We’ve had our Hollywood moment. Whoops! There it went. Did you see it?
No fret. No sweat. I’ll just back up the DVD, press the super-slo-mo button…
The e-mail arrived from “a casting director” in “Los Angeles.” She represented Stiletto Entertainment (stiletto? Knife or heel?). She was on the prowl for younger men with older women to appear in a documentary-style reality show for TLC, tasteful, you know, a “love story,” you know, a “real-life Harold and Maude.”
Anyway, she said she’d read a piece in AARP: The Magazine written about me (which, incidentally, had been written by me about me), and she thought Sheri and I would be great for the show, would I want to schedule a call, chat?
Sure I would. I don’t watch TLC, and I didn’t know what sort of entertainment Stiletto had in mind, but I’m up for adventure, Hollywood cash, and, at the very least, a blog post. So I called the casting director.
But before that, I checked out Stiletto Entertainment on the internet. I expected porn, or street gangs, or street gang porn. I discovered instead that their big speciality is providing talent for cruise ships. Their other No. 1 speciality? Barry Manilow. Older women with younger men? We’re soooo in their demographic.
“We’re more about focusing on what’s going on in your life rather than creating something,” the casting director told me. In particular, they wanted people in an important moment. I thought of my wife’s upcoming birthday (it’s one of those people mark) and how we plan to celebrate–at a resort in Montana. Just perfect for a reality/documentary show, I thought. I didn’t mention this, though.
“This is definitely going to be in the realm of sharing life stories,” she said. “We want to find healthy, happy, successful relationships to show. We don’t want the people who want to be on TV.”
“How much does the appearance pay?” I asked the casting director.
“I’ll get back to you with that,” she said. She encouraged me to mention the show on this blog and to check out TLC’s shows so I could see for myself how tasteful they are.
So, we hung up. And I visited the TLC website. And I knew, right quick, that we don’t want to be on that channel. Virgin Diaries? 19 kids and whatever? Polygamists? How morbidly obese women give birth? One review I read called TLC the “master of the modern freak show.” After watching the trailer for Virgin Diaries, I thought never us, never-never-ever, not in a million freaking years.
Unless the money was right. And by right I mean in the tens of thousands. High tens. Maybe then. And yes, I know that's selling us cheap, but times are hard.
A couple of weeks later Hollywood e-mailed back with the offer.
“Just a quick update, the couples featured on the show WILL be compensated. I think filming would only be a few days where we'd come to you to do more interviews and get a glimpse into your everyday lives etc. I'm not sure of the rate yet as they are figuring that out but I hope this helps a bit!”
Ms. Casting Director, it helped not at all. Compensated? You can be compensated without being paid. Are we talking “tens of thousands” or a couple hundred? Are we talking A GRATIS CRUISE FEATURING BARRY MANILOW IN PERFORMANCE?
I did write back. And we won’t be on the TLC show. But if Stiletto does make the pilot, and TLC airs it, you can bet we’ll watch. And you can bet we’ll tell you what we think.