Freudian Slips: World's Biggest Pinata or Bust

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

November 10, 2008

World's Biggest Pinata or Bust

If you build it, they will come. Carnival Cruise Lines maintains a reputation for doing things big. This created piñata scene in an over sized parking lot could not have been a carnival by any other name. After a construction crew and structural engineers erected, adorned, and prepped a six-story 50,000 pound mock donkey, they hired professional actors to bring her down to her flippable flappable knees. That is where I came in. Enacting controlled chaos, actors and stunt men wielded everything from baseball bats to swimming pool skimmers before a giant wrecking ball staged its final destruction.

Over the course of the better part of the last two weekends, Carnival Cruise Lines filmed footage from helicopters, high-rising hydraulic cranes, and shoulder mount cameras for a nationwide television commercial to promote their grandness in piñata over achievement. After Guinness representatives measured and mulled over the donkey, the colossal piñata officially broke the World Record. The cruise line also provided live video coverage to their website and offered free cruise giveaways, a celebrated event hosted by loquacious senior cruise director, John Heald. Local television stations and newspapers rode the donkey story by inviting the public to take part in the event.

Breaking opening the belly of the beast proved to be another story. Still feeling a parade mentality from the city’s celebration of the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series a couple of days prior, several thousand people lined the perimeter fence waiting to be let in to fleece their empty shopping bags, backpacks, and suitcases with free candy. When only a few hundred spectators were permitted passage through the front gate, the denied crowd became unruly. Rattling the metal fence and shouting obscenities, spectators transformed into an angry mob largely shut out of the public event.

For the actors, it was not much better locked on the inside of the fence. The free-to-roam public surrounded the donkey like a Western horror movie and they pushed actors from their marks. Realizing the crowd's tenacity for freebies, actors began to surmise the potential for disaster. Bullhorn shouting to hungry children holding trick-or-treat bags only a week removed from Halloween that they must reset back to their first mark for another take while the helicopter shooting aerial views has time to circle the sky is never a good idea in commercial work. At this point, I wondered who the bigger donkey was me or the mock donkey impregnated with mega candy. Actors began to look for their way out of Dodge and the Hollywood term "checking the gate” held literal meaning. Police rode motorcycles into the parking lot to enforce crowd control and got actors off the set and ensure our personal safety. The police said nay to the tail end of the donkey event continuing and the entire set closed down in anti-climatic Hollywood fashion. The crowd dispersed without incident and the wounded donkey got a stay of execution.

A week later, shooting resumed on a closed set without the general public invited. Four hundred actors encircled the piñata to film the money shot and wrap up a commercial long in the making. Crew members separated actors from their coats in order to gain cinematic look and this tested an actor’s mettle to ignore the chilly temperatures and cheer on cue with glowing looks of awe and amazement.

My friend Damien Colletti and I were two of the few actors ponied aside to loot the candy after the piñata finally gave birth to the bon bons. I got stripped of my trench coat and sweatshirt, leaving me only a blue tee shirt with a big no-no of a Commerce bank logo pointing at the camera. I made short work of turning inside out my shirt and removing the tag. It was time to blaze saddles and kick some big old donkey ass. Following cues over the bullhorn, I ran ahead of the other selected looters and through the encircled crowd. Lofting myself airborne and parallel to the ground, I did a flying belly flop on 8,000 pounds of raining candy and prizes like a kid in his own candy store.
Of the hundreds of actors hired to be in this commercial scene, I landed first on top of that coveted candy pile. With cameras rolling for several minutes, people piled on and we danced in a food-frenzied giveaway orgy that left the weak of heart and brittle diabetics turning away. This may be the only time taking a flop is a good acting move but you got to pin the tale on a donkey pinata when given the schtick.



Anonymous Commerce Bank Employee said...

Nice read! Looking forward to see your big, flop! I guess nobody can say your a "donkey's ass" anymore, or can they? Hmm.....Looking forward to seeing this commercial!

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Gorilla Monsoon said...

I heard after your soon to be famous belly flop, then your Gorilla like tactics of throwing candy, you soon got the name, "The Candy Monster". Any truth to this?

P.S. Do you still Bartend?

4:51 PM  
Blogger mommanator said...

Sounds like you are in for a whale of a toothache if ya eat all those bon bons

7:53 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

when it comes to pinatas, if you can't beat them, join them.

It will soon be the new dance for Halloween trick-or-treating. lol.

never ate a single piece of candy during the entire shoot.

8:44 PM  
Blogger dritte said...

What’s really scary is her casual attitude towards violence. She could have killed him and she sounded more concerned about not having to pay a bail to get out of jail. It doesn't even really sound like she needs a reaper.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Maja said...

It never ceases to amaze me how desperate people are for free stuff.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

something i never thought of.

Hello again. Mentioning free in a recession is a foreboding term.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking really big one.
Try this site to Watch TV Shows Online.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really big one. Its on the height almost.

Watch Movies Online

9:02 AM  

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