Thursday, November 24, 2005

Charmed, part 2

I'm back on set, back in uniform, doing "Charmed" my second day.

I was late for work today--guess traffic is worse because of the holiday tomorrow--but it was no big deal. I've lived too long as an irresponsible git to change now.

Like I said yesterday, I wasn't really wanting to be at work today. Nothing against Paramount or "Charmed," but I had to get to Vegas by three or four. I was kind of freaking out, because if my ride left without me, I'd be . . . well, foashed, as my pal Merrill used to say. I guess he didn't want to use the word "scragged" in mixed company.

I mentioned in yesterday's entry that I was the only cop working with a moustache and goatee. One of the guys asked if anyone had given me a hard time about it, and I said no. He said, "I woulda thought they'd kick you off the set lookin' like that." I explained that without my facial hair, I look like a twelve year old boy. That must've been why no one mentioned it yesterday, right? Either that or extras are human props and even in a close-up, like I got yesterday, we're never really looked at with any interest.

Oh, right, unless you're the aforementioned hot chick.

I worked with Holly Marie Combs today. I don't know if she's good-looking or not. Shoulda brought a slide rule.

They had a little kid on the set for a couple of shots. He was seven, and had no lines, but made more than I did all week.

I had a rubber gun today, whereas yesterday I had a nice-looking Heckler & Koch 9mm replica. Actually, I know nothing about guns, but it was heavy and made me feel like a man when I held it.

At one point during the morning, I was placed at the door of the SWAT vehicle, in charge of securing the door once the SWAT guys run out. Then one of the principles (again, that means "actor with speaking lines") asked me if I'd hand him the bullhorn when he negotiated with the bank robber, so they replaced me at the door. Then, after rehearsal, they decided the negotiator would already have his bullhorn, so I was S.O.L.. But THEN, there's a part where the bank robber calls the negotiator on a cellphone, so they had me run up and hand the cellphone to the negotiator ("You want my blood, take my blood!"). We rehearsed it again, and this time he handed me the bullhorn and traded it for the cellphone. When we actually shot it, the negotiator ("I'm a stranger to you, you have no idea what I am capable of.") took off his jacket and dropped it on the ground when he tried to do the trade-off. On the next take, I took both the bullhorn and the jacket. We shot that three times . . .

And then I heard some words that chilled my very blood. It was the director, a sour-looking man with a grey beard, and he said to those next to him, "You ever see a street cop with a goatee before?" I raised my hand to cover my face, but the damage was done.

I told the director I had my razor and could run and shave it off. "Do," he said, with less humour than Collin Quinn. So, I tore off running, nightstick flopping, to the nearest bathroom, and used liquid soap as shaving cream to lose the goatee. It was rough going; either soap is a bad idea or the razor is dull. I considered shaving my moustache as well, but every cop I know has a moustache (heck, even the one in the Village People, right?), and I left it.

I ran back to the set, and they had already moved on. Travis, the handsome extra I called a chingaso yesterday, had replaced me and done the trade off. And gotten the girl too, with my/his luck.

Well, I went back to controlling the crowd for the next scenes. One of the A.D.s told me to shave the moustache as well, and I did, a lot slower and a lot less happy, since I wanted to go home by then and it was clear I wouldn't make it to Vegas in time.

I came back. We had to pretend the helicopter was flying over, since they only had it the one day, and turned on a wind machine to simulate its presence. Among the onlookers was a very intimidating black guy with a bald head and a cool brown trenchcoat. He didn't fit, and hadn't been here yesterday, so I approached him and beat him with my nightstick (hey, he was black, wasn't he?). No, actually, I asked him if he was a bad guy or something. "I'm a demon," he said. We talked for a few minutes. The guy's name was Gary and he was really cool. Especially for a demon. I asked him if he got fan letters from horny women, like the murderers in prison do, and he said, "Oh, you have no idea." That was pretty neat.

Right around then, a prop guy saw me and said, "Didn't you have a beard yesterday?" "They made me shave it," I said. "Well, that's gonna f**k up continuity. Didn't you tell them you'd already been established yesterday?" I didn't know what to say, so I did what people in Los Angeles do when you ask them directions: I pretended I didn't speak English.

Okay, that's a lie, I just apologised and went about my business.

Which was only for a few minutes more, as they wrapped us around quarter of twelve. I called my uncle as I was changing out of my uniform and he said he'd wait a little while more for me. I went immediately to the freeway (which was, like, a half hour later, since this is L.A.) and ended up stuck in slow-to-stopped traffic when I hit the I-15. I cursed with a sore cursing, as the guys used to say.

During the drive, I listened to a lot of Eighties tunes and thought a great deal. I came up with an idea for a neat little Sci-Fi short I could shoot over Christmas with Merrill and at least one other person. I got pretty excited about it right around Jean, Nevada, even though it'll probably never get made. But it's great to have dreams.

I'll say no more, as it's four in the morning and I need to get SOME sleep. I'll be sleeping in my childhood bedroom for the first time in . . . I don't know, twenty years maybe.

My mom was happy to see me. Nice that one woman does.

Rish "The Beardless Warrior" Outfield

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