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Chapter Eleven

After a busy afternoon of phone calls, Howie gathered everyone together to discuss the growing possibility of doing a video for Masquerade. We all met at the Bank of America Pavilion, watching the crew do preliminary setup and enjoying a comfortable breezy evening. With plates loaded down with pizza, Howie began to discuss logistics.

“I’ve got a New York warehouse booked for the day after tomorrow,” Howie began. I choked on a pepperoni.

“Day after tomorrow?” I said, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. “How’s that even possible?”

“It’s possible,” Howie assured. “We have three days in New York. One day is a press junket, one day is the concert, and the other day was a free day. Was a free day,” he emphasized.

“Okay,” I said, pausing. “How is the set going to get done, you guys learn the choreography, and get fitted for costumes between now and then?”

Howie grinned.

“With a little help from our friends.”

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The next morning I headed from the bus to the Pavilion. I had slept fairly well and the hint of a busy day got me motivated.

I entered the Pavilion and made my way to the stage. I saw a group of people sitting in a circle of chairs, heads bent together in deep discussion. I made my way towards them quietly, then stopped short.

Our group had multiplied overnight. The crowd gathered was like a Who’s Who of Backstreet history.

“Oh my God,” I said out loud before I had a chance to stop myself.

Nick sat straddling his chair. He looked up, eyes sparkling.

“Good morning,” he said, motioning to the empty chair to his left. “You’re just in time, take a seat.”

My eyes wide like a kid in a candy shop, I sank down and looked around again. Howie started the introductions.

“Olivia, this is Fatima. Fatima, this is our tour photographer and videographer, Olivia. She’s the one that had the idea.”

I blushed profusely. Fatima had been an integral part of the Boys’ choreography back in the day when the boys were just making it big in the states.

“Great to meet you. The guys were just going over the concept. This sounds really cool,” she said, bouncing in her seat with repressed energy.

I was speechless; all I could do was nod. Brian piped in from my left.

“And this is Kevin Richardson.”

I looked around Leighanne and saw Kevin, his wife Kristin sitting next to him. On introduction, he stood, coming
over and giving me a hug.

“Great to meet you. I don’t think I’ve heard these guys sound so excited in a long time. Plus, I’ve never seen Howie do something so spontaneous.”

“Hey!” Howie said. He turned and winked at Leigh. “How do you think we got James?”

We all laughed. “I still think this is insane,” I said. “I’ve never heard of something like this coming together so fast.”

“But,” Nick interrupted. “it is possible. We have the building and we’re pulling in favors and taking advantage of some free labor.”

Everyone agreed I sighed in defeat. The guys made a few more introductions, then went over the notes from the day before.

“I did the choreography on Everybody,” Fatima began when the general plan was reviewed. “ I’ve listened to Masquerade on my flight in this morning. I can totally see this happening,” she said.

She passed around a few more sheets of notes.

“I worked with Howie over the phone last night and between the two of us I think we have a rough sketch of the production,” Fatima added. “Look it over.”

I glanced down at the neatly typed sheets in my hand and began to read, my vision unfolding on the paper in black and white.

Production Notes

Opening shots - Individual scenes (non musical)

Brian wakes up in bed next to Leighanne in “the castle” and looks around confused. Baylee walks in; he looks like a miniature wolfman. Brian sees him, screams, and then looks at his own hairy hands and touches his hairy face. He runs out of the room. Leigh follows. Baylee jumps on the bed and howls.

Howie walks down a hall, twirling his cane and wearing the Dracula costume. He opens a doorway off the hall; vampiress Leigh is in the tomb of Dracula, surrounded by coffins and holding James, who is wearing a miniature version of Howie’s outfit. With a fanged smile, Howie takes Leigh’s hand and pulls her down the hallway.
AJ sits regally at the head of the mice filled table, once again costumed as the Phantom of the Opera. Rochelle sits next to him; she leans over and feeds him a grape. Grinning she gets up, disappearing
flirtatiously. AJ follows.

Nick rests in his tomb. Hearing a noise, he opens it and looks around, seeing only the backside of a female mummy taking off out of the pyramid. He takes off after her, bandages trailing behind him.

Cut to circular room – song starts

Everyone still in costume: wolfman, vampire, phantom, and mummy, dancing. Girls dance behind them in corsets and flowing skirts in different colors (red, purple, gold, blue). Backup dancers / “extras” dance behind the girls (including Kev and Kristin).

It’s a masquerade / a love parade – At this point the boys turn, grabbing their partner and waltzing with them, similar to steps in original Everybody video.

Stay with me tonight – Long note is cue; the girls are lifted in the air at this mark. When Brian pauses for breath and then continues to sing ight, the girls should be lowered and dipped seductively.

At the start of the next verse, girls once again dance behind the boys, still costumed. The waltz and chorus steps are repeated. Alternating close-up on each guy.

I gotta know the girl behind the mask – The girls run up the stairs, looking behind them as the guys step towards them. Once the girls reach the upper platform, the boys should be positioned directly underneath, beckoning to them.

Show your face to me we could be everything – The girls slide off their masks, once more and jump into their guy’s arms. This should be presented as a slow motion sequence, with a close up of each girl falling.

Costume change - The guys should be in the peasantry outfits worn in the Everybody video upon catching the girls. After the catch, the video should return to normal tempo and the same waltzing, lifting, dipping is repeated.

End shot - Close-up of each couple kissing.

Fin

I sat back, exhaling a breath that I didn’t even know I was holding.

“So?” Nick said, hugging the back of his chair.

“This sounds better than I imagined it,” I admitted.

With that the group continued to etch out plans until sound check. As I readied the camera, Brian walked by, tussling my hair.

“Better get a case of Red Bull,” he said.

“Why?”

“It’s going to be a crazy couple of days.”

“It’s already been a crazy couple of days,” I reminded him.

“Well,” Brian paused, then broke out into song.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet!”