Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rollin, Rollin, Rollin

My assignment for this week's class of The Program was to write a scene that included a self-made special effect. Car keys for rain. A flashlight shooting star--that type of thing. A couple days ago I lightbulbed this:

REPORTER: We're here with Randall Thomas, a resident cat-caller. Mr. Thomas, you've been known to defend the aggressive and sexist habit of catcalling.

RANDALL: I think women like it.

REPORTER: We go live to those women now.


So, not exactly high fiction. A stupid black-out sketch that would require a homemade tumbleweed. I had an idea for how the tumbleweed would look--a mass of twine mainly. I wasn't worried. I went to Michael's and hour and a half before I had to leave for class. I bought two foam circles to hold the twine and twine. It cost fifteen dollars. I spent fifteen dollars on a faux tumbleweed.

At home the troubles worsened. I spent half an hour wrapping twine and sticking the foam with paper clips and then sadly throwing it across the living room. It didn't roll. It looked like a hairy frisbee. I started getting anxious. I wasn't dressed for class, time was running out, Bisque saw me practically foaming at the mouth, covered in styrofoam bits and offered to try.

He patiently coiled the skeleton for ten minutes before showing me his final work. It was not a circle--but flat. I said I would redo it. He was obviously sort of annoyed, but he sweetly unstrung and restrung the whole thing. I spent ninety minutes and some good graces of my relationship on a faux tumbleweed. We had to jet. On the way to dinner we found some dead leaves and branches to tie into the prop.

In class, my sketch was close to last on the running order. I strung up a pulley system to make the thing roll at the appropriate punchline. It bumped across the floor looking like a small forest spaceship. The sketch was over. I said, "It's a tumbleweed." "Oh," everyone said. Star added, "I thought it was a cat toy."

The tumbleweed better not be a foreshadowing of the rest of my writing career.

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