Saturday, April 09, 2005
Witness for the prosecution
The day before, Leslie emailed us our calltimes.
As William's and my calltime were the same (9am), I emailed him asking if I could hitch a ride, as he lives near me right in Hollywood.
With no reply I figured he hadn't checked it (which turned out to be the case), so I took the bus out there.
Having friends in Pasadena, I am quite practiced in transit there.
I neglected to take into account that Very Early Saturday has far different traffic patterns than that of a late afternoon weekday into early evening.
Instead of taking 90 minutes, it took 50.
I'd set me pager alarm to buzz me awake at 8:00am, but I drowsed awake around 7:50am and realized I was past my stop and well onto Colorado Boulevard.
I hopped out and caught the Return Direction bus, though I probably could have walked it.
I only took it as it was already arriving.
I stopped at Ralphs and got a one-time use camera for the day.
The walk to the courthouse was a far easier walk than the yahoo map had indicated.
It was the appellate court, not the same courthouse where
Judge Mary House
committed against me
and refused to give me the promised copy of the finished
Pasadena Judge Training Film
industrial I'd done as a favour
(gee, a judge who lies and breaks her word... what a concept...).
It was a long but thankfully fun day.
The place was only available to us to no later than 7:00pm so there were no problems there.
William's outfit was one of the classic black and white prison stripes outfit, though a bit baggy on him and he was constantly having to hike up his pants.
I was introduced to
who was playing the Prosecutor
who not only was playing the judge, but two weeks earlier had played the vendor selling to Harold the garden tonic.
was also playing / doubling about four roles now for this project, all told.
It was later reported that for this project Yale had received hundreds of submissions for each role, except for the judge.
About five submissions
(I wonder if that'd included my submission),
out of which all but two even called back from Leslie's audition appointment call.
Then only this one guy named Maurice actually showed up and was offered the role pretty much by default.
Throughout the pre-production and such, this loon kept becoming more and more of a pain, alluding, implying then outright stating he Had More Important Things than to fit himself into the project's rather flexible schedule.
When he blew off the production entirely at the last-minute, Yale had already been postulating if Tom could pull it off if he were made-up as an elderly judge, so he had no problem being relieved
(and well rid)
of the annoying Maurice.
while by nature I can't stand unprofessional types who falsely
call themselves "actors," and
[with a little characteristically resourceful Badger'y research],
I learned who is
to whom they referred, and while I'd prefer to blast this guy's name here so as to warn prospective film makers of his utter unprofessional unreliability, it should be noted that I am not revealing the lamester's full name here out of respect for Yale and for Leslie and not for the moron.)
Sure enough, our talented and versatile make-up artist
did up Tom as not only elderly but believably crotchety.
Tom's dry sense of humour tended to belie this between takes, but in rehearsal runs and on camera he was hilariously brilliant.
William and Robert had worked together before.
Robert was done up and with the pale make-up, red lips, and his hair somewhat turned up, he rather came across resembling the Joker.
A Chaplin'esque moustache was added; with his three piece suit giving him a slight Hitler look as well.
A Warning To Others....
Considering how early was our calltime
(what with travel to the location and all),
Yale proceeded to provide us with a nice breakfast.
They knew of a nearby place called
("A Pasadena Landmark"...!),
and they had their little
from which to order.
Right on top, within the section even bordered, it absolutely declares
"Breakfast served 6:00am - 10:30am"
including and apparently limited to
Eggs with Bacon, Sausage or Ham
(along with omelet, breakfast burrito [blech] and egg sandwich w/bacon, sausage or ham).
A yellow pad was sent around for each of us to put down our orders.
I put down my regular scrambled eggs with bacon: we had lots of canned soda on hand so we were set there.
Yale went to put in the order and we were all astonished to learn that for breakfast, they don't make scrambled eggs...!
And they had no reason or explanation for it!
It was like the
Cheese Shop sketch in which
even tries just for cheddar but obtuse cheese-seller Michael Palin casually replies, "Not much call for it, really..."
Yale tried a
Five Easy Pieces
routine for an egg sandwich omitting everything but the egg, but they refused that as well
(as they must have realized that would involve making scrambled eggs).
Deciding it was late enough in the morning anyway (it was barely 10am), I switched my order to fries along with their cheeseburger plain, despite knowing full well how messed up that easy order could be.
So Yale clarified and stressed over the phone several times that Plain means meat, cheese, bun and Nothing Else.
Eventually the meals arrived.
My fries came as though they'd been cooked in an
And what a surprise!
My plain burger came with Everything Else Possible on it, rendering it
The fries were nearly warmer than room temperature so I dealt with them.
Yale continually apologized but I assured him that he'd well proven it wasn't his fault
(I heard Yale clearly say several times over the phone as to what comprises A Plain Cheeseburger),
it was "Lucky Boy" that could not grasp the concept of making scrambled eggs, so how could they possibly even be expected to handle any kind of an easy, simple, clarified lunch order?
I suspect that they call themselves Lucky Boy as they must consider themselves lucky if they ever have a customer who deliberately goes there after having been there once.
I don't know why I didn't think to suggest they go to
(over and up on Lake), which cooks
world's best fries
(with what I jokingly suspect may be nuclear material as their fries stay tongue-burningly hot for well over an hour -- certainly at least the time it takes to finally eat all of their astonishingly generous portions).
Back to work
I love when over-the-top comedies deliberately contain
shots and/or sight gags.
Yake realized it would "take time" having me called and going to the witness stand, so I suggested condensing time considerably by
my literally rising up already at the stand, as though coming up on an elevator-platform from under the floor.
It looked laughably surreal, and Yale went with it.
(Also to save time, they don't even bother to sworn me in.)
As the judge, Tom's oft dry humour came into play as, when I point accusingly at Harold, and the prosecutor heads back to his seat
(in a "No further questions: your witness..." type of way),
the judge politely claps as though subtly impressed with the questioning and presentation.
Never over the top with it, it never mattered how often it was rehearsed or shot, the little golf-clap always got a laugh from those behind the camera.
Yale allowed me to slowly sink back into the floor when Harold is sent back to his seat after his frenetic attempt at a defense, though that was not in the final cut.
(and at least one or two takes gets it),
when I am asked to identify whose lawn I measured, I point at Harold and shout,
It was HIM...!"
With this I pointed with each "HIM," which was a deliberate joke nod at Invader Zim
(even though I can't be heard).
After a take or two Yale had me do a single point but even without the first Him, I still did the Zim-like shout.
With my entrance and exit, I am not really in the gallery, so at the end of the day, it was realized I was wrapped for this location.
However, some pick-up shots were still needed for next Sunday back at their place.
I hung out while they finished up some close-ups of Tom as the judge, after which I took some photos of the removal of his impressive and substantial make-up.
Lisa was wrapped and while she had a web site, she didn't have a chance to provide it to me before she left, our thinking we'd both be there the next day.
Throughout the day Tom's judge make-up reminded me of a character actor whose name I don't know and predictably as I've been working at isolating a single project from which I know this specific actor
(so I can look him up),
he's becoming more and more elusive.
He's similar in looks to Rod Steiger but not him, just similar.
And similarly to Rod Steiger, this actor frequently plays tough high-ranking military types.
If I ever get as to whom I'm thinking, I'll put it here.
Due to the proximity of the courthouse, I got some photos finally of the impressively pretty [and reputedly haunted] Colorado Street Bridge which parallels the 137.
As they're still shooting tomorrow, and there is 24/7 security in the locked courthouse, they didn't have to deal with packing up a whole heckuva lot of stuff.
Yale and Leslie drove me home as they told me what would be shot next Sunday, and reported how Yale's coolness
[apart from the by-default Maurice]
instinctively good casting abilities],
is why he has so little trouble with those he casts.
Apparently other directors in the same group were experiencing a few mega-difficulties with their casts.
Leslie indicated how there were many from the numerous submission that backed out of their audition appointments as they "discovered" that it would be non-sync sound
(the project's actual listing clearly stating such notwithstanding).
These diva types wanted "roles with lines" for their demo reels, the narrow-minded dinks.
I was stunned at such foolishness.
Footage from this project would/will be awesome for a reel!
Gods forbid they do a role in which they have to demonstrate they can communicate non verbally, and with a highly stylized form of acting!
Yale has been collecting a large, solid stable of actors on whom he know he can rely not only for talent but for reliability
(eg, for future projects),
so he has no problem with the dross eliminating themselves in advance as they did.
He even helped cast project-cinematographer
He added with a grin that he knows one actor he know will always be an hour early...
We all agreed Tom was infinitely better than anyone "that actual age" might have been as the judge.
We all looked forward to the following Sunday's pick up shots
(Leslie indicated Elliott and Anna will be thrilled to see me again),
and I reminded Yale with my DVD to include the other two shorts about which he told me.