Wednesday September 02, 2009
I arrived at the bus destination at the time I expected: 10:10am for my 11am calltime
(a couple of blocks shy of my destination I espied MTA bus stops for the 210, a route up in the Hollywood area I use a lot... mta.net never even considered it offering it as an option).
I came across grip trucks in the parking lot, just as SAG Rep Melissa was arriving as well.
At first I thought she might be part of production; she and I followed the labyrithal levels and sidewalks until we began to spot equipment and such.
I was not previously aware that SAG Reps were outside-hires: not fellow actors.
No trailers for principals for this production: the holding area was a single room off the set, uniform for principals and background alike
(no worries for me there).
2nd Asst. director Jason Slaughter
provided me with my contract paperwork which I was able to fill out efficiently and unhurried
The massive McCrafty's craft services layout almost rivaled the principal-only craft services at
my first commercial principal work,
though in this case crafty was available to all, not just the principals.
Just before lunch I noticed the soda cooler was gone, and was informed it was brought over to where catering would be serving lunch.
I pointed out this was the very first time craft had even considered such considerate movie, generally letting cast and crew eat at catering and have to use catering's lemonade.
Instead of having to obtain a soda as lunch was call; soda was available with the 1pm lunch
(lunch for the 11am calltime folk was 1:30pm on paper, but we pretty much all ate together).
The lunch provided by
was fantastic: baby BBQ ribs so perfect the meat all but melted in the mouth; they had some excellent mac and cheese that clearly wasn't made from a box.
The commercial was shot in two segments, as we anticipated.
The non-AT&T group had calltimes from 6am-7am, with some background at 7:30am.
The AT&T group had 11am calltimes; with a few gym background at 11:30am.
The non-AT&T group on the treadmill were all SAG and apart from non-AT&T Hero
the ten people behind her were all SAG with the stunt contract as they all were to fall off.
It was amusing to learn that SAG Rep Melissa appeared quite concerned with the stunt and the safety of the actors, none of whom had any problem with doing the stunt.
My group was correct in our prediction our segment would not be filmed until after lunch.
(Unaware he was a bit premature),
2nd AD Jason
sent down to the wardrobe trailer in the parking lot myself and
(playing an Executive).
was already there
(we joked that based on his hat, David was actually a Baker, just as
seemed more befitting the character "Girl" as opposed to "Woman"),
the wardrobe ladies
told Mercedes and I that our outfits were upstairs: they actually were awaiting for background people to come down.
Jason hadn't mistaken us as background, he just hadn't been notified who wardrobe expected to come down.
When our segment began, it was obvious that while the non-AT&T group were all SAG, with our group from the second row
(right behind David, Mercedes and I),
Ali and Mickey were both in the non-AT&T group, along with
and as a Skateboard Kid,
as a Mechanic.
Noel looked quite familiar to me, and after a few moments we realized we'd "worked" the same day on
Lords of Dogtown,
even though it was the day in which those of us cast ended up sitting in holding all the live long day, never once used
(the wardrobe ladies distressing every square centimeter of my homeless outfit notwithstanding, to the point that to clean it I had to use a special high-grade caustic cleaner
[I mention this all here as, when I worked Lords of Dogtown, as I was used, I never really did up a report on it]...).
Noel, Ali and Mickey conveyed how during their numerous takes of falling both off the treadmill and onto each other, et al, there was no shortage of bumps and bruises and a few actual cuts, all of which the lot of us had anticipated would all but have to happen no matter how carefully it was handled.
The non-AT&T group was finished about maybe an hour after lunch.
Our group's AT&T Hero was the enthusiastic
(with a strong resemblance thereof), easily could play daughter or very younger sister to
David, Mercedes and I
were placed directly behind Stephanie; behind us were the seven SAG Featured Background.
Initially my character was BBQ Man: I was given a large spatula and tongs, but this was considered probably unsafe so they were switched out with a long attachment for a garden hose with various settings.
Comically enough, considering its silver colour metal shaft and black nozzle with a rounded end, I really looked forward to holding it as some could easily see my construing it as a Dalek utility arm, but before cameras rolled, it was also switched out, this time finally for a simple newspaper, and so BBQ/Newspaper Man I became and remained.
At the fitting they went through varius outfits for me.
The one with which they began at the shoot was the blue Hawaiian shirt with pink flamingos under a "wife-beater" shirt.
This got switched out with an off-white/cream shirt, also remaining open to the "wife-beater" undershirt.
From über content, director
directed we four, while 1st Asst. Director
relayed relevant instructions to the background performers.
I could not help but find this amusing, as at first, Chris conveyed to we three treadmill principals his wishes, strongly emphasizing his "hope" that the background would "magically follow" our actions/example.
The main director is not actually allowed to direct background action: this is always the purview of ADs.
In this case, Phil Elins reiterated to the treadmill background Chris's directions to us.
On and off we filmed our scene from about maybe 1:30pm to just before our 8pm wrap.
The casting notice initially implied the spot could air on the Internet, but based on results
(no mention of Internet airing within our contract, and no separate Internet contract, as was done with the
commercial), so much for that additional payment.
(If it does turn up online, I will embed the video here for viewing, as well as notify SAG it's airing without paying us...)
As it is, as we filmed two separate versions of the spot, one with the hero-girls in Spanish and one in English with the full-one same casts, we are being paid for each spot, then residuals each time they air
(the Spanish version will air nationally, the English version will air as a regional spot, puzzlingly enough airing only in Phoenix [Arizona]...).
To avoid the ten A-List friends and family appearing simultaneously, after filming us flat-on profile they set up a green-screen and filmed the farthest column first
(David and the background performers behind him),
then the middle column
(Mercedes and her backgrounders),
then my column and background performers.
The last background performer in my line was done up as an Executive, but he seemed to have difficulties performing in the directed action of how to convey the sudden-appearance on the treadmill.
While the other columns were being filmed, the background performer in front of him, Robin, demonstrated how he could do it safely, but based on results he felt awkward and self-conscious.
Amusingly, the crew figured out how to handle him.
Each actor on "the" treadmill actually was on a separate treadmill set so closely together it appears to be a single line.
Two in the center actually had to share one, but were able to do so safely.
As the guy at the end of my column had his own treadmill, and as each was controlled separately, they suddenly lunged his treadmill to an extent he all but had his feet yanked out from under him, forcing him to reflect the exact stumble'y look that was needed...
The rest of us were far more impressed
by this strategy than was he.
The camera angle was changed to straight-on and Stephanie again did her lines in Spanish and in English, as we continued our same actions for each version.
The group behind Stephanie was literally finished by about 7:15 or so, as a few of Stephanie's close-up were handled.
It became clear everything was done and we were wrapped and signed out at 8pm, having us signed out precisely at eight hours.
Chris Hooper posed for a photo with me, and I asked if he had also worked on the
had filmed two Aprils previous, which he did, and he was amused to realize I'd had played
the lead role in one of them.
Some photos were taken with Mercedes and David, the latter of whom lived in Los Feliz and was gracious enough to drop me off at Hollywood and Western from which I could take the Red Line back to the Valley.
Probably around the end of October I will drop a line to
inquiring after the protocols with which to procure a copy on DVD of both finished spots
(considering it's not just an English version dubbed into Spanish: each version will be just noticeably different).