Monday, May 3, 2010

This Weekend . . .

. . . marked the first days of shooting for that short script I cleaned up earlier this month.

Through the means of the director and his access, a ridiculous amount of "things" were available. I arrived to the location Saturday afternoon; a sprawling one-story on the edge of a golf course just near the Milwaukee border. Three RV trailers filled the dirt driveway leading to a roundabout in front of the home. I assumed the owners were avid travelers who have collected these in their age. Then I saw production stickers on the doors. "Make-up: Actors Only." "Cast Trailer: Actors Only" I met with the director of photography who was standing in the yard. I shook his hand. "Trailers, huh?" We continued shaking. "Yup." Still shaking. "That's so . . . unnecessary." Shaking. "Isn't it!?"

Don't get me wrong, I still think the thing is a train wreck and there's no way anyone who reads it has any idea what it's about. So it's hard knowing that then going onto set and being introduced as the writer of this thing. (The other writer and person responsible for the brunt of it all was nowhere to be found. Smart, I tell you. Smart.) So as I'm introduced to the cast and crew as the writer, I have to correct, "Script doctor." I met the cast and was introduced to a woman with a little boy clad in pajamas.

In the script, I wrote a kid in for what would amount to all of 30-seconds screen time. It was weird to find they actually cast the little bastard. Not just asked someone with a six-year old to swing by. They went through head-shots, had them audition, then put the mother and child in a trailer for most of the day. It was terrible to see. There's a sadness in trying to secure acting gigs for your kid. But putting him in shitty student films is an altogether new kind of abuse.

Working with the kid is difficult. After 30 takes they just start crying and you have to yell at them for an hour to start working again.

Seriously, it was hard to know that a kid is spending a sunny Saturday in a trailer with his mom because you thought having him run across a kitchen would be a nice touch. And I really doubt he'll see any of the hundred bucks he's earning for the day. It wasn't worth it and I felt like a pornographer.

They say a writer doesn't belong on-set. I can agree with that. But it's not because you don't want some emotional prick whining about his work being ruined, it's because all the writer can do is just stand around. All the production roles were filled so a lot of my day was just walking around. Occasionally, the director would ask how the actor should play a scene and my response was usually, "He was smiling in the last scene. Let's have him frown here."

Shooting resumes next weekend and the director asked me to be there for it as he'd like to keep me close by as a sort of consultant. I've seen my boss do the same thing. He's preparing to balance out the blame if things go bad.

1 comment:

Cokes said...

I love the layout of your blog, i just happen to have the same one. I'm loving your weekends. ;D