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A Tina Fey moment

(Reposted by permission of the author, Nancy Berk. This piece first appeared on HumorOutcasts.com on Feb. 12.)

The countdown to college admission is filled with anxiety. As a parent, I’ve been through it with both of my children and lived to tell about it. In fact, I documented the experience, humor and strategy in a book. College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get Into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind is a parent survival guide for the college-bound journey. It’s always easier to talk about college admission once the experience is behind you. Little did I know that, after the book’s publication, I’d be wrapped up in another exciting admission decision.

In early 2012, I was contacted to sign a release for my book to appear in Admission, a feature film starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. After confirming this wasn’t a hoax by mean-spirited strangers or family pranksters, my shock turned to excitement. College Bound and Gagged might be in a movie. True, it wasn’t like I had been offered a cameo, but in many ways it was better. Authors become attached to their work, so when people recognize our books it’s like complimenting our children. Besides, my book cover would fare much better in HD than I would.

I’ve often compared the college-bound process to childbirth. Both include plenty of labor, anxiety and know-it-alls telling you what to do. My new admission (the movie) situation wasn’t as stressful, but there have been tense moments. First, the countdown to acceptance (or, in this case, the verdict regarding book inclusion) was longer than a pregnancy. Your mind can cover a lot of positive and negative ground in 11 months.

What if the book is accepted? What if it ends up on the cutting room floor?

Maybe the book cover will have a close-up! What if the production assistant spills coffee on it right before the scene?

Maybe Tina Fey and Paul Rudd will say something funny about it. What if Tina Fey and Paul Rudd make fun of it? (I now would be happy with either of these options.)

When I’m done with the optimism/pessimism imagery, I spend my spare time compulsively checking IMDb for delivery updates. After all, it is the film industry’s sonogram.

Admission opens in theaters nationwide March 22, but thankfully, last week I was given an early admission opportunity when Focus Features included me on its preview screening list. My excitement was tempered only by the pressure of this event. I thought Admission would require more concentration than Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy if I was to spot a fleeting image of College Bound and Gagged. I imagined all of the possibilities as I contemplated the higher ed version of Where’s Waldo?

What if I’m laughing so hard, I miss a glimpse of the book?

What if I snooze like I did during Lincoln?

What if I drop my popcorn and miss the big moment?

What if I need a bathroom break?

Yes, I knew enough about the film industry to realize that scenes change and stuff happens, especially in post-production where editors trim out the nonsense to make magic. And at the risk of sounding all Oscar-y, I really was happy that College Bound and Gagged made it onto someone’s radar whether it made it on the big screen or not. And of course, I took solace in the fact that you’re not out of the game until you scour the DVD outtakes.

Spoiler Alert: You’ll have to wait until March to see Admission, but my exciting news is that College Bound and Gagged got accepted!!! You can watch the trailer here, but you’ll have to wait for the release to see the book’s close-up (If only I could get that close to Paul Rudd and Tina Fey).

P.S. You’ll love the movie. Only Tina Fey and Paul Rudd (and an amazing cast and crew) could make parents want to sit through college admission all over again.

— Nancy Berk, Ph.D.

Nancy Berk is a clinical psychologist, author of College Bound and Gagged and a blogger for The Huffington Post, USA Today College, MORE magazine and TravelingMom.com. A columnist, podcast host (“Whine at 9,” “College Mom Minute”) and speaker, Nancy has used her comedic touch on stage in places like TEDx and 30 Rock. She served on the 2012 EBWW faculty.

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