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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Show Business Meets School Business

So today, there was a PSA being filmed at my school. It was about bullying, I think, and I am fairly certain it is going to be nationally televised. It was a professional production crew, with all the bells and whistles. My boss introduced me to the director a little over a week ago, as they wanted to know if some of my students could be in the PSA. I was excited to give them the opportunity, so I of course said yes, and asked how many they wanted. They asked how many I had. I told them that if I just went with second year drama students, who I trust and for sure know what they are doing, then there would be about 15. She said that was fine.

Although I did work as a background actor for one year in college, I guess I have forgotten what the world of show business is like, with vague information, lots of people, and long hours... because we somehow had some communication issues. The director gave me a couple of shooting locations and times, making it seem like she would be using my students for a couple of short scenes, but then she called me before I even left the house this morning to see where my students were. Uh... at home? I told her that school starts at 7:45, but that I would page them all to come to me as soon as possible. Once I got my students together, it turned out she needed more. I ended up very quickly rallying 10 of my new drama kids that I trust to join in. It was chaotic, and I felt really bad for asking their teachers to let them go on such short notice, but ultimately, I am glad I did. 

The students got to be involved for the entire day. They received a ton of compliments. The production crew was impressed with their professionalism and acting abilities. The director apparently liked them so much, she included them in pretty much every scene. In fact, she liked them so much, she begged to keep them all day until 5pm, even though I had asked her to send back my main cast members for our 6th period drama rehearsal at 2:30.  (I ended up asking for my 4 leads to come back, but letting the other students stay). 

Overall, the students really loved the experience. I think they especially enjoyed craft services and getting to eat catering with the cast and crew for lunch. Several of them were featured in scenes. I heard some great comments like, "You should have seen when they told Christian to look at the 'dirty email' sent to him and look shocked. What a face! He's gonna be famous." They take direction well, although I bet they needed a little reeling in, since we have been focusing on children's theater, which is a lot of intentional overacting. The ones who came back for rehearsal tried telling me their underwhelming rehearsal today was a result of being in "film mode."  (Imagine me rolling my eyes). 

I can't wait to see my kids on tv.  :-)

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