Kate couldn't believe she'd actually won. She'd only uploaded her photo to this marketing gimmick website out of curiosity to see how she'd look as a mannequin. But then she received a call that she had won, and they were going to be fly her over to film her "transformation" into a mannequin for a commercial.
A week later, she was stepping foot in the studio for the first time. "Wow, this set looks so much more elaborate than I'd imagined," she thought to herself. "I figured the machine would probably be done in CGI, but they've built an entire prop and everything."
Her thoughts were interrupted by the director entering the room. "And here's our star now!" she exclaimed enthusiastically. Kate just smiled shyly, hiding her dread that this was going to be one of those people who are way too happy all the time.
After the director introduced herself, she began walking Kate around the studio, introducing her to the rest of the crew. Makeup was the last stop, and while they got Kate ready, the director explained how the filming was going to work.
"Basically, you'll just stand on that spot marked on the floor, give us a big smile, and the machine will going to close around you. And then when it opens again, we'll see the new you...immortalized in plastic! Not too difficult, right?"
Kate nodded, analyzing the machine, and trying to picture in her head how the switch will to look on screen. She'd read enough about magic to have a fairly good idea how this illusion was going to work, so she didn't bother asking for further details yet. She figured she'd be instructed further what to do once in position, before the cameras began rolling.
"So, ready to get turned into a mannequin?," the director asked brightly.
Kate laughed nervously. "I guess so."
"Alright, positions everybody!," the director exclaimed.
Kate took her place in between the two sections of machine, looking inside the halves to try and work out where the dummy was hidden.
"All ready?," the director asked.
"Well, wait, is there something I should be doing once it closes?"
"Don't worry about it. All you need to do is hold your pose, and we'll do the rest," the director explained.
"Ah, alright then," Kate said. She realized it would make much more sense to just digitally add a plastic sheen to her final pose later in post-production so it would all match up.
"Okay. Lights, camera, and...action!"
Kate struck a pose, and tried her best to smile (she has a hard time smiling on cue), as the two halves closed around her. For a moment there was just darkness. When the halves opened again, Kate did her best to hold as still as possible, wanting to make it easier for the post-production team.
"Cut!," the director shouted. "You did wonderful, that's a great pose!"
Kate was about to relax out relax out her pose...when she suddenly realized she couldn't move! It was almost like her muscles didn't even exist anymore! Even her eyes wouldn't budge to allow her to look down!
"Wow, this is amazing," she thought, "they actually turned me into a mannequin, for real!"
She began to mentally explore this new sensation, when she heard the director say,"alright everybody, that's a wrap!" The crew quickly went to work putting away the cameras and taking apart the machine.
"Wait, don't they need that to change me back first...?" Kate tried to speak, but she couldn't make a sound.
"You did great, kid," the director said, looking at Kate. "You're going to be a star!"
"But before you ask," she continued, "no, we are absolutely not allowed to let you stay that way any longer than the eight months stipulated in the contract. I know you'd love for it to be longer, but when you're changed back you'll also receive the prize money, so hopefully you won't be feeling too disappointed."
"In the meantime, I know you're do great 'acting' alongside the regular mannequins. You're a natural. We'll be using a voice actress for your parts, of course, just like the other mannequins. But of course you already know all of this from reading the contract."
"I'm starting to think I should've read the contract," Kate thought to herself.
"But for now, I must bid you adieu," she said, glancing at her watch. "I'll see you again next week. Don't be late!"
"Very funny," Kate thought.
"This is going to be a long eight months..."