Archive for August, 2013

Monkey, Monkey, Monkey!

They say you should never work with children or animals.  In my last 2 commercials I had the pleasure of working with both. Just call me Jan Brady. ;P If you haven’t already seen it, here is a link to my national Sears Commercial with Lorenzo Lamas! Jeanne Chinn Sears Commercial

Many people have asked what it’s like to work with a monkey.  I met Katie,

Katie as Marcel on the TV Show “Friends”

at her refuge to rehearse before the shoot.

At Katie's house.

At Katie’s house.

Katie lives with several feathered and furry creatures including a zebra and this hungry giraffe.  I’ve never been this close to a giraffe before!

Much SearsGiraffelike working with a celeb who demands that everyone avert their eyes and not address them directly,  I was advised to give Katie similar diva treatment.  After all, she’s a monkey who needs to focus on her tasks for the commercial.

The trainer told me that Katie sees me as a tree. My job was to say my lines and pretend I didn’t notice this monkey jumping on me, and rooting through my hair for ticks.

The monkey dictated my stance, hairstyle, and clothing. We discovered that my shoulders were not broad enough for Katie to perch on.  I had to keep my hand on my hip to create more surface area for Katie.  My hair needed to be pulled back so Katie could perch on a clean shoulder.  Speaking of clean, we needed to have several identical back up shirts in case the monkey had an accident on me.  The wardrobe also needed to cover the skin on my shoulder where she landed. Spaghetti straps would show paw marks after 2 days of being a human jungle gym.

On set in Pasadena, Katie rehearsed yanking on my pant leg. She was absolutely hilarious. “And…action!”  Yank, yank, yank…bark, bark, bark?! A barking dog in the yard next door inspired Katie to stop doing her trick and….bark like a dog instead.  Unable to do anything but mimick the dog’s bark,  Katie was escorted back to her trailer.

Katie’s monkey double didn’t know how to yank, yank, yank on a pant leg.  I was directed to perform the motion of my leg being pulled while the monkey was coaxed to hold on to my leg.  We got the shot.  The followng day the neighbor’s dog was at it again. With both monkeys spooked into a barking fury, we were out of luck on shooting any monkey business.

The task of acting oblivious to the monkey jumping or climbing on me was an exercise in concentration!  I  focused on delivering my lines truthfully, as Katie stuck her foot in my mouth,  erased my eyebrow makeup with one swipe of  her damp hand, and yanked my hair into my eyes.  I had to act like there weren’t 2 monkey trainers crouched at my feet intensely commanding the monkey, as I strained to hear the director guide me from 20 feet away.  I loved the challenge of it all.  Here is a “remix” of the Sears commercial– a series of out-takes that show how crazy Katie steals the show! As for what it’s like to be married to Lorenzo Lamas…I’ll never tell!

I kind of miss working with the monkey. I even bought my pup, Mr. Truffle, a monkey sweater! It has monkey ears on the hood! The cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Hey, its a necessity, Chihuahuas get cold in the winter time. 😉

Shortly after the Sears commercial, I booked the role of a piano teacher in a Lenscrafters commercial.  I’m ready for my master shot Mr. DeMille!  I guess 30 seconds doesn’t always leave time for a close up! LOL.  It was an adventure stepping on those piano keyes.  Surprisingly, the talented child actor I did the scene with suffered a fate worse than mine. He was almost completely obscured.

Well, thanks for stopping by. I know I don’t check in as often as I used to, but I do cherish your kindness and support. Have a wonderful day!