The Fluffer Story

This story was first told at Story Salon ( then later published in Hot Valley Writers - The online literary magazine for people without enough attitude to be in one of those other online literary magazines. Click photo to link to the Hot Valley Writers page.

My day job as a Movie Studio Tour Guide requires me to show tourists how movies and TV shows are made. I do warn people that I may ruin any future movie going experience they may have. With my explanations I must choose my words carefully so not to potentially offend Hollywood outsiders with entertainment industry lingo.

While visiting family in Orlando, we decided to spend the day at our studio’s sister theme park. I know, I know, but the tickets were free. My dad and brother really enjoyed my wife Donna (also a guide) and I telling behind the scenes theme park stories while we were in line waiting to get into attractions. We went to see the Hercules and Xena Special Effects Show. This show takes volunteers from the audience and has them recreate scenes from the Hercules and Xena TV shows. Three volunteers are used to play centaurs. The effect was achieved by having the volunteers stand behind a 3-foot high blue screen then their upper bodies are superimposed over the body of a horse. To make the effect appear seamless the volunteers wear a furry brown apron that matches the horse’s fur. Before the scene is shot the show’s Host/Director grooms the fur apron. This particular Host/Director, a woman said, “Let me fluff up your fur. I’ll be your fluffer.” Stunned, Donna and I just looked at each other and mouthed the word, “Fluffer?” After the show, Donna said to me that she was surprised that they got away with using the word fluffer. I agreed and mentioned that in our park people have been fired for less. That’s when my brother, a CPA, asked, “What’s a fluffer?” Donna quickly jumped in with, “Tony why don’t you take that one.” We are surrounded by families with children. Like at work I find that I must choose my words carefully so not to potentially offend Hollywood outsiders with entertainment industry lingo.

“Well, when shooting a movie each scene will require that the same action be shot from different angles. This requires the actors to repeat their performances over and over again. And, when shooting an adult movie each scene will require that, the same action be shot from different angles. This requires the actors to repeat their performances, over and over again. Except in adult films when the leading man has trouble rising to the occasion, they call upon the services of a fluffer that helps maintain continuity and insure that the production stays on schedule.”

My brother ponders the information, then asks, “How do they perform their job?”

Donna is behind my father laughing to the point of tears. Again choosing my words carefully I said that, “I assume that they apply multiple techniques or to quote Malcolm X, ‘By any means necessary’”.

Fascinated by this new information, all these questions pop into my brother’s head. How do you put this on your resume? Is there any training involved? Does one need to be licensed, and if so how are you tested?

“I’m sure they come with references. They probably have on the job training. I don’t think there is an apprenticeship program, but then again there may be a class taught at the ‘Learning Annex.’ And if they need to be licensed, there is probably a simple oral exam.”

Donna thought my brother was naive. I thought he was just being a dick. Either way I may have ruined any future movie-going experience he may have.

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