December 10, 2013 - Lights, Camera, Action!

(click here for today's pictures)
Quiet on the set...

  • Some days, more than others, you just know that there are no words to adequately describe our day.  And this was definitely one of those days.  A few weeks ago, Dana called to ask if I would help her out in a commercial.  She implied that we were just going to be the guinea pigs so I accepted.  Turns out, we are not the guinea pigs-we are the stars.  Well, one of four stars.
  • Today was day one of filming for the 1/4 of a 30 second commercial spot and a 3 minute web story.  I woke up at 5 this morning and wasn't able to go back to sleep-that never, ever happens. I guess I was excited about all of the commotion that would happen here today.  
  • We all had no idea what to expect and we had made that clear to the kids.  We had also tried our best for them to understand that we were going to do what was asked with a smile on our face.  I opened their door at 6:45 and Anderson popped up and asked if it was time to get up.  And as Graham was coming down the ladder, he asked "are they here yet?"  
  • We had our breakfast and the kids played while waiting on the folks to arrive.  Dana had given me a clue that there would be about 20 people at the house and she was indeed correct.  I am going to list a few of the well over 25 people that I can remember-make up lady, prop girl, 2 photographers, 4 camera people, 2 sound guys,creative director, art director, Dana, an account executive, interview lady, 2 grips, at least one boss lady and a boss man.  Actually, every few hours, I would see a new face pop up.  It was insane-and we loved every minute of it!
  • So folks started trickling in and soon I had to change my clothes (one of many, many wardrobe changes) and was sitting down for my hair and make up to be done.  The first shot was of Reagan and Keaton looking at a puzzle and then Graham, Anderson and Campbell looking at a huge map.  Oh yes, this map was surrounded by many, many pictures-our pictures-that they had printed.  Then the whole family did a few happy moments on the couch-think pillow fight.  
  • Let's just say that every room of my house was touched.  The crew had coffee and ate in the garage, filming in the laundry room, mud room, bonus room, stairwells, toy room, living room, kitchen and school room, lots of wardrobe changes in my closet, the hair lady in my bathroom, sound guys in my bedroom, lighting guys lurking with huge things outside of each window, some equipment in the kids room that I don't even have a clue what it was.  
  • Of course, each room that we went into had been slightly rearranged-couches moved, my snowmen moved, maps hung.  But the most amazing was when I entered the kitchen to take some shots of me making the kids sandwiches.  They had my bowls, my plates and everything needed to make sandwiches-their food but all of my containers.  Robby looked on the camera as we were filming and said that he had no idea our kitchen looked so good.  We had joked that they were going to come and see our kitchen and decide that it was too white and to cinder blocky for filming!  Apparently if you have zillion dollar cameras things look really good.
  • Next up was my interview-oh joy!  I really thought they were going to take what I had talked about on the phone and give me a script of things to say.   Nope, it was a real live interview.  Of course I was greatly prompted.  So I was sitting on a bar stool in my kitchen-I could see 6 guys standing where my table usually is, 2 guys in my bedroom, a living room full of people listening and about 4 people that I could see out of the side of my vision.  Oh and yes, my fridge was filled of pictures of my kids that they had printed.  
  • I stumbled my way through the interview hoping that I sounded at least intelligent.  The poor interview lady had gone all through my blog so we have many things to talk about-Baptist hospital, traveling, service projects, homeschooling.  I had to reword her question into my answer which was okay but then I also had to make some sense while trying to answer her questions.  If I stumbled on my words then we had to start over with her rewording the question.  It seemed like it lasted forever but really wasn't too bad.  
  • I was probably pretty distracted by everything going on during the interview-a light shining through one window, big things outside covering up the other windows, they turned off my fridge and heat so there would be no extra sounds, they duct taped the kids mouths closed to keep them quiet, one man even took his shoes off, everyone was given water-mine even with a straw so I wouldn't mess up my make up.  Oh, kidding about the duct tape-the kids were upstairs in the bonus room with Robby, Pops, Grannymom and Dana-seriously, I do not think we could have survived if we didn't have all of the help that we had.
  • Soon we finished the interview, I joined the others and I think that we had lunch.  Lunch was catered from the restaurant down the road-Downhome Catering.  It was chicken spaghetti along with some vegetarian options including sweet potatoes which Whitman really loved.  The crew eats well-coffee, drinks, lots of snacks, a big lunch though I didn't see the dessert area.  I don't think that it was there but my kids sure did figure out where the food was and were often seen running to and from the garage with snacks in their hands. 
  • After lunch, the kids filmed going up and down the stairs and in and out of doors.  They did this over and over and over again.  We did a few scenes in the school room-2 children working quietly and 2 wrestling in the back ground.  It was all real life!  There were shots of the kids upstairs in the toy room, kids brushing their teeth, us putting the kids to bed and even Robby and I sitting on the couch acting like we were doing the blog.  Unfortunately, I couldn't have my computer since it was white or I was going to type this blog while filming.  
  • Just imagine Robby and I sitting closer together than normal on the couch with our computers in our laps with 15 people staring at us and 2 cameras up in our face.  "Look at his screen" "Show him something on your computer" "Move your eyes around"  As I am sitting here now, I am surprised that there still isn't someone in this house-they were everywhere.  And as people started leaving, you would think everyone was gone but then someone would come from a room wrapping cords up.  
  • One of the scenes that I did was in the laundry room.  Imagine everyone crowded into my laundry room.  I had to walk through the mud room while holding a laundry basket, pick up laundry on my way there, catch some laundry that the kids throw down to me, flip the light switch on and then put some laundry in the dryer.  Oh and the dryer had a big ole camera glaring right at me in it.  
  • Soon it was time to drive around a bit in the car-imagine the kiddos acting like they were asleep, wearing their headphones, singing, playing a game-imagine a huge camera mounted on the dashboard-imagine a car following behind us-imagine a man crouched in the back of the van.  We drove around a few times once stopping so they could film us getting in and out of the van and then running home to change into short sleeved shirts to do it all again.
  • At one point, they did tell Robby to do some doughnuts in a parking lot.  He did until Graham's car seat that they had propped up to make it taller fell over.  Little did we know the poor director guy in the back got a bit car sick during that incident.
  • Once we made it home, the had set up the tree house with cameras and lights.  So the kids ran over there to play and be filmed a bit.  They were in their element because they could just run and swing with little directions involved.  With the 25+ folks, huge production truck and at least 15 cars in the driveway even neighbors were asking what was going on.  
  • After a bit of playing outside, they were sent inside for a wardrobe change into pajamas while they did some pictures of Robby and me.  Seriously, we saw the video they took of us-so artsy fartsy but great.  Us holding hands walking through the tall grass with the sun at our faces.  Then they photo guys took some pictures (they said they took 3 or 4 thousand pictures today-yep, 3 to 4,000.  
  • Back inside, there were a few more takes and then the long awaited take-for the kids at least.  The prop lady had made a big ole fort in the bonus room.  She had found their flashlights and the fort was big enough for all 6 Dennie kids.  Imagine all 6 of the kiddos in a fort after a long, long day of shooting a commercial with no nap for Keaton and a tiny one for Whitman.  I guess they got what they needed.  
  • The final shoot was Robby and I loading the dishwasher.  As the clock struck 5, the folks started loading up and racing out of here.  But before they left, they were all very, very complimentary of the kids.  I hated to see those folks go-they were polite (offering me their coats, helping me in and out of the van), helped the kids (picking Whitman up, helping kids in and out of the car, walking Keaton inside) and really worked at keeping the house in good condition.  
  • We really hated to see them go.  And my Campbell really, really hated to see the hair and make up lady leave.  My blonde haired baby always seems to take up with women with blonde hair and she really took up with the hair and make up lady.  After a quick straightening of the house and sweeping the floor, the house was back to normal.  We do need to vacuum really well but that will be for another day (a day when we have a better vacuum cleaner-we never seem to buy a good vacuum cleaner)
  • Dana stayed for a bit to help gather clothes for Thursday's wardrobe changes while Lilly and Cash played with the kids.  When they left, we had our supper and the kids talked about the day.  Reagan said she loved being on the camera (oh, no! Remember she does want to be that Price is Right model!)  Anderson's favorite part of the day was when Cash showed up this afternoon.  Graham said he liked "filming."  I can tell you that Campbell liked having the attention of all the folks here-she is not easily forgotten!  And Keaton enjoyed having Dana to dote on her today.  My Whitman probably enjoyed having Grannymom with him during the day. 
  • After supper, I worked some on the house while the kids watched tv and then it was bedtime.  They all went to bed early but if they feel the least bit like me, they were exhausted!

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