A Vampire, Britney, and Me

It was a bitter cold day in the no mans time between Christmas and New Year, and I did what all self-respecting, self employed people do — watch television.  Lots of television.

After catching up on all episodes of Banshee, re-watching The Borgias, and wondering where Homeland is going after this season’s killing (is he really hung dead?) off of the main character, my options somewhat exhausted, I flicked through the movie section of Comcast On Demand.



AHHHHH, vampire movie.  Mikey likes vampire movies.  Click. Click.  BOOM!

The movie was Shadow of the Vampire.  And it was what my mother and I call an Aunt Jean Movie.

What is an Aunt Jean Movie?

My Aunt Jean (who is my favorite aunt and always has been) has, let’s say “unusual” taste in movies.  She likes flicks that no one else likes — films you have heard of like Snakes on a Plane, and movies you have never heard of, like Mothra Kills and Eats Godzilla and then Poops Him Out.  Except, I made that title up.  She comes up with titles you swear don’t exist, but then find yourself watching hours and hours of Mothra Evacuates.  

Anyway, I digress.  Shadow of the Vampire is a great Aunt Jean movie.  If you’ve missed this award winning flick, let me recap:

A director sets out to make the most realistic vampire movie, ever.  To achieve this, he hires a real vampire to play the part of Count Dracula, renamed for legal reasons.  The real vampire proceeds to eat most of the film crew, and the director runs around trying to keep the production going.


“Whatever you do, don’t eat Michael!” Said the director to the vampire.

(Lips smacking) I will eat whomever I want!” Replied the undead night stalker, “and he looks delicious.”

The director then has to fly in a new camera man, because the vampire ate the old one.  That’s only one of the production’s challenges.  Tirelessly, the hero director plods along until his film is successfully in theaters.

Fast forward a couple of days.  Channel surfing, nothing on I haven’t watched.  And then, gold.

Britney.  As in, Britney Spears.

Now, to give you an idea of how much of a Britney Spears fan I am, know this:  I Googled her name to make sure I spelled it right for this post.  I don’t exactly have a Britney heart tattooed on my rear end, or a bottle or two of Spears’ perfume on my dresser.  In fact, only when I Googled her name did I know she had a perfume.  That said, her special documentary on E! Entertainment Television about creating her Las Vegas show at Planet Hollywood was television gold, and here is why:

The trials and tribulations the production crew suffered to pull off the show are the same trials and tribulations I endure to pull off a green screen photo execution.  The only difference is degree.  They are producing a show that will be seen, recorded, and examined by millions of people.  I am typically at an event attended by a few thousand, and almost never have a running commentary by E! Entertainment Television jabbering over my shoulder.  So, the degree is different, but the problems, the challenges of successfully pulling off the event, are the same.

Britney (sniffle, this makes me tear up) got Vegas throat her third day in Vegas.  OMG!  I GET VEGAS THROAT EVERY TIME I’M IN SIN CITY.

Britney’s crew flew with all their non-fedexed gear in huge, duct taped, green Walmart containers.  OMG!  I HAVE THOSE SAME CONTAINERS IN MY STORAGE UNIT.  HOWEVER, I FLY WITH PELICAN CASES.  EAT THAT, SPEAR’S PRODUCTION CREW. I AM MORE PROFESSIONAL.

Britney’s production team couldn’t get the right specs out of Planet Hollywood, resulting in the entire set being created 4″ to big for the stage.  OMG!  I CAN NEVER GET THE SPACE DIMENSIONS FROM MY CLIENT, EVER.  OFTEN I’M TOLD, “WE HAVE A HUGE SPACE!” ONLY TO ARRIVE AND FIND I HAVE 8″ X 8″ BOOTH, NOT 8′ X 8′.  OOOPS!  I DID IT AGAIN!

So, here are two completely different shows with two different artists, both suffering the same challenge: making sure their production is successful.  Our Vampire Director keeps executing solution after solution to make sure his movie results in Oscar gold.  Unfortunately, he does get eaten at the end.  Britney and team take each challenge in stride, and — of course — end up with a fantastic production.  Britney doesn’t get eaten.  (She is very innocent, shhhh!)

What did this teach me?  Creative people are all the same.  It doesn’t matter if you are producing a movie, a multi-million dollar concert, or a smaller photo execution.  We all — ALL — strive against challenge after challenge, and overcome those challenges to pull off a great production.  That’s what makes Britney, Britney. Like her or hate her, you know her brand.  Why?  Because she’s worked endlessly with her crew to develop it, making sure everything touched is successful.  The Vampire Director? His movie was made.  And, though eaten, he achieved his goal: the most realistic vampire movie, ever.

I walked away from both shows looking forward to returning to work.

After all, the show must go on.  Where is that damned crucifix?


Above: Promotional photos for both the Shadow of the Vampire and Britney.  So similar, so similar. I think it’s the complexion.