Friday, January 16, 2015

Gringo Killed the Video Star

The rainy season had passed and cooler temperatures were a welcome invitation as I sat at my desk with the three buttons of my sport coat fastened. It was a neat and typical sort of day as I sat with a bow tie straightened in contrast to a head of untamed hair. Sunlight warmed the room and Chopin may have softly played out from my MacBook. It was a calm, predictable Tuesday.

A voice filled my office and captured my attention, “Good morning Pastor Shepherd, you are going to film a commercial. Please write the script and we’ll film in 20 minutes. Thank you.”

This is the sort of spontaneity that I love about what I do. I grabbed an ink pen, a crisp, white sheet of typing paper and begin to write out what I needed to say. After getting it proofed and perfected, I typed it into a word document, enlarging the font to create a cue card that I could tape underneath the camera lense.

Down the hallway I went with my neat bow tie and wild hair. Balance in life is important. The lights began to warm the air as the countdown hit zero and I delivered my lines. After a few takes and coaching of: talk louder, be more animated, use micro-expressions (what is that anyway?) and… “In Guatemala we like to talk with our hands,” I had an acceptable shoot.

I was grinning with happiness with the relief that it was over. It was at this euphoric moment that the voice again filled the room. “Pastor Shepherd, that was fabulous, now you’re going to do it in Spanish!” He said it with such exuberance, like it was an amazing idea that surely would change the world! I was not the least bit enthused, but I forced a smile as I said, “but I can’t.” He said, “oh yes, you can.” 

The countdown began and he pointed to me.  I stared at the camera and stumbled through my name and then my brain was unable to access a single Spanish word.  They shut off the camera and I exhaled with relief. I was surely off the hook. But no, “Pastor Shepherd, I am going to speak what you need to say, you will write it down like it sounds to you, and then you will say it for the camera.”

And so… with a single take that left the entire room laughing hysterically, here is the result. 

His final words to me were, “Pastor Shepherd, it is PERFECT! You’re accent is fabulous, people will LOVE it.” Apparently he was correct. It has had over 21 thousand views on YOUTUBE and is still climbing! 

I was sitting again in my office several days later when a prospective family walked past my office. Suddenly the elementary aged son shouted out as he pointed at me, “LOOK! There he is, it’s the funny Gringo from the video!”

I am famous.

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