Confessions of a G-List Actress: Day 2 of an Indie Webseries

May 1st, 2012 | By | Category: Misc

Is This It? PosterAfter a nearly sleepless night between Allen (my co-star), and Leigh (the friend I brought with me) and Nikita (my dog) we get up at 6 am for another day of shooting.  Oddly enough, sleeping in a bed with strangers is not a new thing to me.  You get used to it after a while and end up loving the odd sleepovers and having the chance to get to know the people you are working with.  For only having about 4 hours of sleep I feel like I have slept more than enough and am ready to face the day.  But I am not on the shooting dock until 10 am.  Hmm, what could I possibly do with my time?

I am at the beach, after all.

I drive with Leigh to grab a bite and we go to the beach.  I was sixteen the last time I went to Wrightsville Beach, NC.  Twelve years later it hasn’t changed much, except for one thing: every public access parking area is now paid, and it’s $2 per hour to park.  Seriously Wrightsville?  $2 an hour?  So we drive up and down to both ends of the beach in search of free parking, which does not exist.  I guess from now on I will park in a shopping area and walk the mile to the beach, because the extra mile is still cheaper than $2 an hour.  We park and spend $2 to park and go to the beach.  Leigh is going to use her new boogie board and I am going to enjoy a little reading in the sun for the hour I have left.  Nikita is leashed and barking at seagulls, dogs, and people.  She has no desire to walk along the sand.  Honestly, I don’t either.  The sun feels grand.

45 minutes later I pack up my things and leave Leigh on the beach.  She says the 5 hours in the sun will do her good.  Nikita is packed into the car and I drive to the location, a coffee shop.  They are finishing up a scene and Allen is trying to keep his eyes open in the sun.  For an added bit of fun we place Nikita on a table and she is Allen’s date, and we film it.  I meet Joanne, my sister for the shoot.  Funny enough I am actually 28 and she is 24 and I am the younger sister in this scenario.  How did this happen?  I won’t complain too long.  YES! I CAN PASS FOR EARLY TWENTIES!  I also meet Angela, who plays Sam, my “new boyfriends” ex.

We pack up and all drive downtown to the boardwalk.  On the way, I admit, I am trying to put on my make-up and read lines and drive.  I pull on my clothes in the middle of the street and walk to the location, thinking I am going to have to remember five more pages of lines.  I was wrong.

We get there and now the sun is overhead.  We take a few promo shots, my favorite of which is a picture of me holding Allen’s leg and Joanne (who is playing my older sister) holding his arm.  He is the rope in this crazy tug of war.  It’s fun.  We shoot a quick shot of Allen and I seeing one another for the first time and then we split into teams.

Since this is an independent gig we don’t have the budget to close down the downtown district of Wilmington and shoot with no sound.  That is probably my favorite way to shoot.  But hey, you have to do what you have to do.  There are ways to cut out certain noises.  The problem with those certain noises is they have to be consistent.  For example, if there is a low consistent hum, they can get rid of the low hum.  If a motorcycle drives by or a car honks or a dog barks, that is a noise that is very difficult to get rid of on post.  So there we are, downtown, me walking my dog who is barking at every dog she thinks she can take on, motorcycles driving by, and cars honking at the two pretty girls walking down the street towards a camera on a dolly.

City streets were not made for camera dollies and, without an expensive or home-made rig, you have to take things really slowly so the camera doesn’t jostle over the bumps.  Not that we aren’t walking slowly enough.  I swear we are nearly standing still.  You can’t walk quickly on camera.  It just doesn’t work.  You won’t catch any of the action and it will look like you are running towards the camera.

I notice this one gentleman starts repeatedly walking his dog around the block to get into the shot.  A group of frat boys waits until we start filming to start hooting at Joanne and me as we walk down the street.  Every time Nikita barks at another person I start screaming, “Kill, KUJO!”

Lines are altered and switched and added.  The guys come and observe since they finish first.  And after a few hours I find myself driving back to the beach to pick Leigh up and head back to the Director’s house to get some food.  I lay on the back of my car for some sun in my bathing suit.  I hate tanning beds and tend to get very red when in them, but it’s getting to be summer and I need some sun on my bleached skin.  I eat a sandwich on the back of my car while Leigh holds onto Nikita and reads a script.   Allen, Joanne and I chat until the director gets back to the house.

We had missed a scene before and shot that quickly.  Two rehearsals, one shot, and we’re done.  I find the clothes I was wearing the day before trying to get ready to shoot the rest of the scene we shot.  They smell terrible.  I had been sweating in them for three hours the day before.  Joanne enters in a lovely outfit and we get through the shot quickly.

Now I must make a point that I was trained in the theater.  No!  Acting for screen and for the stage are not the same.  They are totally different.  If I were to perform for a camera like I would onstage, it would look absolutely ridiculous; on the reverse if I were onstage performing as I would on film, you wouldn’t know what was going on.  They are separate animals.  I have been a character actor for years and so I am very physical with my performances on stage.  This means I am willing to perform to an extreme most people are very embarrassed to consider on stage and on film, so a director can always tell me to take it down a notch and I will be happy to do it.

That being said when I am given the direction to be that drunk girl at the party my first response is to say, “please specify which drunk girl?”  So I am now supposed to be the goofy and friendly drunk girl at the party.  I am on the couch with my “sister”, chatting, and being as “drunk” as I possibly can be.  I start chatting and James walks over and sits between us, offering Joanne a beer first.  As a response, I start to whimper. When he hands me a beer I lean comfortably against him.  There is a giggle and the shot is ruined.  Blooper reel!  Set up again.  Cut to three hours later and it has become so ridiculous that people can’t get through their lines and we still haven’t gotten a shot.  I have been putting my feet over my head, holding bottles in my feet, rubbing James face with both feet and hands.  I climb over top of James who is sitting in between Joanne and I, laying across the both of them picking up a beer bottle in my teeth and start drinking the contents.  Joanne laughs and finally Dan calls out, “We have got to get through this.”

Figuring I would save us some time I toned it down a little and we are able to get through scene a few times.  And I am wrapped.  Not quite wanting to leave I figured I would stay and watch the last scene or two after I manage to get everything packed up.  I say goodbye to everyone.  We are wrapped for season 1.

I drive home through a terrible storm, get home and crash on my bed.  Exhausted.  I can’t wait til the next weekend of shooting.

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