by guest blogger Andeep Singh, documentarian and television and Web video producer
I’m a producer, which means I bring ideas to life. I breakdown stories into visual shots, coordinate people, plan logistics, budgets, schedules and le voilà… movie magic!
So it comes as no surprise that as a mom I tend to plan holidays, activities, and vacations like mini-productions. I aim for events with a good story structure and a satisfying resolution; I prefer witty dialogue with a tinge of dark humor and of course, high impact visuals. Some might say that I’m in the business of “producing memories.”
“She’s going to tell her future kids how much fun she had painting Easter eggs.” I remind myself as I maniacally scrub the egg dye from the kitchen floor like I was Lady MacBeth.
Nobody said movie-making was easy.
However, it would appear that while I’ve been busy creating memories based on some twisted/overachieving/guilty-working-mom narrative, my daughter has been working on her own little film. And let’s just say, it’s clear that we’re not making the same movie.
A few weeks ago we went to Colorado with the highlight being our first family ski adventure. The vision was simple:
Act 1: The 5-year-old’s introduction to ski school.
Act 2: After a few tumbles, she would fall madly in love with the slopes and become hooked.
Act 3: We’d all be proficient green run skiers (I have to be realistic somewhere) and plan annual family ski vacations.
Okay, it’s not the most dramatic script in the world, but it would be one of our family stories. The Griswold’s had Walley World, the McAllister’s had Paris and we’d have Whistler. I could already imagine the stories and accompanying selfies.
So when we came home and I asked my daughter what her favorite Colorado vacation memory was, she very excitedly announced, “the sushi boat!”
CUT! Somebody bring me the goddamn script!
“The sushi boat?” I inquired.
“Mama, it was a boat… WITH SUSHI ON IT!” she enthused, “It was amazing.”
Well, there was a plot twist that I wasn’t expecting. It was clear that I had been miscalculating the audience response. So I delved further and inquired about past vacations.
Her best memory from Mexico was not the stunning blue beach but “the hot tub.” To which she added, “Can we go back to Mexico to go back to the hot tub?” Italy brought great stories about gelato and Los Angeles was all about some random bouncy house we went to.
It got me thinking about my own family vacations. While my mom will mention the epic cross North America adventure, I remember pretending that I was flying on top of the CN Tower. She recalls the summers at my grandma’s house in the UK, but I beam when I think about sliding down her staircase and hopscotching thru Heathrow airport.
It turns out that all of our best kid memories have nothing to do with elaborate planning or even the best parental creations. What brought us happiness were the events within the events—the small, mostly overlooked minutiae that most adults don’t think of seeing.
So, while I was concentrating on producing an ego-filled Hollywood blockbuster, she was instead producing a small indie film with a tight script and great acting for a fraction of the budget. Smart girl!
I’m definitely going to take notes for my next production.
Andeep Singh works at the Rodale Video Network and has produced nonfiction television, film, and digital video content for some of the biggest networks in the country, including ABC, NBC, PBS, CBC, and A&E. She recently completed producing her first feature documentary film, titled Living the Fantasy, which follows the lives of six high-stakes fantasy football players. Originally from the Great White North, Andeep has a serious case of wanderlust, is afflicted with perpetual food envy, and is mildly obsessed with the Vancouver Canucks hockey team.