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10:13 am - Weds 5/12/04
On Patrol With The Captain

On Patrol With The Captain

Weds 5/12/04 (7:40 a.m.)

From the book journal (Mon 5/10/04 at 6:07 p.m.):

(On the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank. The second day of the Time-Warner shoot.)

My call was for 6:00 p.m., and in spite of jury duty, traffic, the fact they didn't have a visitors pass for me at the gate, and wandering around the lot with Gerald (A large African-Amercian actor playing a cop), trying to find out where we were shooting, I still managed to check in early.

(Yay me!)

It was nearing four o'clock before we finally got into the jury deliberation room today (I knew there might be trouble when we were an hour and 15 minutes late getting started).

We chose a jury foreman (I was under consideration right at the start, but begged off), and tried to figure out how to proceed.

Earlier in the day, I'd told Frank (The court clerk) about my commitment, and I reminded him again as we went into the jury room.

Now, we could have gone till 5:00, and some jurors wanted to, since they had the unrealistic notion we could finish by then. But once I explained my circumstances, and the majority realized we were still going to have to come back, whether we went to 5:00 or not, we ended up breaking just before 4:30

(8:00 p.m.)

(More on jury duty later.)

Half-dressed (Well, mostly dressed–I've got on everything but my uniform shirt. I have a different pair of pants from Saturday, a snug 38 instead of a roomy 40, because I'd apparently been wearing Gerald's pants that day. And Gerald is a big guy–Frankly, I'm shocked that he can get into a pair of size 40 dress pants).

I haven't been made up yet, beyond an attractive Asian woman coming over to put moisturizer on my face, which was nice–A little "face massage" (As I like to joke whenever someone does something to me that either feels good or has a vaguely sexual connotation, "I usually have to pay for this...").

Makeup was pretty minimal Saturday, and the director had them remove even that–As I had guessed, the dark circles under my eyes were part of why I'd been cast (I have a line that goes "That's the part that keeps me up at night", and I look like something's been keeping me up at night!)–so I imagine tonite there'll just be some powder, to take the shine off my giant forehead.

I know what's being shot–It's the scene where I'm trying to get the guy down off the roof who's beating the hell out of his satellite dish–but I don't know how many "set-ups" we're talking about, or whatever the proper terminology is.

Well, the shoot wrapped at 2:45 yesterday morning, hours ahead of schedule.

Not sure why I needed to be there two hours before sundown, since it was a night shoot, but I'm not complaining; It's not like I had something better to do at home. And once again, I dug on some seriously tasty craft services, and also had the chance to chat with some of the other actors, which was nice (One of the reasons I'm anxious to book more gigs, and break out of just doing commercials, is so I'll have more to talk about during these little "bull sessions" on the set).

Once we were told to suit up, the first sequence we shot was of two squad cars racing out of the precinct house (There was also a third, plainclothes car, but I don't think it was in that shot). I was in the lead car, with a stunt driver, and Holly–an attractive young actress playing a female officer-- was in the other car with the other stunt driver).

When I heard the words "stunt driver" and "controlled skid"–we were supposed to barrel out of the drive at the precinct house, then skid as we turned right onto the street--I was a little nervous, but it wasn't a big deal.

In fact, it was kind of funny; we did it a number of times, maybe a half-dozen or more, and when the A.D. said we'd gotten it, Tony--- my stunt driver--was kind of upset ( Like any "artist", he's a perfectionist and thought he could have done better).

Then we shot the sequence of the cars pulling up to the house.

The house was on a cul-de-sac, so the three cars–the plainclothes car was in this sequence–were pulling up perpendicular to the curb, braking quickly, as "onlookers" gathered on the sidewalk and lawn in front of the house.

My part in this sequence was to, once we stopped, turn the passenger-side spotlight on, open my door, come out, and start doing my lines with the bullhorn (And since we had our lights flashing, and had just come to a screeching stop in front of the house, I assumed they'd want me to do it fast).

I was intially very nervous about executing all this (I was happy when I realized I could do it without my seatbelt on. One less "complication"), but so far as I know, there was only one take of us pulling up to the house that I messed up (I was too far right when I got out).

It was the most elaborate sequence I've ever been part of on a commercial shoot so far–three cop cars, a number of extras playing onlookers, at least five more actors playing cops, and of course, the guy on the roof, beating the hell out of his satellite dish.

The guy on the roof was pretty funny, and for a moment, I was a little envious, cause I thought he was basically the star of the night. But I really wouldn't have wanted to trade places–I got to "play cop", ride in a squad car, I had a lot of lines, and most importantly, I had two days of work.

There was some waiting around, between setups and little glitches and such, but basically, once things started, I was pretty busy throughout the night. They shot some stuff just with Bryan–the guy on the roof–which was the only thing I can think of where I wasn't involved in any way.

In addition to the sequence I described–shot from all angles–we shot me saying "This never would have happened if he had stuck with cable. That's the part that keeps me up at night" into the camera, and another shot through the windshield of the squad car (A silent sequence where I'm just looking up at the roof of the house, shaking my head, as if to say "What a damned shame...").

Oh, I forgot the most funny/embarrassing part of the night: Remember my "snug" size 38 pants? Well, the moment I had to sit down in the squad car for that first sequence–RRRIIIPPPP!!!–the seat totally blew out.

(LeeAnne, the wardrobe person, re-sewed them, and they held up as long as they had to, but then ripped out beyond repair before the evening was done. But by that time, it didn't matter, since we were down to the shot through the windshield of the squad car.)

At evening's end, Michael, the director (Who looked for all the world like a homeless person, with his big beard, unkempt hair, and sloppy demeanor), said "I can't believe you're non-union. You won't be for long, though".

I guess we shall see.

So all-in-all, this experience was a big "win" all around. A huge win--I made money, had fun, and my sense was that I did a good job.

Now all that remains is to get my money, and start pestering the producer for a tape in a couple weeks (I'm really going to want a copy of this one).

Well, I've got a lot more commentary about this experience, not to mention wanting to write about the conclusion of my jury duty, but I think I'll save all that for the next entry.


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