Certain bursts of original thinking should be celebrated.
One such is ‘The Toad of Shame’.
There is a private Facebook group called Crew Stories for members of film & TV crews.
Someone posted on it the question: “What ‘traditions’ have you started or taken part in??”
Until Covid hit, I was in charge of The Toad of Shame. An actual toad (but probably a frog) that I found flattened and dried while in the Santa Monica mountains filming.
I laminated and attached a lanyard to it.
If anyone did anything to impede the filming process such as phone ringing, being late, breaking something, snoring while rolling etc…, that person would have to wear the Toad for the day, or until someone else did something wrong that day.
I believe his phone rang while we were rolling.
Actor Stephen Moyer, who played a vampire on the True Blood series, confirmed:
Our assistant property master @Truebloodhbo Manuel Baca found a flattened toad up at Greer Ranch in Malibu. (This is where we shoot most of our exteriors.)
The poor little toad had all the air and blood and gubbins squashed out of him. So Manuel, Mike Horn (on set dressing) and Greg Manke (first assistant property master) did what any self respecting ‘toad finder’ would do in the circumstances. They laminated it. Within a few days it had a lanyard on it.
And before long… When any member of the cast or crew were late, or broke something, or their phone went off… They would be awarded with the ‘Toad’.
At the end of the season, the crew member with the most ‘Toads’ throughout the season would be awarded a rather hideous trophy adorned with golden toads and be forced to make a speech.
The aim is for our fabulous toad to become an industry standard.
Digital Spy, reporting on a True Blood panel at Comic Con 2014, wrote:
Kristin Bauer van Straten got the Toad of Shame twice in her last week, once when her phone alarm went off because she was trying to bid on some plates on eBay!
Deborah Ann Woll says she asked for the toad – she believed she committed a toad-worthy offence when she knocked over a prop beer barrel and got the floor all sticky.
Everyone said it was okay, but she replied: “I’m not made of glass, give me the f**king toad!”
This tradition continued when Manuel joined #crazyexgirlfriend. In our final season, the whole show went a little toad crazy, with numerous people getting the toad every day and friend turning on friend to throw someone under the toad bus.
Let us hope the Toad can survive Covid and be revived…