Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Different World

I, of course, think that educators have the hardest job there is. The hours are long and seep over into time for family and time for rest. The stress is palpable - from the second the kids hit the building until the buses get them home - there is an "energy" in a school; I've often called it a "simmering pot." Will it erupt? Or can we effectively keep it just at the boiling point? So, yes, teaching is strenuous and stressful, but at the same time rewarding and wonderful. And I'm glad I've never done anything else! But yesterday I found out that there are other stressful jobs out there. And I was able to watch one in action.

Because of some exciting, and surprising, circumstances, I will be appearing on Good Morning America next week, one day after my 51st birthday. Yesterday the production crew pulled up in front of my house with so much equipment that my neighbor came out and asked, "Whatcha doin'? Making a movie?" It took over an hour to set up the camera, lights, screens, monitors, and other equipment that I can't name. Not only did they have to organize their stuff; they also organized mine - they were moving furniture while picking up pictures and plants to place "in the frame" of the shot. There were so many decisions about details - should this plant go here? Is there too much light coming in the window? My den was unrecognizable quickly, and here's what I couldn't believe: they changed the scenery for every interview.

The transformation begins in the den...

An overhead view of Lisa before the interview. (We weren't allowed in the room during the interviews.)

They interviewed my sister first. Then they moved things around and interviewed my mother. Next we changed rooms; my granddaughter Taylor and I made cookies in the kitchen for an "at home" kind of shot. Then they took time to move the entire set to the kitchen - it was my turn to interview. Next, after a few prop changes (moving things from my kitchen that haven't been moved in the fifteen years I've lived in the house), it was my daughter Kelli's turn. Last, we hopped in the car and rode to the site of my elementary school where we got some footage. Finally, we returned home at almost 3:00, having started the process at 9:30 AM! The crew was dripping with sweat (I was, too!) and no one had eaten except to nibble on some muffins and doughnuts I had out when they got there. These guys work hard!

Here I am goofing around for a shot on the monitor.

And there is stress involved. Every noise had to be dealt with. For example, I was surprised to find a set of keys in my refrigerator! I was enlightened to a common routine: they turn the refrigerator off so as not to hear the noise during the interview. They put their keys in the frig so they'll remember to turn it back on (they can't leave without their keys!) The producer also nicely asked my neighbors to postpone their yardwork and home improvement projects until we were done. Unfortunately, due to remnants of Tropical Storm Fay, everyone's grass had grown really high, and everyone needed to mow on a Saturday! But neighbors were happy to cooperate, and it was an exciting adventure.

The story? GMA is trying to reunite me with my first grade teacher (from 45 years ago!) I won't give away the story yet...I'll wait until it airs and then write again. But if you get the chance, watch on Friday morning, September 5th, so that you can see the results of a day's worth of work. The entire piece will probably take about ten minutes! But it was an exciting day for me and the girls in my family!

Here I am on the site of my elementary school (it burned to the ground in 1991) with GMA producer Brian O'Keefe. Last week he was at the Democratic National Convention and the week before that he was interviewing Christina Applegate. While we were filming he asked me to "stare pensively into space." He then told me about the time he asked Cheryl Crowe to do the same thing. Those types of conversations made this entire experience surreal!

This shot with me in a blue blouse reminds me that I changed clothes three times until they got the color they liked. I started with white, but that's a no-no. I changed to black (to look thinner, of course) but that doesn't work either (black sucks in all the light and pulls it away from the face.) I ended up with this blue one but really like my white blouse better!

Stay tuned for the story of my trip to New York. Will I see Mrs. Warnecke again? (I don't know - they say they haven't found her yet...) Watch if you can!


Nancy Flanagan said...

Hey, Cindi.

I did truly love the way the interview came across on GMA today, and the absolutely touching moment when you and Mrs. Warnecke (how could you ever call her Barbara??) were swept together with magnetic force. I watched your arms go up and thought "this is the first time Mrs. Warnecke has seen Cindi as a colleague and treasured friend, and not a bright little girl with big dreams."

Sometime, I'll tell you about having a camera crew in my classroom for five full days to film for Annenberg's Learning Classroom series. The producer was NYC all the way (and left her Starbucks cups on my piano and the timpani heads, causing my students to have to tattle on her). She eventually approached me on Day 3 and told me that my classroom was "too Mayberry" and that she wanted a little more "Boston Public" type action--so could we stage a crisis of some sort? She wore a long scarf wrapped twice around her neck that dragged on the floor. She did, however, let me wear black all week.

I love the interior shots of your home (and the inside dope on working with GMA). You "represented" well today, Cindi. I was proud to know you.


Unknown said...

Hey Mrs. Rigsbee,
I was soooooooo excited when I saw you on GMA this morning! The whole school can honestly say that we know a celebrity now! Everyone says hi and we love you and miss you and we wish that you were at Gravelly this year. I cant wait for you to visit!
Luv ya,