I am the oldest of 7 children (yes, my first job was babysitting). During my later high school years in the 1990s, my brothers and sisters began to make amateur movies, usually involving, ninjas or kung fu fighting or film noir. They even invited me (and still do) to act in them on occasion (not really my calling, but I’m getting better), but most often I helped out behind the scenes. We experienced first hand the trials that come with filming — getting the lighting right, getting the lines right, getting the places right, etc. To this day we have a unique family bond through these short films. This story is based on a memory of helping my brother do a makeshift rain scene for one of his movies. Jin Yang, the director of the fictional show, Trolls for Dust, would probably agree with Luke’s sentiment at the end. Happy Reading.
March 4th, 2010
Rachel (that’s me!) helped her brothers tape a blanket-sized piece of felt to the closed garage door. The summer sun beat down on them as they secured the top and sides with duct tape.
“This is a good scene,” Luke said. “Perhaps the most significant scene in the film.”
“I thought the ending was the most significant part.” Kenny put on an old trench coat from the thrift store. His brother Luke did the same. They stood in the driveway of their two-story suburban house. Rachel handed each of them a fedora hat. She tried to drag the metal ladder over from the front stoop, but wasn’t quite strong enough. Luke took it from her and carried it over, smugly, with one hand.
“What I mean is, this scene is the scene that makes the ending significant.”
“Of course.” Kenny handed his brother an enormous black umbrella. “You know, it’s ironic we’re filming this on a clear day. Not a single cloud up there.”
“Are you guys ready?” Rachel asked and beckoned at the green water hose she’d pulled around from the side of the house. “Um, who’s going to hold the camera?”
Luke thought for a moment. “Jenny maybe?”
“Jenny?” Kenny was incredulous. “She’s only six!”
“It’s a light camera; she’ll do.” They both looked to their sister.
“Fine, I’ll get her.” Rachel ran inside and came back with an excited little girl in tow.
“I get to hold the camera? Really? Really, Luke?” Her eyes were shining and suddenly Luke got a worried look in his eye.
“Jenny, you have to promise me that you won’t drop it.”
“I promise, I promise!” She jumped up and down.
“And don’t push any of the buttons. Ok?” She nodded again. “Why do I think I’m going to regret this?” Luke muttered under his breath. “Ok, places everyone. Jenny, you stand here.” He switched on a small video camera. While Rachel ran to turn on the water, Luke showed his littlest sister how to center the scene in the viewfinder. “Just hold it here, ok? We want the whole background to be the green blanket, ok?”
Finally they were ready. Luke opened the umbrella and he and Kenny stood under it. Rachel grabbed the hose and stepped up the ladder until she was high enough above the umbrella to rain a cool stream of water down on it. Luke checked that the water pressure was sufficient. “Great. Ok, Jenny, just keep pointing that camera, don’t let it fall. And…action!”
The scene went on for two minutes, four minutes, six. Rachel’s hands lowered and her feet wobbled on the ladder rung. Jenny did her best, but was starting to weave back and forth. Their brothers kept forgetting their lines.
“You want to double cross me? Ha, that––oh, sorry, go again––You want to…”
“We’ll meet tonight in the empty parking lot. Bring the money and the…!”
“The girl, the girl! How many times can you forget? Rachel, hold the hose higher!”
“Luuuuke, my arms hurt!” Jenny whined. “Aren’t you done yet?”
“I think we’re finished for now.” Rachel said, her arms exhausted. She stepped back down the ladder and went to turn off the hose. Kenny said he needed to look over his lines some more and took off. Jenny sat down on the driveway, setting the camera on its side beside her.
“Luke, I think the battery is dead.”
Luke looked around, bewildered to find himself standing alone holding the umbrella. He closed it and rubbed his forehead.
“Amateurs.” He sighed.
–Original story by Pixie Beldona was previously published on pixiebeldona.com. It has been edited for this post. —