|Ray Bradbury "Zero Hour" Old Time Radio Science Fiction 1955 .mp3|
|Found at bee mp3 search engine|
I play "Anna." I was nine years old. My Dad was a sound effects guy at CBS, Tom Hanley. He did not do the sound effects on this show, but he got me the audition for this job. I got to join AFTRA, not that I knew that at the time...
So, it seems that I am ""healthy" according to my Real Deal healer in Bali, whose name I can't pronounce. My only health problem according to him is that I worry too much. (OK, I do.) And he also said to me, "You good mother." I don't think being a good mother is a health problem, but I think when you ARE a good mother, worrying too much comes with the territory.
Anyhow, I had my healing and now I'm cured from excessive worry. Let me just say that getting healed is not exactly pain-free! See for yourself!
So if you also want to go to Bali and get healed from worrying too much, the good news is that you'll only worry about the plane crashing on the way over.
So I'm on a big shoot today, so big that we have 300 extras!
It's kind of a PSA where people are on camera saying they aren't going to tolerate certain societal bad behaviors... bullying, intolerance, homophobia, ageism, violence, racism, sexism, harassment, hate, etc. All nice thoughts. I'm all for it. I really am. The world would be better! Let's do it!
But when it comes to television, if we didn't have the lower emotions to put on TV, there wouldn't be anything to watch! I mean, love and compassion, etc. is all well and good and everything, but you know, after about a minute or so two it's like watching grass grow or paint dry or politicians cooperate for the common good... BORING! Television needs something that MOVES!
By Bev Feldman
I am driving to a job this am... it's a big commercial. (I work in the entertainment business.) I am listening to my car radio, KPCC/NPR to a call-in show, where a patient advocate (publicizing her book) is talking about whether or not one should question an MD's diagnosis. Well, having experienced my daughter being serially misdiagnosed by 24 different doctors, I have strong opinions about parents advocating for their child and insisting upon a diagnosis that fits ALL of the symptoms, not just the ones they can make into individual diseases. It's a stand that can make you unpopular with doctors. Too bad.
I get out my AT&T iPhone and call the station. I talk to the screening guy, who really loves the angle of a parent advocating on behalf of their child and so he moves me to the front of queue. I'm next!!! I am so excited! I have fire in the belly: I'm going to have the chance to talk about the misdiagnoses of Lyme Disease in Southern California! The information I give out will raise awareness and will literally save lives!
No it won't.
My AT&T iPhone dependably drops the call. I am sputtering. I am apoplectic! I yell in my car. I pound the steering wheel! I get to the set, and I throttle the first unfortunate production assistant I can find. I tell him that I know he doesn't know me, but I need him to do me a very big favor and just LISTEN to me vent for 2 minutes. I do, and he kindly listens. I am better. I probably won't kill anyone.
I grab my equipment cart and roll into the stage to do my part on a big commercial for... AT&T.
I do teleprompting for a living. Recently I had a job where our location was on Rodeo Drive. Like, on the sidewalk, in front of Chanel.
Rodeo Drive is a VERY rarefied atmosphere, and you better have a permit to shoot there or else. The producers had obtained a valid permit, we all dressed up in our best jeans, and we still had four visits from the Permit Enforcers. One grinning cop had just come from busting a hapless Japanese film crew. The fresh notch on his gun handle did not escape me.
Turns out the BH Permit Department, which had ok'd a teleprompter for the production, thought a teleprompter was just a monitor. They were unhappy to learn that it includes batteries (because you can't plug into a palm tree, people), and worse, a blue collar person to run it, who sits in a chair, all in full view of rich people. The cop was eyeballing my Coleman camping chair and threatened that he may have to take it away from me because it was not Herman Miller.
I do understand. Rodeo Drive is ALL about image. Which of these two images screams "Rodeo Drive" to you?
A) Woman in scruffy camping chair doing professional work on the sidewalk
B) Woman in designer kneepads doing professional work on the sidewalk
Of course the right answer is B).
But if they were going to arrest my chair, I'd be ok because I'd already picked out a pair of Chanel kneepads in Orchid Haze that would not only be a business expense, but useful at home (particularly over the holidays).
BH residents take no shit off anyone trying to parallel park on Rodeo Drive; they just lay on the horn until the driver is bleeding from the ears and drives off to the hospital and then they take their parking space. Do you know how LOUD a Rolls Royce horn is? OMG.
Larry King strode by on his morning Rodeo Drive constitutional... I saw Reese Witherspoon in the Chanel Kneepad aisle, and Sylvester Stallone walked by us having a very animated conversation with another guy, the main recognizeable words of which were "fuck", "fuckin'," and "fuckin' asshole." Twenty minutes later, Stallone and the same guy walk back past us. This time the recognizeable words were, "shit", "shitty", and "shitfaced asshole." I enjoy being around the rich and classy.
The Permit cop didn't confiscate my chair. I'm glad about that. And Tom is very complimentary of my new kneepads...
/ / / / / / /
Tired of paying $84 a month for DirecTV? First of all, there's no way to cancel it online, so forget it. You can spend money online with them a zillion different ways, but you can't cancel. You have to call them.
Next, by phone you'll be presented with a recorded voice and list of choices, none of which are "I want to cancel my account!" So you interrupt the robot voice and scream, "AGENT!" The voice will say something like, "OK, but tell me what you need." And you say, "I want to cancel."
Eventually, you will get a live person whose first lines of his/her script are an insincere thank you for being a customer since (month, year). Now here comes the fun part: Directv will not hear of you cancelling! No way! You are a beloved VALUED CUSTOMER and they are going to make you happy! And you say, "Thank you for your scripted appreciation. I am cancelling my account now."
"Great, (your name) but WHY are you cancelling?"
"I don't watch TV."
"But (your name), don't you at least want to watch the local stations?"
"No. I want to cancel my account. Now."
They will not let you cancel without you answering a hundred more questions that they hope will lead to retaining you as a Valued Customer. So it is at this point that you have to tell the person to STOP TALKING. (Resist the urge to ask to speak to a supervisor, because they will put you on hold for a week in the hopes your appendix will burst while you're waiting and you'll think better of it. So don't bother.)
Instead, take the reigns of this nag and follow your own script: (and you have my blessings to use this script as a TEMPLATE for cancelling anything!)
I am cancelling my Directv account.
(SOUND FX: ELECTRONIC BEEP)
Dude, did you hear that beep?
Yes, what was that?
It's my Flipcam turning on.
Since you're making an audio recording of our conversation "for quality and training purposes," I'm making a video of our conversation for mental health purposes.
Listen carefully: I'm cancelling my Directv account now. Really.
If you aggressively disregard my request to CANCEL MY ACCOUNT NOW, I'm posting my video on You Tube. How this goes is entirely up to you.
You can either cancel my account MY WAY, or you can do it YOUR WAY and that's fine, because there's a teeny tiny chance you could become a YouTube sensation along with the cute puppies. So what will it be?"
They will cancel your account.
# # # #
I work in The Biz, usually TV, working directly with the Stars. Been at it since 1982. Now I'm usually the oldest person (and only adult) on the set. I love it.
This may be herectical and suicidal, but one of my favorite books is Jerry Mander's "Four Arguments for the Elmination of Television," from 1978. "Whaddya mean 'elminate TV?' Impossible!" Well, you're right, those digital horses have long left the barn, and on a personal note, if TV were to be eliminated, so would my livelihood.
But Jerry's RIGHT: the medium of Television is deeply flawed. How? Read the damn book! But for starters, love and compassion do not play well on TV. Positive emotions on TV are like watching paint dry. BORING! But dysfunctionality and pathology? Gimme perps, pimps, losers, blood, and car crashes, that's great TV!
And don't forget, Television Viewers, that the SOLE purpose of TV is to keep YOUR EYEBALLS glued to the screen until the commercials come on to dumb you, demean you and sell to your ass, you CONSUMER, you!
So I show up on the set for this new "reality" show, which is targeted at women. It takes place inside a business that caters to grooming a part of the female anatomy. (Sorry, no clues. They made me sign things.)
This show is an exercise in voyeuristic narcissism. It's all about our long-in- the-tooth host. "Look at ME, people, look in the mirror like ME, stick your chest and butt out like ME, drink like ME, snag an old rich guy like ME and he'll buy you Jimmy Choo handbags and all you have to do is put out." Cool.
I get my gear set up, and She reads the first few lines. It is pathetic. She reads again. Bad. So the director says, "Oh, don't you just HATE prompter? Turn it off, Honey (that's me), I'm going to do LINE READS with her." (Note: to give line reads to an actor is an INSULT. It means the director acts out the line, and you MIMIC HIM because YOU can't act). But She thinks the director is giving her more attention.
I sit there for seven hours.
And The Little Voice in my head is whispering, "You know, Bev, this is your one and only life (probably), and you are being very responsible and making a living-- which is good -- but there's a lot of terrible things in the world that are crying for adult energy and help-- and you're in a room full of a lot of very talented people (minus one) that would rather work on things that have some meaning, or make a contribution, or lift the human spirit. But Jerry Mander's RIGHT -- advertisers pay for EYEBALLS and they are never going to pay for happy people leading satisfying lives when they can buy bitch brawls!
"And Bev, on a personal note, just how long you think you're gonna live, anyway? You and Cher are both on Medicare, if you get my drift. You've traded another day of your life's energy for money! By the end of today you'll have lost another 10,000 brain cells you'll never see (or remember about) again, lined your arteries with a new layer of Bad Cholesterol, and peed out significant amounts of calcium from your bones and teeth. I'm just concerned about your mortality, Bev."
Isn't this what we ALL ponder when we reach "a certain age", if not before? Well, stay tuned, because I'm going to start looking at this dilemma in more depth. I need some time to think.
Tonight, Tom and I are in the kitchen, preparing dinner, and we have a spontaneous hug and a kiss. The hug is a NICE hug... and I say to Tom, "Are you looking to get lucky?" And he says, "Is there anything else to look for?"
There is a war going on in my house, mainly in the kitchen. We are overrun by moths. They're everywhere! Open a kitchen cabinet, and generations of moth families fly out, so many of them that you can actually see moth evolution! We have blisters on our hands from clapping so much. Our next door neighbors think we do a weird kitchen martial art.
Finally we went through all the food cabinets one by one, and threw out tons of food -- anything that had the appearance of being "infected." We also rediscovered a lot of food that we didn't know that we had. Lychee nuts. Sardines. Wasabi.
Frankly, I don't care that the bread flour has moths and miniature black beetles. I figure it's all protein and it blends in with the caraway seeds. Most of our moths come from Trader Joe's nut bags. Let them sit long enough, and they are like ant farms except with wings.
But there's no harm done, and I think everybody is quite healthy. Except for our sore palms.
I grew up in the 50's. WWII Veteran Dad, a stay-at-home Mom. Middle class, Irish Catholic. It was pretty idyllic, not that I knew that then. My Mom and Dad were wonderful parents. Our way of thinking and being was "conventional," and it was a very nice life. However, I showed early signs of not being entirely conventional. These signs were sometimes tolerated but often hastily extinguished without explanation. There was a me inside that was trying to get out and express itself. When that threatened the unspoken family proscribed ways to think and be, I got into trouble. The ME in me trying to get out had to go back inside.
One person was an exception to this: my grandfather, Beverly Green Goodrich, my Mom's Dad.
He was a wonderful man, and fantastic grandfather to me. Somehow, I knew that he knew who I was, even though I didn't. Instead of shutting me down, he made room for me. He took me places. He made me things. I wanted a crossbow and he was the only person I could tell about it. So he MADE me one and showed me how to use it. He made it out of wood scraps and cut a automobile innertube for the bowstring. It worked! I had a couple of days of play with my crossbow and I shot small rocks about a half a block. When I went home and showed it to my Mom, it was taken away from me.
No one else ever "got me" so well until I met Tom Feldman. After a time, he knew who I was better than I did! He gave me a lot of room, he knows what I want, and it's been 28 years together. It's the best.
So tonight, after a too-busy day of one dead car, and a dead washing machine, plus a self-populating to-do list a mile long, I say to Tom, "I really need to lie down. Can I do that? Or is it illegal?" And he says, "No, no, its fine, go ahead, I'll text a new to-do list to you."
That should be funny!
In our house, it's not. Because it's... true.
Last week I was in my car and on the radio came an ad for a non-profit that grants last wishes to dying children. I got a lump in my throat. I made a mental note to remember to make a donation. Then another commercial followed it, unbelievably, for caskets. CASKETS-TO-GO! I’m NOT kidding-- you can't make this stuff up.
So after I got home, I called the Caskets To Go number, 1-800-EXPIRED.
Twenty-one years ago I took a stand-up comedy class... can't even remember why, other than I think I thought it would be fun. After a few classes, I became ill and could not continue. Turns out I was pregnant! (See "Getting Pregnant, Winnebago Style" elsewhere on this site.) It was a difficult pregnancy and I was confined to bed.... never finishing the class.
So, FINALLY, I got back around to it 21 years later! And I showcased at the Hollywood Improv with my classmates two nights ago! It was soooo much fun, though I was scared (to death). I did well. My routine was about being a hippie in Santa Cruz in the 70's.
Standup is very enlivening. I think everybody over 60 should be required to do a class before proceeding further. God knows you have enough material!!!
Anyway a guy came up to me afterwards and told me how much he liked my act. He was a recruiter for The Comedy Store and he invited me to do an 8 minute set there!
I will have my DVD of my performance at the end of the week... and I'll post it here, or at least there will be a link to it.
A Fort Pierce, FL woman (whose name we won't mention to preserve what micron of dignity she has left) called 911 after she learned that McDonald's had run out of McNuggets. She was refused a refund after paying for her McNuggets by the restaurant, but was offered a larger substitute meal. Naturally, she called 911 for help. Three times. She was cited for misusing 911.
"Participating in certain mental activities, like reading magazines or crafting in middle age or later in life, may delay or prevent memory loss, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, April 25 to May 2, 2009."
Ok, so the above article from the Academy of Neurology reports on certain activities that help your brain.... and then they mention they've noticed that people who watch LESS than seven hours a day of TV are 50% less likely to develop memory problems, like Alzheimers. Wow.
People watch SEVEN HOURS A DAY of TV???? Kill me!
To those who know me, the fact that I'm taking a standup comedy class from Judy Carter will probably not be a total surprise.
But me as a "statistic" is not a likely candidate for learning standup:
2. Over 60
It's really number 3 that makes me most unsuitable for standup. I had wonderful parents. No comedy material there. I had a great childhood. Not much there, either, other than the Catholic thing and that's been done by others probably better than I could do. Standup is turning your internal rants on external speaker in a lean way followed by a "turn" which reveals something about you.
"I do dinner in three phases: serve the food, clear the table, bury the dead." (Phyllis Diller)
I didn't think that I had many rants outside of doctors and HMOs, but it turns out I do, and that it's ok to get up and talk about them. Better than therapy, perhaps? I'll let you know.
In my profession of being a set technician in Hollywood, I get to work with some of the best comedians out there. (In the last 3 months... Steve Carrell, Lewis Black, Christopher Titus, Bob Saget, Dane Clark, Jeff Dunham, Kathleen Madigan.) I am coming to an awesome new appreciation of what they do.
The year was 1988. Up until then I didn't have any interest in having a baby. (I thought babies were highly overrated.) But at the age of 41 aliens invaded my brain... and I was thinking about it. Alas, this uterus was more than over the hill, it was ready for assisted living.
That's the downside of spending decades conducting auditions for the position of potential Daddy. I figured that raising a kid was best done by two parents, and it took me all that time to find the right guy! But Tom was worth the hassle: good man, good looking, and younger than me so statistically we should die about the same time. Added bonus: he's Jewish, I'm Catholic, two old religions that have the franchise on shame and guilt, the Mother Lode of delayed gratification.
You probably think this is the story of how Tom and I took a road trip in an RV full of beer and made a baby. Nope. We both hate beer and are frightened by the kinds of people who inhabit campgrounds who are not going home because they ARE home.
I am a professional teleprompter operator in Hollywood. Hollywood is all about winning, and my job is to help make film and TV celebrities, politicians, personalities, sports figures and CEOS win on camera as I scroll copy at their pace. Just because someone can read what's on the screen doesn't mean they can say it well because reading and speaking copy for performance is complex brain work, and harder than anyone thinks.
Since I don't change copy unless asked or the production is going down in flames, I carefully observe the initial rehearsal and note the speaker's troublespots (professional term: kerfluffles). And then I nudge their brain towards a winning performance with a customized combination of strategic word placement, congruent phrase breaks, justification, punctuation, font size and case. Truth to tell, I'm a "mind janitor." I come in and sweep away the conscious and unconsicous confusions that block the brain's path to a great speaking performance.
Not long ago I was booked for a job by a non-profit called A Better LA. It's an organization that stands for healthy change, growth, and non-violence in Los Angeles. And I was surprised and delighted to learn that the group's founder is legendary USC coach Pete Carroll. In previewing the script, I saw that I'd be prompting him!
(Bev Feldman spent New Year's Eve, 2009, in a Hollywood, California, Emergency Room with her husband, Tom. She filed this report bedside from Tom's gurney, located in the ER's overflowing hallway, right near the automatic doors.)
While waiting for Tom's prescription for oxycodone to materialize, I've been reminiscing that I've been with Tom for about 27 years. (We differ as to the exact date that this lusty alliance began, though we can agree on the wedding date.) When two people get together in a romantic way, both of you want to make the best impression possible. So this means that there cannot be full disclosure up front because the naked truth would cause the romantic momentum to slam into a psychological abutment and be prematurely DOA. You know what your fatal flaws are but the Romantic Rules state that you should not leak them: let 'em find out on their own and see how they handle it.
So who knew that my husband was a kidney stone maquiladora? Not me.
Tom creates and delivers a quality stone every four years. His internal production line was not something I was aware of until the day that he went from a normal coherent vertical guy to completely and profoundly horizontal, moaning, drooling, and licking the lint off the carpet in a cold sweat-- all in under 30 seconds.