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11:31 am - Mon 11/24/03
The Incubus video shoot...and other stuff

The Incubus video shoot...and other stuff

(I wanted to start out by thanking everyone for their congratulatory messages regarding my booking the video. It's always nice to be reminded that I have people in my corner, wishing me well. I also wanted to say "Happy Birthday" to my buddy Kevin, who turns a boyish 38 today.)

Thurs 11/20/03 (9:30 p.m.)

(Watching an ABC special on the Kennedy assassination.)

Thinking a lot about the new Michael Jackson mess...

I feel a great deal of sympathy for Michael Jackson. It's as plain as the nose on his surgically-altered face this is one profoundly screwed up, former African-American man. And I think there are few, if any, people who can possibly understand what it's like to be him. I've said it before–He's probably the richest, most famous person I've ever felt sorry for (Though I guess "rich" is debatable at this point, since he's rumored to be in massive debt).

And I admired Michael Jackson. I was impressed that his career as an adult actually eclipsed his childhood stardom. And I think I've written in here before about how he was one of the people who inspired me to learn how to dance, and that's a pretty big deal; it would be a stretch to say he was a "hero" of mine–I think you have to do something heroic in order to be a "hero"-- but I was definitely a "fan".

All that said, I think he needs to go to jail for being a child molester. I sympathize for what might have happened to him as a child, I have a huge respect for his talent, but nothing gives him the right to abuse children.

Sun 11/23/03 (10:50 a.m.)

Heading off to the Incubus video shoot in a few minutes, but wanted to get at least a little writing in...

Had the wardrobe fitting yesterday, and it really pissed me off; It was supposed to be at 11:30, but I waited two hours before they finally saw me ( Then it was an additional 45 minutes to get me outfitted). My morning was shot, I didn't have time to get any groceries–I barely had time to eat, period–and I was late to work (And this was the same outfit that called my agent when I was ten minutes late at the callback!). It made me a lot more understanding of actors who seem unreasonably demanding–How much shit did they put up with before they had the power to get things the way they wanted?–and very anxious to get my SAG card (They have to pay you for fittings when you're in SAG).

But anyway, that's over. Now I'm off to be a video star...

Mon 11/24/03 (8:48 a.m.)

"Megalomaniac"

(The first part of this entry is copied from my "book journal", written while I was on the set of the Incubus "Megalomaniac" video.)

Sun 11/23/03 (11:55 a.m.)

As I write this, I'm at 1st and Hope, right across the street from the L.A. Philharmonic, sitting under an awning on the right-hand side of the road, enjoying a craft services lemonade (They've been shooting since early this morning, but my call time wasn't till noon).

**********

The video is for a song called "Megalomaniac" (Good title for my autobiography, now that I think about it). I've moved about a block down the street, and am watching them shoot a protest scene (A mother and daughter are being dragged off by police). I guess they're going to be breaking for lunch soon; much to my embarrassment, I was told earlier that I could grab some food if I wanted , only to then be shooed away by the craft services people.

**********

(1:06 p.m.)

Just finished lunch (Apple cornbread stuffed chicken breasts, vegetarian saffron rice, something tasty that seemed to be mostly mushrooms and tofu, cherry pie, and a diet Dr Pepper).

Today, it's good to be me.

In other news, the audition fun continues...

Tomorrow, I have a callback for an audition I haven't even had a chance to mention in here, and an audition for Sprint that should be interesting as well.

The callback is for Velveeta ( The initial audition was Friday).

I was amused going in when they told me the dress was "Wisconsin Casual" (Whatever that meant, I assumed it wouldn't be much different than "Michigan Casual", so I wore jeans and a heavy, winter-themed sweater). Then I went from "amused" to "delighted" when I found out the audition would involve dancing.

(A craft service guy just came by with a plate of piping hot chocolate chip cookies. Once again, today it is good to be me.)

Where was I...? They were calling actors in in groups of four–one middle-aged couple, and one older couple (The actress who played Jerry's mom on Seinfeld was there, which I thought was cool). I was put in two groups, only to be pulled out, before I finally made it into a third group.

Then we had to dance to a salsified "Hokey Pokey", with Velveeta-ed lyrics ("You put Velveeta in, take the cheddar out..." etc). Pretty stupid–I'll be mildly embarrassed if I actually book this--but harmless enough; I don't have enough affection for the "hokey pokey" to feel like they're trashing a classic song, or anything like that. And for awhile now, I've felt like my ability to move might be the "hook" that books me that big national commercial (For example, I think it would be fun to book one of those singing-and-dancing Ebay commercials).

Anyway, I thought it had gone well, though I was a little concerned with the "sweat factor"; we ran through it once, then did two or three takes, and by the end, I was definitely "glowing" (I have an ongoing fantasy of making things look "effortless", but my overactive sweat glands frequently trip me up on that front). But I guess they saw something they could work with.

In the Sprint audition, I'm "The Sockman", the mythological character who steals single socks from the dryer (At first, I didn't get what that had to do with Sprint, but the copy has someone trying to get a picture of me, as the Sprint guy comes to the rescue with his easy-to-operate cellphone and digital camera). I'm supposed to do the audition on my knees, so they can see what I'd look like shrunk down, like the old "Tidy Bowl Man" commercials. Anyway, it would sort of crack me up to get that one.

**********

(2:15 p.m.)

They've finished shooting at this location, so me and my brainwashed family (My character is "Brainwashed Dad") are waiting to be shuttled to the next location, which is actually only a block or two from where we parked in the first place.

**********

(2:38 p.m.)

(Second location. Santa Fe, just off Palmetto, in an area of downtown that could only be described as "very sketchy".)

Just finished getting made up (My "set daughter" is getting made up across from me right now. I also have a "set wife" and a "set son"; it's basically Jim's "set alternate universe").

The set for our scene is a large diorama set up at the side of the road. From where I am right now, looking out the wardrobe trailer window, I can see a table and chairs, some sort of picture on the wall, and a window.

We're all curious about what we're going to be eating and drinking, if we're going to be eating and drinking at all (We're supposed to be eating machine parts and drinking motor oil).

(End)

Well, I had to stop things there, because then I had to change into wardrobe and get to work.

When I saw the set close-up, I thought it was pretty fun. Propaganda posters on the wall (I liked the one that said "Heroes don't ask questions"), A table strewn with assorted inedible crap-- old radios, a typewriter, film, vinyl records and so on–biohazard masks on the wall, and a "baby" in a stroller who'd been given a bomb to play with.

Our "eating" scene was a little disappointing. We were trying to guess how they'd do it–would there be fake edible parts, would they be "green screening" something, or what?–but we basically just mimed eating stuff on the table (There wasn't anything in front of me small enough to get in my mouth, and nobody was telling me what to do, so I ended up with the cord from what I think was a clock radio in my mouth, and that seemed to be fine). My "son" was eating a record, and my "daughter" was mouthing some film stock. I don't remember what my "wife" was doing (They had the "wife" and "daughter" moving around more).

It was pretty confusing. They had a couple different cameras going at once–Maybe a couple different types of film stock, or film and video, along with a couple still cameras-- and nobody was saying "action" or letting you know if you were in the shot or not, so I just did my thing every time I heard camera noise, unless it was clear I wasn't in the shot.

We did that for awhile, then we moved a block or two down the road, where they had the four of us running along this garbage-strewn area under an overpass, for maybe 50 yards. I guess running from falling bombs and such.

At that point, I started losing patience. Not with the crew–they were just doing their jobs, after all–but with my fellow actors.

The whining had started while we were on the set. The sun went down while we were doing the "eating" scene, so it got a little chilly, and suddenly everyone is "freezing" and wants to go home, and with every break in the action they're all asking "Is that it? Is that it?". Like we're shoveling manure or something equally unpleasant, instead of shooting a video.

Then the pissing and moaning continued when we had to do the running scene. It wasn't really that treacherous, but to hear my "wife" bitch about it, you'd have thought we were being asked to run through a field full of land mines. Then they started running the fog machine, and she started crying about that (At one point, when the A.D. asked me how I was doing, I did have to comment on a take where the fog was so thick we couldn't see where we were going, which posed a safety issue. But that was the only time I said anything that could be construed as a complaint, cause I was pretty happy to be there) And after each take of running and screaming, there was more "Is that it? Is that it? Can we go home now?" (At one point, my "wife" said "I'm not normally a complainer..."; it was all I could do not to hoot in her face and say "Well, you're doing a damned good impression of one today!").

I lost track of how many "running" takes we did–maybe seven or eight. Certainly no more than that—but after that, the kids wrapped, and then me and my "wife" went back to the set and had a cozy domestic scene, where I held the "baby" (A doll) while my "wife" fed him "motor oil" (I think they had intended for me to drink the motor oil originally, then feed some to the baby, but then my "wife" handed me the "baby" at one point while she went to get some water, and when the director saw me with it–I was holding it like a real baby--she liked the way that looked and switched things around.

I think they shot some film of that, but were mostly taking still pictures–Of my "wife" drinking the "motor oil" (Chocolate sauce, Dr Pepper, and something else I can't remember right now), feeding it to the "baby", me cooing at the "baby", the two of us wearing the biohazard masks as we fussed over "baby", etc and so forth.

And then we were done. We started shooting maybe around 3:30, and were done shortly before 6:00 (I kind of agree with the actor–I forget who it was now–who said in an interview "I act for free. They pay me for the waiting around").

All in all, a pretty cool day. Early on, an older couple walked by and asked what we were doing. I got a big kick out of being able to say "Shooting a music video..." (It occurred to me that I'm often driving by location shoots and feeling envious, wishing I were involved, and I very much enjoyed being "on the other side of the fence" this time).

I think the video debuts January 16th, so keep an eye out for it.

Well, I want to babble on some more, but I've probably gone on long enough at this point, and I have some other things I should attend to.

Wish me luck today. Jimmy wants that big national commercial!

 

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