Leading up to Wednesday, June 23rd’s events, I kept reminding myself, “Self… You know what? You’re about to shoot a damn video…. woooooow.” This wasn’t some “It’s So Cold In the D” lookin’ video where it looks like they shot the footage from their cell phone and all of the extras are family members attempting to outshine even the star performer by fighting for face time. More like a video shot with all intentions of pushing it to household entertainment networks with the possibility of me and close friends and family being able to check us out on TV. It was told to me that I needed only one outfit for the shoot…. Just ONE?! Sheeeeeeeit… I packed a suit with two different shirts, three tie options and a black fedora. THEN I had couple more button-down shirts with slacks and a gray fedora. Now, let’s get this straight, rarely do I EVER overpack when I travel, but if there was any one time that I felt I had the right and the obligation to do so, this was it (*humbled* I later found out that I actually did only need one outfit for the shoot… but dammit, you couldn’t tell me nothin’ during my preparation). Anyway, I had my $3 Megabus ticket to Philly and was ready to get things moving.
I arrived in Philly at about 5pm on Tuesday, the day before the video shoot was to take place. I was picked up from 30th St. Station and taken to the hotel only a few exits past the airport. I immediately changed clothes for the gym and realized my ‘overpackedness’ did not carry over into my workout regiment as I forgot the shoes that I workout in… Therefore, I was forced to run on the elliptical in my damn shelltoe Adidas. Let’s just say I broke that 30 minutes of cardio up into two 15 minute intervals as my feet began to scream for mercy… Ironically, I completely erased any future results of my workout by inhaling a strong Cadillac Margarita and chasing that with a well done cheeseburger… :-\ (Joint was GREAT too…).
Staying up late equated to me waking up later than I wanted to. I set the alarm for 8:30a and didn’t even end up crawling outta the bed until about 9:30a to texts and missed calls from those who I had personally invited to the shoot making sure that I had a few more familiar faces in the spot being as though I knew I wouldn’t know most of the extras. I knew that they were gonna be set to shoot Erro’s (Eric Roberson) part first at about 10:30a and being as though I have never even set FOOT onto a video set, I wanted to be around to take everything in. It wasn’t until I woke up fully that I realized…. “Shit, the NC crew a/k/a “my ride to the shoot” (Phonte, Big Pooh, Darien & Aimee) hasn’t hit me up yet!” So I hit Phonte up…… straight to voicemail. At that moment I thought that they must still be in the air. I hopped on Twitter and saw that Big Pooh was tweeting about their delayed flight from NC… Then I figured I could take my shower, grab some breakfast and actually enjoy it now …and that’s exactly what I did, and watching the clock in the process. 10:30a………………….11:00…………. finally at about 11:15, I hit up Phonte again and he said they were at the airport waiting on luggage. Perfect… now they can grab their luggage, come scoop me up real quick and we all roll out to the set…………….. 11:45………………… 12:30p………. Damn, they should have their luggage by now. I called Aimee.
Aimee: Tay, Pooh and Darien are headed up now.
Me: Ok, cool… they’re coming up to the room?
A: …….”No, we’re at the spot!
“UH oh” © Carl Lewis
M: Uhhhh…… I’m still at the room!
SHIT…. I grabbed my things and headed 6 floors down to the lobby and requested that they call me a cab because everyone was at my video shoot…. but ME. How hilarious, my first video shoot and I’m already two hours late to it. I got in the cab with the “late to your own funeral” analogy repeating in my head. The cab driver who picked me up from the hotel seemed real cool, but as soon as I got in and provided him with the address of where I needed to go I could tell he had a bit of a problem with that, uhhh…. literacy thing.
Me: I’m going to Center City…. St. James St.
Cab Driver: Uhh….Sss *blank stare at the GPS*
Me: Yeah, SAINT JAAAY-MMMESSSS STREET
CD: So that’s uhh, S…. uhh….
M: S….T…….. *waiting for him to complete the spelling*
CD: *looks back at me waiting for ME to complete the spelling*
M: ……..”SPACE”……… J……A
CD: I’m not too good with that spelling thing…
Uhhh… This I know.
Once the address was finally entered into the GPS, he was good…. Until it was time to turn right onto Locust St. We approached the Locust street sign, he slowed the cab down damn near to a stop and asked me, “Is that it?” Already understanding his issues with reading, I just blurted out quickly, “YES… THAT’S IT!” Lord have mercy, he had finally gotten me to my destination… It was funny because during the cab ride, I was reading a few tweets from people wondering where I was. I felt like I needed to walk into the spot with a t-shirt on that said “It wasn’t my fault!” or flyers to pass out explaining why I was showing up on set at 1:30p. Regardless, the “Superstar” jokes were automatically on deck upon my arrival… When I stepped into the club, I was thoroughly impressed visually. The still shots that were provided with the video treatment the night before did the spot limited justice. Big Pooh had just finished shooting his performance piece and folks told me how well Erro’s performance shots looked – that combined with a buffet of various PotBelly’s sammiches sitting over on the bar looking so delectable, I was already beginning to feel good about this video. But I was forced to be patient, so I did what came naturally… hell, I ATE. I also made sure to catch up and act a fool with everybody on set as I was informed that there were about three more shots to get before I was even needed… Soooooo, my being late was actually right on time! AND I showed up at lunch! *high fives my damn seff*
Finally, at about 3:00pm we were instructed to go ahead and start getting ready for the shot of myself, D. Brock, Erro, and Pooh walking into the club. I pulled my freshly dry-cleaned black suit out of the plastic and threw it on along with my silver shirt, black tie with silver stripes, and completed it with the black fedora. While waiting around about an hour or so, I was asked if I was an extra on the set of my own video twice, which I thought was great. For real, I probably could have made noise on someone else’s blog if I would have answered with, “Nigga… do I LOOK like an extra on this muhfucka?! I’m the damn star-rah!!” …now that I think about it, I actually would have thoroughly entertained myself with that one. But I didn’t, because the reality is…No one knows who the hell I am, much less what I look like. I could have had fun with the girl, gotten myself up and started to play an extra in the video, but we were short on time and things needed to keep rolling. Once our ‘entrance’ scene was set up, I felt like texting everyone I knew on some, “Ayo, we’re about to go on right NOW!” Once the actual recording process started, things felt pretty natural and I got the sense that it was finally my time. Once again, the director Matt Koza and his crew kept telling me how excited they were about the shots they were getting from us, which left me relaxed and more at ease. I had a few more quick scenes to shoot and it was a wrap for me… I left the set feeling pretty good and very accomplished. As a result I kept telling myself, “I have a video now.”
For the post-video shoot meal, we ventured over to Silk City and I conquered four rounds at the bar with Big Pooh and one of our homegirls. Once they seated all of us, we tore into some waings, quesadillas, fish sammiches, salad, and some of the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had out in a restaurant. Matter of fact, it was so good that I finished macaroni from two OTHER peoples’ plates outside of my own (greedy). It was a fitting end to such a productive day… So please, enjoy the results!! And a huge thank you to everyone who played an active role in making that day fairly easy for this video rookie…