It was raining and gloomy, but inside, a bee hive of activity was going on. We were excited at our house because a PBS film crew from Boston was here to shoot part of a documentary with one of our former Amish young men. We had already met David Belton, one of the producers of the documentary, The Amish, in February when he came to check out the Bible study my husband hosts. I guess he thought it was okay since he came this time with another producer, Callie T. Wiser, Tim Cragg, the cameraman, and John Cameron (I hope I got that right!), the sound recordist.
As we sat around in a circle, I watched the crew get ready. First we were asked to shut off the furnace (too much noise). Then they situated the camera, put mics on Joe Keim and Levi (two of the former Amish in the documentary, and asked if they could unplug our fridge and freezer (also too much noise.)There was a lot of tinkering with this and that with both the sound and camera equipment. But I had come with my little camera ready and asked if I could take pictures of them as they filmed.
<--- Tim posed for me in my family's school room.
John, boom mic and all, posed there, too. --->
<---I caught David at the helm, looking into his camera to approve the shots.
You know what? It's just like you see on TV. The Bible study got underway, and as we talked, John slowly inched the long boom mic into the circle. It hovered over us as we spoke and most of the time, it was pretty easy to forget it was even there. But I saw a few of the former Amish young fellows cast their eyes upward, some with trepidation, as the boom mic crept ever closer.
It sure was an interesting and fun event! One of the documentary subjects was having his birthday that day, so the PBS crew had planned to meet us that night at the home of Johnny and Miriam Keim to film game night. We got a birthday party together and made our way to Ashland. It had warmed up quite a bit by then so my hair, never easy to manage on good days, totally flopped on top and frizzed in the back. Of course, I didn't plan on being filmed, but I have a feeling, unless God answers my prayers about that portion of tape ending up on the cutting room floor, I just might be seen on national TV next spring with the worst hair-do ever. *Sigh*.
Isn't that just how it goes? You get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, like MAYBE being in a documentary and pfffttt...the hair flops big time. Since I wasn't the star, and the film crew were all guys because Callie kept disappearing, no one from PBS cared if I looked like a dork, and there were no make-up people along to fix anything.
But I told David I promised to be nice to them in my blog so I won't complain too much. In fact, he and John agreed to pose with me for a picture. I said they were nice for doing that but David insisted he wasn't usually nice to people. He asked John to verify that fact but the sound recordist, who seems to know which side his bread is buttered on, remained mute. His sly grin, however, answered for him.
Poor Tim was outside in a muddy field, in the rain, while we had this conversation. Next time you see a fancy and ephemeral shot in a TV movie or show, think about what the cameraman had to go through to get that. I'm sure if we see that scene next spring in the documentary, it will present the outside of the house, panning inside the windows, to a warm glowing gathering. From the looks of Tim's sodden shirt and hair when he finally got to come inside, I doubt he felt a warm glow.
Funny thing though:David kept an eye on what Tim was shooting with a device he held close to him all day. Seems David could view what the camera was filming from the inside--where he stayed nice and dry. I swear, though, at one point, after David had been on the porch waving
directions to Tim for another view, he came bouncing back in the door with a wicked grin on his face and a little chuckle on his lips as Tim moved to a new location outside in the rain. Must be nice to be the head honcho.
It was one of the most interesting days I've ever had, to be sure. I would do it again. But next time, if there is one, I'm going to the powder room right away to fix my hair.