Posts Tagged ‘Killing Poe’

Just Like In The Movies

August 3, 2013

Thursday August 1st, 2013 – Mundelein, IL

   I thought I was done with my dalliance in the motion picture industry this week, but I thought wrong. My character in “Killing Poe” of the bumbling security guard is an important part of the plot apparently, and there was a pivotal outdoor scene that needed to be filmed with me in it.

   I was told I’d be needed at 6pm, and it’s a good thing I didn’t have anything planned. I showed up on the set, but they told me they’d reworked the order of shooting and that I’d be the absolute last shot of the entire project. My call time was now 2am, and apologized for any inconvenience.

   What was I supposed to do, quit? This is a great experience for me, and I get how schedules are flexible. Everyone on the crew couldn’t have been nicer, and I guess they thought I was going to flip out or something. When I calmly said I’d do whatever was needed, I saw smiles everywhere.

   It’s no big deal on my end. I hadn’t planned on having any more scenes, so what a great chance to get in front of a camera one more time and gain some more experience. If I had to wait around a few hours to do it, that’s small price to pay. I brought a book along, and was in for the duration.

   Little did anyone know we were in for some nasty weather. I was watching a night scene being shot in the woods, and felt some rain drops on my face. Just then a real security guard who could have easily been mistaken for my role showed up and said there was a storm center on the way.

   That proceeded to throw everything off, and tensions quickly rose around the set. Tonight was the very last night of filming, and scenes needed to get done. Period. Everyone was flying back to where they were from – and a lot of people were from all over. The clock was now the enemy.

   It got to the point I could not stay awake anymore, and I assumed they wouldn’t squeeze me in. The sun was coming up, and my scene was supposed to be at night. They finally called me to the set at 5:45 to prep me for what they needed. I felt the tension thicken as they were racing to have everything fall together so they could wrap up the entire production. I was the focus of the scene.

   I felt like a bench warming scrub somehow getting a chance to bat with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning of The World Series when nobody expected it. The fates played out, and he gets the chance to take his swings. The whole team is depending on him, and all eyes are on the field.

   The director gave me some instructions, and I did my best to follow them to the letter. He had a very clear vision of what he wanted, and I didn’t want to screw it up. This was not a time to joke around. I knew it was serious, and all I wanted was to give them what they needed and go home.

   I wasn’t where they needed on the first two takes, and that’s how it goes sometimes. Everyone else knew it too, so nobody was angry but I could feel them counting on me so I wanted to come through. I saw how hard everyone worked, and I wasn’t about to be the weak link and ruin it all.

   The third time was absolutely a charm, and I nailed it. The whole crew went nuts and started to high five and hug both me and each other. They treated me like I’d saved the day, and even if my part was small it felt great to be able to contribute. Spirits were sky high as I floated to my car.

   Halfway there, rain started to pour in biblical proportions. One more blown scene and it would have been a total washout. Literally. In the end, everything worked out. Just like in the movies.

Killing Poe

August 1, 2013

Tuesday July30th, 2013 – Mundelein, IL

   No sleep for me. After my grueling 24 hour marathon return trek from Florida, I was scheduled to be in Mundelein, IL at 10am on the set of the movie “Killing Poe”. I was supposed to film my bit part as a bumbling campus security guard several days ago, but as happens things fell behind.

   I’m fine with being flexible, but it sure would have been nice to get some quality sleep after the serious week of driving I just had. I didn’t get word until last night I would be needed today, and it sucked the wind out of my sail immediately. I did make the commitment though, so that’s that.

   Not showing up was not an option, so after getting to bed at 3am I dragged myself out of bed at 7 to make sure I would get there on time. They told me to “be prepared to kill time”, so I brought a thick book just in case but hoped I could zip in and zip out so I could go straight back to sleep.

   Anyone that has ever been on a movie set knows that absolutely NOTHING ever “zips” in, out or any other direction. It’s a long, slow boring process, and that’s why I’ve never wanted to be an actor. I love the immediate buzz of a live performance, but in retrospect I should have done both.

   The live performance is over forever as soon as the show ends, but TV and film work becomes a time capsule and endures indefinitely. I wish I would have realized that a lot sooner, and made the effort to pursue it even a little bit more. But I knew everything and wouldn’t hear of any of it.

   My role in this project doesn’t require much acting talent, but it is an integral part of a complex story line and it’s a fun character to play. I have seven lines, and I must have rehearsed them five hundred times in the last couple of weeks. I’ve never been good at memorizing lines, but I didn’t want to make me or anyone else look bad so I made absolutely sure I was ready when I got there.

   I’ve always respected the magnitude of any filming project, and the last thing I ever want to be is a prima donna or think I’m running the show. There are a lot of people in one place, and it’s not easy to pull everything together. I totally see why schedules fall apart, as glitches are inevitable.

   I made it to the set right on time, and was immediately told there would be a “slight delay” and they’d let me know when they’d need me. Everyone was very friendly, and I wasn’t about to tell them to hurry up because I knew that’s not how this game works. I waited until they were ready.

   Unfortunately, that took until 6:15pm. I felt the entire day slip away, but there was nothing any of us could do but wait it out. I read my book and shut my mouth, knowing in the long run this is a worthwhile opportunity. It’s my first speaking role in a feature film, and it gives me credibility.

   I should have been doing this decades ago, as I see now how the game works. Connections get made in situations like this, much like on a golf course in the business world. I got to chat with a wide array of people from actors to crew, and even got some one on one time with the director.

   Most of them found it fascinating I did standup comedy, and wanted to know more about it. It became obvious that this is how people network, and I should have been doing it all along. I did everything the director told me to do, and all my scenes went smoothly. I’m glad I showed up.

   It wasn’t the most convenient day to do this, but it was a very significant career leap for me. It will be a legitimate acting credit, and hopefully open doors I should have knocked on long ago.