Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks

An Animated Proposal

This last weekend was quite an exiting culmination of a lot of hard work for a friend of mine. Jeff had been working for a couple of months on an animated piece. What might it be you ask? Well, he was going to propose to his girlfriend, Natasha. After Jeff got his idea of of creating an animation (he’s an animator by the way) to propose to his girlfriend he contact the folks at the TLC show Perfect Proposal. Not only were the producers of the show really interested in Jeff’s idea, but they helped him out with the planning and duping. Now, Jeff couldn’t work on his animation during work hours so for a while he was doing a lot of the work in the off hours and staying until midnight or not going home for many nights. He was very lucky that he had many animator friends help him and animate for him because the final product came out perfect. Along the way I took care of Jeff and Natasha’s cat Tigger while they were gone for the holidays in December. When I got to the apartment to see where Tigger’s food and stuff was Natasha asked me a lot of questions about why Jeff was working so late and I didn’t have to. Luckily I’m in a different department from Jeff so it’s very possible that I would have to work only the normal business hours and Jeff would put in some overtime. Thankfully I was able to bluff (well, actually lie to) Natasha and tell her that Jeff was working on a short that we have in-house. Now, we do have a short in-house and it’s been worked on for a while, but what I told Natasha was that because we got a new board of directors they had decided that the short needed to get finished A.S.A.P. She seemed to buy it because she told Jeff that and he agreed so the story was in place. While Jeff had pay work to do there were some times towards the end where during the day we’d help him out with his project a bit. The funniest one that I got to help him with was figuring out why in his new versions of his opening shot wouldn’t render the floor. There was a wastepaper basket, papers, and walls, but no floor. Eventually we got it to render and all was well. So, back to the story. The Perfect Proposal crew came into town on Thursday and got everything set up for shooting for the next couple of days. On Friday they shot some interview and b-roll at the Wild Brain offices and on Saturday they shot more with Jeff at the Parkway Theater. I was apparently Jeff’s alibi that morning so, again, I was helping to deceive Natasha. The night before Jeff and Mike at work had made a DVD to use at the screening. Unfortunately the DVD played smoothly only on computers. At first I was going to somehow get the data from Jeff and burn a DVD for him, but then I got a message that Mike was able to make a good DVD but he had to leave it on Jeff’s desk at work. Being the swell guy that I am I got in my car, drove through a massive pacific storm that was blowing through the Bay Area (including suckingly slow traffic on the Bay Bridge both ways and getting to see lightning either strike one of the towers or really near it). I got the DVD to Jeff at the theater and they were able to make sure it worked (by the way, when I dropped it off Jeff introduced me to the host of the show, Nikki Boyer. I tell you, I was a bit stunned because she’s so gorgeous). That same Saturday Jeff and Natasha went to lunch in Rockridge and the TV crew approached them in the guise as of a fake TLC show they were calling “Popcorn Picks.” The premise was that they were going to get an audience together and have them pick a romantic movie to watch and talk about. According to Jeff they got Natasha to talk quite a bit about her favorite romantic movie and even enact a scene from the movie. I don’t know all of those details but I’m looking forward to seeing it. The crew also told Jeff and Natasha that they were going to be drawing for one couple to be a featured couple and that they would get “red carpet” treatment including a limo ride to the theater with twelve of their friends. Amazingly Jeff and Natasha won the limo ride so that she wouldn’t suspect a thing when they got to the theater. So, on Sunday all of the invited folks (family and friends) were to meet at the Parkway Theater at 2pm. When I got there the crew was still shooting Jeff and Nikki doing set-up stuff including putting a poster for the fake show up outside (they had the marquee already set as “TLC Popcorn Picks”), rolling out a red carpet, and putting up stantions. At least that’s what I could see from the sidewalk. Eventually we were all let in and had to find seats. If Natasha would recognize us then we had to sit on one side of the theater. Unfortunately there were very few people that she wouldn’t recognize there so some people had to be careful. The only saving grace was that the lights were down and she had a camera in her face with a light on top of it. Jeff and Natasha walked in, were led to the front where they sat on a couch and then Nikki introduced it as “Popcorn Picks” and the movie was supposed to start. Then, instead of the romantic movie Natasha was expecting Jeff’s animation started. In the first shot the camera pans over to a desk with a caricature of Natasha in a picture frame and then cuts to the animated Jeff. During that time Natasha was looking at the screen and then turning to look at Jeff and then back at the screen. When the animation was over Jeff stood up, got Natasha to stand up, and proposed to her. Before Jeff got down on one knee and had the ring out Natasha could be heard to say “What the heck is going on?” which got a good chuckle out of the crowd. Jeff proposed and Natasha said yes and the entire audience burst into cheers. At this point Natasha still didn’t know who was in the audience and they turned the house lights up and she got to see it was her family and friends. I don’t think I’ve seen quite that much shock on anyones face in a long time. At that point the host came out and explained the show and what had happened to Natasha. She was really happy and I think Jeff had a permanent grin. I’m glad everything went off without a hitch considering how many people knew. That Natasha was surprised was even better. I’ll be sure to post a note when I find out the air date of the show. At the theater they told us it would be about six to eight weeks so we’ll see.