I reckon the start of my third week working for Maya Bedrossian showed that they were thinking of me as a regular part of the boy’s lives already: I got filmed for At Home with Maya for the first time. It wasn’t for very long, though. They filmed me for about 15 minutes, first working on fly balls with Jacob and then playing catch with Matteo. Matteo’s new glove arrived over the weekend – of course the Bedrossians have Amazon Prime lol – and he was doing a little better with it on.
The filming was over almost before I knew it, so it wasn’t as distracting as Dr. Peterson led me to believe. The crew was only four people: a cameraman, someone who I thought was his assistant, a sound dude (carrying a microphone on a bigass stick) and a dude to tell everyone where to go, including me and the boys. Yeah, I felt self-conscious, especially when I missed a ball Jacob tossed to me so I could pop it up: I didn’t want all of America thinking that the new baseball tutor could be struck out by an 11 year old lol. They did mostly let us do our thing, which did make sense, since it’s a reality show after all. Nobody told me what kind of a segment it was going to be, so I just reckoned it would show the boys getting exercise with their new baseball tutor. The boys looked like they couldn’t have cared less about the cameras, but I reckon they’re used to it. That kinda helped me to act ‘normal’ in front of the cameras too.
The dude who was in charge of telling everybody what to told me that I should stop by Sandy’s office after I finished with the boys. It was a hot day, and Jacob had me running around, so I was kinda sweaty when I got to Sandy and the air conditioning. The first thing she did was give me an ice-cold water bottle from a fridge she has in her office, then she asked:
“Is that what you were wearing today?”
“Well, yes, ma’am.” The ‘ma’am’ was kinda getting to be a joke between the two of us. “It’s what I usually wear to run around and get sweaty in.” What I had on was a light blue t-shirt, basketball shorts, a pair of old Nikes and a Dodgers hat. And, oh yeah, I hadn’t shaved. My razor at Joyce’s was out of blades and I went straight to work from there. Joyce had a half-day off, and she spent it hanging out with me. (Until I’ve made enough from the Bedrossian gig to cover my October rent, it’s still ramen noodles and cheap cereal for me…so I’m still eating a lot at Joyce’s lol.) “Is there something wrong?”
“It’s…a look,” she said. “Listen, Hunter, you probably know you look good in just about anything you put on, but, if you’re gonna be on TV…could you at least shave?”
I didn’t know I was going to be filmed that day, otherwise I probably would have.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Sandy said. “Nobody complained…but then I don’t expect Ethan – he was the segment director today – to complain about how you look. It’s just that…”
“Would baseball pants be better than shorts? I have those in my closet…”
“Maybe once it gets cooler,” she said. “For the time being, it won’t hurt to get those legs of yours on TV. And it doesn’t matter what you have in your closet…we can buy you wardrobe to wear for the show.”
I was getting a little mixed up. I reckon it had something to do with my being an illiterate redneck lol. I thought it was a reality show. As in real. And now they wanted ‘wardrobe’ for the baseball tutor…
Sandy guessed what I was thinking: “of course it’s a reality show…but that doesn’t mean that we don’t help reality along to make a more interesting program. Oh, don’t worry: it’s not like you see in sitcoms where the producer gets the family to fight so that it’ll make ‘better TV’ (the air quotes were Sandy’s)…but not everything’s totally spontaneous, either.”
“I…I didn’t know. This is the first time I’ve had any contact with reality shows. My sister Melanie Kate is, I’m ashamed to admit it, hooked on the Kardashians, and I caught a few episodes of them during the quarantine. You kinda get sucked in by them, although I think I could actually feel the brain cells dying while I was watching.”
“I hope you don’t feel that way about our show here.”
“No. It’s cool. I haven’t seen too many episodes, and I think they were reruns. The boys were a lot smaller than they are now. And they were hardly ever in it.”
“Yeah…Maya didn’t want for the boys to be on the show a lot when they were younger, so they were kept pretty much in the background most of the time. That’s one of the reasons I asked you to stop by today…”
“Maya wants a bigger role for the boys starting now…and that’s going to mean a bigger role for Dr. Peterson and for you, since y’all – did I use that right? (I nodded) – spend a lot of time with them. So you can figure that you’ll be seeing the cameras once a week at least. But we won’t tell you when, so that it’s as spontaneous as possible when the cameras do show up. I think you should talk to Dr. Peterson; he can give you some advice. I know it got on his nerves a lot at first, but I think he’s gotten used to it. Anyway,” she said, turning around in her chair and getting a folder off her desk, “we’ve got some things for you to sign. It’s our standard IC agreement which includes a release for us to use you in the show.”
I guess I was looking puzzled. So Sandy explained that IC meant ‘independent contractor’ and told me what a release was – it gives them permission to use me in the show. I was feeling way out of my illiterate redneck depth: my other clients just paid me in cash, now I was part of a whole payroll operation.
“Should I have a lawyer look at these before I sign them?” They looked pretty dang legal and ran to a lot of pages.
“You can,” said Sandy. “There’s nothing unkosher about them, but, certainly, if it’ll make you feel better. Do you have a lawyer?”
Admittedly I don’t. But I thought Joyce might know one.
“You don’t need to sign now,” Sandy said. “Take them with you and bring them back by Thursday. But we do need them signed before we can air the episode we shot the footage for today.”
“When does the episode come on?,” I asked. I realized I’d forgotten to ask anyone on the crew.
“The show airs on Wednesday nights, so what we shoot this week usually ends up in the following Wednesday’s show. That’s one reason why the cameras do most of their work early in the week.”
“Oh,” I said. I felt totally lameass saying it, too.
I wasn’t expecting what came next.