lot. My mother gestured for me to go into the large building to the right as she carefully removed my sleeping brother from the backseat. Not wanting to seem nervous or awkward, despite the fact that no one was watching, I briskly walked to the building. Just as I was reaching for the door handle, the door swung open , knocking me out of the way. A hand reached down to help me up and a familiar voice uttered "Oh, I'm sorry!" Soon, I found myself face-to-face with the golden-haired guitarist, Derek Mount, AKA: Chapstique. "No, its okay," I reassured him, trying not to act like an obsessed fangirl. "The shoot doesn't start for, like, two hours," he said. "Why exactly are you here?" Still in stock at how awesome it was to meet him in person, I managed to stutter, "Umm... I talked with Isaac... I'm, umm... supposed to help with the video." His face lit up in recognition, "Oh! You must be Lizardbreath... err... Elizabeth! Isaac and the rest of the guys are inside. You might want to go find him and let him know you're here." "Thanks," I replied as we parted ways.
Inside the dark warehouse, I saw the registration table set up. What seemed like a football field away, there was a setup of various lights and cameras. About ten people were scattered throughout the area, each working to accomplish a different task. Even so far away, I could hear Isaac shouting out orders. Knowing that he probably didn't notice me come in, I made my way across the warehouse to where they were. It didn't take long to be noticed after I got within seeing distance for the band members. Of course, the first one to notice me was Jacob, the one known as Crouton. Of course, how could I not be noticed by the one who pays the most attention to hair and clothing?
"Hey guys, look!" he shouted. "Its Lizardbreath!" Suddenly, I was surrounded by four rambuncious musicians. I heard shouts of "Nice to meet you" mixed with "I love your hair" and "Awesome shoes". Finally, they backed off enough that I could get my bearings on the situation. This was not the reaction I was expecting. I felt an arm around my shoulder. Solomon. Soul Glow Activatur. I was surprised at how short he was. We were pretty much the same height, and the other guys were like giants in comparison. "Well, you probably already know," he said, " but I am Soul Glow Activatur, and this is..." He started to introduce the others, but I cut him off. "Nadaddy, Crouton, Fatty, and outside is Chapstique." Then I gestured to the mob of people over by the cameras. "Over there is Tub-o, Xanadu, and Quaigon. If I see a small child running around, I can assume that is Cash." "Well done," said Nadaddy. I could tell Isaac was still preoccupied with the lights and cameras, things I knew very little about. I figured I might as well get to know the guys while I had the chance.
"First of all," I said, "I have a question for you all. How do you know who I am?" I was honestly curious. They all recognized me immediately. "We looked you up on YouTube," Solomon replied simply. "More like they all looked over my shoulder while I looked at your videos. You sent a link in your e-mail," Isaac said, finally joining us. "Oh, I forgot about that," I said. "I thought they were really great for what you have been working with," Isaac commented, " I said you could come because I saw potential. That,and Crouton wanted to see your red hair in person." "Thanks for keeping my secrets, Tub-o," Crouton exclaimed, obviously embarrassed. "Its okay," I said, "I couldn't figure out what to do with my hair this morning, so I threw it up in a ponytail..." Before I could finish my though, Crouton was practically in my face, shouting," Can I do your hair?" "Sure," I said, a little surprised at how quickly he had volunteered. That was what I had planned on asking, but I was fine with him asking me first.
We met my mom and little brother on the way out of the building. "Where are you going?" She asked. "I'm going to style her hair," Crouton answered for me. My mom just shook her head and kept walking.
The tour bus was pretty much as I had expected it to be. I had seen the videos online, so the setup was familiar, though I never expected to see it in real life. He instructed me to sit at one of the tables in the living area, then ran off toward the bunks. At that moment, Chapstique emerged, his hair freshly styled. He had obviously returned to the bus just to fix his perfect hair. A little confused, he asked, " What are you doing here?" "She is my new hair model," Crouton said, emerging again with various hair styling tools in tow. He immediately plugged in an expensive-looking flat iron. I removed the ponytail holder from my hair and put it on my wrist. "Well, see you later, Lizardbreath," Chapstique said, ruffling my hair before exiting the bus. As he set to work on my hair, Crouton asked, " I've been meaning to ask you, where did you get your shirt?" "I made it," I replied. "I do my own screen printing and modifications." "Oh, so kinda like Crouton's Cuts," he said. "Yeah," I replied, "but more people are fans of Crouton than Lizardbreath, so I just make them for myself and my friends." "Well, I'm your friend. Can you make me a few?" "Absolutely," I replied giggling.
A few minutes later, we returned to the warehouse. A wave of "wow"s and "oooh"s went around the room. I thanked Crouton for his help, then headed to help Isaac. Two small children attacked me before I could reach my destination. I was knocked to the ground immediately, since such an attack was unexpected. Well, at least I knew John and Cash were getting along well. "Sissy, can I have my DS?" John asked several times before quieting. "I want to show Cash my game." I ruffled the hair on their heads and crawled out from underneath the two children. These wild little boys were too much alike. I told him that my mom had it and they ran off once again. The next time I looked over, my mom was chatting with Solomon's wife and John and Cash were seated on the floor nearby, chattering away as they took turns playing the game.
When I reached the grouping of cameras and lights, Isaac explained to me that one of their really important backers had contacted them just a few minutes earlier to say that they couldn't make it. "Would you take her place?" he asked. "Sure," I said, happy that I would play a significant role in the video, but feeling bad that a person had paid money and then lost the ability to come and participate. "You know the basic video idea, right?" he questioned. I nodded my head. I had read and watched everything available about the making of the "Chainsaw" music video. "Well," he said, "the backer that was supposed to do the chipmunk "Chainsaw" part called a little while ago and won't be able to make it due to a family obligation. Its really simple and we'll tell you what to do. First, though, you need to go to costume and makeup to get your 'lumberjack' gear. After that, we'll shoot the video, since the rest of the backers are starting to arrive."
In the costume/makeup room, I found all 5 band members, finishing up preparations for the video. "Whats up Lizardbreath?" Soul Glow asked. "Nothing much," I answered. "One of the backers cancelled, so I'm filling in." Crouton ran over to a clothing rack and retrieved a red and black plaid button-up shirt, a pair of white skinny jeans, and a tank top bearing the word "Chainsaw" in big red letters, then held them out to me. "Here, you'll need to put these on." I stepped behind the floor-length curtain that I was directed to and found myself in a small room bearing nothing but a mirror on the wall. As I removed the pair of white skinny jeans from the hanger, I noticed the letters "SGA" written on the tag in faded Sharpie marker. Of course. the original backer was probably going to bring their own white skinnies, or else would wear a much different size than me. I didn't have white skinnies, but they were necessary for the video, so Jacob grabbed a pair that would come closest to fitting.
When I emerged from the little room a few minutes later, I was surprised to find Soli was the only one there. Before I could react or say anything, he shoved a hat on my head. "There," he said, obviously satisfied with is costume modification. "Now, its cray." I could imagine that Crouton would have a fit as soon as he saw what Solomon had changed with the costume. I looked over at the full length mirror on the opposite wall and mentally agreed with Solomon. It was a rather awesome hat, and it made the outfit complete. I made a silent wish to be able to keep the costume once the shoot was over with. Then, after three seconds of eye contact agreement, we turned and headed out to film.
The filming was done in just a few hours. By lunch, we were done and all of the other backers had left. My mother, brother, and I, along with the band and crew members, invaded a nearby Subway for lunch. Mom and Soli's wife sat at a table with John and Cash. Apparently they all hit it off pretty well. I was just glad to have them all out of my hair for a little while. Isaac was sitting with the band, so I joined them once I got my food. In between bite, I was forced to explain every detail of my life, including my plans for the future. I had just graduated high school, so I was extremely used to answering these questions.
"You got any plans for the rest of the summer?" Isaac asked. "Not really," I replied. "I don't plan on taking any summer classes, and I have no need to get a summer job. Not yet anyway." Suddenly, Solomon's face lit up. He looked at Isaac, then back at me, then back at Isaac. "Tub-o! She should come on tour with us!" he exclaimed. Isaac started to protest, but was cut off. "You said yourself that Intern won't be able to come with us this summer. Lizardbreath could come and help out with the filming and merch!" I was beginning to think that Lizardbreath would turn out to be my "gangsta name" if I ever got one, since that was what I kept getting called.The other guys chimed in with their statements of agreement. "Guys!" Isaac practically shouted. "We leave for tour as soon as we finish the shoot. I'm all for Elizabeth coming along, but she probably doesn't have everything she needs." "Actually, I probably do," I stated. "I have at least a week's worth of clothing and pretty much all my necessities back at the hotel. I even have my ukulele and laptop." There was a moment of silence as they pondered my statement. Then Nathan (AKA: Nadaddy) broke the silence, "You think you're up for it?" "As long as you can convince my parents to let me go," I said with a chuckle. I could barely believe what was happening to me. Wait until I told Sarah how I would be spending my summer.
After nearly an hour on the phone with my dad and a brief conversation with my mother (my dad has always been the overprotective one), Isaac and the band had managed to get permission to steal me for the summer and drag me across the country at their will. At the hotel that night, my mom asked me if I had planned this whole thing. "No," I replied. "This was totally their idea."