Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Monday 5/7

They'd already taken down the signs for Monday, so I snapped this 
Character Portrayal and Moment of Humor.

For me, Florence Elagnithgin Rotca, life was at the lowest it has ever been. Every prospect had been flung out the window and lay in smithereens all across 50th Street between 6th and 7th Ave.   It was a sad, sad day.  I mustered all my courage to leave the Time Life Building that day with my head drooped in discouragement and my bag and my box of my feeble work belongings.  What was I going to do?
I was going to recycle.  They needed more people in the shot so I again picked up my box to go back to the building to load up on more stuff.  I was a fired employee and my boss . . . much nearer the cameras . . . was . . . to be continued in the next issue.

Just for the record, I was not fired. It was all the acting I did on Monday, as a background actor.
At one point this man walked into the door I was standing next to. He asked, "What movie are they filming?" I said, "It is The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."   The man said, "Oh, Danny Kaye? I love Danny Kaye."
He walked a few more feet away, and I wasn't sure if he knew that Mr. Kay passed away some years ago, but I said, "Yes, like that . . . only--he's dead."

Somehow that's less funny typed. It was hilarious at the moment, but that could have been the fact we were all sunburned, windburned and wet and the guy didn't hear me.  Any humorous relief was like a five minute seat in a warm room with a square, healthy meal digesting within.

Monica, Me and Melissa (?), all background.
Star Sighting

The picture above was taken right after we were waiting for an hour by the fountain.  It was a beautiful day at the time and I was enjoying looking at what the passers-by were wearing and choosing the things I liked the most about each one.  But I did not analyze their faces too much. Mostly I said, "I like those shoes." "Look at that bag!" (Yes, Mom--I think I'm getting more Eastern-ly--in Idaho I would have said, "Look at that purse"). I was also looking at hair-dos and Adam Scott passed by and I didn't even look at his face except to notice a very fake looking beard (which will look completely real on camera). I said, "Oh I like his hair."  I think he heard. Oops.  My friend then told me who he was. Chagrin may be the proper word for my feelings at that moment.  Also, I would add, I think he would have talked with me.  He talked with some of the other extras but my darn shyness (which sets in at inopportune moments as per previous posts) made me almost flee. UGH! Also, I saw the gal who got voted off American Idol last week.

Source Mr. Scott and his real beard.
The Case of the Mistaken Identity 
On my way to holding I saw this woman with absolutely perfect posture (as in drill team worthy) walk by me near the craft wagon (the place we get food) and I asked, "Are you background?"  She said, "Excuse me?" I knew right then and there if she was background she would have known exactly what I was talking about.  I said, "Oh, never mind. Sorry." Then she started laughing. . . so did I, sheepishly.  But I will add, somehow her laugh seemed more mechanical. She just walked like an extra--seriously focused on walking confidently and erect.  And, her blonde-white hair was so perfectly set. Oops.

Unlisted Goal Accomplishments.
Sometimes I feel like I have mental goals; the ones that I haven't written down, not because I haven't thought about them, just that I didn't write them down and then when they get accomplished I feel I must write them down and count them as accomplished goals. Happily, three more of my unlisted bucket list goals were taken care of yesterday as I was background for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  One, being in a remake of a movie and not just any movie, but one of the ones I watched at least twice a year growing up and to be in a movie with a star I actually have a movie of in my home (Night At The Museum and Leap Year). Also, to be in a movie where the main actor is also the director. In this movie Ben Stiller is the director and main character, Walter Mitty.  Just from listening to the lines I think it will be pretty great and I am excited to see it--just to see him acting as Walter Mitty.  Also, my theory is that Mr. Stiller is a perfectionist, in a great way.  I think the entire day was spent filming a 40 second segment. It was really enlightening about the amount of time it takes to film that much and I'm excited to see the post-production results.  To see some great photos of Mr. Stiller yesterday go here. 
Source, this was not from Monday, but the guy with the beard on Mr. Stiller's shoulder,
was on location yesterday too--he is 96 years old, his nephew, a fellow extra, said.  
Visual Appearance Department Compliments that made me feel Fabulous
Wardrobe liked what I brought and said, "Oh, this looks good." I was floored. Then when hair/make-up said, "You already look great. You don't even need lipstick. You're ready to go." I felt so proud of my getting ready skills I just beamed and said, "Thank you!"

My Daring Rescue
One thing that has constantly surprised me about crews and casts is the separation of jobs. It is something taken very seriously. For example, if you're cast--you don't help the crew unless they specifically ask you to.  But, there are times the crew just needs help and my mother always taught me that if someone needs help to help if at all possible.  On this day, there was a load of boxes that had been piled up and they were heading to the road to topple out all over the place and create a mess (or not--who knows really), but it was speeding toward the road and I clapped out (meaning my high heeled shoes clapped as they hit the pavement) and saved them just in time.  But it is important to note, if one is an extra and one sees a crew member needs help with equipment (not props) one cannot touch the equipment, one must ask another crew member to help the other crew member (unless it's a matter of life and death--then by all means one should help, if one can).

Low-Budget Movie Making Advice from the Pros 
Don, Props man . . . advice to me future low-budget movie maker . . . nothing to do with the film at hand.
Best ways to get props for a movie with a decent budget is to go to a prop house (I didn't even really know they had those and now it is on my bucket list to go and at least look in one--if possible).
Craigslist, buy and return will likely be the most cost-efficient way to shop. He gave me a list of stores that will be good for that.  For camera gear, camera houses may cut a deal if you rent on Sunday (not an option for me).  Craigslist is a good way to go for a crew.  Try to be a PA for a day to help you learn the ropes a little more.

Hannah--painter extraordinaire-  said that painting with a wheat based glutaline (or something like that) will wash off the wall if you need it to.

Talkative Indy-film Savvy Extra--There was at one point where I was speaking with a particularly talkative extra that wanted to tell me all about his experiences in film-making. He really wanted to give me ideas, which I appreciated, but my goal for being there was to talk with the crew.  I hope he did not find me rude when I said something like, "Thank you for talking with me about this.  The crew is eating lunch, I really would like to talk to them about some ideas while they are eating and have a moment. Okay?"  

He was very nice.  I just didn't want to tell him all that I have planned and he wanted to know very specifically what I had in mind. . . but just at that moment, I did not want to tell anyone.  Please tell me that we are all like this, neurotic randomly about things close to us.   I told him that I had an idea about NYC pigeons--since there were some across the street on the buildings.  Oddly enough I haven't been able to get the idea out of my head . . . and it is so simple (as the man pointed out). He said, "Oh, a simple idea. I like that. I always want to do the extra-terrestrial things, aliens and the like that need a huge budget." What a nice fellow. Now, I'm going to have to do something about pigeons.  My kids will love that if I do it with them.  They think pigeons are marvelous creatures. . . especially when it comes to chasing them, which may or may not happen when filming them, if it does indeed happen.

See the microphone? This is how they communicated with Mr. Stiller if needed during the shoot. I didn't see them use it at all, but it is nice they had it if they needed.   Mr. Stiller had an iPad-ish thing that he would watch the filmed sequence (I think) and decide what needed to be changed or better.  

I felt like I needed a of the lighting and equipment to help me imagine my own future shoot someday. . . though mine will be a much smaller scale.
Advice from One of the nice PAs 
Story-boarding. It can be done with a digital camera--saves time and keeps costs down. Try to record digitally what you want in the time you expect.   It is vital that you have something to keep the people in your cast and crew with an idea of what you need to do.

2nd Camera Assistant, advice for a future low-budget film makers.
Camera-wise for Indie Films:  DP could have their own camera.  Start with a digital camera is possible, it will be the cheaper.  Final Cut Pro helps you make the basic edit yourself.  Then you can give it to someone else with more experience finish it. for quality intro classes.

Pre-Indy-Filming-Experience: Try to be a crew member (most likely a PA) in a tier 1, 2, or 3 movie. See how people negotiate budget.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm a Model

A little while ago, W, my husband, had a vacation and I got a job being a model for a day. . . yes, a model.  I now can add that to my portfolio.  You may now imagine this writer in a glamour shot--picture me as one of Vogue healthy models (via their new editor pact), note I will be very modest, in a great shoot like maybe this-ish.
I think I would be a super model (haha) for that.   Sadly, I cannot give you much information about the photo shoot because I signed a model's and confidentiality agreement.  It will come out in print sometime, then you will get more information.   I can tell you it was under the heading of the "trinity photo shoot" and there were about two hundred "models" like myself and there may or may not have been a helicopter involved, the salad was tasty and they had popcorn chips. . . but like I said, confidential. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Leibster Award


The beautiful SUZIE WHITE steps onto the platform with "Liebster Blog" festooned stylishly across and behind it. Thunderous applaud explodes from the room packed with A-listers and even the ushers are smiling and clapping wildly. SUZIE WHITE nods and smiles and waves at the camera for her baby and smiles broadly especially at her super husband sitting near the front. The applause slowly subsides.

Thank you to all of you for your moral support and inspiration. When I received this award I felt happy and proud.  Now it is up to me to nominate another person's blog for this award of great achievement and application to all the lives of the readers absorbing it. The award goes to . . .
There is a rustle of paper as SUZIE WHITE carefully opens her envelope.  The anticipation is mounting and some of the well-knowns are caught on camera with their lips poised and slightly open--obviously hoping to get the award themselves or to be well acquainted with the person that gets it.

The crowd goes wild. M walks onto the stage to take the award and someone in the crowd jumps up and tries to get it before she does.  Security takes them down before anyone recognizes the culprit. M is visibly having an emotional moment and is completely oblivious to the attempt just made, even though the crowd just gasped in surprise; and also because she just realized she has a blot of peanut butter, from the sandwiches she prepared her children, is gracing a small bit of the gown she is wearing--which she carefully hides with her arm--so the cameras do not see.

Congratulations, M!

Thank you Suzie.  I remember being in the high school plays with you and without really trying you stole the show single-handed-ly. Seriously, you were amazing!  I really appreciate this award from you and all the wonderful people involved. I would especially like to thank the loving support of my sweetheart, his patience and devotion have strengthened me in so many ways . . . Now I would like to award some other dear people whose blogs have made me laugh and enlightened me, especially when it comes to a huge part of my life--motherhood.  There are so many, but the ones that will tell you about today are the following:

  1. Passionate . . . the Expression of the Soul 
  2. Let the Good Times Roll 
  3. Lindsay and Company
Immediately on a screen behind the award-giving stand. . . fireworks go off and the women are ushered accompanied by their sweethearts.  Some great new music group is singing around them and it is obvious all on stage are practically in heaven. . . 

TO BE CONTINUED-ish . . . on the other blogs. :) Thanks Suzie!  

Nominees, please review the rules.  
1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link it back to their blog.
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
3. Nominate 3-5 further blogs and let them know by leaving a comment.