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.