So I'm going to present this in chronological order of the events as they happened, to make it easier on me to keep track of the days. Otherwise, my memory of the shoot will come out all as one big jumble, and that won't be so fun to read. M'kay? Here we go:
May 31: Chloë goes into the actors' studio in Va Beach to audition for a role in a project we have sides, or a small part of the script that pertains to that particular actor, for, but no real knowledge of the role otherwise. The role is "Sarah," for something that has to do with hauntings, but we don't know if it's a play, movie, TV show, or just what at this point. K, the Man In Charge, explains to the 8 or 12 Sarahs who show up what is happening each scene they will be demonstrating for him, and he describes how the audition process will unfold. No parents are allowed in the small room where they go, first in pairs, and then individually, to audition. I can hear giggling when it's Chloë's turn, so my whole thought is, "Yeah, she's blowing it."
When she steps out of the room, for the first time (seven other Sarahs have gone before her at this point), K comes out and nods at her mother. At that point, he explains the follow-up process and thanks everyone for coming out, though six of the other Sarahs have already been dismissed. I decide, hey, this might be a good sign, despite her giggling during what are serious scenes. (She gets that from me!) We leave.
June 7: K calls me to tell me that they are still debating on the role of Sarah, asks about Chloë's availability for shooting the following week, and explains that I should hear something by the following day. I totally forget about Rob's hernia surgery and say, "Yes! She's available every day!" which does not win me brownie points with Hubs. I'm on pins and needles and inform Chloë of the latest news. She glows.
June 8: K calls back and informs me that they've chosen Chloë for the role of Sarah. I coolly (for me) thank him and hang up before going ballistic. At this point, we've learned it's for an episode of the Discovery Channel TV show, "A Haunting." I run outside to where Chloë is playing and tell her the exciting news. We do the Happy Dance. Over and over. For hours. She hasn't worked in about three years, between losing eleventy teeth at once and then getting braces, so we are BACK, baby! Woot!!
Later that night: Lisa from the production company calls me to say that Chloë/Sarah will need to come to the film studio on Monday morning to meet the Director, D, have a rehearsal, and then meet Amy in Wardrobe that afternoon. I'm to bring a wide variety of clothing and shoes. After I hang up, I flip out and start working on laundry like a madwoman, since a huge mountain of dirty laundry has taken over our entire upper floor. Eek! Rob and I subsequently decide we have to maintain a "work" wardrobe for Chlo, if she's going to be back in the game, after I discover that she's grown out of all the good stuff and stained and/or torn all the rest, and we have no current budget to go out and shop for new. I spend the weekend painstakingly putting together clothes and shoes that I know Amy (Wardrobe) will just HATE.
Monday, June 11: We drop The Littles off at Steph's house for babysitting and then head out to Suffolk, where the production company is situated. I did not know it existed and am surprised to see posters of all kinds of crime dramas and such all over the walls of the reception area, immediately realizing this ain't no small thang. This is the Real Deal. Mah babeh's gonna be on tay-vay, y'all!
First, we meet the 2nd Assistant Director of the show, X, and Lisa, who had called me Friday night, and go over the day ahead. X has me fill out paperwork aplenty and seats us at a conference table, where we meet some of the rest of the cast: Sarah/Kay, her "mother", and some other players I won't name, because I don't want to give away any details of the show!
Soon, we meet D, the Director, and he takes us back to a warehouse-like open area for rehearsal with her set mom, dad (Kevin/Chris), and himself. The other players are sent to a corner area to rehearse by themselves for the time being. D takes them through several scenes, working especially with Chloë to show her how he wants her to play certain lines. He gives lots of direction to all three actors; I can tell Sarah/Kay and Kevin/Chris, along with the other players, are real pros and am proud and pleased for Chloë to be part of such a production!
After D has decided Chloë is ready to start filming the next day, we are dismissed and sent to find Amy (Wardrobe) hours ahead of schedule, since she's free at the moment. I bashfully present the clothing I've culled to her, and she says they're perfect and calls me "her hero." I'm extremely relieved. Whew! Chloë falls madly in 'like' with Amy, and I think the feelings are mutual. They have a great rapport right off the bat, which continues for the remainder of the shoot. Amy has Chlo try on various outfits and takes pictures of her in some, for her "Wardrobe Bible." Chloë has 16 wardrobe changes, so she keeps most of the clothes and sends us home with a very small percentage of 'rejects.' We go find X, who tells us we were supposed to get a lunch per diem at noon, but it's ten 'til, so we're SOL. I'm all, "okay, whatever, I don't know how this works!" and we head out to pick up The Littles.
Tuesday, June 12th: SUCKS. Not at first, but eventually. We get on set, which is in the Ghent section of Norfolk, in a real house, and it's all hustle-and-bustle everywhere. We find X, do more paperwork, and then get the Call Sheet (what scenes are filming that day with which actors in which order, etc.) and sides for those scenes. Chloë is sent into wardrobe and changed for her first scene, and then she's called back to Tia, the Hair & Makeup, uh, person on set. Tia starts to work on Chloë's massive mane of hair and then steps back and mouths the words, "She's got lice" to me. My jaw hits the floor, in shock. WHAT?!!!! I'm instantly in freak-out mode, inwardly. How? When? Where? Why?! WHY NOW?!
Tia radios J, the set Line Production Manager, aka Fire Putter-Outer, aka D's wife, to let her know of the situation. An hour passes while they debate what to do: treat her on set, or send her home to be treated. Chloë and I are trying not to sob, worrying that they will fire her post haste. We cry; X comes up, as does Amy, and soothe us, telling us this happens, they see it all the time, blah blah blah. Still, it is MORTIFYING. Words cannot describe how I felt, especially after Tia and J come up and tell me they've decided to send Chloë home for the day to be treated, after rearranging the entire production schedule. Yeah. I feel awesome.
The rest of the day is spent rushing home, collecting all my CVS Extra Care Bucks, Walgreens Register Rewards, and Rite Aid Wellness Rewards money, because we are totally broke and have like, six dollars, which doesn't touch the cost of the lice treatment we were instructed to buy. Hooray that I have a lot of the above, though, so the kids and I go out and get ... lots of it. Rob comes home and showers Jack and Sophia, who are relatively easy for me to treat, but not before Rob shaves Jack's and his own head to simplify things. We treat ourselves and Chloë next, along with all four cats. Rob goes out to the new house to bomb it for bugs, while I continue going through Chloë's hair strand by strand by strand. She has SO MUCH FREAKING HAIR, I want to kill myself.
In the end, while she goes over her 98-page script, I treat her hair seven times. Seven. We stay up until 0300 that night (well, morning, whatevs), combing nits out of her hair, until exhaustion takes over and we crash, praying they'll let her return to work the next day. Oh, but not before we transport the kitties over to the new house (to their reluctance, which I still have the scratches and scars to prove), and go back to bomb the old one. I spend the entire afternoon puzzling over the source of the lice, which has seriously loused up our week (heh, sorry, I couldn't resist), and finally realize that it's probably the 7-11 guy I've been driving to work for the past many moons. He's been scratching his head a LOT lately, but I didn't think anything of it. So I treat the van, too, but still need to get it deep-cleaned... I tell him that night that the rides are OVER, but not why because I don't want to, frankly, and that's the end of that.
Wednesday, June 13: We return to the Ghent set and are greeted with open arms, smiles, and hugs, from everyone from the Director, to X and Amy, to Tia, who I tell about the seven different treatments, should she still find nits in C's impossible hair. She does, but I assure her they are dead, dead, dead. She decides Chloë/Sarah is going to spend much of the shoot in braids, just in case... which disappoints me (whose opinion doesn't count), because now her luscious curls will not be on display. And they match Sarah/Kay's, her "mom," so wonderfully, too. Bummer. But she's still working, so okay! Yay! Before long, her clothes are on, hair and make-up are done, and she's called down to start filming her first scene with the family, including three "brothers": Jo, Ja, and Br. I can't remember their character names, ever, and don't want to use their real names without their parents' permission, y'know?
Here they are filming Chloë's (and the rest of the haunted family's) first scene together. That's Chlo in the daisy dress, which she wore for Easter last year! The director is the guy with the white ball cap on, looking my way. All the guys in the foreground are Props, Lighting, Grips, and so forth. We parents are always instructed on the best place to stand so we can watch - though not always - and, more importantly, be out of the way. I start getting used to hearing the commands, "Lock it up!" "Rolling!" "Quiet on the set!" "Still rolling!" "Action!" "CUT!" and, from the various assistant directors and other crewmembers with radios all over the place repeating my title phrase, "And that's a cut!!" which means we parents can all start talking again. Which we do a LOT. Hehe.
Re-filming the same scene, which THEY do a lot. During production, they make lots of little, and sometimes big, changes, to lines, or expressions, or whatever else you can imagine. Then they do the same scene, once they got what they've liked, from 27 different camera angles. For us parents, it's a lot of boring standing around and waiting for "And that's a cut!" so we can resume our conversations. It's a lot more exciting for the actors, but even more so for the crew, who are always busy setting up and re-setting up. I learn what "sticks" are - a tripod. I learn not to trip over these sticks. Quickly. (They're much bigger than mine.)
The actors taking a break under a tree, since it's about 900º that day. Make-up girl, Heather, is constantly dabbing at their sweaty faces right before "ROLLING!" The guy on the right, with arms folded, is the father of the oldest brother, Jo. He's an oncologist/hematologist; I bug him on Friday about all my iron issues. He plays along nicely. His wife is a pediatrician and shares that they get it all the time; I imagine they're not struggling the way we are!
At last, later on Wednesday, they start filming in the ground floor inside the house, which has... four floors? It's not teeny. When we're not shooting, the actors, parents, and X hang out on the 2nd floor, along with Wardrobe, Costumes, and Hair & Make-up. When we are shooting, on this day, I'm busy snapping these photos on my silenced iPhone, to send to a very proud papa.
At the end of the family's scenes, the rest of the kids are wrapped for the day, and Chloë goes back into Wardrobe to change into PJs for her big scenes. We have some time to wait until then, so we spend a lot of time out back at craft services, snacking, relaxing, and... waiting. Soon, the rest of the cast and crew break for lunch (which is at 5:30 PM, so you can imagine how hungry they are), and I fix Chloë a meager dinner of broccoli, bread and butter, and a teensy piece of lasagna. I can barely get her to eat, as she's filled up on fruit snacks since I didn't know about the whole lunch thing. After lunch, I go around snapping pictures of her with some of the folks on set:
Chloë hamming it up with Amy, left, from Wardrobe, and Brittany (sp?), Costumes - very cool chicks! (Oops, I lied, she obviously didn't change into PJs until after lunch!)
Chloë/Sarah with Sarah/Kay, her gorgeous set mom
Posing with Tia, the poor Hair/Make-up queen who was the unfortunate discoverer of the damn lice
With D, the Director, checking out "her" bedroom for the first time
With Kevin/Chris, her TV dad, fresh out of his latest wardrobe change - he must have had dozens of them!
Chloë posing with THE coolest 2nd Asst. Dir., X, who was HEE-larious. I loved him! So did she; we had a great time hanging out with him.
After these pictures, THEN she changed into PJs and was sent upstairs to the 3rd floor to start filming her big scenes with Kevin/Chris, and... more characters who shall not be named as of yet. ;) I didn't get to see much of it from my perch on the stairs leading up to the fourth floor, so I talked to C, the Asst. Dir. who was D's right hand woman. C is all but gushing; her facial expressions tell as much as her words. "She's fantastic," "She's a natural!" "I'm so excited watching her; I can't take my eyes off her on the monitor!" are some of the things C had to say about Chloë. Finally, just before 2200, Chloë is wrapped for the night, and I go pick up The Littles from an exhausted Stephanie. I'm absolutely thrilled about all the awesome feedback from both C and D, whose comments escape me at the moment...oh! I remember. When they were filming the outdoor scenes in the first pics above, he told me, "She's amazing. She's stealing it!" I later learned from J, his wife, that he was talking about Chloë to her at home, too. That's gotta be good, right?!
After we got home that night, I treated Chloë for the lice two more times. She was less than thrilled, but it gave her time to work on her scenes for the following day. Her hair is normally curlier than this, but it dried as I was combing and re-combing it, leaving it partially straightened. I love her Farrah Fawcett look!
Thursday, June 14: We've spent the night, again, at the new house in Portsmouth, to be close to the Naval hospital where Rob needs to be at 0530 for his surgery(ies). We get about two hours of sleep after all is said and done, so I'm worrying about Chloë's readiness for filming later that day. I'm also worried about how the whole day is going to play out, because I've got to stay with Rob, get Chloë to set, and worry about The Littles, who cannot be on set. My fifth babysitter eventually has a (true) emergency and cancels on me, leaving me in panic mode. Fortunately, Chloë doesn't have to be on set until noon, but this emergency comes in around 10 AM, leaving me without a sitter for Jack and Sophia.
So, not knowing what else to do, I call X and explain the situation to him. He tells me to take care of Rob, and bring Chloë to set at noon, with a note signing her guardianship over to the crew so I can leave her unattended by me. It's not ideal for anyone, but it works out. By the time Rob is released from the hospital around 1600 (!), traffic back to the old house, where he had planned to recuperate on the couch, is bumper to bumper: all stop and no go. I quickly make the decision that we'll have change course and go to the set, leaving Rob and the Littles in the running van, with A/C and movies playing. It's a crappy plan, but I had to get there! As soon as I'm cleared to enter the set, before I even see her, Chloë's voice rings out, "Mom! What are you doing here? I don't want you here! Go back to the hospital with Daddy!" Ha. She's having way too much fun without me, I can tell. I later learn someone asked her who was in charge of her that day, and she answered, "Everyone is."
I find X and explain the current situation to him, asking if my family can come to set to use the facilities if the need arises. Instead, he's extremely sympathetic to Rob's pain and agony and instructs me to go take him HOME where he belongs, along with Jack and Soph, and get back "whenever I can." And so I do, getting Rob and the kids settled on the couches with movies, food, and everything they need to survive until we get back much later that night. Rushing back to set, I find Chloë all a-giggle, waiting to film her last scene of the day, and absolutely hyper beyond words. Greaaaat. I go around apologizing for this to everyone who's had to put up with her shenaniganizing, and they all reassure me that she's been "fine."
Chlo with E/Cindy, who had also tried out for Sarah and is instead on set today to play the part of her BFF in two scenes. They get along well. Coincidentally, E's mom is the lead for the following week's episode. (Funnily, to me, several people over the course of the week ask me if I am also an actor, which makes me laugh. Um, no. Literally, I was in hives when Chloë was filming her big scenes, trembling and on the verge of throwing up. Can you imagine if it was me? Hells no. I do not have that kind of poise.)
After the girls are wrapped for the night, we rush home and check on Rob and the babes. He's ... okay, but hurting. They're... okay, but starving. Tired, thankful that that last day of shooting is around the corner from our old house in Virginia Beach where we are spending the night, I go out and scrounge up more food for everyone. And then we crash.
Friday, June 15: The last day of filming takes place 8 minutes from us, at another real house whose occupants are evicted during filming. It's a cool house. This time, craft services and tents for waiting between scenes are set up on the front lawn. Jo, the oldest "brother" has arrived on set with not just Dad this time, but also Mom and maternal grandparents. Ja, next older brother, also arrives with older sister. I feel bad that my fam don't get to experience filming, too, as it's such a great experience for Chloë and me. Anyway...
The first scenes, which the kids aren't in yet, take place on the side lawn. Several times during "Rolling!" we parents, now all old friends - and Facebook friends! - are shushed and told we can be heard on camera. Oops! We talk, then quiet, then resume talking repeatedly between "action" and "cut." When the "family" goes inside to film their indoor scenes, we are kicked out of the house and left to fester under the tent. No worries, we'll see what happened when it airs, right?
Speaking of which, Director D has told me that it will air on a new channel, the name of which might be "Green" something but he forgets exactly, in a few months. And the show will be renamed "American Haunting." It's Episode 41, called "Dark Dreams." And that's all I know about that; I'll keep you apprised when I know more!
When the kids are wrapped for the day, we grab the parents for a "family" photo op, seen here. Everyone hugs good-bye, and off we go... back into real life, waiting for the next call, the next big thing. Hopefully, fingers crossed, there will be more opportunities in Chloë's future here and, especially, in San Diego. She has caught the acting bug, and as long as she's loving it, we will continue!
And that's a wrap.
P.S. On Sunday, Rob and I ran into her TV dad, Kevin, at dinner while we were on a mystery shop. He's already back at work on another series, for a different production company I didn't know about locally, this week. Good for him! And now, I bid you adieu.