I’ve recently added a new project to my artsy/ producer-y repertoire with the production of a commercial for Free the Captives, an anti-sex trafficking non- profit organization based in Houston. (Please note the ANTI-trafficking part…this is important)
This was a fairly new experience for me in a couple of ways. First of all, thinking of myself as any kind of “producer” is new for me. I never thought it possible to attach such a powerful sounding title to my name. It’s a whole new identity for me. It feels weird, but I like it, and I am determined to embrace the producer-y feeling, and be a good producer, dammit!
By nature, I am a bit shy and clumsy, and I’ve experienced my fair share of low self-esteem. But, I also have this unyielding desire to move forward and be a total bad ass, especially when it comes to helping people. Therefore, I am putting forth my best effort to thwart these insecurities that have a hay day in my mind, and embrace the badass-ness. So, when we (BEAZ Inc) did the casting call for the Free the Captives commercial, I tried on my best pair of producer pants.
The producer pants felt awesome…and a little weird. I was not at all used to them. However, once I put them on, it was no longer about me and my insecurities, it was about accomplishing the task at hand (they are seriously magical pants… I’m telling you).
I introduced myself to each auditioning actor, and explained the process of the audition as we walked to the audition room. I found myself wanting to ask each actor, right away:
‘How normal and NOT creepy do you think you can be when placed in the midst of creepy situation…because, this is going to get CREEPY, and we want you to look like a normal, NOT creepy dude, who might have sporadic bursts of creepy, but only on the inside because you still have to look like a regular dude and not creepy on the outside‘
I’d had a lot of coffee…
I didn’t actually say that. Instead, Rebecca, the main producer and director, asked each actor if he was comfortable with acting the role of a sex purchaser, AFTER he’d auditioned…. (I’m still breaking in the producer pants…)
Unfortunately, I had to leave town during the actual shoot (the commercial is finished now, and looks amazing), but after I returned, Rebecca and I went to an anti-sex trafficking conference where the commercial played in front of an audience for the first time. *NOTE: It was so super awesome to see hundreds of people view and respond to the commercial! But, I was trying to embrace this “I’m coooool and producer-y and don’t get overly excited about things”, so I kept the need to do the happy dance to myself (although I think a little happy dance accidentally slipped out as we were leaving the conference).
This leads to the second new experience for me. I’d never been to an anti-sex trafficking conference before (or any kind of trafficking conference for that matter).
Prior to my involvement with this Free the Captives project, I didn’t know much about sex trafficking or prostitution. I was surprised to learn that there is a significant sex trafficking problem in Houston. In fact, Houston is a national and international hub for it (I had no idea). And, contrary to my previous belief, the majority of girls in the business of prostitution don’t enter it willingly. I was mortified when I heard the story of one girl whose father started grooming her for a life of prostitution at the age of 3, and first solicited her at 7. So much of what I heard pointed to how hopeless and defeated victims of sex trafficking feel. I’ve felt hopeless and defeated many times…we’ve all felt hopeless and defeated, but I feel I’ve been lucky to have friends and family who help me tackle my insecurities and embrace a new role in my life. Who helps these girls tackle their insecurities and feel comfortable with new roles in life? Who helps someone who has been kidnapped, or sold by her parents? How does someone recover from something like that? Is it as easy as putting on new pair of metaphorically sparkling pants?
I struggled with what to call this post. Normally, I write about things from a humorous perspective, but nothing about children being kidnapped and/or groomed for a life of prostitution is humorous. It honestly makes me so sad. I wanted to write something deep and profoundly moving about it, but that didn’t work out very well. Writing deep and profoundly moving material doesn’t come as easily to me as does making fun of my pants, so that’s what I did…I made fun of my pants. In a way, it feels like I went on this new adventure, and learned all these new things, but all I brought back for you was this lousy (albethey sparkling and producer-y) pair of pants.
Take a look at the video and please share.