I’m a model, you know what I mean

From: Andrea
To: John

Congratulations – you’ve been selected! I left a voice mail on your cell/ work #s. Please give me a call so we can confirm the shoot and wardrobe details. Here’s the shoot breakdown.


The action takes place after Thanksgiving, the first weekend in December. Winter?s first snow fell a couple of days ago but it has melted away.


A secluded Old New England or North West Coast cabin in the mountains near the coast, not too far from a charming small town.


Mark is a 38-year-old V.P. in a computer software firm. Getting out of town and spending time at this cabin is something he looks forward to. He plans the weekend. He organizes the activities, brings the toys and loosely functions as the master of ceremonies.

Lolly is Mark’s 33-year-old wife. She is a buyer at a house wares boutique, a clever cook, and a great hostess. She and Mark are ?soul mates?. They make a great team. They have a fun-loving, attentive, very, very well behaved dog (Echo).

John works with Mark. He?s a little younger but they share similar interests. He?s been on weekend getaways with them before and is quick to pitch in and take part.

Laurie is John’s main squeeze. She manages a successful community theater.

The objective of this photo shoot is to visually tell the story of Mark and Lolly?s and John and Laurie’s weekend getaway. The primary strategic takeaway is “fun“. Having a good time is the essence of the weekend. Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut and the champagne experience is a vital part of the fun.

It is important to note that while “fun” is the strategic goal, achieving a sense of genuine realism is critical to this production. Real people having a good time in a believable natural way will serve our purpose better than contrivance. Credibility is the key.

In order to establish a credible storyline for our photo essay the following Action Sequences have been established. They are a linear chain of events that correspond to our established settings and locations.

Wed, Aug 2nd

7:30 am Meeting at Inverness Valley Inn — Room #8 (behind main office)
– 13275 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness (415)669-7250
– Actors change into correct wardrobe
– Hair/makeup styling

8:15 – 8:45 Carpool & drive to Limantour beach
– Pier shots on way to beach

8:45 – 11 Beach shots (weather/fog dependent)
– 2 couples walking along beach with one dog on leash
– 1 woman running with Dog

11-11:30 Drive back to Inverness

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch break Busy Bee coffee shop
– 12301 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness (415-663-9496

12:30 – 3 Inverness town shots
– Busy Bee coffee shop
– Walking next to antique store/ post office/ mural ? Inverness
– Misc town shots dependent on lighting

3 pm Actors check into Inverness Valley Inn
– Break for actors, & Freixenet clients
– Bob, Andrea & Bryan set up lighting Manka’s

5:00 – 6:30 Dinner at Vladimir?s
– (downtown Inverness – 12785 Sir Francis Drake Blvd — 415-669-1021)

6:30 -7 pm Drive to Limantour beach

7 – 9:30 pm Beach bonfire shot

Thurs, Aug 3rd

6:15 am Meet Room #8 ? Inverness Valley Inn (room behind main office)
– 13275 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness (415)669-7250
– Coffee/ pasteries

6:30 – 7 Drive to Limantour beach

7 – 9 Beach shots (weather/fog dependent)
– Clamming (first light, latern)
– Back ?up shots from previous day (weather dependent)

9 – 9:30 Drive back to Inverness Valley Inn
– Change wardrobe for indoor scenes, check out of motel
– Hair/make up stylist meets actors in room #8

10 – 11:30 Unloading car shots
– Unloading car shot
– Lights on in Fisherman?s cabin in background

11:30 – 12:30 Lunch
– Fisherman?s cabin deck, catered from deli

12:30 – 6:30 Interior Fisherman?s cabin shots
– Clawfoot tub — mimosa’s
o Lolly alone with bubbles holding mimosa
o Lolly in tub, Mark in bathrobe giving her a foot or neck massage, etc
– Fireplace
o Making old fashioned popcorn
o John playing classic wooden guitar
o Scattergories game
– Product shots
o Glasses full & empty
o Bottle shot with glasses

7pm Dinner at Mankas
– Actors officially finished with shoot. Everyone meet for celebration dinner.

A bottle of red, a bottle of white

Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Thursday night at Bogart’s American Grill. The dance floor is starting to get crowded. I slide up to the bar, flag the bartender, and grab a martini. Four belles, tan and smiling, grin into a digital camera and take pictures of themselves.

“C’mere, gimme ‘at camera and y’all get together,” I say.

They cuddle up and I snap some shots. One of them points the camera at me. I make a face and she snaps a picture, and she screams with laughter. “Look!” she giggles. “Look how funny you look raht there!”

“You think I look funny?” I say. “Well, take a look at this!” I grab a menu off the bar. “There. That’s my picture at the top of the menu.”

The girls inspect the menu. “No way,” says one confidently. “That’s not you.”

“Yeah,” I say, nodding. “That’s me raht there. Did the photo shoot. In California.”

“No, that guy duddn’t look like you at all,” says the brunette in the red dress.

“If that’s really you, how come ya have to pay fy’own drinks?” says the redhead.

“Well, um, they already paid for my dinner…” I say meekly.

“You look really old in this photo,” says the brunette. “Ahya really that old?”

I mumble something, but I don’t remember what. Their eyes glaze, and I become invisible to them. I pound the martini and try to steal the menu, but the bouncer takes it back at the door.

When my life’s got me down I wanna hear that high lonesome sound

San Francisco to Los Angeles International. I blew a few frequent flier miles and put myself in first class. It was ten a.m. but the stewardesses were handing out glasses of champagne. I took one.

Saint Albans to Sissonville, West Virginia. My parents drove us in the Ford Escort, a very small white car. It burned large quantities of oil, such that puffs of acrid white clouds huffed from it like a smokescreen. I remember my father?s thick, gym-teacher hands on the wheel of the car.

I picked up the Mustang convertible at LAX. My customer asked me to drive two hours south of Los Angeles to meet him.

Our house is three bedrooms for my mother, father and us four children. Dad built a bed for me by attaching some two-by-fours to the ceiling with lag bolts. He bolted a slab of particle board to the two-by-fours and laid a mattress on top. I slept there for six years. Our back yard had a leaky septic tank. Once it overflowed and filled the back yard with raw sewage. Behind the back yard was a forgotten dump. I remember taking a slingshot into the dump and firing rocks at empty baby food jars on an old rusted refrigerator. I did it enough to get good at it. Once I cut my finger on the glass.

The security camera inspected my car and the massive gate swung open. With one finger I finessed the Mustang through the manicured streets. I drove past houses the size of city apartment complexes. Over the hill, the Pacific Ocean scintillated like the eyes of God. I drove past three women and two girls in the complex. Every one of the girls and women had breast implants. The mansion at the end of the road was the largest in the complex.

All the kids played Little League ball. There was a concession stand. Two makeshift shutters covered the windows of the concession stand, hinged and padlocked against the screams of the summer crickets. It opened only when one of the grown-ups brought ice. The drink of choice was something called Round the World, which consisted of putting the cup of soda on the left fountain, and sloshing it past all the 7-Up Pepsi Orange Lime ingredients, until you had this funky orange-brown witches’ brew.

He opened the front door of the mansion, called me by my first name. Oak, stained glass, vaulted ceilings, extremely rare video games. He asked me if I had brought swim trunks. His swimming pool overlooked the ocean. I guessed five million in the property, but did not ask.

The bleachers at Sissonville High School were typically strewn with trash. The concession stand had a standing deal with the kids: they would give you a trash bag, and if you brought it back full of trash, they would give you a twenty-five cent cup of soda. I opened a verbal account with the concession stand. In a few hours you could collect several bags of trash.

He tapped on one of his four keyboards, talked at length, showed me prototypes. I took notes, made a spreadsheet, discussed, rebutted. He listened, smiled, patted me on the back.

Two bags of trash equals fifty cents, which was enough for a slice of microwaved, square, pre-fabricated pizza. The pizza was oily, with little flecks of hamburger or sausage. There was always plenty of trash around, so there was always plenty of pizza. I remember picking up trash and listening to the music coming over the loudspeakers, from the AM radio. It was bluegrass country, simple and hot and deep, songs about love and death and God. It always seemed to me to be about a place that never really existed, a place within the heart, a dream that you half-remembered upon waking, in sweet agony because you couldn?t remember clearly the faces you?d seen.

With one finger on the wheel I finessed the Mustang around the jogging blonde actresses. They swiveled and flashed perfect teeth at me. In a few hours, I cleared over four thousand dollars.

And you try to remember who you have been. You try to be real. You try to be yourself. But sometimes you don’t know what real is, and you can’t remember who you are.

I put on my sunglasses and plugged in the satellite radio. I cranked Cherryholmes, Chet Atkins, Flatt and Scruggs, songs about love and death and God. With the top down, I bolted eighty miles per hour up the Pacific Coast Highway, past the juice joints and the stucco malls, the sunset red and hot blue on the deadly beautiful ocean, and I did my best to remember.