Sometimes I miss home.
Los Angeles County area: 4,083 square miles. # of Arby's - 7
Salt Lake County area:808 square miles. # of Arby's - 22
Day 19: That's a Wrap!
Last day of shooting.
We were shooting some club scenes where I use my mad white-boy rapping skills, and shot at a loft apartment downtown. The first half of the shooting day was just getting close-ups of those involved - me, my gangster friends, the freestyle rap artists (both played by the same guy - who was HI-larious.) etc. So funny to be in that situation because I'm pretty sure if I ever ended up in the real-life situation of being dragged to some underground rap club I'd probably behave about the same as Ben does.
We broke for dinner and then came back to the apartment to get shots of all the scenes with our large contingent of extras (all 7 of them.) They actually brought an incredible amount of energy to the scenes and it was fun to have them all there. During one particularly raucous scene I was "rap battling" with "Master Blaster" and we were just getting some shots for a montage - WOOT! - so the other rapper and I were just sort of fake rapping. He was wrapping about getting girls and drinking etc. and I was wrapping about chocolate pudding, pink flowers, and straight teeth. We're hoping Ed puts that in the end credits or on some sort of "extras" feature.
We finished up the day by having a little wrap party (get it? Like, we filmed the rap scenes, AND we wrapped the shoot!) and now we've finished. It was a pretty awesome last day to tell the truth. I'll summarize my feelings about this experience in a later post. I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings about shooting this film.
Dinner: We ended where we began - Subway. Ed got a meatball sub. I called him out on it, but he said it's because it was dinner, not lunch. Since it was our last day I went all out and got cookies.
Wrap time: 10:30ish...I think.
Day 18: Livin' in Beverly Hills
Today we shot a couple of "date night" kinds of scenes. "Date night" referring to actual dates, not the Steve Carell/Tina Fey movie. A friend of mine, who happens to live way up in the hills of Beverly Hills, and has a fantastic view, was gracious enough to let us use her house to film.
For the first date scene we set up a table in the back yard and faked like we were at some swanky restaurant on the patio. A friend of mine - who also, randomly happens to be June's roommate - played the waitress for us. It was an interestion collision of worlds.
Ed wanted to get the first date night in while the sun was still up, and then the second scene at night, so we took a break for dinner down in the shopping district. While I usually enjoy the white-trash-heavy people-watching of Disney or the State Fair, it's a special kind of person that frequents the stores of Rodeo Drive and I am no less fascinated by them.
While we were standing on a corner waiting for the light, a cab drove past us and was REALLY close to the curb. Kelsie (my love interest in the film) almost died. We all agreed that while that would have been terrible, we at least have Ed who could have stepped in to fill her sexy shoes.
Fall has come to Los Angeles...at least it's been here for the past week, apparently we're supposed to back up to triple-digit temperatures at the end of the week...but I digress. Once the sun was down things got a little nippy. But for the last scene of the day both Kelsie and I had sweaters on, so we were ok.
After doing this for 18 days, I pause to wonder how long this process would take with a normal budget/crew etc. We busted through quite a lot last night and it really only took us a few hours. Essentially we're shooting a full-length film in 19 days, and most of days have been short. I'll be interested to see if I ever get a similar experience on a larger scale so I can compare the too...
Since the house was way up in the hills, there was no rhyme or reason to the road system we had to follow. On the way back down we came to a fork in the road. Ed indicated which way he thought we should go. I said, "yeah, that's it, I think." Then sat for a second assuring myself only realize that it was the wrong way. By
Dinner: Sharky's Mexican Grill. Super delicious. I recommend.
Wrap Time: 10:30...I think. My phone died and I couldn't find a clock, but it was about 11:40 when I got home...
Day 17: Horses? Well...
Today was our longest day of shooting yet. That is due to the fact that yesterday we had some unexpected rain here in the L.A. and our scenes were supposed to be outdoor scenes, so Ed just moved them to today.
We started out bright and early at Griffith Park to do some communing with nature and stuff. It was a beautiful, but cold morning, and it was nice to be in the fresh air and peace of the park. Until we realized it wasn't so peaceful. Cars, planes, helicopters, dogs, loud British men, landscaping workers shoveling gravel and dirt off the asphalt. So. Much. Noise. by the end of our few hours there poor Ed was at wit's end. But he was a trooper and we pushed through. Because of all the noise we may end up having to reshoot those scenes, but Ed's gonna see if he can make it work.
We left Griffith Park (which, despite its seeming vendetta against our little film, is beautiful and I highly recommend a foray.) and headed back to Ed's house for the rest of the day.
Remember that well I posted a few days ago? We really got some use out of it today. The whole plot of the movie is based around a wish that I make at this well, so it was the featured item of today's shoot. Ed even got some really cool shots from down inside the well:
I had to drop some coins and rocks and stuff down there, but I think he came away fairly unscathed.
The last thing we filmed today was a talk-show scene. I won't divulge all the details of setting this scene up, but I will tell you that some killer wicker furniture was involved.
Also, the guy who played the talk-show host (who was great, BTW) originally auditioned for my part. Awkward. I mean, kind of awkward. That's the way the business works, and really aside from being white men in our mid to late-20s, we're not really alike at all. Totally different types. It was just an interesting experience.
Favorite moment of the day: The lady in Griffith Park walking her pet pig.
Lunch: Joe and Jerry's Mexican Grill. I got the special - A GIANT smothered burrito.
Wrap Time: 5:00 (because we combined days it'll end up being 19 days on set instead of 20. Try not to be too disappointed.)
Day 16: Scrooge and Santa
Ed, along with being a filmmaker and nice-guy extraordinaire, is also a writer (which you probably already knew since I told you he wrote the film...).
For one of the scenes we shot today we were supposed to be pitching a website design to a potential client (my character - Ben - is a web designer), well rather than spending lots of time building a shiny new website full of bells and whistles, Ed went low-budget and used the website of a book he published last year. It's called "Scrooge and Santa". It's a graphic novel (comic book) that's a twist on the classic Scrooge story. I've only read the preview pages that are available on the website, but I have to say - I'm intrigued. I may buy myself a copy for Christmas and have Ed sign it. It'll be worth money some day. :)
My favorite line from the movie thus far also happened today. In a scene where I confront my former boss he uses the phrase, "exerting loins of power." It took everything in me not to laugh every time he said it - and he said it quite a few times.
Also, to make it look like a nice, expensive office, Ed and June set up a big painting behind a makeshift desk. I'm interested to see how the shots turn out.
Lunch = dinner again cuz it was another night shoot as we were in the warehouse again: Little Caesar's Hot-n-ready. Loves me some pizza!
Wrap time: 11:30 ish.
Day 15: Cameo
For all office-type scenes in the movie we're using a book warehouse where June and Ed's roommate work. It's a bit of a stretch, but with no budget you take what you can get. It was kind of fun between takes and shots to go exploring and see what was there. I found everything from treatises on Albanian war to scandalous Asian photography, to "Bed time for the Bitty Bunch". I even found a couple of books to add to my "to-read" list.
Since it was a weekday we had to wait to shoot until after business hours. We're doing the same thing tomorrow to finish up all the office scenes.
We shot the very opening scene to the movie today, and I think it's been one of my favorites. It's a moment where I really got to channel my inner awkwardness and just have some fun.
Also fun: Ed had a little cameo today. There's a scene where I talk to a psychiatrist about my rhyming, and Ed played the shrink. He did a great job. Actually, because of the nature of the character and how he played it, he kind of reminded me a little bit of a muppet. I'm supposed to be pretty serious in the scene and it was kind of hard for me not to laugh at him. But I pulled through.
Lunch = dinner: Little Caesar's Hot-n-ready. And boy were we ready!
Wrap time: 11:00 ish.
Day 14: Get Me to the Church
When you have a low-budget film, sometimes (and by sometimes I mean most of the time) you have to get nice and creative to make things happen. Today's example - church scenes. For some reason the churches that Ed talked to were the least helpful in letting us use their space. Somehow I find that to be 100% ironic. Regardless Ed had to use his good old ingenuity to think of a replacement. The solution: His back yard.
He actually did a pretty good job turning the back patio into a nice wedding scene with some chairs, flowers and a little bit of fabric. We only had 7 extras show up, so not the wedding crowd we'd hoped for, but you make do. Also the groom never came so one of the guests got upgraded. Lucky guy.
We filmed two church scenes in the back yard. The other one was a scene where I go to one of those high-octane churches to get the preacher to slap me in the forehead and thus cure my rhyming. Fun fact: During this scene I forgot to change my pants, so the costume I'm wearing is actually for the end of the film. But it's the same shirt, so we're hoping it won't be too noticeable...even though I just pointed it out...
Shooting happened to run from about 9-3 thus causing me to miss both sessions of General Conference today.
Lunch: Panda - my fortune today said, "An admirer finds you charming."
Wrap Time: 2:30ish
Day 13: Be Excellent to Each Other
Today was another day with the Triumvirate of Power (That’s me, Ed and June.) Why? I’ll give you 3 guesses…That’s right! MONTAGE! Just kidding. We only got one montage shot – which unintentionally included a sleeping homeless man. When you watch the film if you look really closely you’ll see him sleeping in front of the library – though honestly I didn’t notice him until I was right next to him. He’s a hobo man with a penchant for camouflage.
June was only with us for a minute in the morning, then for the majority of the shoot, Ed and I spent the day filming Ed’s homage to “The Graduate.” Most of you, my few but faithful readers, have probably never seen the film because it has an “R” rating. It’s something of a classic in cinematic circles - it was nominated for something like 7 oscars and is on several "best movie" kind of lists (though to be honest I didn’t care for it). There’s a fairly iconic sequence at the end of the film where Dustin Hoffman’s character goes to the church where Kathrine Ross’s character is getting married to try and stop the happy nuptials. We drove out to Laverne (I know!) where the church sits to get some similar footage for our film. This particular church has been used for several films, and this sequence has been parodied in at least one film that I know of (Wayne’s World). The shots we were mirroring involved me running down the sidewalk up to the church. Mother Nature decided today would be a good day to bump the temperatures back up to infernal levels, so I had some fun doing that – sarcasm.
Incidentally to get to Laverne from LA you have to drive through San Dimas. I was tempted to yell out “Wyld Stallyns!” and rock out on my air guitar, but I refrained.
We ended the day by jumping on a bus filled with Asians, getting off two stops later and walking back to the car.
Lunch: In-N-Out. I asked for a shake in place of a drink with my meal. The cashier asked what flavor. I said, “Surprise Me.” She gave me Neapolitan.
Wrap Time: 2:00ish.
Day 12: Bookin' it
I woke up from Ed's noisy couch bright and early this morning to head downtown for today's shoot. (Incidentally Ed talks in his sleep. Nothing entertaining, or even coherent for that matter, but I remember hearing him mumble.)
We shot all of today's scenes at a quirky little bookstore called "The Last Bookstore" in the heart of downtown L.A. Our scenes pretty much spanned the entire length of the movie - which is still so interesting to me as an actor. You know, not doing things from beginning to end.
Bonus - we filmed a scene where I had to eat a delicious blueberry scone.
I have also decided - and forgive me if I've mentioned this, because it's entirely possible that I have - that most of my part in this movie is me reacting to things. Which, really, is what acting is all about (Thank you Chris Lusk!), it's just interesting. I'm in virtually every scene in the movie and I don't really say all that much. Today was really no different. At one point Ed said, "Alright, do that same thing only slower, I just want to get a bunch of reaction shots from Greg," and I mentioned that we might consider renaming the movie "A bunch of reaction shots from Greg," as that's a large part of what I do.
It will not surprise you to know that I, in fact, do not have a trailer for this film. Incidentally I end up changing where I can find a private corner (and sometimes where I can't find a private corner). I had a number of costume changes at the bookstore and ended up stripping down behind an unused bookcase in the "employees only" section of the store. So adventurous.
Also funny: Since I slept at Ed's house I had to pack everything I'd need for the two days I was away from home. I forgot to pack a pair of shoes I needed and realized it with enough time to run home and grab them before heading out for the night. When I got home, I grabbed the shoes, set them on the kitchen counter to get myself a snack, and in typical fashion, left them sitting on the counter. So, I was walking around the bookstore for much of the morning in unshod feet. See if you notic
Lunch: Baja Chicken wrap at a delightful urban 9th floor cafe above the bookstore. Ed had pastrami - wouldn't have guessed that one.
Wrap time: 1:00
Today was a night shoot and tomorrow morning we shoot SUPER early so Ed was gracious enough to let me crash at his house thus saving me from having to drive all the way home and then back out here first thing in the morning. As I type this I'm sitting on his noisy couch (where I will apparently be sleeping) while he is busily working at his desk. I also just noticed that he has a wedding dress hanging in his room. I'm assuming it's for the wedding scene we're filming later this week, but it still looks funny.
Today was my last day filming with Hobo Jim. He is such an interesting person. Very bombastic and abrasive, but still a very nice guy - and a great bum. The main thing we shot was a scene where, for fun (and mostly because we're both probably more than a little buzzed), we pants a guy standing at the bus stop. Probably the funniest scene to shoot thus far - mostly because we shot it on a pretty busy street and we got some interesting looks from the passersby. Our pants-ee was a good sport about it and I think we got some really good stuff from the scene.
Lunch: Actually it was dinner, Ed got us some Hot-n-Ready pizzas. Mmmm...
Wrap: Don't remember cuz I stayed at Ed's house, but we went to bed around 10:30.
Pursuing my dreams, living on faith, and I don't think Crocs are ugly.