The Untitled and Confidential Project: Exposed (Blogisode Nine)

Happy Friday!

Let’s talk upcoming programming here on My Own Space.

As most of you know, and maybe some of you care, SMASH starts season two on February 4th, and the plan, Stan, is to reprise my SMASH FACT OR FICTION blog. I’ve learned a few things since season one, and here’s how I’m running the show.

1) This Lifetime blog will conclude prior to the start of SMASH.

2) I will not start another blog series while SMASH is on the air. Why, you ask? Because the way my blog is laid out it is difficult for people to find a previous blog once I’ve published something new. I don’t know about you but there is nothing I loathe more than trying to find something and having to search for it. I am grateful that things like SMASH F OR F and even the LES MISERABLES post are well liked and shared on chat boards, and as a result the traffic comes in for days as it goes a little viral. Therefore, it’s SMASH only. The exception will be if the show takes a break and in that case I’ll write some “Let Me Tell You What I Liked About…” posts about shows I’ve seen recently (we’re coming up on Tony season–and hey–if you want to see a show–I’m pitching WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF and THE HEIRESS. Both are excellent, excellent with some totally kick-ass acting. Good stuff.

3) Rather than writing for a Broadway website, I’m keeping SMASH FACT OR FICTION here on my own site where I can control it. But, as a Mommy and a business woman I am squarely doing this FOR PROFIT so I am open for advertising business.

3) Questions about advertising? I have answers. Check out the menu at the top and you’ll see a new page “Information for Advertisers” and there you will find advertising rates and all specifics. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that I will continue to advertise what I think I can best sell. I’m not looking for hair replacement ads, I’m looking for things my readers would be interested in. Do you run a summer theater camp? Are you a producer with a limited budget but an amazing show? A voice teacher looking to expand your studio? This is the place. I’ll give your company a unique and specialized pitch specific to my readers. And my readers are looking for interesting things, right readers?

Speaking of interesting advertisers, check out our first advertiser of the season, my dear friend and AVENUE Q alum, Angela Ai who has been deeply training for four years in Core Energetics Therapy.  This work has honed her ability to help people move past their stuck energy and find their true and happy life.  I’ve done this work with Angela for years (we work over Skype) and I believe with all my heart that if it were not for Angela this blog would not exist.  I was caught up in publishing my next book and what people wanted me to write rather than just finding my own path.  My own space.  I highly recommend her weekend workshop as a trial (there is one on Sunday, January 27th, book now for the reduced rate!) and if you love her as I do, you can continue with her via Skype.  She is seriously gifted and you will be the beneficiary.  You can see her ad in the upper right hand corner of this page and if you mention this blog she will keep the $100 fee all the way up to the 27th.  It’s like Macy’s Bonus Days!

Now back to our Lifetime blog!  Quick story: Last night I was plagued by insomnia (again–this is haunting me–I swear it’s my antibiotic but I can tell Rob doesn’t believe me) and I was perusing my late night Facebook news feed. I guess there was a marathon on Lifetime of the My Life Is A Lifetime Movie series and one of my FB friends posted a status along the lines of this: “I think the actors who do these Lifetime re-enactments must go to a reaaaally special ‘acting’ school.”

Ouch. Right? Hey! Careful when you put snarky things in your Facebook feed because someone like me just might have late-night antibiotic induced insomnia and read it.  I know, I know I should be a little tougher after all these years in a harsh business but I guess I’m not, so I’ll tell you about it and then let it go.  I know it wasn’t Shakespeare.  I’ve always said it’s a better story than a product, which is true, so let’s get back to the story!

We left off here:

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At the Nassau County Corrections Center.  AKA Long Island Prison.  As in orange jump suits.




Imagine me for one minute pulling up to that prison just knowing I was going to tell you this story.  I knew I would have to wait for months.  I knew I could end up IN the Long Island Jail in an orange jumpsuit just for breaking my confidentiality agreement, but I didn’t care.  Worth it.

Let’s get to it.

The first thing we had to do was get a total de-brief on what was acceptable and what wasn’t.  Here is the gist.

1)  Leave a picture ID with the guard and get a pass (see above picture).  Have that pass on you at all times.

2)  Never, ever go anywhere alone.  (uh, duh).

3)  Stay in the designated holding areas only because while this is a working prison we were entering a non-occupied area and that is the only part of the prison where we were allowed.

4)  And most important, lunch would be served outside the prison. (Always talking about food).

We walk in, escorted by numerous non-talking guards and I want to tell you what.  It was very prison-y.  Just think “prison” and you’ll get it.  No windows. Think walls and lots of locked doors.  It was awesome.

Eventually we all made our way to the prison chapel which was to be our “holding area”, thank you, Jesus.  Meanwhile, the wardrobe and makeup crews were madly setting everything up and the camera and lighting guys were trying to find all their shots.  We waited in the (amazingly stuffy) chapel and eventually we were escorted up to the actual prison area where we were going to be held for a very long time.  I’d like to take this moment to point out that if you think of show biz as glamorous, this might be a moment that you re-consider that thought.

Let me break it down.

This was a non-working part of the prison and I’m going to just go out on a limb and say (and hope) that it hadn’t been used in a very long time, so this is what it meant.

No where to sit.

No air conditioning.

No windows that opened with the exception of one that we found that opened a sliver….BUT….from the little sliver we could see the prisoners in their orange jumpsuits playing basketball outside, and I’ll tell you what, I could tell from that limited view from that sliver of window, those guys were young.

It was filthy.  Like….layers of grime filthy.  Like “prison” filthy.

So picture about 50 people including principals and extras all standing around in the dirt and heat trying to act cool in a hot prison.  Meanwhile, wardrobe and makeup and trying to get people fitted and ready to start filming.  Let me tell you something.  They had entire lawn sized garbage bags of JUST pregnancy bellies.  This was specific to the prison shoots–yes–several story lines involved pregnant women in jail.  I caught on fairly quickly that my scene wasn’t being shot in the prison–as in the cells–(alas, no prison birthing scene for me.  Sigh.) but would instead be shot in an office on the other side.  Because the priority was to shoot everything in the cells first, our scene moved to the back of the line.  So I did what I do best.  I blogged and waited for lunch/dinner to be served.  Perhaps you remember this picture from last June?  I was blogging and said “I can’t tell you where I am blogging right now, but trust me it’s great.  I can tell you now.  I was blogging from prison.

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Seriously, prison.

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And Natalie (the girl playing my daughter) and I maybe took some pictures while we waited around forever.  Because you have an iPhone and you are in a prison.  It’s mandatory.

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And then we were hustled outside chain-gang style to have a late lunch.

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And then I was taken to my dressing room (finally!) to get dressed to shoot my scene.  Let me show you what my dressing room looked like.

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I’m not kidding.  I’m not.  My dressing room was a cell, and no that toilet didn’t work.  And I am so sorry because my BIGGEST REGRET is that I did not take a picture of the actual hash marks on the wall (seriously) and the “I love Jesus” etchings.

I know.  I’m disappointed, too.  Let’s all just take a minute and collect ourselves.

But.  BUT.  I did manage to stage this picture, and it is my pride and joy of the day.  These are ACTUAL prison guards.  Naturally they were easy to find because they were always by the catering tables.  It took me all day and night to work up the nerve to ask for this picture.  For you, dear readers, for you.

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And a quick one of me and my show-daughter (who, yes, is wearing a pregnancy pad.  Because she was 14.  And pregnant.) with my favorite guard.  Can you see how gigantic he is?  Do you know how much these guys loved having their pictures taken (and all the free food)?

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So the day ended around midnight after the final girl had given birth and our scene had been shot.  It was–for those of you who’ve watched it–the scene where I go see the DA and we are in his office.  You’d never know it was all done at a prison.  Unless you had me here to tell you.

The final day of shooting is coming up!  And then some bonus material!  Stay tuned and thanks for reading!








About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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One Response to The Untitled and Confidential Project: Exposed (Blogisode Nine)

  1. rose says:

    Sharon: what was the name of this movie?

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