As we all know, RA as a disease has been suffering from a major publicity crisis. I’ve been writing about it here on my blog and over at MyRACentral.com, and many of you have been writing right back. I think we are all in agreement that RA needs some critical PR attention and a makeover…. and that’s exactly what I hope the mini-documentary I just shot will do.
About a month ago, I got an email from a producer working with WebMD. He told me that they were shooting a series of short documentaries about people living with RA, and would I be interested in being a part of it? Boy, was I.
We talked, but after our initial conversation, I left to go to Austria, and by the time I got back, it seemed that it might not work out for them timing-wise. Luckily for me, the winds changed and the producer contacted me again about two weeks ago to tell me that they wanted to go ahead and schedule the shoot to happen.
So this weekend, my apartment was transformed into a mini-set, and I was transformed into a temporary reality TV star (or at least, that’s what it felt like.)
The producer and the crew (who were all really great and tons of fun) arrived at my apartment yesterday afternoon to follow me around on a ‘typical’ day. This particular typical day was going to show me shopping and getting ready for another cocktail party and night out with some good friends of mine. In no time at all, I found myself walking out of my apartment and into Manhattan with an entourage of three in tow. And then I found myself walking out of my apartment and into Manhattan with an entourage of three in tow a few more times as they needed to capture certain shots along the way. You’ve heard it before, but now you’ll hear it here; reality TV isn’t real.
We got on the subway and headed down to the greenmarket at Union Square – one of my favorite places in the city – to get some food and wine for the evening’s festivities. The idea was to show how doing normal, every day activities is more challenging now that I have RA. It’s also more challenging when you have to do it all on camera and try and look normal. I had my handy-dandy little cart with me to help carry all the groceries, and some dormant acting skills from majoring in theater during college to help me pull off the rest. Once we loaded up and got the shots they needed, we headed back uptown.
The rest of the night unfolded and was lots of fun despite being under the microscope. I’m not going to give away the whole night here, but suffice it to say that you definitely get better treatment at bars in New York City when you have a camera crew following you around. You also get some stares and people craning their necks to see if any of you might be famous. Sadly for them, it was just little unknown me.
This morning, I woke up early to let one of the producers and the crew in so they could shoot an interview with me. My apartment was transformed even more, with bright lights and sound equipment set up all over the place. (Talk about a crowded house – all those people and all that equipment in my tiny little studio apartment made for one cramped space.)
Once they were done setting everything up, we went through the interview, which was basically me talking about what it is like to be young, single and living in New York City with RA. I think it went pretty well, and I’m definitely excited to see how things will turn out once they are done with the editing. I’m hoping that maybe, since this is being shot for the web instead of the big screen, that the camera will only add five pounds instead of ten. But either way, I’m thrilled that RA is finally getting some attention and, most importantly, that a range of stories is being included in the series.
Who knows – maybe this will be just the beginning!