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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...

Ghost World scene
USC movie-scene project

Thursday, October 09, 2008
USC Audition, or sorts
I participated in a "mass audition," as it were, for a USC class facilitated by veteran actress Nina Foch. I had been the first one seen, and each of us had been given a short scene from various movies, mine being from the film Moonstruck, which I actually have not seen.
The class was not merely for each of us to audition to about thirty or more aspiring filmmakers, but also to teach the students How To Audition Actors. I did my cold-reading opposite a student whose Randy Hickey reading style did not hinder my audition. Nina Foch had played Bithia in The Ten Commandments, one of my top favourite films, as well as one of my top favourite films to MSTie, one of Bithia's lines being a great straight line for one of my more darker MSTie riffs.
At the time of the audition however, I did not recognize her name. That is, I didn't associate her name with a specific role or film, but her name struck a very familiar chord. A few nights later as a friend and I walked down Hollywood Boulevard, we came across Nina Foch's star on the Walk of Fame, having me realize why I knew the name: I pass it and see it every single day.
The audition aspect was set up by the student who provided the information to those actors who submitted for the project (she later requested I not list her name here). A few weeks later, she contacted me, asking if I could do a scene for her project. I accepted and received the sides from a scene from the Thora Birch feature Ghost World. I was to play the Steve Buscemi role of Seymour. Ironically I have never seen the film, even though I worked a day or two on it. Right on Thora Birch's own website, she has numerous images from the film, one of which includes me in the coffee bar, right over Scarlett Johansson's head.
It was set up for Saturday the first, everyone unaware it was a USC Game Day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008
Movie scene shoot
Despite being Game-Day, the bus still got me there nice and early, and knowing USC pretty darn well by now, I found the classroom in Taper Hall quickly. She amusingly introduced me as "Gregory" to her camera operator David.
My costar Arita Trahan arrived in time, and just managed to find street parking, which was preferable to local game-day paid parking being in the forty dollar range.
Our director gave us the blocking in the small classroom we were using. A table had been set for the scene at the end of a dinner, as shy Seymour realizes his date Dana is a bit high-energy.
Arita and I rehearsed a few times; we each had down our lines. The assignment apparently was to shoot the scene in a single shot. Initially there was the implication it should be a dolly shot without a dolly. David had a small skateboard that they'd considered using, but it was not used, and the scene became just use of panning from a tripod.
She thanked Arita and I profusely, declaring that of all the actors that had read that day in class, the two of us were the top best. She also clarified that it was highly probable I could get a photo with Nina Foch if I came across her again: apparently Nina does love th'limelight...
I couldn't resist relating how, when visiting my friend Dave a Passover weekend year ago, he and I spent the annual TV airing of Ten Commandments MSTie'ing it, and my favourite Bithia riff. During the Angel of Death sequence, Bithia frets, "Those are my people out there...!"
The burly guy next to her touches her gently on the arm, reassuring her, "They are all God's People, my Lady."
My riff is Bithia's response: "Oh shut up, and get your hands off me, you [slave]...!" (Nearly having Dave on the floor laughing for about ten minutes, that was one of Dave's favourites as well.)
Our director assured us the copy we receive will be of all of the five or so "takes" we did.

Monday December 22, 2008
Sad update
With no word after a month and a half, I had sent a polite email inquiry regarding the DVD copy to her, as well as asking what the class and/or Nina Foch thought of the scene. In her reply, apart from apologizing and declaring the DVD would be in the mail the following day, she conveyed, "As you probably know, Nina passed away recently. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to view or critique the scene."
I was stunned, having heard or read no news on the passing of Nina Foch, the news being so filled with old-guard deaths of late (e.g., Bettie Page, Forrest J Ackerman, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Beverly Garland, Van Johnson, Paul Benedict, et al). Later I checked for her obituary. I found it sad I only got to see Nina Foch the one time. I hoped she would be remembered in the In Memorium sequence during the 2009 Academy Awards...

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