‘Believe in Me’ taught local woman new meaning to life

Candice Tyler, Guest Columnist

Editor’s note: Candice Tyler, an employee of the Clovis News Journal, earned a spot on an opposing team in the movie “Believe in Me.” She kept a diary of her thoughts regarding the movie, from the first day the film came to town to her final take, which included a fight scene at Gattis Junior High School gymnasium.

As I drove through town I kept seeing “Believe in Clovis” signs and I thought what in the world is going on? Then I thought you dork, you work at the paper. They’ll know and sure enough I found out the directors of the movie were close to picking Clovis — and sure enough they did.
Then … the acting bug got me.

All I know is stars hit my eyes and the thought slipped into my head that maybe the directors would see the diva in me and I could be the next Halle Berry. Then the acting bug — at light speed it seemed — hit my coworkers, spread to their families, and then to the entire town. We all had the same dream, could one of us be the next big thing?

Tryouts (mid-September)
My best friend was jumping off the walls. She said the movie was casting parts for the opposing team. She had previously mentioned that auditionees for core actors got worked out to death. Running is not my thing, so I told my friend I’d just go and support her.

I thought if she made it, I could be her manager.
When we got there nostalgia hit me as I saw my former basketball teammates from when I was in high school. We shot around and coach Miles Waters called us to order. At the same time a cameraman records our every move. We do drills, and muscles I haven’t used in a very long time come back to life. We fill out forms promoting ourselves and line-up for numbers and pictures.

Then it’s showtime.
We were informed that 20 of us will be picked. I practiced my “I’m cool no matter what” face and prepared to become my best friend’s manager. They called numbers, and “oh my goodness,” they called me. As I cross winner’s lane, I see almost all of my friends from high school sports (and my best friends).

They divide us up into the top four opposing teams and everything else was just a blur.

Day one filming (Oct. 15)
Today was the first day of filming. Although we had to arrive early to Gattis Junior High School, we didn’t start filming for a couple of hours. We had our hair and make-up done. Afterwards, I looked like Mary Poppins, with my hair curled tight in a back flip with a 4 year old’s headband. The finale was our outfits. They gave us tight-fitted shirts and shorts that were not supposed to be spandex but looked like they were. Funny thing was, myself and a large group on the team had one too many blessings to fit into our shorts.
Seems that Hollywood’s women and real women are two different species.

For filming we ran up and down the court, playing a real game — but also a choreographed one. My highlight was watching the crowd. My favorites were the ones who would act like someone was waving at them. Every new take they’d wave and point at themselves. I had a great time and can’t wait for tomorrow’s fight scene.

Fight scene, final day of filming (Oct. 16)
Today was fight-scene day. All I could think about was all the advice everyone had given me: “Get a kick or an elbow in,” “make sure you win.” Now mind you I have never been in a fight before, so only Lord knows what type of moves I could put out. Everyone on my team was excited; we had bonded and had named ourselves “the sharks.”

We found out the motivation for our team was that we were a overly aggressive team who played dirty. My job was to play dirty defense on the nerdy girl of the offense. Problem was I just didn’t know how to be mean. I did my best though. I grabbed her and pulled her shirt and she encouraged me. Before I knew it I actually had a little bit of a vixen in me and the director actually wanted a close-up of it. The big fight scene came.

In the midst of all this the nerd basketball player comes after me and we go into it along with everyone else. It was great, we pushed each other, jumped, ran, scratched … it was a true girl fight. The crowd cheered and added to the energy and before I knew it the director said “Check the Gate” and my actress career was over. I was tired, beat up, but was all smiles. The actresses were sweet and people even wanted my autograph. I can’t believe the movie actually taught me to believe in me. It gives a new meaning to the saying, “You never know unless you try.”