• American Girl Doll Crafter

Popcorn and Premieres - A Z.Crew Photostory

"Tonight has to be perfect, Popcorn," Z said, fluffing a pillow for the umpteenth time that day. She laid it gently on the bright blue chair before her and sighed. "I guess that will have to do."

Popcorn merely barked, her head tilted and ears perked up as if to say, 'M and B won't care how fluffy the pillows are!'

Z buzzed about the backyard, making sure each detail was in place. "It's not every day that you host an outdoor movie premiere, Popcorn! I've worked incredibly hard on my summer AGSM film. Everything has to be perfect for Becca and Mari! It just has to!"

"Z!" Becca's excited cry came from around the house.

"Oh, Z!" echoed Mari in a sing-song voice. "Where are you?"

"They're here!" Z squealed. Popcorn let out a howl and ran in circles.

Just then, Mari and Becca appeared, all giggles and smiles. Becca gasped at the sight of the large white movie screen, glowing lanterns, and snacks spread across a game table.

"O-M-G! Your backyard!" She dramatically threw a hand up on her forehand and whispered, "It's simply gorgeous."

Mari rolled her eyes playfully and nudged Becca.

"Ahem, yes." Becca cleared her throat and gestured to their outfits. "We are sporting the classic 'Z style' tonight in honor of the event, thanks to wardrobe designer Mari."

"Mari, you and Becca look incredible! Your outfits are totally award-worthy."

Mari blushed at Z's compliment. "Aw... Thanks!"

"Well then, why don't we get this party- er, premiere, started?"

The three friends cheered and so the popcorn machine was fired up. Pop pop POP! Z's dog barked and leaped at the sound of her namesake. Mari grabbed a creamsicle soda, and Becca put on a pair of movie glasses.

The cheerful blue sky quickly faded into a radiant shade of deep purple. A few stars could be seen twinkling in the night sky as the girls settled into their seats.

Z jumped up in front of the screen and in her best director voice said, "We would like to thank the Z Crew, our most dedicated fans, for coming out tonight to watch the premiere of 'Caught Egg Handed: A Kit Mystery' by Z Yang. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!"

Mari and Becca giggled at Z's act. Then Z dashed around to the projector and took a deep breath before hitting the play button.

"3, 2, 1, ACTION!"

The title jumbled across the screen in a typewriter font as the movie began. The only sound heard was the munching of popcorn and the character's voices.

Z glanced over from time to time during the film. What did her friends think?Mari's eyes grew wide at the sight of each new costume, and Becca was on the edge of her seat as the movie reached its climax.

"Oooh, I can't wait to see who is stealing Kit's eggs!" Becca whispered, watching as the Kit doll waited for the thief to arrive. Z's tense shoulders relaxed and she smiled. There was nothing to worry about.

"Another great edition, hot off the press! Let's go, Grace," The doll's voice rang out as the movie came to a close. Typewriter letters appeared on the screen once again, announcing "The End!".

A moment of silence lasted only for a split second before the whole backyard exploded with screams and shrilly shouts.

"That. was. AMAZING!" Mari clapped, jumping up from her seat.

"Bravo, bravo!" Becca agreed.

Mari placed her arm on Z's shoulder. "Z, you just have to send that to the AG Awards! I know you'd win first place for sure!"

"Yes, she would," echoed another familiar voice.

The three girls whirled around to see a tall woman with short black hair smiling genuinely.

"Mom? " Z gasped in astonishment. "You were there the whole time?"

Mrs. Yang laughed. "Well, not exactly the whole time, but I did pop in to see how things were going. That was an excellent movie, Z. You have what it takes," she said, her eyes sparkling in the glow of the lanterns. Mrs. Yang was a film professor at a university nearby. She was Z's hero, and hearing such a great compliment left Z speechless.

"I- I don't know what to say... Thank you!" She raced over and gave her Mom a loving hug.

"Awwww..." Becca and Mari giggled.

"Oh, and how could I forget you two!" Z pulled the girls in for a group hug. "You guys are the best! Thanks for being my crew..."

The three friends looked at each other and grinned, reaching in with their hands for the iconic sign-off.

"... Z's Crew, out!"

This photo shoot really challenged my photography skills; I have never taken photos in the dark before. (And I probably never will again... Mosquitoes, total darkness, and extreme heat don't make for an easy doll photoshoot. LOL!) The inspiration behind this story came from American Girl's Z Crew series, and in fact, the picture of Kit was found in Z's original stop motion! With the announcement of Z Yang's retirement, I thought this little story would be the perfect way to honor the AG character representing all the doll bloggers, vloggers, and photographers.

Thanks for reading!

-AG Doll Crafter

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