Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lights! Camera! Look Scared!

My Ghost Story, 10PM Saturday Night April 28, 2012 The Bio Channel

The road of life is one long blind curve, isn't it?  I mean, who knew that when I bought an old house so many years ago in a quiet Maine town that eventually it would lead me to Hollywood to film a segment for a TV show about ghosts?  Go figure.  I blogged about the goings on in that house in this post, and this one.  Go ahead and read 'em, I'll wait here for you.

On my word of honor, all that stuff is true.

Now, back when I bought the house Al Gore hadn't invented the internet, cars had extra little antenna's for their "mobile" phones, and cable TV had about 36 channels.  Now cable has about 226 channels, and of them, 221 have "reality" shows about auctions, homes and guns-- with a Kardashian thrown in-- and ghost shows.  Celebrity Ghosts, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Pets, Ghosts In The Machine, you name it, there's a ton of them.  After having gone through what I have, I admit I am a fan of the paranormal, so I'd watch those shows and think, "Man, if they could only hear about my ghosts, they'd flip out!"  That's where the show My Ghost Story comes in.  The premise of this show is actual people who have had paranormal experiences sit down and tell you about it, kind of like sitting around the camp-fire and telling ghost stories, but they have some kind of evidence; photos, recordings, and best of all- videos, to back them up.  So, I fired off an email to them and to my utter astonishment, they were interested in my story.  And that meant getting on a plane for a quick trip to L.A.

The story they were most interested in involved my daughter Leigh as well, so we both got to go.  I've been on enough flights in my life to know that I'd rather walk, but Leigh had never been on a plane in her life.  As we sat on the tarmac in a cigar tube with wings, she was not thrilled to see the flight crew winding up the rubber band to power the engines.  Suffice to say, she was a touch nervous.  But as always happens (except when a plane crashes and burns, killing all on board) we made it safely to LAX where we were picked up by a show staffer.  He's a nice guy who is also a screenwriter and has appeared on a couple of TV shows.

After checking in at the hotel by a very nice desk clerk-- who really is a screenwriter whose been in a couple of TV shows, we prepared for our on-screen "interview".  On the show, it's a person sitting there alone, telling a story.  Behind the scenes it's a cavernous, dark soundstage with three or four very bright spotlights shining in my face, and three cameras wizzing around my head as I told my tale to a woman sitting off-camera.  Periodically, a make-up lady would rush over to dab sweat off my brow, put my two hairs on the top of my head back in place, and apply more boot black to my beard.  Now, I had done some research on this show, and I had noticed that the story tellers would frequently say that they were "scared", or the ghosts were "evil,"  even "demonic," but I wasn't going there.  Instead, I tried to think of any other adjective, synonym and euphemism to use instead of "scared".  So it remains to be seen what a melodramatic twit I sound like.

Leigh in the make-up chair

After I was done, Leigh had her turn, but I didn't get a chance to watch her.  I did spend my time back in the green room chatting with some of the shows assistants.  They were really pleasant young men who are screen writers and who've appeared in a couple of TV shows.

A few weeks later, it was time for a cameraman to come out to the house to film some background scenes for use in the segment.  They use these shots as silent films to run while our voices play over them.  We couldn't use the original house, so we used mine.  I did ask the cameraman, whose name is Steve, to include as many shots of my paintings as he could.  Hey, a little free publicity can't hurt--am I right?  (Even though at no time during the interview did I mention that I am a painter...)  Steve filmed Leigh and me kind of reenacting our story.  As an example, he would set one of us up and say, "OK, sit in this chair and read a look up... now look scared!"  Or, "In this scene I want you to walk through this room... now stop and look over your look scared!"  So now I can't wait to see how I look as a melodramatic twit... whose scared!

Steve, Me and Leigh admiring ourselves.

Leigh picking up some acting tips on how to look scared.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the high-light of our California trip was reconnecting with an Air Force friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in thirty years.  She showed Leigh and me around L.A., Venice beach, the Getty museum, and afterward we had a great time at the hotel bar reminiscing over a few drinks.  The bartender was a charming young man who is really a screenwriter and has even been in a couple of TV shows...

Like me!



Anonymous said...

The mirror/dresser in the pic of Leigh lookking into the room getting tips on looking scared looks might familiar from that vantage should post a pic!

Bob Colburn

SamArtDog said...

You've gotta be kidding!
Seriously, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!!
Obviously, I can't wait to see this.
Tragically, I don't think we don't get the Bio Channel on cable, but I'll put our programming director right on it and see if he can fire up the satellite. So to speak...
I assume you're hosting a viewing party.
Got popcorn?
Got beer?

Kevin Mizner said...

Good eyes, Bob. I should paint it sometime!

Kevin Mizner said...

Sam- Would I make this up? It speaks to the sad state of television that I am being used for "entertainment"....

nursejudy said...

Your house looks beautiful in these photos. Wish I had a TV so I could watch you and Leigh. Break a leg!

Susan Roux said...

It's already set to record. I just don't want to miss this...

Kevin the new movie star.

Anonymous said...

So, I hear you're a screenwriter now and you've been in a couple TV shows?
Mike McAllister

Daniel said...

I've just had a chance to read the whole thing. This is a weird, yet awesome, story Kevin. Life is very, very peculiar.