We All Have Our Dirty Little Secrets
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I have a confession to make. I was a kiddie-viddie starlette -- no, not porn -- real kiddie video -- as in Wee Sing -- as in Big . . . Yellow . . . . Rodent.
Here -- check out marker 00:24. I'm the yellow one.
To see some actual footage (a little scary, really) with decent video quality, not the trailer, try this link: Big Rock Candy Mountain 2 (not embeddable, otherwise, I'd be torturing you here).
Yes. I was a Meecy-Mouse. It's true. I wore that enormo, hot costume, and the prosthetic make-up, and the mittens, and the ears (in the middle of August), and I acted really, really goofy. For money.
There are a couple of weird things about this -- if I reveal that I was in Big Rock Candy Mountain, many, many people that I know who were raising kids after 1991 (and most of the young adults that I know now who were kids in the 90s) will say something like: OMG! My kids loved that video! or
"I used to watch this tape 24/7 as a kid, and listen to the cassette of the songs in the car."(Now, if you didn't watch the unembeddable linked footage above of the actual video, the next vid might not make much sense to you -- it's a tribute video made by the young adult youtuber I just quoted. This is obviously not the real soundtrack.)
I also had my niece email me recently to tell me that she had spotted this little meecy mouse in a very weird youtube that a friend had turned her on to. She said: "quite honestly, the song sucks...but that's beside the point. you can imagine my surprise when around 2:30-3:00 into the video, my dear aunt appeared!"
I mean, how strange is it that something that I did which I thought of as a kind of a bizarre but enjoyable side gig is now indelibly branded into the minds of people that I might be working next to?
It's like I'm folk-art or something.
But it doesn't stop there. In fact, my meecy-mouse run was my second endeavor with the WeeSing crowd. A year earlier, I had appeared in another kiddie-viddie -- "The Best Christmas Ever" -- then, as an elf (I "hang face" briefly at 00:34 and 00:52 below -- and Oy! with the prosthetic makeup and squeaky voice already!)
When I took the elf job (my first with WeeSing), it was on a lark, really. Somebody told me that they were looking for diminutive actors, and I showed up at the cattle call (with my equally short girlfriend).
I landed the part of the elf "Snooter" (hence the prosthetically-enhanced schnoz, and the many jokes from the crew about my character's secret cocaine habit).
And yes, you heard right -- the hero elf was, in fact, named "Poofer". Hmmm.
And as a completely fun fun-fact, the "secret handshake" they do was the one my Dad taught me when I was a kid. The Director wanted a secret elf handshake, and liked my Dad's when I showed it to him. I love that it's immortalized there.
Mind you, I actually have formal training in theater -- with a degree and everything -- and in my film acting classes, I had always been told that when acting for the camera, you were to scale everything back by at least a third -- gestures, inflections, characterizations, everything.
It was incredibly disorienting to be introduced to a film-set where I was actually directed to amp it up by at least 2/3rds. You see the results above.
I am a passable actress -- really, truly, I am -- but it seems that small children like big hams, so what's a girl to do?
Apparently, I was a quick study at hamology, because they wanted me back for the mouse thing, and later, as a puppeteer in two other productions (see below).
Now, when I say puppeteer, I don't mean sticking your hand up the bum of Kermit the Frog.
I mean full-body puppeteering -- the kind of costume where you are encased head to foot, with wired calipers in the hand-sets of your costume that allow you to blink the eyes and move the mouth of the character. I was not voice talent for either of the two characters below (apparently they didn't need Piercingly-Shrill for these particular roles) -- I operated the character body - - so all I had to do was lip-sync. In a penguin suit.
Think Disneyland. Think hot. Think ice-packs held against your body in a special mesh vest so you don't pass out, and bisquit fans in your "helmet" (head piece) so you can get enough oxygen. In Summer. In a studio blazing with lights.
Oh, and in the case of the penguin "Weeber" below? On my knees. Often, 12 hours a day.
Let's face it -- I'm bat-shit crazy.
My favorite song in that production (WeeSing Under the Sea) was the one at 07:21 in this clip -- "Clam Dance":
You would have thought that experience would put me off the full-body puppeteering thing, but no -- I took on one more job, this time with the same production company, but not for Wee Sing.
I'm proud to say that I ended my stint as a full-body puppeteer in style -- as a Kitteh -- that's me -- the big yellow Wooleycat (and isn't that so cosmic and totally cycle-of-life of me? Big Yellow Mouse to Big Yellow Kitteh?)
Just so you know -- I think what brought me back and back to these productions was that the people I worked with were absolutely, positively great and fun, and honestly, the messages that the vids put out were pretty cool and kid/life-affirming (ex: Under the Sea had an environmental message).
Next time you wander into a room where a gang of toddlers are engaged in the Bunny-Foo-Foo singalong, you'll be sure to impress if you point casually to the TV screen and say: "I know that Mouse."
'Cuz I know you've been worried about your cred with da toddlers. ;)
Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:45 PM