Wednesday, August 11, 2004
I left work (my day-job temp assignment in the mid-Wilshire area) a little early and bussed to Hollywood for a 3:30pm audition for a commercial for
I was to play a "sleazy salesman," my agency told me, so I glanced at the comical script upon my arrival and was all set.
I noticed too late that my audition followed character actor
of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.
I recognized him as he went in, and checked the name on the sign-in list.
But as I went right in and he left immediately, I couldn't commend him on his admirable work.
I had fun with it, even asking if at one point if I could sit down.
Set "30 years ago" in the 1970s, the salesman (in the second of two scenes), realizes a young man can be conned into buying a bad imitation necklace for his wife (or perhaps then-girlfriend or fiance).
The salesman is pleased with his sale, despite being completely without ethics or morals.
It was for this epilogue scene I wanted to sit, and put my feet up on the desk.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
On Avail and Callback
Monday I got paged that I was On Avail
for the amazon spot for Thursday and Friday.
This means I shouldn't book anything for those two days, and that I am
Seriously Being Considered
for the role.
Tuesday, after a 10am audition in West LA, I was busing back to my day-job when my pager went off.
I was a few blocks from my stop, but I knew where there were pay phones, one stop before my stop, so I checked and found I had a 3pm callback for the amazon dot com spot.
In West LA!
I'd just bussed from there!
So back I go, arriving in time (for me, 60 to 30 minutes prior to calltime is "on time").
I sign-in and sit with others who begin to show up.
To my surprise, one was pleasant British actress
who a year or so earlier I'd met at another audition.
She remembered me, yet she seemed surprised I'd remembered her, even though at the time I first met her I'd remembered That I Knew I Had Seen Her but did not know her name.
Once she jogged my memory of her being Zoey [the holographic supervisor to the female Evil Leaper] on
and being in a fourth season
there was no forgetting her.
One of the staff came out and stressed that we all understand we were all
for Thursday and Friday.
"It's very important you're available both days..." she repeated, indicating some people just flake and book other stuff.
One of the casting people came out to pair up those playing married couples.
As he began to pair me up with a pretty woman, I gently pointed out I had auditioned for Max the salesman.
"Oh yeah," he said.
"They wanted to see you read for the husband."
I was surprised but not by much.
I've been asked to read for different characters before for projects, and once got booked for a shoot and upon arriving learned I was not playing the character I was told I was going to play.
So the woman and I ran our lines a few times, and were brought in.
We were introduced to the project's director
who gave us some pointers and let us go at it.
The scene is of the present-day married couple, where husband David confesses to wife Karen of his foolishly being taken years earlier, regarding the necklace (their not having real diamonds).
He is very nervous about telling her, and done dry and straight, it can be pretty funny.
After our scene, Henrik gave her some adjustments.
On asking if he had any adjustments for me (as it was very first time reading the scene), he indicated I was doing it pretty well.
She and I did the scene again and they thanked her, asking me to stay for the next woman.
Earlier, before I had been called in, radio personality
and I had introduced ourselves to each other; now we got to do the scene together.
Her performance was spot on and we played off of each other quite well.
After the one take, I was done, and she stayed to read with the next guy.
As I signed out, Carolyn and I said our goodbyes and good-lucks and I headed out.
It was about 3:45pm.
Around 5:30pm my pager went off; I was now
On Strong Avail
for the spot.
This meant they were flipping coins and playing rock, paper, scissors as to whether they would choose me as either role.
Friday, August 20, 2004
On Wednesday I learned the
were now Monday and Tuesday, August 23 and 24.
This meant I had to wait probably to Friday for yea or nay.
the 20th I got paged in the morning by my agent, congratulating me on booking the spot.
I'd be filming only on Monday, and apart from the
day's session fee/private-sector compensation for labour,
I'd earn a goodly amount of earnings/compensation for private labour,
for their one-year Internet usage of the footage/spot.
2:30pm I got a call from Ed with the production company, asking if I could come in for a wardrobe fitting at 3:30pm (in sixty minutes from the phone call).
I warned him (that as I use public transit) if I left Right Then
I might make it in ninety minutes, which was fine.
I arrived at 4pm and met
who was handling wardrobe.
I met line producer
ad agency senior producer
(who assured me we'd be getting copies of the finished project).
We were never provided copies of the finished product.
Bridgette said they were making five or six such short subjects, which would air on amazon.com at the holiday season, sort of rotating, but each would be "featured."
I overheard some of the ad people saying that
had agreed to be a cameo in one of the shorts.
I am wondering (and hoping) that when they make the copies for the performers, just to plunk all the shorts onto one DVD so we can watch the others as well!
As it is, at the time I had dial-up, and anyone with regular dial-up could have trouble viewing the online films.
On the table in the wardrobe room there were pre-production notes, indicating the role of present-day David "should" be along the lines of a Ben Gazzara and/or Peter Falk.
Hans and Henrik asked if I'd be willing to read the salesman's lines opposite two fellows each still up for the role of young (1970's era) David.
Through the back I was brought into the same studio in which I read the other day.
Henrik gave me his binder with the script, along with many other production notes.
I happened across a page with the currently chosen and booked cast: myself,
"Powermouth" Patty Lotz,
and to my pleased surprise, talented character actor
with whom I once auditioned a year or two previously (and several times since).
Even before that I'd known him from seeing him in dozens of commercials, but "know him best" on
in which (on the blooper reel), he demonstrates his problem properly pronouncing "Ivanova."
I couldn't help wishing we could work on the same day, but at least we're in the same project.
So I read with two young men, and of the two,
He was brought back where we only had a few minutes to talk: his scene with
would be filmed on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Deborah has me change several times for Henrik and the ad agency folks to approve.
Soon the lovely and talented
arrived and also went through wardrobe.
A consummate actress, Patty suggested she and I get together over the weekend to go over lines.
Before we left, Henrik went over with us the sort of blocking we'd have on Monday on the bedroom set
(in a private domicile).
We received our 7:30am Monday calltime and the location, which for me would be no problem.
Henrik showed us with a drawing he made what we'd be doing, indicating that
(beyond what the script says),
our scene ends mostly with our kissing.
He literally referred to Patty "being on top" of me.
Patty and I received copies of the updated script and I signed out, my having been there two and a quarter hours (6:15pm).
At her suggestion Patty and I had earlier arranged to meet up on Sunday to go over lines and to get comfortable with each other so on Monday we'd film like a regular long-married couple (that still have respect and affection for each other).
This way the intimacy will be more believable, as well as our mutually working towards this being the best we can make it.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Getting Into th'Act
While down in Orange Country, towards the end of Saturday, I received a few pages.
Sunday began to take on a different shape.
Patty and I arranged to meet at 11:30am.
Then associate producer
Henrik had gotten wind of Patty's and my plans to rehearse and requested "sitting in," which Patty (who I then called), and I concurred was a great idea.
Kelly called again and it was arranged that we (Kelly, Henrik, Patty and I) would meet up at 3pm, most likely at the
As promised, Kelly called Sunday Morning and confirmed the 3pm at RSA.
She indicated I could take a taxi for which she'd pay.
(Like an idiot), I pointed out I am domiciled close enough that the MTA would be fine, and I did arrive at RSA at 2:25pm, reading over my lines until Kelly arrived around 2:50, surprised she wasn't there before me.
"Sorry," I'd said half-jokingly.
"I'm always early for shoots, rehearsals and auditions."
Patty arrived a few minutes later and as well as small talk she and I discussed the script a bit and read it through once or twice.
Henrich arrived a hiccough after 3pm.
Kelly brought us to the large conference room and wished us well and took off.
Henrich mentioned to me that it is our short in which
would be making a cameo.
(Patty was not in the room at that moment, and I mentioned the news to her later as she drove me back to my place: she was thrilled.
Sharon Stone running her fingers through my hair
the previous year, Patty laughingly declared I was "on a roll!"
She added happily that Darryl Hannah appearance/footage in our short gives us major "street cred"...)
Henrich went over with us the blocking again so we were able to do our lines that way.
He gave us some nice, logical adjustments, listened to our suggestions and was very easy and pleasant with whom to work.
Henrich was also already aware he had two performers for his project that are so committed to it.
Having gone over the scene several times, we headed out, bade our goodbyes and good wishes to the 'morrow when we see each other at basecamp for breakfast.
On the ride home, Patty and I learned we were both New Jerseyans; she was even born in Montclair, New Jersey, at the hospital around the corner from where I lived in the late 1970s through most of the 1980s, and where my mother volunteered.
I'm actually surprised I didn't think to add the darkly-humoured truth,
"My Dad died
in that hospital" (as he had).
At the time, Patty told me that her roommate worked at legal for Paramount.
They had a pitch-meeting for a movie scheduled for Monday that obviously was re-scheduled for Wednesday due to This Shoot.
I half-jokingly reminded her if "they need any nerdy types," to remember me.
She clarified she'd definitely work on a role for me, remembering there is a scientist geologist or two in the script...
(Sadly, that script was never greenlit.)
Monday, August 23, 2004
I drowsed awake a few time and got up at 5:30am.
After all my standard morning preparations, I was still early for my bus.
So I started walkin'.
I got down Santa Monica Boulevard when the 212 caught up with me, and I took it to 3rd.
I started walkin'.
I know Wilton was a good walk, and I was still way early for my 7:30am calltime, and I arrived at 6:45am.
Henrich was already there, was as Kelly and the bulk (if not all), of the production crew.
introduced himself to me and I had my regular on-set catered breakfast.
Patty arrived just before 7am.
As the set was a private domicile and no one was allowed on its street so much as a minute prior to 7:00am, at the very stroke of seven they hauled out of the initial basecamp and headed over.
Once the crew had all gone over, Patty and I were shuttled over in the next available shuttle van.
There, Trent showed us to our trailer.
Patty discovered hers had a few too many petrol fumes, and hair or make up needed some storage space, Patty and I took her stuff out and she and I shared the one half (that didn't smell).
Make up artist
(who I'd met at the fitting) did up Patty while hair stylist
dealt with my normally curly and obstinate hair, and Deborah Ferguson got us into wardrobe.
To my surprise, while Colleen worked on my hair, I noticed that Raymond O'Connor had stopped by; he was there for his wardrobe fitting.
It only took him a moment to remember me, and I even asked him to meet and introduce himself to Patty, as I'd told her about him.
He was gracious enough to have a photo taken with me.
Turned out he was unaware (and happy to learn) that Darryl Hannah would be at his scene in the morning.
The caterers were now at the location and Patty got some eggs (and I got some more myself).
When we were done we headed over and Trent brought us up to the home and upstairs, and they were pretty much already prepared for us.
[Regarding hours, btw, we broke for lunch from 1:00 to 1:30 and Patty and I wrapped at 7:15pm, giving us 3.75 hours of overtime: no meal penalties.]
It was a way cool day.
Tons of coverage and Patty and I both really look forward to seeing the end result.
Henrik had added a very funny line to the script since the rehearsal.
Patty is rather, well, quite impressively endowed...
Instead of my just saying (that the problem is), "It's the necklace," the line became, "They're fake," with a gesture towards the necklace she wears.
Patty as Karen glances down at her bosom and slowly looks up, saying, "No... they're not..."
"Not those," I say somewhat dismissively. "It's the necklace," and it's back to the original script.
Unfortunately it was either too funny (we were delivering dry and straight), or deemed "too risque," but the line was dropped after an hour or so.
But it did get filmed...
Keeping the production steady was pleasant First A.D.
bearing the slightest resemblence to Fred Ward (and former coworker Ken Moore).
(Despite the fact that it never happened),
I noticed in the contract the then possibility of their creating "give-away DVDs" (promotional, such as could be found at
or Circuit City type places) with the film/s on them.
(Also in the contract it indicated that payment would be within twelve  days from the shoot date...)
Henrich and his Director of Photography
are both from Sweden, and when they conversed on set regarding shots and angles and such, it was all in Swedish.
I must confess I did stumble on my lines a few times, trying to keep up with the line revisions.
Every now and then Henrich would have me deliver my lines/do my character in a radically different way than I'd been doing.
Considering these drastic changes were with totally different camera angles, the editor will have his/her job cut out for him/her.
At first I stayed sort of hurt and sad puppy-dog.
Later in the day he had me play it even sadder.
Then he had me do it very dry, followed by very matter-of-factly.
I had no reason to argue: apart from it demonstrating my range, I was a bit curious if (similar to doing an improv), I could make the spectrum wide changes myself at the drop of a hat.
Also we were given an added "unscripted tag" (which they did leave in), in which I "kill Raymond's character," as it were.
Patty seems surprised how briskly the shoot was moving: maybe a second take for safety, etc.
I jokingly whispered to her, "Well, when they hire one-take wonders such as ourselves..."
"Oh you are so cast as the geologist in the movie if it gets made!" she replyed with a laugh.
Patty and I were given much applause when we were wrapped.
Trent helped us with paperwork and was quite surprised at my knowledge of law.
Patty and I said our goodbyes and we were thanked profusely.
Patty again was kind enough drop me at my domicile before heading back to the valley, each of us still jazzed over the day, and we both looked forward to seeing our (and the other) amazon.com short film/s.
Friday, November 5, 2004
Patty and I remained in email contact since the shoot.
A week or three previous to this entry, I got paged from RSA that there was a tentatively planned screening for the amazon.com films for Tuesday, November 9th, and she wanted my mailing location (I thought with which to send my DVD copy of the spot).
I immediately emailed Patty who had received the same information, so not surprisingly, we were both psyched about it.
However, no invitation for me ever arrived, and November 9th was approaching.
I emailed Patty to see if she had learned of a time or place yet.
She replied she had received a hardcopy invitation from RSA, and she gave me the time and place and the RSVP number to call.
I called the RSVP number and left my name and message (that I wanted to attend but had not yet received an invitation).
I got a return email that I would be on the list Plus One, and if I had any additional guests to let them know.
Patty had told me the location was "poolside," at 7025 Hawthorn at Orange (which turned out to be the rear of the Roosevelt Hotel).
Neither of us could discern precisely what it meant, but the address sounded familiar, and Orange is a street right by my domicile.
I quickly did a maps.yahoo.com search and sure enough, it was one block south of the Chinese Theatre.
I had to check it out, so I wandered over.
There were lights on in the rooms indicated what seemed to be apartments, long since vacant.
While no number on the outside, it was the only building 7025 could be.
The door was wide open, so I carefully ventured inside.
I could see the pool, but in the hallway, a lot of construction had been going on; dust and debris was littered about.
But the place also was not empty.
I got to the pool and looked about: apparently some sort of photo or film shoot was going on in one of the upper row of apartments.
Unseen, I headed back out, and headed towards Orange to make sure this was the place.
I went through the back service area of the Hotel Roosevelt (which was the only "Hawthorn at Orange" there was apart from actual apartments on the south side of Hawthorn).
I found a side way into the same pool area; clearer to see that there was some sort of media work being done upstairs: large lights on the balcony facing one of the rooms.
Looking across the pool (I was now on its far side), I could see the other balcony of second floor rooms, all empty.
I returned home and emailed Patty my findings.
We figured we'd Find Out Soon Enough on Tuesday.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Patty's and my emails reflected our growing excitement for the following evening.
She had told me that this was not just our film (and the others)' being screening, but apparently a Launch Party for the amazon.com Amazon Theatre!
I walked by the building again, and found large circles of fabric hung about outside.
I was unsure if that was for our event or what, but inside (the door was still open), there were racks on which were thin orange curtains.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Amazon Theatre Launch Party:
On the Red Carpet
Patty's invitation said 8:00pm poolside.
I walked from my domicile and arrived about 7:45, and found a line.
It was definitely the right place.
The fabric circles were used as rear projection screens on which the words Amazon Theatre and such were being projected.
As I got closer to the door where I could see the check-in desk, I noticed there seemed to be Two Lines, and as I'd been on foot, I had come from the other direction, and was in the Wrong Line.
When I got up to the front, one of the PR ladies immediately recognized me and asked if I'd met the press.
I told her I had not realized there was another line, so she led me to the large orange press wall and personally introduced me by name to the waiting press photographers.
I quickly removed my glasses for the photos, deliberately hanging them on my pocket so it's obvious I do wear them (as I do not wear them in the film).
As with most Americans, it's pretty commonplace to see celebrities on TV casually entering events and having dozens of photographic flashes going off at them.
Now here I was, on a red carpet myself, dozens of photographic flashes going off at me.
It was quite a surreal experience (and I could see how it freaked out King Kong), but it was way cool.
At the end of the line I was interviewed while being videotaped by (what I think was) In Direction (or maybe Indirection) magazine or such.
There was so much, I wasn't able really to find out who was who and the RSA PR woman implied I'd receive information so I could get tear sheets and such (I never did receive any such materials).
Years ago I was "part of" the New Jersey press corp, sort of (long story), and I attended an MGM/UA press luncheon event at Tavern on the Green in Central Park.
I arrived about five or ten minutes prior to the scheduled time, and I was the first journalist there... for about a half hour.
I was not first here; poolside was already packed.
I entered the same "back" door and the hallway was now hidden by the orange curtains which were heavily backlit.
The walkway to the pool seemed... organic for some reason.
This later made sense; having not received the invitation I wasn't yet aware they were sort of focusing the event on an Orange theme.
Large screen TVs were all over the place, looping the short
All five of the shorts were available for viewing on individual Apple laptops on various tables around the pool.
I was able to find the one showing
Careful What You Wish For,
pretty close to the open bar (never too far from which was comedian Jon Lovitz).
Having hired a DJ (who thankfully at least didn't make announcements), the music was brutally loud, making very difficult viewing the videos the event was promoting.
That is, hearing them.
No group could enjoy them, they could only be viewed properly one viewer at a time, due to a single set of headsets per laptop.
People began to notice I was the performer in the spot.
I was quickly handed the headset and I was able to watch it.
Considering the big-screen TVs were showing the image-overload music-video'esque Agent Orange (without audio), I was impressed with how Careful What You Wish For was done.
Sitting at the table was
Staci La Van
who introduced herself and that she was the spot's editor, commending our work, as did nearby
(who at the time neglected to mention it is her sultry British voice doing the narration for Minnie Driver's
I made my way around to the other laptops; each of the spots were done Letterbox format, though some of their aspects were More Letterbox than others.
each came across me and offered their congratulations as well.
I'm not sure if it was Hans or Bridgette who told me our spot was scheduled to start airing December 7th.
I think it was Producer (and RSA president)
who conveyed that there was an article in that day's Wall Street Journal, a front page article.
It didn't take me too long to find Patty.
Learning she had not run the press gauntlet and as This Is Why [She] Has A Badger, I brought her outside to the PR people, who graciously did for Patty what they'd done for me.
Patty later indicated she'd have preferred having me with her for it, though I was close enough that as she got to the end I was brought in and a few photos were taken of us together.
Kent Winfrey found us as well, along with his guest, Belin Bexton (a friendly actress resembling a cross between Angelina Jolie and Anna Falchi).
The photographers for
came by and asked for another few photos, so Patty and I and Kent posed for them.
Of amazon dot com marketing,
introduced himself to us, relating that each short was being given its own
Internet Movie Database entry.
It turns out that the IMDB and amazon.com are sister companies.
Kent actually was aware of this, a friend of his working in the same Washington state building.
Patty offered to drive me home, so we figured we should hit the 24-hour newsstand for that day's
Wall Street Journal.
On our way out, we obtained the small swag-bags filled with Thank You stuff for the attendees.
Once as we headed to her car, Patty mentioned spotting
Lara Flynn Boyle
at the event.
I'd not realized she was there, I hadn't seen her: I would later learn there were even more folks I didn't meet...
The newsstand had three copies left of the Wall Street Journal, all of which I purchased.
As we headed back towards my place, I noticed there was no front page article, but quickly checked that it was a front page, just not of section one: it was page one of the Business Section.
The article listed Darryl Hannah as "starring" in our spot (using an accompanying behind-the-scenes photo of Darryl with the guitar), which is fine by us (her cameo is actually a few seconds).
I gave Patty her copy and retained the other two, one for Kent and one for me.
We noticed the swag-bag each had a t-shirt promoting tonight's event, and had orange-related materials: personal care products and novels Tim Dorsey's political satire novel Orange Crush and the Joanne Harris book Five Quarters of an Orange.
Dropping the stuff at my place, I scooted back to the event and gave Kent his copy of the article.
No sign of Lara Flynn Boyle, but Kent indicated having spotted
but I couldn't find him myself.
A shame too; the previous week I'd worked on two Capitol One spots directed by
who directed Orlando in a 7Up spot on which I worked featured-background.
Online Debut date:
November 09, 2004
I liked this li'l spin, slightly on the Dorian Gray side with Sex In The City overtones.
the overweight put-upon financial-firm partner who clearly knows more than her partners combined.
Minnie Driver plays
Donna, the heartless head of the firm who has no problem with her cohorts
the most underused character),
tormenting Esther by (off-screen) berating her Bud Glamour Shot.
who got flattened by a bus in
here finds her Inner Self revealed in a glamour shot portrait.
The obvious moral that one's Inner Self may not be what others really should see.
The perfect British accented narrator is producer
(who produced my short).
Online Debut date:
November 16, 2004
The shortest of the five shorts, this image-intensive, sensory overload short has a young man
spotting a young woman
whose orange attire has her stand out in the dreary fluorescent-light green of the 7th Street MTA MetroLine subway Blue Line.
With no spoken dialogue and a jazzed up opera soundtrack, it moves briskly along as the boy tries to meet her officially.
Do Geese See God
Online Debut date:
November 23, 2004
Worthy of Rod Serling, beyond my short, this one is my favourite.
The centerpiece and the longest of the five shorts at ten and a half minutes, this hyper-edited, creepy short has a seemingly unnamed man
trapped in a causality loop.
Yes, I know sci-fi fans will know what that means faster than most,
but that's why I use the term, so that I won't be giving it away to most people.
Blair finds himself
having to follow a nightmarish maze of directions by a sinister cartoon mouse (rat)?, in a world filled not only with time loops, but numerous palindromes.
At one point he comes across a unsettling bum played by
(a friend of mine who I first met back when he and I worked on the
who cryptically refers to Blair as "Doctor Awkward," and generally is the homeless person you don't want suddenly speaking to you.
(who was the cute Russian girl neighbour with the crush on Peter Parker in SpiderMan 2), plays a rose vendor, gentling calling out to rat-race passers-by to stop and smell the flowers.
Kudos also to
as the (sightless?) weasel.
Ezra later told me his director
informed him they actually cut this short back.
It's original, longer cut was so intense it overly creeped out the clients
(I am so not surprised).
If this was the trimmed back version, I would love to see the original, longer, director's cut.
Online Debut date:
November 30, 2004
In this cute comedy,
plays a well-meaning but somewhat clueless father who clearly should pay more attention to his children.
When the youngest of his daughters bemoans that the tooth fairy had not claimed her tooth the previous night, he spends the subsequent night in a scavenger hunt for the tooth, now hidden somewhere in the house.
has a cameo as a passing neighbourhood security guard...
Careful What You Wish For
Official Online Debut date:
December 07, 2004
After thirty years of marriage, a present-day husband
'fesses up to his wife
that the diamonds in her favourite necklace... are fake.
Years earlier, when the husband "was young and stupid"
he'd been taken, suckered, by a slick salesman
Even the salesman's Zen-minded partner
cannot find anything of redemption in the man, who brazenly cares nothing for inevitable karmic backlash.
Buying a guitar, Darryl Hannah
has a quick don't-blink cameo in the pawn shop.
(enigmatically billed in the credits as "ACNE"...)
Thursday, March 04, 2005
A few days prior to this entry date I showed a coworker at our temp assignment the
Careful What You Wish For
movie at amazon dot com.
This entry date,
I happened to check out the IMDB
(as I am wont to do), and its front page was about the then-new Tribeca Short-Subject Film Festival, being held at Amazon.
I happened to check and Amazon Theatre referred only to the Film Festival.
I clicked on the link to
Careful What You Wish For
and found it to be gone.
All five of the shorts were gone, ours after only three days shy of three months.
Ah well... it was a good run.