Last week my daughter finished shooting a short film for a local filmmaker - the specifics of which I’m not allowed to discuss until post production is complete. It was the first time Sylvia was given somewhat earthy dialog which, considering I have never heard her say anything more crude than ‘jackass’ - thanks to years of watching ‘Corner Gas’ - came as a shock. Especially when her grandmother, who had not seen the script, offered to run lines with her!
To save Grandma from witnessing her beloved granddaughter speak like Mr. Lahey, Lydia quickly jumped in. “It’s a nice offer, but Sylvia won’t even let us read her scripts.”
Grandma’s delicate sensibilities were thus spared.
Personally, I have no problem with coarse language. Growing up my brother and I swore something fierce in the schoolyard but never at home. (Unless you count muttering under the breath, well out of earshot of our parents.) It’s the same with my kids. Lydia and I don’t swear at them and they don’t swear at us. It’s a matter of respect. Lydia and I believe that once you cross that line it’s impossible to go back.
Which brings me back to sweet, innocent Sylvia.
During filming, I arrived early and parked on the street, staying in the car to avoid embarrassing Sylvia. I could see activity in the backyard of the house which was being used for filming. A cameraman stood on a ladder while someone else prepared a pump-action squirt gun. When the gunner unleashed a torrent of water I could not see what he was aiming at, as the house was in my way, but a few seconds later, I heard my daughter distinctly yell something I thought I’d never hear her say. This scene was repeated several times over the course of a half hour and each time, with remarkable clarity, Sylvia dropped the F-bomb verbally laying waste to the quiet little neighbourhood.
At the end of shooting, she came running over to the car, grinning with excitement.
“I heard everything,” I said, fixing my expression at its most stern.
Her smile reversed itself.
“You are so grounded,” I joked. “I guess this is one movie Grandma won’t be seeing.”
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer who, now that Sylvia has broken the language barrier, will be able to play some of his old CDs in the car.