My Unscripted Life(5)

By: Lauren Morrill


In the back of the office, I spot a familiar face underneath a Yankees cap. Rob is pacing about four feet of carpet, stomping hard with each turn. “You’re kidding me! Again?” he barks into his phone. Then he slings the phone onto his desk, where it spins into the wall, and whips the ball cap off his head and flings it at the floor. “Dammit dammit dammit!”

I get the feeling that I’m not supposed to be watching whatever’s happening with him, especially since everyone else in the room is doing that thing where they’re very clearly not paying attention, so as he sinks into a rolling office chair and puts his head in his hands, I start looking elsewhere too. Finally, a woman who looks to be in her midtwenties sitting at the desk closest to me meets my eye. She’s got a phone pressed between her ear and shoulder, a stack of papers in one hand, the other adjusting the volume on a walkie-talkie clipped to her hip. A cord dangles from a headset that’s holding back her dark braids. She nods at me, so I just wait.

“Yup,” she says. “Uh-huh. Copy. We’ve got the bus for first team, and I can get a couple twelve-passenger vans for the extras….Yup. Day after tomorrow. Copy.”

She hangs up, placing the phone and the stack of papers down on the desk in front of her.

“Are you Deanna?” she asks, pronouncing the “ann” with a long a. She stands up, winds a stray braid around her thick bun, tucking in the end, and then reaches out to shake my hand.

“De-ahn-na,” I reply, the name sticking on my tongue like a wet cotton ball. My mother picked it, a shout-out to her Greek heritage, since she left her maiden name of Spyropolous behind. I’ve always hated it. Deanna. Dee-ahhhn-na. It’s so not me. Deanna enters beauty pageants, gets regular mani/pedis, and knows all the lyrics to whatever cheesy pop song is hot that week. And while the pop songs are all me when I’m alone in my room, I’ve never worn heels and my nails are in shambles. “Call me Dee.”

“Nice to meet you, I’m Carly.” She steps out from behind the desk and starts down the hall, pausing only to wave me on after her. I have to skip a few steps to catch up to her frantic pace. She hangs a hard left into another small office and points to an empty chair. I sit like an obedient puppy, and she hustles behind the desk and sits down at a computer.

“Smile,” she says, and before I can ask what for, there’s a click. I hear the sound of an artificial camera shutter. “Spell your name for me?”

She types as I spell, then clicks on something with the mouse. A printer behind her warms up with a whoosh and spits out a white plastic card. Carly snatches it off the printer almost before it’s done, then reaches into a box and produces a yellow lanyard with RIALTO PRODUCTIONS printed on it in black. She clips the card to the lanyard and hands it to me.

“Wear this at all times so security doesn’t think you’re some creepy fangirl and have you escorted off set,” she says by way of explanation. I get a silent thrill from knowing I get to be in the building with a bunch of movie people and will not be considered a creepy fangirl. I slip the lanyard over my head while Carly rummages in a drawer, then slaps a piece of paper down on the desk. The form is packed full of hundreds of lines of teeny tiny text. “And sign this.”

She tosses me a pen from the mug next to the computer. I catch it and sign, hoping it doesn’t obligate me to shave my head or dance a jig anytime someone says the words “peanut butter.” I slide the paper back across the desk. She takes it and slips it into a hanging file in the top drawer, which she closes with her hip.

“You can keep your phone on you, but on silent. Not vibrate. Not low volume. Silent. And no pictures of sets or actors or script pages,” she says. “You do not want to be on the receiving end of Rob’s yelling if he hears your phone or sees you taking unauthorized photos.”

After seeing his meltdown in the outer office just moments ago, I believe her, and I decide it’s probably best to keep my phone in my bag.

Carly heads for the door, and at this point I already know to follow without question. My heart is pounding a million beats a minute, so I try to calm myself with this fact. See? I’m already learning something. When Carly moves, go.

While we’re walking, I take a moment to peek at the card. The top reads JUST ONE COLOR, which I assume is the title of the movie we’re working on. Underneath is a grainy picture of me, my hair, which I’ve worn down, taking up most of the frame. You can barely make out my face in the technologically distorted image. I look like a Hobbit who’s had a very hard week. Underneath that is my name, DEE WILKIE, and beneath that it says CREW. I can’t suppress the smile that spreads across my face as I take it all in.