My first feature film is shooting in two weeks, and I’m really excited. So excited, in fact, that I’m perhaps not stopping and thinking through every e-mail I receive. Exhibit A: a missive in my in-box from the director which asked if it were possible to rent a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat for one of our leads to use during filming.
Now, a screenwriter is something of a Jane-of-all-trades, so after replying that I didn’t have any insider knowledge of dumbbells (other than being one, ha ha), I said that I was happy to look into it, and asked what weight level was needed. Armed (get it?) with that information, I then started my research. I first checked availability at the local Walmart, then less local Walmarts (there are, it turns out, a lot of Walmarts in Oklahoma) and when none seemed to have all the necessaries, I enlisted the help of the official Twitter feed for the town where we’ll be filming. The town’s Twitter was every bit as helpful and obliging as one would expect from rural Oklahoma, not at all put off by my request, and so the search continued.
At this point I also went next door to my wife Debbie’s home office (a corner of our bedroom) and asked her about it. I said (as I had told the director), that while, as a screenwriter, I certainly wasn’t expecting this request, I was happy to help. She then very graciously suggested that I bring her yoga mat to Oklahoma with me. Okay, maybe that wasn’t a serious suggestion. But Debbie later claimed that she had all sorts of actual great ideas about how to procure dumbbells and yoga mats in Oklahoma, none of which she shared out loud with me. What she did share out loud was an extended discourse on the time Smallville star Tom Welling and his family spent in her home town of Janesville, Wisconsin. You can read more about Tom’s family background at https://www.thefancarpet.com/actor/tomwelling/
Anyway, while the Tom Welling digression isn’t quite, for reasons I can’t yet reveal, as digressive as it might appear, it did nothing to solve my dumbbell problem. And it is very important that a screenwriter been seen as a team player in Hollywood — so far the director, producers, and crew had been lovely towards me, but I knew one guy banned from the set of his own first film, and I was anxious to avoid a similar fate. So while I waited for a Twitter reply and wondered what to do next (should I call the B&B where we would be staying? should I see if Amazon ships dumbbells direct?), I received another e-mail from the director. And with this one, the gig was up.
You see, in addition to extending the dumbbell discussion, this next e-mail asked me to update “your friend” on the arrival of our leads, and also asked very specific questions about the timing of certain COVID testing protocols. And then it dawned on me, as it likely has you, that in fact these emails were meant for a different dumbbell, I mean Adam. And so they were.
But I’m not abandoning my knowledge of dumbbells, nor of Tom Welling’s childhood. Because in this business, you just never know.