Journal entry: May 2, 2005 (age 35) – Wrist Reminders
“Good God, man, get it together – you’re a professional!” I tried to frown this thought into my head this morning during the filming of a corporate training video. The client, an office supplies company, needed to demonstrate to their sales staff an effective pitch for a new product called Wrist Reminders.
Wrist Reminders are narrow strips of paper with adhesive on each end. You write notes to yourself on them, and then fasten them around your wrist like a bracelet. This requires you to carry around a Wrist Reminders book, in which you write the note on a horizontal strip of paper, separate the strip along perforated lines from strips above and below it, remove two little pieces from each end of the strip to expose the adhesive, dispose of the two little pieces that covered the adhesive, and fasten the strip around your wrist. Oh, and you also need a pen.
Our director, Steve Garlock, set up the camera while another actor, named Dave, and I listened to a company representative explain the Wrist Reminder concept. When he finished, there were many benign things I could have said to start us off on the right foot. Instead, I stated, “That is the stupidest idea I have ever heard.” It was quickly decided that Dave would take the role of the Wrist Reminder salesman, while I played the skeptical customer.
As we started filming, I stared intently at Dave, gravely nodding as he made the sales pitch. “You could use one to remind Grandma to take her medications, or to yourself to take out the trash. You could send your child to school with a Wrist Reminder to make sure they brought home their textbooks.” At the end of Dave’s long, flawless spiel, all I had to do was say, “But why would anyone want to buy this product?” But I couldn’t shake the image of an unfortunate middle-schooler being thrown against a locker for wearing jewelry that his mommy put on him as a “weminder.”
On the first five takes, my line deteriorated into a spasm of red-faced, air-gulping laughter. “But wuh-wuh-wuh-why…would a-anyone…” Everyone waited patiently as I struggled to regain my composure. After taking a minute to wipe my eyes with a tissue and take some deep breaths, I felt ready to nail the one serious take we needed.
Unfortunately, this time, Dave put the Wrist Reminder on before he realized that he had written the note on the wrong side – the inside of the bracelet. We stopped filming so he could remove, correct, and refasten the strip. But then the adhesive wouldn’t work, which sent the customer rep off in search of Scotch tape. The thought of the additional accessories needed to make this innovative product function properly was too much for me. I tried to say something, but I couldn’t breathe. At this point, Steve was laughing, too. He kept saying, “What? What?!”
Finally, after coughing and clearing my throat, I was able to croak, “We would have been fine, if someone had brought an Ankle Tape Dispenser.”