Independent film. HA! You gotta love it. I mean, where else can you work a 6 year old boy for 16 hours and not get sued? Saturday's film shoot was great fun. Still working under the principle that the kid should fear me, I arrived at 9 AM and was whisked away from him almost immediately to get my back henna tattooed with a big dragon. One of the directors (there are two, which is always a big mistake) drove me all the way to Venice Beach and realized he forgot to bring the picture of the dragon. He said to not worry, that he'd be back in 20 minutes.
One hour and twenty minutes later, I start to worry. I start to suspect that maybe I'm the victim of some television prank. You know, like suddenly I'm on the Jamie Kennedy Experiment, with the prank being Dropping Actors Off in Strange Places and Leaving Them There For Hours HEH HEH HEH. I start getting a wicked sunburn, and the nearby bum has taken his pants down for me twice. But I stuck to my spot, and he did eventually come back. He proceeded to haggle the local Henna artists for the job, and another hour later I have a MASSIVE Balinese dragon head on my back (picture on its way). A random woman came up to me and said "I hope that's not permanent." Thanks, lady.
So, it's noon now. We drove back to the apartment where we're shooting to find that the entire morning has been wasted because the kid, named Coulton (he's from Texas, y'all!), refuses to put the diaper on or perform the scenes. Now, hey, I understand, he's six years old and has to play a four year old with a diaper. That's tough. But he's pulling this amazing Comatose act, which consists of lying on the bed with his eyes shut really tightly and making loud snoring sounds. I tell him that we are not fooled. No attempts to make him come out work. We "break" for lunch. An hour later, it is discovered that the problem is he's embarassed that there's a strange girl in the house (me) that he has to wear a diaper in front of. Hey, understandable. I decide to break the taboo and go talk to him. I mean, here I am with a towel acting as a pregnant belly (looks ridiculous and lumpy, by the way) and a giant dragon on my back. I feel his pain. It takes another hour of coaxing and we're finally shooting around 3.
There are 80 shots for this film, for a one day shoot, with a kid, that didn't get started until 3. Then, the directors get into a...heated discussion...about whether they should be shooting in 4:3 or 16:9. Probably something that should have been discussed much earlier. Further, the DP is lighting each shot scrupulously. Which is great, I mean, I'm all for getting the lighting right, but, it's three in the afternoon already and each shot is taking 45 minutes to light. We lost the light by 5:30 and we lost the kid by 6. He had great moments of concentration followed by many hours of nonsense. Which is fine, he's a kid. But the Mom. Oh my gosh.
See, she's brought her three sons from Texas for pilot season. She took them out of school and they go to many auditions a day, because, as she put it, "they wanted to, they love acting." Come on, lady. We all know about the Hollywood Gold Rush. These are three adorable kids who can make you a lot of money. They have agents up the wazoo and are working their butts off. The middle kid is named Nakota. I ask what his name means and she says she doesn't know, that she has it on a Slurpee cup somewhere (?!?!?!) but that it was going to be Dakota, but the dad met a stripper named Dakota so they decided on Nakota because it's like North Dakota. I'm not even kidding you, you can't make this stuff up. Anyway, Nakota is there at the shoot and he's bored as hell and hyper smart, so he starts doing all the foley work. He's giving the DP lighting suggestions. He's nine years old. I drew the line when he started giving me acting notes. Although, I must say, he was the only one who was. The directors were so worried about getting the shots set up that I never heard a peep about what I should be doing. I was completely winging it, and I know it's going to show.
So, anyway, it gets to be 11:30 PM and we're about 10 shots into the 80 shot movie. I'm dreading what lies ahead. Coulton is barely breathing, and finally decides to lie down in the middle of the floor and not get up. His mother is using all sorts of emotional blackmail techniques to get him to act, like "ok, I guess we'll just have to leave you here and not come back," and "well I guess i'll have to go return your Yu-Gi-Yoh cards we just bought." HELLO? You can't make a kid ACT by threatening him. This is why there are child labor laws. I can see that one of the directors is getting ready to crack and finally realizes that he has to stop the shoot. This small five minute movie is going to cost them WAY more than they anticipated. So, he tells the kids to go home and we continue with my shots of my tattoo. I spend about an hour topless letting strangers film my back and smoking herbal cigarettes, which smell and taste of the devil. I no longer have feeling in my legs, and have no clue how a woman can hold a big sack of baby on her stomach for nine months. I noticed that I started rubbing the bump and treating it like a real baby. It's exhausting, but I felt jusitified when it came time to eat, that I could eat MORE. We left things off around 2 AM.
That's when the fun began! That Domino's pizza they ordered us gave me food poisoning...WHEE! So, up all night with that. Best part was, music rehearsal at noon for the Russian show. Rock.
I am a zombie, I am exhausted, and it was awesome. I love my life.
I hate laughing at people's misfortunes, but how can I possibly help it when they're that funny? I love this -- hearing about the crazy behind the scene tomfoolery you have to endure. Bwahahaha!! No really, I'm very sympathetic, bwahahahaha!! Maure | Homepage | 02.10.03 - 1:27 pm | #
Is this what we moved out here for, girlfriend? I feel your pain, at the same im so proud of you! Did you 'get along' with the camera, how was it to be in your head for so long while others measured light and so on? The addition of a stage mom...from...Texas....makes this all the more richer. What a great play within a play. Love you. Shawnja | 02.10.03 - 6:16 pm | #
Well...that was just far too entertaining.
And the DP arguing over widescreen vs non? Quick...roll up a Panavision manual and whack him repeatedly about the head and neck.
Hope you're feeling better. Go get 'em! William F. House | 02.11.03 - 6:12 am