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Geoffrey Gould
Reports from the set/s...
Let's Hang On
Nick Roney's Chapman University Film

Thursday, March 03, 2010
I received an invitation to audition for an indie short Let's Hang On being directed by Nick Roney, at The Complex on Santa Monica Boulevard. Despite having been there before, I relied on Google's transit directions, insisting I walk from Santa Monica and Vermont's Red Line Station, instead of from there catching a #4 bus to the site, near vine. Thankfully I was characteristically very early, and arrived at The Complex pretty much right on time.
I was brought in and did the best read I could, considering Most Likely the actual performance could be slightly different. The role is a 180 year old man, using "transformative make-up," as the posting conveyed. I did what I could, knowing the make-up and ancient Confederate uniform in which they'd have me would enhance my performance significantly. He provided probable dates, and we discussed the make-up, and it was apparently it could be a 10+ hour day (which for me in no biggie).
A couple of days later I received word from Nick that based on all auditioned performances, I was selected for the role (amusingly, the way the message was worded, it started out sounding like it was going to be a "Thanks for having come in but..." call).
I called Nick back and I was told the shoot date would be Sunday March 20th, and would run late, which indirectly implied Monday the 21st would be a "recovery day" for me/us from the work, et al.

Friday March 11, 2010
The day before, Nick called to confirm the next day's rehearsal, indicating the time was actually 2:30pm (good thing he called; I was under the impression the calltime was 2pm).
I arrived about 2:10pm and waited. Nick arrived around 2:25 and retrieved the key to our rehearsal space. Heading upstairs we found my co-star Bette Smith and the three of us spent about an hour or so on the scene.
Nick had indicated enough early in the day that I suspected it was not actually an independent short but actually a student film. Sure enough, it was... for Chapman University. I confessed how my having worked on a Chapman project six years earlier had left me with a slight sour taste towards that particular institution.
We ran through the scenes a few times, what with the updated, slightly revised script, and its initial blocking and such. Nick understands that once we're in our costumes and elaborate make-up that our Performance Energy would shift (for the better), and that it'd be somewhat different than what we'd probably be doing there.
We also discussed transport: Nick agreed to retrieve me, considering my contact location now is nowhere really near where I've been staying the past few months. At first it was thought I could carpool with Bette, but Nick realized as I have some on-screen business before her entrance, I should arrive earlier to be in make-up and they shoot that sequence first. Nick volunteered to come up and get me. We didn't discuss my return, but I figured it was probable Bette could get me back at least to the transit lines towards my place.
We headed our separate ways, my completely having negected to ask if Nick planned on documenting something of a Behind The Scenes sort of bit, considering the make-up to be employed (I'd discover a few days later that my camera had decided to go missing, hiding somewhere in my room...).

Thursday March 17, 2010
An email was sent out by AD Alan Michnoff that it had been arranged that I'd carpool down with Bette Smith (whilst my make-up is being done up, Nick would be going over blocking with Bette). Bette contacted me and she and I set up whereabouts and when on Sunday I should bus close to her near-Hollywood place. The 181 and/or 180 pretty much stops right at her block.
The email/s regarding Sunday indicated a 5pm calltime down in Orange, and first shot by about 7pm, with an estimated 4am wrap time.

Sunday March 20, 2011
The day was filled on and off with rains and downpours and very brief respites therefrom. My friend and I did some shopping at CostCo, after which he brought me down to Hollywood and dropped me off at Bette's place. Bette drove us down and despite very slow, rain and accident-laden traffic, we managed to arrive at 5:01pm for our 5pm calltime (when she suspected we might be late, we called Nick to let him know). As it was, due to the rain and a flat tire, our special effects and make-up artist Brittany Ponder arrived about ten minutes after we'd arrived.
While Nick went over stuff with Better, Brittany began working on applying my prostethic make-up she'd created. There was no money in the budget to have done a lifemask of me, but she also was not provided in time any reference photographs, so she was unaware I have a rather short upper lip. The prostethic has a "regular" lip, so the entire face was a bit off-kilter. However, once applied (which was trickier than expected, due to the high humidty making the adhesive a bit stubborn), it gave even more surreal a look, the upper lip even creating a weird crooked aspect that gave the appearance of perhaps a years-earlier stroke or such.
While working on me, literally for about three or four hours, Brittany and I conversed about all sorts of topics; understandably intelligent, her knowledge of pop culture knowledge (and interest in spooky stuff), let us enjoyably discuss various subjects. The friendly Zoey (on boom mic, but assisted Brittany when needed), was a bit more creeped out by certain ghost stories Brittany and I were sharing, but not in a bad way. Zoey slightly enjoyed the creepiness, but not to the extent she'd probably ever go on a ghost hunt.
Brittany was also running special effects, having done such on various October Haunted House themed attractions. For the scripted ending involving a rather nasty projectile excremental discharge, she created a concoction of peanut butter, chocolate, instant mashed potaoes, with a full bottom of vanilla extract to combat the odour; said touch which didn't really help, but wasn't as bad.
As she worked, we discussed various directors and special effects make-up people, which appeared to surprise her I knew about them.
When I was done, and as Bette began having her prosthetic applied, Nick and crew shot my early Benjamin scenes in the short. When I'd get home later I was aghast of the various photos I'd had taken with my camera, I only had a couple of shots taken of me in the coffin, not in the Confederate uniform throughout the rest of the short (lots of on-set photos were taken throughout the night, Nick assured me I'd receive copies). Nick was a bit put put at first with the "costume" he'd had to acquire, as it looked extremely cheap and Bad Costume Shop'esque. While I concurred it resembled the sort one would use for an amatuer dramatics society, considering my make-up having me resembled a cross between Dustin Hoffman as Little Big Man, David Tennant as the Master-aged 10th Doctor (in the episode The Last of the Time Lords), and Barnabas Collins in House of Dark Shadows, the uniform costume actually Worked.
We broke for "lunch" around 10:30pm. Subway sandwiches had been brought in, to the horror of vegetarians Brittany and Zoey, and myself (not a vegetarian: I just don't eat Subway). As there was a nearby Wendys and they'd already obtained some Pepsi for me (as the only beverage out with which they'd started was water and bottled tea, and with my Pepsi they brought coffee for those who drink that), my regular Double Cheeseburger plain was procured for me (Wendys technically is less expensive now, as I only get their burger, what with their having discontinued serving Wendys delicious fries, Wendys having replaced their fries with Carls Jr. and/or In & Out fries). I managed to consume my burger despite my prosthetic "mask," but understandably Brittany had to touch it up as predictably the foam latex came away from my upper lip.
With Bette done up as Clara, we spent the rest of the night filming the scene, as rain returned, stopped, returned again not only with a vengence but tremendous thunder claps and impressively massive lightning flashes.
As the closing shot literally could only be One Take, thank gods it worked... mostly.
Initially Brittany had been experiment with an air cannon, and had deliberately exaggerated its dangers to preclude anyone touching it (while my make-up was being done the crew had their safety meeting in which that was mentioned, as well as the strange instruction "not to talk to the talent;" Brittany and Zoey and I had been merrily chatting away for well over an hour by then so we decided that that added prohibition would not count for the two ladies). When it came to the scene, realizing it would be Me on the floor, Brittany re-emphasized that sometimes... (not always but sometimes...), the slender PVC pipe could... shatter. Thankfully she also had with her a manual pump, which while would not spray the room like an air cannon, would still certainly create a ghastly rectum-volcanic effect. We reshot my collapse, so I ended up face down. A small slit was cut into my pants rear, and I'd already set up myself for my left arm to be outstetched; I suggested to Brittany she could lead the flexible slender tube through my sleeve and down my jacket to the pants. Brittany had added hot water to the unrefridgerated concoction to regain its liquidity, and stirred it with her gloved hand until we were ready to shoot. The tube was ready, the camera rolled, and Brittany started pumping. For a moment she feared it was not working, when suddenly... it started to emerge. Though I could not see it, I could feel it. The liquid nightmare belched forth and, due to the inadvertant slight angle of the hose, it shot not exactly straight, but right up onto my right leg. It was such I suspected the hose was not aligned with the hole and was shooting down my pants leg. Then I felt a massive surge land on my thigh, as the crew could not help themselves as they began laughing hysterically. Due to the grotesque nature of the proceedings (as well as everyone else's contagious laughter), I could not help but chuckle as well, hoping my involuntary movements could be interpreted as death spasms.
We were finally wrapped. Brittany removed Bette's make-up first, as I had to shower (thankfully the location was a home). Before the effect, Nick helped me wrap my lower torso and top of my legs with industrial-strength paper towels Brittany had brought, which also were used in the clean-up of the mess. They got off my pants and the paper towels indeed protected most of my body (and I spent the shoot barefoot). The shower cleaned off the rest of me, from the water I kept clear my head due to the make-up.
Ironically the prosthetics which had been such a challenge to apply, were being equally reluctant to be removed. I drowsed as Brittany worked on Bette; whilse I'd been in the shower Zoey had departed so I was unable to provide her directly with my contact information as well as the information on the weekly radio show I co-host, but Brittany and Zoey are friends so with my info in hand, Brittany assured me she'd get to Zoey the information.
While waiting, I noted my prosthetic's lips had again become undone. From the mouth I was able to pull away from my face the nose and part of the cheek. It still took a considerable amount of time to get off the rest when Brittany began to work on me.
Bette and I literally were free by about 9am. Nick again thanked us for our work, and assured us we'd receive DVD copies as soon as possible.
The morning traffic heading back north wasn't so bad; much of the rain had dissapated. Bette had assured me she would drive me all the way home in the event of rain, across which we came as we approached Pasadena. As we came into a non-raining area, she dropped me off about four miles shy of where I was staying; based on results instead of getting directions on her iPhone right To My Place, she had figured out sort of which bus would get me home, and dropped me off there.
Once home I slept in for a few hours before learning the following day I had another audition, this time for the NY Film Academy...

Wednesday May 18, 2011
Via Facebook, Nick Roney notified us that Let's Hang On was online, and provided us with its direct link at vimeo. He also clarified we'd receive our hardcopy DVDs in due course, which I liked as my computer was having issue/s with the video version.

Nick Roney's short Let's Hang On
Click on image for Full Size View...
The prosthetisc Bette and I wore for 'Let's Hang On'
The prosthetics created by Brittany Ponder
First, skullcap
In my skull-cap
Brittany Ponder works on applying my prosthetic
Brittany Ponder works on applying my prosthetic
Brittany Ponder works on applying my prosthetic
Brittany Ponder works on applying my prosthetic My prosthetic almost completely applied
Prosthetic almost completely applied
In the coffin
In the coffin.
In the coffin... only mostly dead...
In the coffin... only Mostly dead...
Brittany Ponder's excremental concoction
Brittany Ponder's excremental concoction
Brittany Ponder's excremental concoction
Camera duel with director Nick Roney
Still photo camera dueling with
project writer/director Nick Roney.
Friendly Zoey Gordon dutifully working the boom mic for the all night production
The friendly Zoey Gordon on boom mic
throughout the long long night shoot...

Wednesday March 23, 2011
More photos
Nick emailed me with a page link of on-set photos from the shoot (six line page's worth). I saved the ones below, but there are more at the Dropbox page.

Click on image for Full Size View...
Geoffrey Gould imdb entry
Let's Hang On
IMDB entry

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