Friday, May 2, 2008

Filming Slim Series Express w/Debbie Siebers -- First Day Details

Wow, this post has taken some time to compose! I wrote the details about the first day with Beachbody on 3 separate posts at VF. So it took me awhile to gather it up and get the copying and pasting to cooperate here on the blog, but it's very much worth it. So fun to relive it and to be able to share with accompanying photos. I know I'm repeating the rehearsal photo from another post, but I thought it needed a picture to spark up all the solid words going there for awhile. The top photo isn't the best quality because there were lights behind me, but I love that one. It gives a feel for what the star treatment was like -- Nikolas (the wardrobe guy) was pinning the thighs of my jeans back because they realized after a few shots that if the pants aren't skin tight, they make my thighs look bigger than they really are -- see what you learn that you wouldn't normally think of at home? :) As for the photo shoot photos, they actually sent me a CD with close to 50 shots. The others who wore bikinis had even more. I'm only sharing a few here (a big "phew" on your part, huh? :)) Okay, here's the play by play:

Day 1 -- You know that my flight got cancelled that first night. Beachbody was SOOOOOOOOOO good to me. I called Anna's cell from the airport and she assured me that it was fine if I was late to rehearsal -- she'd arrange for the Limo service to pick me up that next morning, if my flight change cost more, that was fine, etc. So I felt relief from their end. I didn't know if the weather would hold out from our end, but I prayed HARD (and slept very little -- just 3 hours).

But the flight took off. I actually teared up as I boarded the plane. I knew that no one else realized the magnatude of this flight actually going out for me, but it meant an amazing opportunity for me. I was able to sleep off and on. I couldn't really tell that I was sleeping, but I felt much better (the sleepy zombie headache was gone the last hour), so I knew I'd be okay for the rehearsal.

I'll fast-forward past the Limo ride (which was fabulous -- I felt like a princess and the driver was so much fun). It was funny because we were both expecting some huge old dance studio building and he actually drove around the block and was about to call the Limo service to see if they got the street number wrong. But we came to the corner and the dance studio (Madonna Grimes') was upstairs in a little strip mall. He helped take the luggage up, we said our goodbyes and I was thinking I'd get to talk, play a bit getting to know Debbie and meet Jocelyn. But the air was thick and they were trying to make wardrobe decisions and wanted to get that all figured out.

So Anna introduced me to people -- they all came and told me their names and what they did (which all flew by me). But Debbie was near the door when I walked in and was first to come hug me and welcome me. I could tell that it wasn't a relaxed mood and that I couldn't spend too much time gabbing though. Anna gave me some breakfast she'd ordered -- I gobbled a few bites, then they had me try on the tops (which I already told you a bit about). Once we got the tops figured out, we started on the workouts.

Debbie did what they call "Marking it" which was quickly showing us the order of the moves to make sure we remembered. She came back and corrected some form and I thought "This is soooo cool" yet I was trying to pay attention.

When we actually started rehearsing, I was hoping that I wasn't letting her down when my form wasn't like hers. I'd bend over too much or not enough. I'd bend in different ways than Debbie's style sometimes without realizing it. Sometimes as soon as I changed to how Debbie would show me, I'd immediately feel it target the muscle. That reminded me that I was with a pro.

But Debbie was so sweet about it -- she told us both during a break that she hoped we didn't feel like she was picking on us when she corrected us -- she just wanted to make sure we got it. It was such a relief once we got to the Stretch workout. It was quite heavenly. The song was peaceful and the pressure was off because I'm so comfortable with flexibility work. Anna was saying, "Boy you ARE flexible" -- I wasn't trying to show anyone up, but I've always been pretty flexible and all the yoga I do probably helps too.

After we finished the stretch video, they brought in sandwiches for lunch. Most of the women stayed in the main studio, but somehow, Debbie, Anna, Jocelyn and I ended up in the little break room and got to just sit and talk. That was really fun for me (and I'm sure for Jocelyn too). Jocelyn and I had been e-mailing the past week and didn't really get to talk at all during the rehearsal. We got a chance to talk a bit more and to hear Debbie talk (Yay!)

I know I wrote about that in my hotel post, but that was relaxing and wonderful. And I got to see an instructor eat. You know how you wonder what they eat and if they eat much and all that. Debbie ordered a sandwich (maybe turkey or chicken? I can't remember -- a bunch of them ordered turkey -- I ordered the veggie one on wheat and the avocado was oozing all over the place) and ate up just like the rest of us.

Erika (who works with Anna and is THE cutest thing on EARTH! I'll post her pic later on.) She about died when I asked to take a picture with her -- she's so tiny that I'm sure size 0s swim on here -- she looks like she's about 16 or 17, but she dresses pretty stylish -- and she's either 26 or 28 -- I'll have to ask Jocelyn -- that's the thing about Beachbody people -- they all look so much younger than they are. I thought Anna was maybe 27 and she had her 41st birthday on Wednesday!) -- anyway, Erika took us from the studio to our hotel. It was fun to talk with her, learn about her marriage and how she loves L.A.

We had an hour in our hotels to shower and be ready to be picked up by Anna ready with clean hair and face for our photo shoot and infomercial interviews. I had some anxiety about that because I'd talked to the wardrobe guy (Nikolas -- I loved him) before I left home and he told me I was supposed to bring street clothes, workout clothes, and a bikini. I don't do bikinis! It's not a body image thing. It's a modest thing. So I was worried. But I talked to Anna and she said just to let them know and they'd be fine with it. I had to talk to a few people, but I got by without the bikini shoot. They'd have to spend too much time touching up my bruised up legs anyway (I'm such a clutz!) Actually, I think Beachbody has a no-touch-up policy. So I'd be the blotched up girl.

I'll have to continue later on. Time to change a Pull-Up and get my older daughters to a dance. Tell me if you get too tired of hearing so much. But you did say "Details" and there are other threads to switch to, huh?

Looks like I left off with being at the hotel before we left for the Infomercial shoot and interview. Fun stuff.

Day 1 1/2 -- Jocelyn and I were picked up from the hotel (I took this pic of us out front) by a really fun guy named Marc from Cort Howell productions (who makes all the BB infomercials -- That's actually the name of the main guy, Cort and I recognized him from one of the Slim in 6 infomercials -- the one that plays after the SS workouts. He has short light hair and is on there with his wife, who has really dark hair and had a poochy stomach before and was really toned and tight afterwards -- they thought it was fun that I remembered he was on there. I don't know if they realize how many times I've done these workouts). What was neat was that Jocelyn had an on-line friend (from a mom's group) meet her from San Diego -- her friend was planning to hang out at the hotel until we were done and then they'd get together for dinner. But Marc invited her to come along with us. So she got to see all that went on at the studio. The BB and CH staff were so open to things like that. The make-up artist even did Jocelyn's make-up later on so she'd feel all dressed up when they went out to dinner. So sweet!

When we arrived at the studio, the first thing I saw was this most FIT woman literally glowing in her photo shoot. I almost shrunk and realized what kind of company I was in. This was my introduction to Monica -- who is the cast member who is an elementary school principal. I can't remember how much weight she's lost -- maybe 50 pounds? But it's changed her life and now she runs marathons. She looks so great.

Jocelyn and I went into this little room, which was our Wardrobe room. I quickly discovered that not only did we get dressed in front of each other, but also with Nikolas (the wardrobe guy) and Heather (from BB) and whomever else might be in there. Oh well. I had to get used to that quickly. Nikolas asked us what street clothes we'd brought. I showed him all these new shirts I'd bought. He looked at a few, said "Nice!" and then chose none of them. He let me wear my jeans and shoes, but w/Heather's okay, chose a peach colored sweater for me.

They weren't ready for me to be photographed yet (I was the last at everything), so I slipped in the back of the Infomercial Interview room, which was as big as a basketball court. The room was huge, but they had lights all around the middle of it with a green backdrop so they could put whatever background in the final presentation. This was the first time I saw Kali. She looked so pretty on camera -- she glowed and looked a lot like Carrie Underwood. (When I actually met her later on, she didn't look as much like Carrie, but I told her she did on film and she said "Oh good, maybe she'll send me some money for tuition" -- she's going to med school.

So I got to see what the interview process was like. Cort was sitting at a table, approving cuts or giving ideas for further questions. I was sitting with Lara (whom I didn't realize was Lara Ross -- and she was explaining things or people to me off and on). Phil, the director, was standing just to the right of the camera. He had a binder with pages of our information on it. So he could read about us and ask questions. Kali would answer each question (like "How has Slim in 6 changed your life?") repeating the question so someone would know what the question was without hearing it. She would answer "Since I started doing Slim in 6, . . . " then she'd fill in the answer. It was really fun to watch.

Next they called me in for make-up and hair styling. This was very, very fun for me. I came with no make-up or hair style and walked out looking better than I've ever felt I looked. She did wonders! It was so fun to see the transformation. She put a little brown on my eye brows, for example, and all of the sudden, my eyes opened up so bright and full. And when she put the lip color on (no lip stick -- just the brush and creamy stuff), my whole face came together.

She had fun adding volume and style to my hair. No one's every done my hair like she did before and somehow it looked sophisticated, but not too old. I really loved it. So I walked around from that point feeling so classy. It was great.

Kali came up to the little make-up room while I was there and needed some touch-up for her photo. She was in her bikini -- an orange bikini. She looked so great, yet felt a little self-conscious walking around everyone with a bikini and high heels. There were always people everywhere.

She finished up, then I watched Jocelyn get her street clothes pictures taken.. The photographer took tons of pictures just like you see with super models on TV. I saw some of Monica's pictures on the computer and they looked amazing.

Next I got my turn. I wish I remembered the photographer's name because I liked him so much. He grew up in a family of 6 children, so he liked talking to me about my family. He would tell me how to place my feet and give little tips, then would tell me to stand still for a few shots, then to move on my own from there. I never knew if I was doing what would look good, but just kept trying different things. At one point, he told me to throw up my hands like I was celebrating and I did. And he said, "You're the first one who got that pose right!" -- I felt so good. But then when he said to do it a few more times, I wondered if I'd mess up the second or third times.

When he had me do the straight on shots, he said my pant legs needed to be tighter because the room in my pants made my legs look bigger than they really were. So Nikolas came in and took clothes pins to pull the jeans back so they'd fit tighter. So fun to be "worked on."

After that, I was back in the wardrobe room (which became Debbie's dressing room on the film days) to figure out what to wear for my workout photos. By some small miracle, Nikolas and Heather liked what I brought and I got to wear my new pink top I bought at Target! (I love it and hadn't worn it yet).

The workout photos were fun to pose for. He had me stand for many, then had me do action shots, leaping and stuff. Who KNOWS what those will look like, but it was fun to do. He said, "Do some move from the video" and my mind went blank. I'm thinking of plie's and arm motions and I knew that wouldn't look good. The only thing I could think of was punches. So I did punches for awhile.

When I got done, Jocelyn was walking through in her bikini and heels. It was so funny because a lot of people were gathered in this room with a couch near the front door. And Marc (who drove us there) had blushed earlier when Kali was in her bikini. This time he just turned around when Jocelyn was talking to everyone. When she walked out, he said, "I'm sorry, but I just can't talk to a woman in a bikini." Very cute.

Then it was interview time. I really wanted to see Jocelyn's interview, but by the time I got dressed back in street clothes, the door was shut. I asked if I could open it and everyone said "No" like it was a really big no-no during the shoot. I could understand, but I really wanted to be in there. So I hung out with the make-up artist and a few of the BB people (I think it was Lara and a few others).

** My daughter is waking up (just had her surgery) -- I'll be back later.

Day 1 3/4 (I promise -- I'll come to the end eventually!)

At one point, they took a break on Jocelyn's interview and I got to walk in and watch. She'd been nervous beforehand and she did just great. But when she was done, she told me it was hard (and I thought "Don't tell me that -- I wasn't scared!") -- but I figured it would be okay. At the end of her interview, Cort came and asked her some questions. That was fun to see because he didn't talk as much as some of the others, so it was nice to get to see a bit more of what he was like.

Then it was my turn. I walked out to the center of the lights and camera and they had me put my feet near these padded blocks. They looked through the camera and said my sweater (from the photo shoot) wouldn't work. I thought the color was too pale, but they said the lines on my sweater caused some digital lines on camera.

So I was sent back to Wardrobe to find a new shirt. I was hoping to get something that wasn't sleeveless, but Heather insisted they needed to see my arms -- since she was so nice about the bikini, I just left it there). They chose this pink shirt that was pretty low cut. So I asked if we could layer something under it. But Niklas (the pro that he is) found another shirt that was similar in color and fabric and cut a big chunk out of it. He taped and pinned the fabric onto me and my shirt, but I could see the pin. She he whipped out a needle and thread and quickly sewed it in.

I ran back to the interview room and met Phil. He told me to answer the questions like the preface of his question in a complete sentence, then asked me how many children I have. I told him "6" and he said, "No, you say, "I have 6 children" -- and I saw we were playing a little game.

So he asked a few test questions to see if I had the system down, then the interview began. But I told him I had a question first. Everyone was talking about Slim in 6 and I told him that I mostly did the Slim Series for my results and only did a few of the Slim in 6s (Keep It Up, Slim & Limber, and Slim & 6-pack). So I wondered if I should say "Slim Series" instead. He asked Cort and he said that all of those workouts are under the brand name "Slim in 6" so I should just group them under that. So I did. Once I slipped and said "Slim Series" at the end and they caught is, but let it go. I guess maybe most of the customers wouldn't know exactly what the SS was.

In fact, two of the other women in the cast had only done the initial Slim in 6 set and hadn't tried the SS (Debbie was a little amazed at that -- now they're going to try the SS).

So Phil and I chatted for awhile. And at one point (I think when he asked how Debbie's workout were different than others -- why they worked better than my other workouts), I told him that on the way there (on the plane), I decided to count how many videos I've done (because I thought it was probably over a hundred and if I talked about that, I wanted to not overexaggerate), and I got up to 291! I told him that after I had my last baby, I was doing all these advanced workouts and wasn't losing weight at all. It wasn't until I tried Debbie's that I was able to quickly lose inches and break that plateau. (and did rotations a few more times after that, breaking plateaus both those times too).

When I mentioned the 291 videos, his jaw dropped like crazy. He stopped me afterwards and just said "You mean you've done 291 videos!" and was just floored. We talked about it for awhile, then Cort said that if I use an exact number like that, people may think I made it up, so he said just to say "over 200" -- I asked "Can I say 'almost 300?'" and he said just to say "over 200" -- I guess he thought people might think almost 300 was made up too. He must not spend a lot of time on VF, huh? We'd understand it, no problem. But maybe the common man wouldn't.

So it was a fun process. I could have gone on and on, but they ran out of tape, and since I was the last one, they just decided to stop there. Phil took me aside afterwards and told me that he's participated in Slim in 6 interviews before and the 3 that day, but it wasn't until my interview that he's been interested in trying them for himself. He told me about some weight he's been wanting to lose and after hearing what I've had to say, he wants to do them too. I told him that my main passion for wanting to come was to be able to let women who are getting older like I am, and are thinking they just can't lose weight anymore, know that there is a method that can break through those plateaus. And he said, "Well, you just told me and it worked -- thank you." It was pretty cool.

There was a man on the infomercial set (the sound man) who looked so much like an actor in a scripture movie my kids love to watch that I was dying to know if it was him. I kept studying him to try to figure out if it was him or not. I finally just went up and asked him if he'd done any acting before -- he said only in plays when he was a kid. :) I explained why I'd asked and told him I had to know because my kids would enjoy knowing had it been that actor. Then we joked about me taking a picture anyway and just pretending like he was the actor since he looked so much like him. Of course, we did it. :)

When I was finished, most everyone was gone and Marc gave me a ride back to the hotel. I'd only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before and was very ready for bed. The hotel had several huge down pillows, a down comforter, etc. -- I quickly called my husband, then went to sleep by 8:30.

The switched our schedule so we were filming on W (tomorrow!) instead of Th, so I knew I needed my sleep. What a day!

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