MY NAME IS JERRY SCREENING

Muncie, Indiana, U.S.A
7th May, 2009

Dougie with Carly.


Meeting Doug Jones


May is turning out to be a very good month for me.

The first Saturday of the month, I had my first film auditions, and I feel very confident about the results, though I will not learn for sure until the end of the month. These were nothing huge, and certainly nothing with the potential to shoot me into superstardom overnight- simply some South Bend, Indiana filmmakers needing actors for their indie films. I also studied hard, and am looking at a couple Bs and an A for my college finals. The script for my own future film (hopefully) is starting to take shape. I’m hanging out with friends I haven’t seen all year, spending a lot of time at the lake, and slowly molding my overweight body into something much healthier. My twenty-first birthday is two months away.

My life sounds perfect, but there was a time, less than a year ago, actually, when I was miserable. Thoughts about the future brought about anguish so strong that it wasn’t long before it became physical pain.

I have wanted to be in movies and on TV since I was able to recognize that the people on the screen were simply pretending. But in the world of Julia Roberts and Melissa Joan Hart, you don’t see many tall, fat girls. That’s me- the girl who has trouble fitting into one-piece school desks. That dream was quickly squashed, and I quit caring what I looked like.

I graduated from high school, and, with the acting possibility firmly out of mind, took a job at the local Wal-Mart. However, like many who came before me, I very quickly realized that the job sucked to no end, and so I enrolled in some online education classes.

I remember the date of my catalyst perfectly: August 11, 2008. I had the evening off, and was home when my father came home from work. I love my dad, but sometimes he comes home in a nasty mood, and that’s about when I high-tail it anywhere else. That evening, it was something I supposedly did (no proof yet as to if I did it). I grabbed my wallet and my car keys and fired up my ’87 Cavalier and made a dash for the Auburn-Garrett drive-in.

The first film was the third “Mummy” movie; the second was Hellboy II. I didn’t pay much attention while Brendan Frasier hammed it up, but I truly couldn’t take my eyes away from the blue dude in the Hellboy movie. I hadn’t seen the first one, so it was new to me. I went home and hit Wikipedia, and about had a stroke. Geez, that guy is NORMAL-looking!

Fast-forward back to now, nine months later. I’m standing in the middle of the Horizon Center, wearing my favorite full black skirt and blue wrap, half an hour before the VIP party. (I’m chronically early; I overschedule drive times, because I have no sense of direction to speak of, and hate being lost AND late.) I’m wandering around by myself, mentally attempting to beat away my wallflower act; I’m loosing horribly. I’m half sick with nervousness, and chug a Coke to try to get hydrated. It backfired- caffeine kicked in and made me even more jittery.

My nervousness was two-fold: he’d dislike me, and he’d be mean. We have all heard the horror stories of people who meet those celebrities whom they look up to, of how those people turn out to be monsters in the worst sense. I was praying he wouldn’t be like that. I had heard so many wonderful things about him and his wife, and I hoped they were true.

I chugged another pop. (For those of you who have never been in Indiana, “pop” means the fizzy sweet drink that is also commonly called soda.) I went for Diet this time, though. I gathered what wits I hadn’t left at home, and went back out into the lobby … and that is where I saw Doug Jones in person for the first time.

Immediately, the Wallflower took over. I just stood around like a moron, trying to catch his eye. Thankfully, a couple people came over to me and spoke with me. I’m horrible at names, so I couldn’t tell you who they were, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not grateful that they did, because they helped me elbow the Wallflower a couple times, so that I was able to peek out.

Mr. Jones finished his conversation, and came over. He said that I looked familiar. Indeed, I had added him on Facebook and Myspace, and had messaged him a couple of times. I got a hug, and he held my hands like we were old friends. He got called away to speak with other people, and I wandered around a little bit.

I found myself back in the stifling VIP room. Being in the muggy chamber did somehow help my nerves; perhaps that is the key- the Wallflower doesn’t like stuffy areas. I actually struck up a conversation with a wonderfully nice woman, who offered to get take pictures for me, since I had forgotten to take a camera. Her name was Tammy. I hadn’t expected to make a friend that night, but I guess I did. That’s definitely not a bad thing!

We were close to where Doug and his “entourage” were, so we wandered around back and waited a few moments. There, I noticed Mrs. Laurie, Doug’s wife, whom I had recognized from a note Doug had posted on Facebook, about their being married 25 years. (Congrats!) She looked nice, and the Wallflower was quietly grumbling somewhere else, so I introduced myself. She was nice- gave me a hug, too, and made me feel like I had known her for a long time. Then Doug came over, and Tammy reappeared from the mass of people with her camera, and we posed. Doug then took me by the hands again, and asked me why I had driven so far from my hometown of Angola to be at the screening. I told him.

“I wanted a chance to meet my role model, Mr. Jones.”

Maybe it was just my perspective - at five-foot-ten, I still had to look up to him a bit - but his eyes seemed to bug a little.

“Me? You mean me?”

I croaked out a “yeah” and got another “Dougie huggie.”

I didn’t see another sign of the Wallflower that night.

Not long after that, it was time to head to the screening auditorium. I wandered over to the seat I had claimed (by means of a paper with my name haphazardly scribbled on it), getting lost once, of course. I found myself seated next to a pretty blond lady in black who couldn’t have been TOO much older than I am. She was very friendly, and shook my hand. Her husband came over, and I delightedly realized that I was sitting next to Morgan Mead, the director, and his wife Mallory.

Speeches, thank-yous, and acknowledgements started; I clapped enthusiastically for each person mentioned. I was eager to see the film. Finally, the lights went out.

I have seen many, many films in the past year. Netflix is my cocaine, and the people who work at the discount movie theater in Fort Wayne almost know me by name. There was one flaw in the movie: In one scene, Jerry starts out empty-handed. He then magically acquires a drink, which disappears the soon afterwards. Other than that, it was perfect. It was a very good thing I had decided against eye makeup, or I’d still be scrubbing that crap off my cheeks. I laughed so hard the tears were running out of both eyes, and my sides hurt. But the ending about broke my heart.

The film ended, the lights came back on, and I took a moment to gather myself again. I then sought out Mr. Mead, to introduce myself and ask for advice as an aspiring actor. He told me to just keep at it, and to deal with the disappointment, and said, “It took three years to get Ball State to do My Name is Jerry, two and a half years to convince Roger Smith, and then he had to convince the university.”

It is nearing five in the morning as I write this. I have not slept since I arrived home from the screening. Sometimes, you know when you’re in need of a change; sometimes, you realize when something has impacted you immensely.

I have been to England, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany. I have been to every Disney park in Florida, and seen our nation’s capital. I have seen Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Fleetwood Mac in concert, in the good seats. I have seen a lot for my young age.

Nothing beats meeting your role model, and finding out that you looked up to him or her for the right reasons.

Next week, I go to the Motor City Comic Con, and there I’ll meet Mr. Jones again.

May is turning out to be a very good month for me.

~ Carly Smith
Indiana, U.S.A., 8th May, 2009

© 2009 Carly Smith. All rights reserved.

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