Behind the Scenes: Acting! Genius!

There were four of us that day. Andy and Jeff from non-fiction. Dan carrying the camera. Me? I held the vest, walking down the lonely rail spur wearing pants six inches too large.

As with many office jobs, it’s rare when a day holds too many surprises here at BHP. Sure someone may show up with donuts. Or a new haircut. Or fancy shoes. But for the most part the days have a tendency to blur. And then there was the day I became an internet star.

Like a lot of publishers, we’ve been exploring the world of book trailers. We’ve worked with outside production companies and we’ve tinkered around with them in-house as well. And so it came to pass, a few months ago, my colleague Charlene came into my office and told me I’d been selected (based, I assume, on some innate star quality that must have shone through) to make my book trailer acting debut in a video shoot for Karen Witemeyer’s novel Short-Straw Bride. (Wonderful book, btw. And wonderful author.) The single requirement: wear a checkered shirt the next day.

Ah, but the next day would hold more surprises. Again I had been chosen (innate star quality once more). My checkered shirt would not be needed. For I was going to wear a costume.

Please take a look at this photo.

Notice the square jaw. The broad shoulders and sinewy forearms. This is a man. Also, this is the costume. Literally. We had a photoshoot. Dude wore the clothes for an hour and now they were being handed to me.*

I am a man, sure, but unfortunately I’ve never been mistaken for a man. So the belt barely had enough notches. The shirt had room for me and half more. The pants hung urbanly-low on my hips, and the vest..the vest was crazy tight. I’m unclear how the model managed to breath.

And so, dressed like a child in his father’s clothes  I set off with my colleagues into the wild to find a section of Minnesota bluff land that looked passably like Texas.

One cannot walk with three other guys down a railroad track without thinking of Stand By Me. But instead of four 1950s teens, we were four middle-aged publishing dads in checkered shirts holding a Ziploc bag of hay. And a camera. Nothing to see here folks, nothing weird going on at all.

The rest of the shoot was painless, although I had to do more hand acting with a piece of straw than I anticipated. (No magician with nimble fingers am I.)

And the results? Well, you can watch for yourself, but  I think it’s far better than that set-up ever would suggest. We have some talented people in our art and design department. They make us actors look good.

* I won’t comment on whether the clothes still had tags on them to possibly be returned once everything was done.

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6 responses to “Behind the Scenes: Acting! Genius!

  1. It was definitely the innate star quality. No doubt about it. I’ve been bragging on those manly arms and the way each set of fingers perfectly captured the various Archer brothers to perfection. No Hollywood actors could have drawn straws better! Bravo!!

  2. Actor/model/editor? I am beyond impressed. I love the part where the guy from the left drew the straw. It brought tears to my eyes.

    Seriously, it’s a great trailer. Karen’s book is on top of my TBR pile. I can’t wait. (And so glad to see you blogging again.)

  3. It was a great book and a fantastic book trailer. I can’t wait till the next book is out. =)

  4. I laughed out loud at this blog, Dave. Priceless! I’d seen the trailer when it was released and had no idea of the actor’s identity. You can play hand/torso model for one of my heroes in a book trailer anytime.

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