Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Set Journal: True Mongrels

I’m late. Real late. Between the Lauren flight debacle and the sudden torrential downpour, I ended up being about a half hour later then I expected to be…and I expected to be about thirty minutes late…

Instead of being really pissed off and irritated, like they should have been, the writer, dp, and ADR editor were all happy to see me. Nice. Probably helped that dinner was catered and everyone was eating before shooting.

I found this funny on a few levels—one being that it’s weird to eat after six—mostly because of the whole actresses don’t eat thing. So, right, I did not partake. Not because I didn’t want the extra weight, but because I’d already had some AMAZING sashimi down on Westside. That and the fact that it was high carb and high beef. MOO. Eck, four legged animals should not be eaten.

They eat, I jabber…covering everything from all the cities I’ve lived in/visited for awhile to my career goals and sexuality. Yep, it’s about as interesting as it sounds. I talk with the writer about pulling a Texas accent…he’s so excited about the idea he gives me a REALLY LLLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGG back story. Huh, yes, thank you for that, but ‘okay’ would have worked just as well.

Things are starting to finally come together, make up and hair is done, or should I say OVERDONE, considering everything. We take a few test shots and rock ‘n’ roll things together. We shoot a quick scene (that I am not in), then everyone jumps in together for some cast/production stills. I find out all the guys know one another from over years of friendship. The other chick, Nora, is in one of their film classes. I’m the odd man out with a completely separate life. They do their best to make me feel like one of the gang…and pretty soon I do.

The temp drops down to around 48*F. Did I mention we’re shooting outside? Nora and I are huddled together actually shaking from the chill. Even with three jackets a piece, we can’t stay warm while the camera is rolling. It’s almost as bad as The Ringer shoot…the only thing that makes it worse is we have less people to create warmth.

I get to play my part in production by acting as Clapper for a few scenes, and opting up a few ideas when camera angles or story boarding isn’t working out. What can I say? I’m multitalented.

I chat in between takes with Lee, who plays my john, and Nora, who plays my john’s wife and the cause of all our untimely ends. They’re both 27, which is only funny because I am—for once—the youngest person on the shoot. Lee’s in a band…er, several I guess…while Nora is a makeup artist when she’s not modeling or acting. Apparently both of us were cast because we’re Lee’s ‘type’. Not Lee’s character’s type, mind you, but Lee’s type. Take that where you may.

We all take a break in the warm interior. Also known as: defrost. Nora and I shoot some stills...which I would up load if my comp would let such luck!

Unfortunately there’s a cat around somewhere and my allergies are already on the fritz from the weather and my recent bought of sickness…two seconds later my eyes are streaming and my noise is doing an Oscar worthy Rudolph. SO NOT OK. Thankfully, the DP’s little brother, who’s on set to “watch what happens during filming” comes up with a pill. Thanks right ladies and gents, I said one. Just one. Now, as a woman who generally takes twice the recommended dosage, I figured I was still SOL, but it did manage to stop the flowing of viscous fluids, which is something. I guess.

After sitting in a SAAB for thirty minutes, the camera angles are good, the lights are good, and Lee and I are ready to do our scenes. All pretty standard stuff…wide-angles, close-ups, my POV, his POV. A few line hiccups, but all in all super easy.

There was only one major screw up on my part…haha, when I got stuck on a word in my twang and sounded like I was trying to be a country singer. It was like, “Don’t take loooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggg.” It was HILARIOUS.

Quick break, then we reset for the same car location. Now I get to die. Strangled to death by Nora in the back seat. YEA!


Well, let’s just say my fondness for CSI is working against me…or maybe it’s just the crew getting all freaked out about actually killing me…either way, I ask if we can rehearse it a few times before rolling film. I regain my confidence when Nora loosely loops the thing around my neck like a nice set of pearls. Yeah, no, that didn’t work so well for me. We worked up to a pretty good pressure, which I get to fake later because I use my hands to try and get the thing off me. My paleness is not an asset here, as my neck is taking on a lovely cherry Kool-Aid color. Luckily, I have Elle Woods hair going on, so the curls cover most of it. One shot I’m not so pleased with is one in which the DP wants to shoot in an up angle. They literally put the camera back on the floor boards and lean it up on my knees. I feel this is not the most flattering angle for anyone, but WTF, I’m dying, who looks good when they’re dying right? At the end, Nora and I split the strangulation device…even though the writer said I earned it…Hehe…I win.

There was some…okay, how to be diplomatic here? “Herbal medication” being passed around certain parties. Thankfully none of the actors got involved, so we got back to filming quickly.

For those of you who have never been in a newer SAAB (could be with older one’s as well, I’m just not sure), the ignition is where your center console normally is. This information will become important later.

We shoot some quick takes of the end of my life…as I sort of flop over into the passenger side door. This one’s wrapped up after three takes, which is nice, moving things along and what not. Next one is more difficult for me. This is the scene after I’m dead, where Nora puts a gun to Lee’s head and starts getting all Kill Bill on his ass…while I’m still dead. So, this is rather awkward for me for many reasons. One: Do to shooting/lighting requirements, the window is open. My head is sticking halfway out said window, and I feel sort of like a canine. Also, it’s colder then it was a few hours ago. Two: Lee either A-keeps forgetting his line about me being dead…which, call me nuts seems like something you would say if you saw a body chilling in your car…or B-hitting me so hard when he checks to see if I’m alive, that I actually have to move. First time he did it scared the crap out of me.

Anyways, we finally get to the end of the scene, where they exit the car, and Lee does the good actor thing and goes to reach for the keys in the ignition, which he’s pretending is up in the dash. I, of course, see none of this as I’m slumped over towards the window. Suddenly I hear this metallic whirring, and I jump, thinking the window’s rolling up. Everyone is laughing. I look out the front window and see the windshield washer fluid and wiper blades going…Lee’d bumped the shaft in error. Okay, time for another reshoot. I don’t know if they wanted it to be a long shot or not, but they wanted it all over again so I hope so, we get to the end…and he does the exact same thing again. It takes a good ten minutes for anyone to calm down enough to do it again.

FINALLY, they get the shot. Everyone gets to go warm up except me. At this point, I *might* have been delirious. Literally, I recall singing “If I Were a Rich Girl” hanging upside down out of the car. They set up and we shoot my legs twitching while I’m supposed to be getting strangled. Yeah, boys and girls, try that one. Pretend someone is chocking you in a car. What are your legs doing? I donno, I winged something, two takes and we moved on.

The next shot was trickier. It’s my mouth in the rear view mirror while I’m glossing up. DSL, you know. My problem…well, besides the fact that my nose is running again? I hate being that close to a mirror, why the hell would I want to film it? Although the DP was showing his delusions as well, staring at me mesmerized saying, “It’s so glossy.” Heh…I’m like, “OoooKaaay, moving on.”

They add a shot of my eyes in the rear view, which totally makes my day because they’ve been my favorite thing about myself for lately. They’re looking more and more like a true Amber/chestnut/green Hazel then just “light brown”. I also get an eyebrow quirk. Apparently “Trixi” thinks she’s hot. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

We wrap, and hang around to watch the dailies. I figured when I saw my death it would be funny…it wasn’t. It was really…unnerving. Which is good, I guess. Everything looked awesome. Music is all going to be original band and score. Trailer should be done in Jan/Feb, with the festival in April. We shall see…We shall see.

I drive Nora home, and roll into my place around 4:15a. I pop some pills, wash off the make-up and yank up my hair. Reheating a square of chicken lasagna, I eat that so I can take my antibiotic, while striping for bed. Finally hit the pillow around 4:45a.

Lauren called at 7a…To Be Continued…

Quote of the Shoot: “So, basically the goal is to just put it in the Fest…and then win everything.”
Soundtrack of the Shoot: MGFM’s Mix CD
TV/Movie Quote from the Shoot: From True Mongrels, “Baby that suit can’t wrap around you like I can.”


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Anonymous said...

Nice to see that your filming takes precedence over your friend. and that you put up a set journal before you wrote about ME. I'm way more important than some silly movie.

I guess i just see where your priorities are.


Ms_Isabella said...

Silly Lauren, You know you're WAY more important than filming...I'm just being OCD and keeping things in order...