Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Saving Grace and the Invisible Extras

I worked Saving Grace in Downtown Burbank. The PA, John, had the most gorgeous light blue eyes I have ever seen and I kind of developed a crush on him. They didn't have enough extras to fill the scene, so we each had to change our appearance with each turn around. It was kind of funny, and we were all swapping jackets and putting our hair up and down. There was some shooting going on and we were supposed to react. We all fell to the ground and I thought that it seemed rather realistic as we darted behind trash cans and such. I later watched the episode and somehow...magically....they managed to delete every extra from the scene. I did not see ONE of us. What a waste. Holly Hunter was really nice though. She asked how my day was and what not. She is sooo tiny!! and freakishly muscular. She may weigh like 80 pounds...but she could kick my ass.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Race to Witch Mountain

This past week, I got to wake up at 4 am and drive 40 minutes to and from Pomona Fairgrounds in order to play a coveted Larper. A Larper is (for you non-geeks out there) a Live Action Roleplaying (LARP) Person (ER?). I'm not going to act like I understand their world, but you know...this was pretty fun. AND I had the BEST costume out of everyone there. AnnaSophia Robb (the young lead actress in it) told me that herself. She even filmed me for some behind the scenes coverage. Oh costume, how great you were. It was a one piece spandex suit that covered fingers and toes and went up to my neck. Over that, I wore what can only be described as a high tech trashbag. Add the 4 inch heels that matched my sparkly spandex skin and a big black wig and a sparkly star-decored headdress thing that weighted down my shoulders and you have a Larper costume like none other. Please see illegal pics below to appreciate full effect. Next came the makeup, and can I say, my makeup guy loved me. Apparently he can't handle it when people look at him when he puts lipstick on, and he would crack up laughing. On the last day, our relationship became so great that he tried to steal my nose like a 5 year old. He was the best, and all the hair people were jealous of our relationship and competed, I feel, to see who would be graced with the honor of putting on or taking off my wig. I had a different person each time which was crazy since there were 6 of them and I only had to wear the costume 3 days, but my makeup guy, I was all his. I really hope I see him again.

I couldn't fit through doorways. I had to duck down because with the head dress and heels I was about 7 feet tall. Needless to say, I'm in the deep background for a lot of the sci-fi convention scenes. Oh but so easily spottable. In fact, I'm pretty sure I talked to every single one of the 400 or so extras. They all had to come up to me and touch my costume. "You look like a hershey kiss", "You look like a mushroom", "You look like a bag of trash", I got them all. For some reason they were all fascinated by me. It did wonders for my confidence. And then there was Charlie. Charlie is a retired 69 year old who used to be in the Navy before making his millions in the pant industry. He was my protector and was desperate to see me out of my costume. He kept telling me I was a 10 and if only he were 40 years younger... He was a hoot and was always up to trouble. He went up to one black girl who thought she was all that and told her she was a 7. "That", he said as he pointed to me, "that is a 10". Of course he had no idea what I really looked like. The only real me that showed were my eyes. I think the mystery behind what I looked like was the real appeal, and some guys were getting a little too obsessive about all of us female larpers that a few were sent home for sexual harassment. I should have reported a few men, but I never felt really threatened as long as Charlie was there to scare them off.

My only real threat came on the 2nd day of filming towards the end of the day. My back was killing me as usual from carrying that heavy headdress on my shoulders. As I was rolling my shoulders during a break a guy offered to massage my shoulders. Apparently he took some classes, but I'm not sure I believe him. Don't get me wrong, it felt amazing and was greatly appreciated, but he had to go and ruin it when he said "You, me, a bottle of baby lotion, and a king size bed". I received no more back rubs after that...not that he didn't try. It became my goal for the rest of the week to avoid him and all of his hoots and hollers from across the room. He had a tattoo on his bicep. I have a theory about guys with tattoos...they're always up to no good.

My costume, though amazing, did prove to be quite the hassle. There was the back pain and sore bleeding feet (which I nursed back to health thanks to my new uggs I received a month before my birthday) and the fact that I couldn't go to the bathroom without taking off my trashbag and unzipping myself out of my costume. Now, the average person goes to the bathroom like 3 times a day, but a female during a certain week of a month goes to the bathroom a little more. It was always quite the event and took me about 10 minutes to get in and out and do my thing. It was pretty much the biggest pain in the ass imaginable.

I made a few friends on set which and we'd hang out and eat lunch together during breaks and what not. There was Ashley who was from Florida and was a pink Larper and Amy who was only there 2 days because she went to Disneyland to audition to be Snow White. She didn't get the part unfortunately but did make it past 3 cuts which is impressive. Arthur and Jonah balanced us out and we became quite the cool little bunch and made promises to hang out later which of course never materialized. On Friday, only Ashley and I returned from our group. They cut the call by a few hundred people, and neither of us had to wear our costumes which was bittersweet. Ashley got to return on a SAG voucher...I did not. Lady Luck has never been with me. At the end of the night I went up to the 2nd 2nd Assistant and asked him why Ashley got to return on a SAG voucher and I did not. Apparently there were only like 3 given out and they gave them to non-union people with crazy costumes like myself. He leaned back in his chair and put his arms behind his neck and smiled, "Mary-Ellen. She decides, and I had nothing to do with it". He wasn't trying to be mean and I found him empathetic because Mary-Ellen is crazy and he had to deal with her more than I did. She is the casting person from central who casts and handles background for most motion pictures. I smiled at him and nodded and walked away to head home, holding in my tears till I reached the cool refreshing night air.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Austin Golden Hour - The Worst Show Ever

Yesterday and today I worked on what could possibly be the worst show ever created. Even the crew hated it and had no respect for it. In order to keep the crew happy, however, they overcompensated with amazing food. Tito's Tacos, sushi bar, sundaes, and basically anything you could possibly desire. I also made a friend on set, Ashley. We are very similar in the fact that she went to NYU theatre school and I went to USC theatre and film school, and we both have similar man trouble. I was also intrigued by the fact that she was a complete open book. She told everyone on set that she was a virgin. That took guts. This was my first AFTRA show and was paid a lot to be there cause they booked me as Union instead of Non-Union. The money made it worth it I suppose. The days were very long and we were filming at the RFK hospital which is now abandoned. I wasn't even used that much and we wore ugly brown scrubs. One of the crew guys thought I was from Ireland. That provided the sole laugh of the 2 day call since I have no Irish accent. Clearly, we were all very sick and tired of being there and some may have been having delusions of Irish accents in order to spice up the hours of horrific acting. The plot is this: Very young doctors who are about my age are running a hospital and it is very soap opera-ish and it is supposed to be a cross between ER and the OC. I know how you feel, I threw up a little bit too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

United States of Tara and the Overland Park Shout-Outs!

This is the shoot where I met my friend Will Gatlin. I was immediately drawn to him because he kept smiling at me. He is just one of the happiest guys ever and his smiles are contagious. We were high school students together in Overland Park, KS...which is where I grew up. It was so amazing because they had a yellow school bus that said Johnson County Schools. I wish I had taken a picture. Even though I am a few years out of high school, clearly I was perfectly cast since I of all people know how OP kids act and dress. While in holding I got involved in some Texas Hold Em games with some cocky boys. I ended up winning of course....both times. I may look like an innocent little girl, but I know my shit. I should become a hustler.

We were apparently students at Butterworth Senior High School. I still have my program from the ballet show. It was a very detailed program. The cast and crew listed in the program were made up of characters from other high school shows like Jeff Rosso, the psychiatrist from "Freaks and Geeks" and Mike Seaver from "Growing Pains" and Kelly Kapowski from "Saved by the Bell". It became a game to try and figure out the references. Fun little souvenir to have from the day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

CSI: NY and the Galen Center

This shoot has tainted my Graduation forever. Over a 15 hour period, my ass probably touched every seat in the Galen Center. There were like 500 of us there, and I pray I am never part of a call that large ever again. Also, seat filling like that is exhausting and a handful of people escaped and just sat in holding the whole time. Lazy asses. (So bitter still ).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

American Carol

Oh American Carol, you were so long, cold and hot. Your calls were before the sun came up, therefore I was freezing, and you lasted till the sun came down, and again I was freezing....but in between, how the sun burnt my pale white skin. I was a hippie for 2 days protesting the Fourth of July. Little did I know that I was apart of Republican propoganda. David Zucker!! What the hell is wrong with you?! I later saw David Zucker at the airport when I was coming home from Vegas two weeks later. Very trippy. It was really cool seeing the Naked Gun director himself in action. He reminded me a lot of my dear friend Jonathan's style of directing (which is totally amazing since Jonathan loves him). There was one rough patch though where he had to fire Rich Little who was supposed to be impersonating Ted Kennedy and got this other guy...which I'm sure he regretted because this guy was awful and Zucker was giving him line readings for 2 hours and the guy still didn't get it. The crew was about to mutiny.

I also met Patti Moore on set. We became fast friends over our love of Hugh Laurie and because she grew up near Yardley, PA where my parents currently live. Such a small world. She also lost a brother in a car accident so we bonded over that as well. I've seen her a lot since on random sets, but as of last August 08, she moved back to PA.