Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Brief Sojourn Into Filmmaking

     As some of you know, I recently spent a day working on a friends film project.  It was an interesting day for sure.  With the release of the trailer for the film, I decided to look back on the experience from a fresh perspective.
     I had been excited about the project from the time I was first approached about doing it.  It was a simple request, try to look menacing and don't say anything. Piece of cake! The hardest part was being asked to shave my head for my small role.  I had only recently begun to grow my hair back out and at my age, it doesn't grow as fast as it used to. 

     A few days before shooting was to begin, I was set to meet with the director and another actor to choreograph my big scene.  It was to be a fight scene between the two of us and we wanted to make sure it looked good before we filmed.  In preparation, the night before I shaved myself clean so I could give the director an idea of my characters look.  I managed to sprain my thumb at some point during the rehearsal which made doing my regular job, not to mention blogging, a bit painful.  As luck would have it, weather and the threat of weather caused our outdoor shoot to be postponed.  It would be another month, during the hottest part of the summer, when we would finally shoot my couple of scenes.

     The day of the shoot, I woke early and ate a good breakfast which I rarely do.  I put on my protective padding donned my costume and headed to the site with the other actor I would be working with. 

     The location was some train tracks in a wooded area.  It seemed like would be shady and peaceful.  I arrived ready to work as I do with any job.  And I proceeded to sit for about ninety minutes while the director, who was also playing a role in the film, got the camera and sound ready to go and shot some footage of the location and himself.  Finally I was called for a couple of closeups and reaction shots.  Ten minutes later, I was waiting again. For a long time.  This is an aspect of film making that most people don't consider.  I knew, of course, that there were other things that went on besides just putting actors in front of a camera but I did not realize how much sitting around waiting to work actually went on.  I was not the only one who wasn't entirely thrilled with just sitting around on the rocks so i tried to remain upbeat and keep the mood light. 

     Finally, it was time for the big fight.  We did it several times and in several segments, shooting each one from many angles.  Maintaining the intensity for the fight was easy enough considering the frustration of sitting in the sun all day.  We filmed until we just couldn't handle doing another take and finally it was time to head home as the sun set on my brush with stardom. 

     I arrived home exhausted, hungry and partially dehydrated.  Despite drinking plenty of water throughout the day and my hearty breakfast, the activity and physicality of the fight scene had drained me.  Stripping out of my costume I realized I may have had my pads secured a little too tight as they were hard to remove and the circulation abruptly returned to my legs.  When I went to clean up I realized that I probably should have applied some sunscreen to my chrome dome.  I had never done this before when my head was shaved so it did not occur to me on this day.  I looked like a lobster but a couple of days later it got worse when my scalp began to peel. 

     A week or so later, i got a message from the director saying that my stuff looked good and I was done.  He gave me permission to re-grow my hair much to the delight of my fiancee.  I came out of the movie making experience tired and beat up but with a new respect for the folks who do it everyday.  If asked I would definitely take part in another one.  I think I am ready for a speaking role. And maybe a romantic interest.

You can view the trailer for Wesley's Way here