Archive for March, 2012

Mega-Union’d

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Well, even though they wouldn’t let me vote (I joined AFTRA too late apparently) there were enough (86% I think) others who voted for the merger that it passed. So now I’m officially in Mega-Union, which is the name I have decided to call it. Personally I am relieved that it happened.
Hopefully the growing pains won’t be so bad. I understand the concerns of folks who were against it, but I think now that there is one union, they’ll be able to address the concerns more directly.

Knowing my place

Monday, March 5th, 2012

I often catch myself making lighting and camera suggestions when they are trying to figure out how to make a shot work right.  I have this instinct to be helpful, but that’s not a good habit to form since some people don’t like actors trying to step on their toes.  It’s tough for me because I feel like we are a team, but I have to remind myself that I’m not in charge and they should figure it out on their own.  But then sometimes it just seems faster to point out what I can see from where I’m sitting.

I should try not to though unless I know the crew won’t be bothered by me.

This was not triggered by anything, I just noticed it’s something I was doing and realized maybe I shouldn’t. No one said anything to me about it, I just try to be self-aware.

O in the G – weekend 2

Monday, March 5th, 2012

This weekend was the remaining shoot for Oranges in the Garden.

Saturday I just barely managed to make it on time since I had workshop, then an audition that ran a bit later than expected.  We were at a new location.  Another awesome house with a gorgeous tiered back yard.  There were 3 or 4 levels with stacked stone retaining walls and in the middle level there was a huge orange tree just overflowing with oranges and blossoms.  You could just smell them all day anywhere in the yard.  So pretty! It was also so totally perfect to be the setting for the dream sequence since the actual yard is flat and this was terraced.  It creates this surreal version of the characters’ yard.

While they were still setting up and us actors were finishing getting our makeup, a fellow who lives in the guest house comes out and asks, “How much longer will you guys be here?”  All day, sir.  All day and into the night.  He was none too pleased, but we had permission from the homeowners, so…  I kind of almost felt bad for him.  Like, if he didn’t want to be around strangers near his place, he could have gone to a friend’s place to hang out or something.  Instead he decided to stay home and passive-aggressively turn up his TV and music really loud for like 10 hours straight.  Jokes on you, sad guy; we had almost no dialogue for you to ruin!  And really if you want us out faster, maybe be super quiet so we don’t have to retake things due to bad sound.  Just a thought.  After initially stomping about for a bit, we didn’t actually see him again at all that evening.

The girl who plays my sister was there and we look super alike!  Like we could really be sisters.  It was kind of amazing.  Her and I shot a bunch of stuff while the other actor waited.  He was studying a million lines for an upcoming play (No Exit) so he kept busy.  Then it was his turn.  His costume was awesome and creepy like Dr. Frankenstein.  I didn’t go watch him shooting.  I want to wait and see it in the finished film.

Once again we ran into problems with practical effects being a jerk and blowing in the wrong direction no matter where they pointed the fog machine.  And then it would be perfect in between takes when we tried it.  Murphy’s law.But either way all that footage is going to look awesome.  There were lots of little lights and mirrors and extreme lighting.  We even did one slow-mo shot toward the end which should be rad.

My costume was basically a piece of shimmering brown fabric made into a toga-like dress.  It actually looked like a real dress, if not for the very bottom where it was still uneven, but up top it draped really nice.  I was even able to leave part of it pinned in place to take off and put back on the next night.

Unfortunately time ran out that night so the other actress would have to come back on Sunday night.

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On Sunday we were back at the first location (A.K.A. my dream house). We had a much later call time since it was all in the evening and night time.  The first stuff was indoors and made to look like morning.  I got to spend a good part of the day laying around in a big awesome bed.

After we finished all the indoor stuff we had just barely enough hard drive space to finish the dream stuff from the day before.  (They are given only a certain amount of space to work with to teach them how to conserve time and “film”, which is a really important skill on a set.)

We had the coverage for the other actress and another new shot that was changed to simplify a planned shot we missed.  Since it’s a dream and we hadn’t seen what was behind her yet, they were able to fake it at this yard.  Then I was made to look like a tree at the end.  She literally stapled the fabric on me (to itself, not my skin).  It seemed like they ended up getting everything they really needed.

Oranges in the Garden – weekend 1

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

This past weekend I worked on a short film for some USC grad students.  It’s a drama about a woman trying to decide if she should be a surrogate mother or not.   When I arrived in the neighborhood there were 4 large production trucks and Tow-zone signs.  No, they were not there for us, but it was sort of funny.  Also I still found decent parking .

The house we were at was basically my dream house.  It wasn’t some huge fancy place, but it was a good size, and all their furniture was just so tasteful and nice.  They had a tub with feet!  And a kitchen island! And their yard was huge and felt like a little park.  Ah, I admit I was jealous.

We shot outside and it was sunny and nice all day.  We kept having to shift where i was sitting so I’d catch the sun through the trees.  The theme of the day was chasing the sun.  There was a point where we kept moving backward a couple inches every few minutes while they would raise the camera up to try and catch the setting sun.  Finally they ran out of tripod height.

It started to get cold at night, but I didn’t get one of my coldness tension headaches!  Yay!  It was a really pleasant day because I got to pretend to garden in this awesome yard.  And we could go inside between set ups when it got cold.  also the food was great.  And we wrapped early too.

 

Sunday was at the same place.  We had a pickup from the day before due to a technical issue, and then we had some down time while we waited for nightfall.  The Oscars were on, so we caught most of that.  I also got a bunch of writing done before then.

When the sun went down we tried a really complicated dolly with a rack focus and special practical effect outside.  It’s more complex than it sounds.  I don’t know if we got it, but eventually we had to move on and take a buck up shot.

At one point the doorbell rang and it was a guy from the big production, which apparently had their video village on the other side of the fence and they could hear them setting up outside.  He stuck around and told his crew it would be like 15 minutes or so.  After we got the take, he radio’d back to them.  So really it didn’t seem like either production interfered with the other much.  A bit later we could hear them outside, but there wasn’t dialogue in our scene, so it wasn’t bad.  That’s the first time I’ve been on a set with another production next door.

Oh, there was a random bunny that hopped through the yard.  It was probably an escaped pet because it ate out of my hand.  It was dirty, but seemed well fed at least.  It hopped away after eating a few carrots.  Hope it is ok out there.

We shoot again this weekend.  There is a dream sequence and the rest of the interiors.