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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Clocks
Césare Mercado's NY Film Academy Student Film

Friday, October 22, 2004
Audition
A day or two earlier for the NYC Film School student film project Clocks I'd submitted myself and soon received a call from writer/director Césare Mercado, for an audition at the NY Film Academy, just within the perimeter of Universal Studios.
The storyline was discussed and I did my best what would clearly by an emotionally exhausting role.

Saturday, October 24, 2004
Script
Via email I received my copy of the script. I had been under the impression I was the project's co-star, but it turned out I was the lead. It also turned out, as I suspected, it would be quite an emotional wrecking ball for me. I am not a Method Actor as such, but to do this I would have to bring up to the surface utter sorrow; in this case using all the heart-wrenching agony and pain I could, that had been merrily provided to me by a previous girlfriend who so willfully, callously and remorselessly betrayed my love, heart and trust.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Shoot - Day One
From Universal Studios we drove out to the location, actually in Delano, a little berg north of Bakersfield. We stopped first for lunch a mile or so from the location. The location was a private home which also was part ranch. There was a guest house at the back which technically was "holding," but we (the cast), barely ever really used it. Upon entering, co-star James Willson and I realized there were blankets and pillows on the sofa. We jokingly winced at each other, as we had wondered if we would be sleeping on sofas. We later learned those were for the crew.
A few minutes after we'd arrived, sudden rain came down in torrents, accompanied by high gusty winds. Césare received word that the mountain pass through which we'd driven (our only route back), was blocked in by snow.
Another private home was used as the final scene clock-room. Césare had had enough experience to know that while he had a film camera, to have a hi-def camera as well with which to check as playback. Good thing too. The film camera broke down. Calling technical support didn't help; it became clear the movie would have to done on digital.
We filmed most of my scenes the first day, including Lara as my wife Edith, undressing me (down to my [provided] boxers, at any rate). When it got too late to continue, Césare drove us and took out to dinner, then began to ponder up in which hotel to put us for the night. Co-star Lara Black realized she'd actually been at the local Super 8, so we were put up there. Lara got her own room and James and I shared a room. Jumping channels, one of my favourite X-Files episodes was on: War of the Cocrophages (the second in what I call the Scully-dog trilogy of comedy episodes).

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Shoot - Day Two
In the morning, one of the movie channels was showing the Max Von Sydow / Timothy Dalton movie Flash Gordon, which it turned out James likes as much as I. Our calltime (at least the time we were to be picked up) was 8am, but while we were ready, James and I hadn't been told whether to meet downstairs or what. So we waited until we got a knock at the door then headed out for breakfast and then back to the ranch.
Much of the second day was of James and Lara's stuff, including a scene in the kitchen where they're all lovey-dovey and doing dishes. The day again ran long, but as the car wreck scene was after dark anyway, that was to be expected. But as a shot was required at twilight, we had to race out for me to drive up to the house for the film's opening. We managed to get the shots and angles before it got too dark.
Getting ready the wrecked car, right "next door," at the border of a large field, James and Lara and I watched the then full lunar eclipse as it went into totality. It was a brisk evening, and the two actors had to deal with acting while being hosed, literally, as fake rain poured down on them.
Exhausted, I slept through the ride back, so I'm not sure if the snow had melted or if another route back had to have been found. I was dropped off at home just past midnight.

A Friday in November, 2004
Screening
The film was screened at the NY Film Acamedy. James came with his girlfriend; while Lara was working and unavailable. There were several screening rooms showing blocks of films. One set were films containing "possibly objectionable content," which unfortunately was being shown at the same time as our programming block, so I've no idea what those were like [d'oh].
As a whole, our film was very good. Suddenly though (in the film), as I get up to check out the noise in the kitchen, the narrative leaps to my headed down the hallway to bed. What th'... The entire kitchen sequence had been omitted.
Afterwards I turned to James and jokingly quipped, "Wow, you and Lara must have really sucked with your kitchen scene." Césare assured us that the kitchen scene had been removed "for pacing," and that our DVD copies would have the deleted scene so we could employ it with demo reels and whatnot.
Césare promised James and I we would receive our DVD copies (along with the "lost" kitchen scene, so we'd have that footage), within the next seven days.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Eight months later...
Aware that a few of my student filmmakers' projects would be complete, as they had indicated precisely when the project was due, I sent along a polite email of thanks and congratulations, hopes that it went well, and my happily anticipating my copy of the respective finished products.
I also CC'd Césare Mercado, reminding him that it has been slightly over seven days (in that it'd been over seven months...), and that I'd not yet received my copy of Clocks. Césare's email bounced back, no longer being used. I still had his phone number, so I called and at least got his voice on his outgoing voice-mail message; I left a polite message with my own contact phone number, and re-iterated for him my hardcopy mailing address with which to send along my contractually obligated copy. I also politely requested that he reply so I know he received the message.
Césare did not return the call.
I had added Lara and James as BCC'd recipients to the initial email, figuring if they did obtain their copies (and somehow mine simply had not arrived), they'd let me know (and I could arrange with one of them to get a copy made for me). Lara replied, asking for Césare's information as well, as she hadn't received her copy either. I provided her with his number, reporting his email had bounced back at me.
D'oh.
Five years to the shooting date later: as of October 2009, my talented co-stars and I have never received our contractually obligated DVD copies of Clocks.

Geoffrey Gould in ''Clocks''
With co-star Lara Black, writer/director Cesare Mercado and co-star James Willson
in the perfidious Cesare Mercado's NY Film Academy short Clocks.

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