Mr. Tom Sellack; tall, broad shouldered, stately, and utterly focused; sat six feet away from little ol' me in Bamontes, a stand-in restaurant for a Center Street restaurant. The tables were round. There was a chandelier in the middle of the room right above Mr. Sellack's table. The kitchen had windowed doors that faced the dining room. You had to walk through a crowded bar (crowded with screens and director's chairs). The owner of the establishment sat watching at the bar.
My On-Set Experience
There I was sitting eating (shhhh--it was only supposed to be pretend eating) itty bitty bites of delicious, steaming and later-cooled lemon chicken and pantomiming with a few of my powerful best friends I met a few moments before. We talked about important "cases" we'd encountered at work like the case of the pb&j that had gone a rye (heehee--awry). The "sun" was shone in on us from the doorway (a really strong, bright light that had the same effects on me as the sun--it made me really thirsty) and the crew zipped around making the shots look glorious--and my hair/make-up fixed up a couple of times--to save it from the melting "sunshine"--which made me feel so much more official.
|My powerful hair do. I wonder if I looked more powerful like that.|
|These were the make-up people. They reminded me to put on lipstick a few times.|
In all my experiences before this, the first assistant director would shout out right before the take, "Rolling!" "Background!" "Action!" So I had to change my thinking when the First AD didn't shout that out too much. To Mr. Seleck they would sometimes say softly, "Rolling, start whenever you want."
One time I thought there were crew members hopping around and I thought they were just keeping in character and going through their lines I decided to get a drink of water from my purse--BUT, lo and behold they were filming. Ugh. I felt so guilty. Note to self, only take a drink of water when a crew member is obstructing the view of the camera--not the actors--a crew member.
Afterward the 2nd AD came to our table and said, "Could you please move less." I am not sure if it was pointed to me, though it felt like he was looking at me and only me---but each of us thought it could be us. We were supposed to be power-diners, so after that we tried to look more serious, and um, powerful.
|These are the types of signs they have to let us know where holding is . . . that's kind of given, but just in case you were wondering.|
I have been looking into film making on a much smaller scale and in my reading found out something about director, Clint Eastwood. Here it is, just in case you are interested, "One of the best lessons I ever got in film directing was watching behind-the-scenes footage of Clint Eastwood at work. He is a revelation in simplicity. He'll casually walk through a scene with the actors then say, "Okay, let's just roll one off and see what happens. Go whenever you want." He's loathe to say, "Action," never says "Cut," and never uses video playback, standing right next to the camera and watching each take on a little wireless monitor he carries around in his hands.At the end of a take he might say, "Yeah, that was nice. Let's move over here. . . "One or two takes on each angle and that's it."(Carroll, Mike. Naked Filmmaking; How to Make a Feature-Length Film without a Crew for $10,000 or Less. 2010).
That's exactly how the director worked. The crew really made a point to stand back and let the actors take over, it was amazing. There was such focus in the whole restaurant. I loved it.When and if I make a movie, I want to work like that.
|This guy paused to pose for me while he opened the door to the holding room. Thanks guy.|
When they were finished with that scene and they didn't need my table of people any more, I went outside to wait and see if they needed me later. I talked with the guest star a little and soon found myself standing in the walkway of the door and I overheard Mr. Sellack telling Jay O. Sanders that he was a producer and had produced several things.
|These were super nice extras with me. The gal in the front and left was a waiter. The guy at the front table was a pedestrian. The people in the very back were the hair people. One of them was the guy I wrote about previously in my White Collar post.|
They didn't need me for the rest of the day. But I was there until 10:30 p.m. mostly talking with other adults, which at this point in my life, is something I do not get to do often. The other background artists were really nice and interesting people. I felt blessed to talk with them. From 7-7:30 we had dinner--which meant for me fresh stir-fry--which was delicious! They had left over fortune cookies so my table smuggled them all and we had a fun fortune cookie reading. Mine said profoundly, "Do something spontaneous tomorrow."
|Russian Orthodox Church--the holding.|
If you don't get CBS on your television (I don't) then you can watch it here, eventually. The episode is going to be called something like "Reagan vs. Reagan." Let me know if you see it. It will be great!
And dear CBS productions people, if you ever see this, thank you for the opportunity. I learned a lot. The cast and crew were focused and determined. Thank you for your quality programming. :) M