Friday, February 24, 2006

Feb. 23, 2006

Worked "CSI: New York" today in Downtown L.A.. I arose with no work at all, then decided to be proactive for once (for twice, actually) and submit myself for available roles instead of just waiting for my booking service to not call me. Nicely, I only made one call, and when I didn't get it returned, figured I'd spend the day killing small animals in my underwear as usual.* Around noon, though, my phone rang, and I had gotten the gig. If I'm to get ahead in life, I need to do that sort of thing more often. I drove over and wasn't as late as I usually am (someone should've told my parents that cousins maybe shouldn't marry).

We shot until two a.m. (I'm actually typing this at 2:38a.m.). I started out playing a businessman in a hotel bar (wore the same old black suit . . . that sucker has easily paid for itself this year alone), then switched over to NYPD (the uniform was welcome, since it got fairly cold tonight), and later switched back to businessman. They also used my car, which gets even non-union extras a small bonus, or "bump." We started fairly late in the day (a great lunch had been prepared, but I had just eaten), but accomplished quite a lot in a fairly short time.

Shooting at night--to me, anyway--is somehow more draining than shooting during the day. Maybe it's that it's colder at night, maybe it's the knowledge that the morning is fast approaching and you're probably not going to get enough sleep, I don't know.

I don't watch a lot of television, though I try to keep up with what's popular. Unlike my friend Jeff, I'm not a fan of the "CSI"s. If I were, however, I think "New York" is the one I'd watch.

In a couple of the scenes we shot (where I was a police officer), Gary Sinese and
Melina Kanakaredes** were also working. I was somewhat excited to meet Mr. Sinese, though I didn't get to talk to him. While I'm not gay (except when I throw a baseball), Sinese strikes me as a pretty handsom . . . okay, I can't say it. Sorry.

In most of these scenes, we were shooting on the Downtown streets (and in the street on our last shot), but in a much nicer section than DARK STREETS or SPIDEY 3. Passersby were actually allowed to stand around and watch them shoot. Many took pictures (Kanakaredes actually posed with some of them), and I found it odd that only one in five pedestrians at eight p.m. on a Thursday were American.

A girl pretended to be my girlfriend. She was very cool and we talked about movies for a couple of hours. She and I played a game, similar to the old Kevin Bacon one, where you mention actors and their films and another actor in that film, but she was much better at it than me. She was one of those people who remembers the name of the guy who played the second teen to die in the third NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET or the ugly dude in the Aaron Burr commercial.

There was an exotically beautiful, Amazonian girl (in her defence, she told us she was only six foot one, though she was wearing entallening boots) who I had once told should submit herself for WONDER WOMAN auditions if that flick ever gets made. We made fun of her for a while, insinuating that nobody that good-looking could have a brain in her head and joking about all the simple words she wouldn't understand.

Later however, I called her Wonder Woman and she came over and talked to me for a minute. Turns out she was really very nice, and I kind of feel bad about it.

Another extra was admiring a football one of the guys was using as a prop and remarked, "Wow, that is a nice-lookin' ball." My fake girlfriend said, "That's what she said." It was either the best use of the classic old That's What She Said joke, or it was so late at night that I thought so.

Yesterday, I worked with Hilary Swank. I did get to talk to her. She was surprisingly attractive and unsurprisingly cool.

The film was called FREEDOM WRITERS, and while I'll never go see a movie called that (even less so once I found out what it was about), it was a pleasant experience, and I got to listen to a girl who was actually a Freedom Writer (don't ask, please) tell about her experiences living the lives that inspired the book that inspired the movie. Several of the ex-high school students got to be extras in a movie about their life.

We shot it way down in Long Beach (which is a lengthy drive for everyone, even if you live in Long Beach), in front of the Aquarium of the Pacific. Sometimes extras are paid mileage for their drives (union extras are always paid mileage if the shoot is on location), and it's always nice, especially if you're driving all the way up to Valencia or down to Long Beach. In this case, I wasn't given mileage. It was a nice sunny day, however, with a cool breeze coming across the harbour.

We were attending a fund raiser on a grassy hill (with REAL grass, mind you!), where various booths had been set up selling food (real food, but cold and stale, so we couldn't eat it). I was paired up with a soft-spoken girl who asked me about the book I was reading ("Sepulchre" by James Herbert) and that was about it. At one point, we were moved to the line where Hilary Swank and another actress were selling tickets. I got to buy some from her three or four times, using fake movie money, and that was cool.

After that, the A.D., who was really a nice guy (but SAG people still issued a complaint against him) told our group that those who wanted to go home could, and those who wanted to stay could stay and eat lunch. I didn't particularly want to go home, so I stuck around. They didn't end up using me again after that, just my car, so I sat around watching PATTON and reading until the extras for the night shoot arrived. When they did, I saw Serena, The Girl Who Lived, somebody I used to see all the time and wanted to take to HARRY POTTER, and she came over and sat by me. I hadn't seen her in a while, but she was so friendly that I thought I would try the make out line on her. In case you care, on the set of "House" a couple of weeks ago, a woman told me a dude had come up to her and said, "So, you wanna make out sometime?" After much discussion, she told me I ought to use it, since girls appreciate directness.

I don't know why I'm telling you this, because nothing came of it. The Girl Who Lived was called to the wardrobe line, along with a hundred others, and while she was gone, the few of us from that morning who were left were dismissed and told to hop on the shuttle back to the parking lot. Disappointed, I hurriedly wrote her a note telling her if she wanted to catch up, shoot the breeze, or make out sometime to give me a call.

I got back to the parking lot and found my car, but not my keys. I had to track down the A.D., and then the P.A. who had them, and then get stuck in rush hour traffic. But I chose to stay, didn't I?


*Though what they were doing in my underwear, I'll never guess.

**Melina Kanakaredes has to be the actress with the most difficult name to spell, though I guess you do spell it like it sounds.

No comments: