Tag Archives: producer

Punking a prankster

For those of you following up on yesterday’s post, I played a prank on my best friend this weekend that was 30 years in the making.

john james youngShe tricked me into believing that she was dating John James, star of the TV drama Dynasty, when we first met in college. We have laughed at the memory over the years, but I finally found the right moment — and resources — to give her a little payback.

Her family planned a surprise birthday party for her on Friday, and I flew in as part of the festivities. Bad weather delayed the actual party, which meant my little surprise became the appetizer.

I told her I was dating someone new — ‘John’ — but was purposely vague on details.

Then my phone rang.

The actual John James was the on the other end of the line.  I had found his manager’s number, and John graciously agreed to be a part of my “wonderful, evil plot” to get back at Caroline.

John and I chatted briefly to establish our relationship, and then I passed the phone to Caroline, speaker on so I could listen to her ‘pass judgment’ on the new guy.

She soon complimented him on his ‘radio voice’ and asked if he had worked in media.  He ‘fessed up to being a producer and an actor, cleverly mentioning he once performed in the musical Promises, Promises near her hometown (where their photo was taken oh-so-many years ago).

She soon realized they knew the same musical director who conducted the same show at the same theatre…Wait a minute, who did you say you were?  

She believed he was the real John James quickly enough, and even thought we were dating for a moment.

To the victor go the spoils!

John James CarolineA huge thanks to John James for making my redemption possible.

Final answer

Yesterday I mentioned I was doing something that scared me.  As it turned out, that ‘thing’ stretched into today as well.

I was a contestant on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Two days, you say?  The show only lasts a half hour.

You are correct.  I spent two days in holding, waiting to be selected to play the game.

Holding is a small room with couches and two windows.  You can’t use your cellphone or the Internet or have any contact with the outside world.  The game show producers keep all potential contestants sequestered there to eliminate any appearance or chance of cheating.

I did finally get to meet Meredith and play the show late this afternoon.  She is as nice as she appears; I made her laugh so hard at one point, they had to stop tape — that’s a personal point of pride.

I can’t talk about the questions I received or reveal the outcome of my game; all I’m legally able to say is “tune in next year” (which is when my episode will most likely air).

When I am notified of the air date, I’ll pass it along.

Everyone watching?  Now, that’s really scary.

Oscar unworthy

I’m headed to Los Angeles this weekend — for work,  of course.  But my hotel is located right next door to the Grammy Awards venue.

I know, right?

Another red carpet, another round of celebrity self-congratulations.  And as the Academy Awards draw ever nearer, I have to say — this year’s awards season seems even more shallow than usual.  The nominees, the producers, the directors, and even the Oscar voters, I dare say, have abandoned even the appearance of giving out the statutes based on quality.

You just gotta be popular.

Producers always run elaborate pre-Oscar marketing campaigns for movies and their stars, but this year, even the actors are purchasing full-page ads in industry publications ‘for your consideration.’

Case in point: Melissa Leo, Best Supporting Actress nominee for her gritty performance in  “The Fighter,” (which has already garnered her three other trophies).

Chillax, Melissa.  You’ve been considered.  And shee-shee pics like these may swing opinion in the other direction.

The popularity of  the leading actors in The King’s Speech is also one of the main reasons it has of late pulled ahead of The Social Network in the awards race — not because Speech is a better film.  (It’s not.)  This became especially clear during the SAG Awards telecast.

When the casts of both movies appeared on stage during the show, the good feelings that washed over the cast of The King’s Speech were palpable…. whereas the young entourage from The Social Network was prickly, awkward and off-putting.

Heck, I wanted TSN to win, and I didn’t like their attitude that night much either.  But I would hope — if I had the opportunity to vote for any of the awards — that I could separate my personal feelings about any of the nominees from their work in the films.

If the Oscars are going to mean anything now and in the future, the voting community has to man up, act like adults and vote based on the quality of the filmmaking…not just ‘who’s their buddy.’

But then again, maybe none of them are that good of actors.

It’s money

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Cash Cab” on the Discovery Channel is being renewed for its sixth season.

Awesomeness.

If you haven’t watched this trivia-game-in-a-taxi, do.  It’s high energy and fun and uniquely New York City.  The host Ben Bailey drives the cab and asks the questions, and he’s super quick at both.

I’m not just speaking from a viewer perspective — I was lucky enough to play “Cash Cab” three years ago.

Yep.  I was a contestant…and it was a freaky experience.

When I got in the cab, I had no idea what was going on.  After I gave the driver the address, he said, “I’ll take you there, but first, we’re going to play…Cash Cab!!”

Multi-colored lights started flashing inside the cab.  I froze in my seat.

So…this is how I’m going to die, I thought.

The driver — Ben Bailey, as it turned out — got out of the cab and his female producer quickly jumped in.  She smiled and explained what was going on, and gave me the option to not play…but, hey, I like money.

So I played.  And I won $450.

When I arrived at my location, Ben handed me the cash and asked me to hop out and celebrate for the cameras.  (A van with the producers follows the cab through the city.)

I jumped out and did my best cash dance, while a cameraman circled around me.  (Of course, in New York City, the people just kept walking by.  No biggie.)

Then they took the money back, and I signed IRS forms right there on the street.  And I walked to the restaurant and had lunch with my friends.

Just another day in the Big Apple.