Monday, July 31, 2006

Not a Finished Posting

I worked again on Friday. From 5pm to 5:30 Am on Saturday.
Today is Monday. I am tired but I have my notes and I will post on Wed., when I get the time. . .and . . . . I will have seen Miami Vice by then. . . . Oh Dear God !!!!! What have I become ??????

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Another Day !

I got another day working as a stand-in on the movie. I was there from 10 AM Wed. morning to 12:30 AM Thursday morning. I was stumbling like a drunken sailor to my car in the darkened parking lot. It was a long day and I am fatigued. I was sort of nodding off within eye-sight of the director around 11:15. I have to work tomorrow.
I will blog more , when I am restored. Basically , it was a good day's pay.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Barring Technical Difficulties. . .

Okay, here's the story . . .
When I got up on Friday morning , there were two things I had to do #1) Go to work in Andover #2) Do stand-up at the Comedy Studio. I made the coffee, took a shower, started to write some bills and my cell phone rang. It was 9:45 (yeah, I was running late. Surprise !) It was Peter from CP Casting, would I be available to do photo double on "Gone Baby Gone" a movie filming here in Boston. Some of you may remember, I had the opportunity to audition for one of the major characters, and didn't get it. I told him I had put on some weight since I had originally auditioned, did they really know what I looked like ? He said they knew and that I was right for the job. I said "Yes!" and meant it. They hate it when you try to decide while they're waiting on the phone. A firm "no" is better than a wobbly "yes". They want to finish this job , so they can move on to the next thing. I really hadn't considered that it would go past 8 PM. I said yes without thinking. I knew Andover would understand, I was worried about the Studio. Stage time there is important to me, especially a Friday night, it's usually packed. My first call was to Andover and then Rick at the Studio. No one answered at either phone -Psyched !
Peter asked me to go to the website and read the instructions. I needed to bring a copy of my drivers license and passport. I usually have extra copies on hand , just for this very reason.I had a copy of the license , not the passport. I asked my brother if he could scan it . He said yes. I gave him the passport and then put my "subtle" make-up on. Basically foundation, some eye shadow and a little eye liner. No lipstick. At least , not the bright red I favor. I need to look as neutral as possible. If they want make-up on me, they've got 15 people on set that can do a better job than me. I went back down stairs to check on the passport situation -long story short, it took a long time, software had to be down loaded .. .Peter called me back wanting to know where I was . It was 10:30-45 minutes since they called me. He said not to worry about the passport , just get over there. Andover called me back, wanting to know what was going on, curious, not mad. I mapquested the directions. I headed out.
I got to the parking lot at 11:00 and was in costume , without a voucher, heading to set at 11:15. The Production Assistant brought me to a spot and then told me to stand here, and left me . I started to look around. It was in the old Laconte Skating rink in Medford. They had built a sound stage. I was looking at the platforms and the ceiling, I looked behind me and Ed Harris was sitting there in a chair going over his lines. I don't think I gasped but I whipped my head around and hoped that PA got back lickety split. I wanted to give him his privacy to concentrate. It's hard to focus on what you have to do because there are literally 50 people standing around. Yup , it's hard to concentrate. It was hard for me to concentrate because that was fucking Ed Harris !!!!! Pollack, A Beautiful Mind-Ed Harris. Okay, the PA retrieved me and I was told to wait over there with the second team. "Second Team" refers to the stand-Ins, "Second Unit" refers to a scene being filmed elsewhere, by a diffierent Director of Photography, or some one trustworthy like that there. I was second team.
When I got to where the rest of the second team was, Fran Richardson wanted to know where I was. Fran ended up doing the actual photo double work. Fran is a guy. I explained the situation and he figured they had forgot to schedule a body double/stand-in. A photo Double is $20.oo more than a stand-in and Stand-In is $20.00 more than an extra. I lost out on the photo double bump. I was standing in for the character of Roberta. In the book , she is described as a hulking giantess of a woman. The woman they cast was actually shorter than me . Maybe we were matched in weight because of my height. Sometime during the day, I asked Fran, because I wasn't actually sure "Do I look like her ? " No , of course I don't and she had very unflattering make-up on. I saw Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck and Ed Harris. It was Ed's last day , so when they shot his last scene, the crew applauded, as soon as he came through the set door he came right over to me and shook my hand and said "Thank You ". .. I said "I'm Dorothy" not thinking . . . . . not putting it together, they're applauding , something's going on. .. I figured it out too late . Ah well, I shook Ed Harris 's hand, that's pretty cool !
I saw a grip who I know from around town. His name is Robert. His girlfriend had a baby and the last time I saw them, there were a month away from birth. He told me that was the last time they had a chance to go out and do something. He went and got me a lawn chair to sit on because there were no apple boxes available. There is always a lot of sitting around on a set. It's hard to maintain concentration and energy. SO, from where I was sitting, I was fairly close to the action. It's really awesome to be around every body who is operating at the top of their game. Fran told me that the cinematographer on this film is Jon Tolin (Tolan? ,Sorry , can't remember the name , should have checked the imdb before I started writing) Anyway, he's the only guy in Oscar history to have won two Oscars for cinematography.
There's a lot of waiting and I don't have the papers. I don't have a book to read. I probably couldn't see to read, if I did have something , it was so dark. One of the hazards of being around other actors while you're waiting is. . .. . talking with other actors. Usually, it's okay, but every once in a while you end up talking , or should I say " listening" to someone who has a lot ot say about where they are in their career , and how they're doing really great stuff at "Nanny Fuck" theater and how this is a disorganized set and they don't know what the fuck they're doing and all sorts of stuff like that there. They're talking out of their hat. Usually, these blowhards are really just insecure and are trying to justify their presence on set. Mostly, they just keep talking and that starts to bore me. They don't want to know anything about me, not that I care, but if I am asked a direct question , I need to respond. I have to respond .I don't know how long I'm going to be here,I don't want to get anyone pissed at me . I don't know when I'm going to have to depend on them. I find spending my time in this manner exhausting. Fortunately, the guy got called to set and seemed to lose interest in revealing every last detail about his life to me.
I had never done stand-in work before. Most of what I know, I learned from listening to my friend Cyndi, who has done a lot of stand-in work. Fran kept the rest of us informed and on our toes . No one had to go find "Second Team" . We were always there.
When we broke for lunch and we got out to the holding area, Jennifer Garner was there. She's Ben's wife. The lunch was Lobster Tails. After lunch, there was a video presentation of what they have filmed so far. It was really unexpected and I've never been allowed on a set to participate in this sort of thing before. If the compilation is any indication, this is going ot be beautiful film. I saw the scene I had auditioned for and the girl they cast was perfect for the role. Casey looked fantastic and right for the part. Some things have changed from the original book. I don't want to reveal anything. I think it's going to look really good...
Later on, I did something completely without thinking, I touched something on set. It caught my eye and I wanted to look at it. No one, but Fran , saw that I had touched it. It's not touching the thing that is wrong, but it could possibly affect continuity. Messing up continuity is a very bad thing. It could have me dismissed from the set. It was a ceramic jar with the flag of Ireland on it. Didn't really need to touch it. Don't know why I did.
I did some standing in position . I watched them rehearse a scene. It was hard to jockey for position without affecting the action. I couldn't get it all in. They were setting up the lights and someone yelled. "Okay! Thank you people! That's a wrap for today!" It was 11:30. We were done for the day and I had finally had a chance to hold a rubber gun. I gave one of the other second team guys a ride to his hotel. I was home by 12:30 AM.
Throughout the day , I had been calling Rick at the Studio giving him updates on my status. I called him when I got home, so he would know how long it had taken. I hated giving up stage time, but I had made my choice. I love being on a movie set. I just love it. Also, every time I am on a set, it's another opprotunity to possibly get an upgrade. You never know.
I had started the day one way and in a matter of seconds the whole day had changed in a completely unexpected way. I was ready to take adavantage of the opportunity.
Today, at the booth, the cinematographer's assistant came in. Him and his girlfriend were going to walk the Freedom Trail. I asked him when he thought they might be finishing up that scene. He said Wed. Tomorrow they are scheduled to be somewhere else. So, maybe I'll get another call.
I hope so . . . . .
If I can remember more things, I'll write them . This is basically how it went.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Slow Going

I'm having trouble with the computer again. I will have to update the Stand-In entry after the computer is de-bugged. When it's this slow, I can't maintain my train of thought. I have been waiting for the computer to get up to speed for an hour and now I am too tired to post.

An Unexpected Stand-In

I'll make this brief because my eye balls are drying up . I was supposed to work in Andover and then do Stand-up today. I did neither. At 9:45 am I got a call to be a stand-in for "Gone Baby Gone" . For one of the major characters.
That is all I have the energy to write. I will write more tomorrow or Sunday.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gas Scam ?

So, I went to one of the cheap gas stations I like to patronize. "Jacks Gas"- It's a small station, I think it's still owned by the same guy that owned it when I was in college. Maybe he's got two more stations. He's just not part of a chain. I try to "Shop Local" whenever I can.
However, I'm not a real big spender . With the price of gas these days, I'm pretty careful with the trips I take. I can usually get 3/4 of a tank for $20.00. SO, I usually fill it with $20.00. I haven't said "Fill it !" To a gas station attendent since I had the van, and I was heading to New York.
So , tonight I went to get $20.00 of gas at Jack's . I said "$20.00 of regular and I'm paying cash". He unlocked my gas cap and put the nozzle in. I think I was checking my voice messages or something and when I looked back to see what the total was , it was $27 ! I started yelling "Hey !Hey!" "Buddy! I said $20.00 ! Hey !" SO the guy says "You said 'Fill it up '!" I said "No ! I said $20 . 00 bucks and I'm paying cash!" He said "No! You said fill it up ! " I'm sorry the little prick doesn't have the right job skills to work indoors, but I didn't "say fill it up" . It ended up being $28.00. I hadn't budgeted for that AND he 's got an attitude !
Though I did get the amount that my $28.00 paid for, which I didn't need right now, I'm wondering if this is some sort of scam to get the evenings totals up. He's not skimming profits . He's just putting in more gas than you ordered and then getting belligerent about getting paid for it. At $2.99 a gallon, I'm guessing everybody is filling up more judiciously. But that left a bad taste in my mouth. I really wanted to cry. I work a shitty job, too. Why did he have to be such a prick ? I don't need that kind of treatment .
I'm not spending any more of my money there. I work too hard for it.

Elvis Costello Concert

Tonight my old friend Margaret and I went to see Elvis Costello with Alan Toussaint tonight at the Pavillion. Originally, her boyfriend was supposed to attend but he had something come up , so, I was not her first choice. I'm not sloppy seconds, but I wasn't her first choice. Though, I 'm glad I was able to attend. This is probably the third time I've seen him in concert, the second time with Margaret. The last time we saw him together, she was married. Ah well.. . . .
Alan Toussaint is a legend in the music business who is based in New Orleans. After Katrina, everything was gone. I don't know how it came to be that he's touring , because he hasn't done it in years, but it sure was cool to see him tonight. I know he produced something on "Spike" and he's produced a bunch of stuff for Irma Thomas-the Queen of New Orleans Soul-who've I've seen many times and I think I 've got everyting she's done.
I think Elvis 's voice is incredible. It is not a classic sound, but it is pure in it's own way. It's always energizing for me to be in the presence of that kind of talent. His back-up band was incredible. I especially liked the trombone player "Big Sam" . He moved beautifully. I loved watching him dance. Silky , New Orleans smooth. He danced a type of two step. He looked gorgeous in his suit and scully cap.
Elvis did a lot of new stuff from the album. He introduced a song (I can't remember the title) by making the sign of the cross and saying "In the name of The Father and the Son and Gasoline and the Gun". Very IRAy. Angry middle -aged man. The crowd loved it !
Fortunately (for me) he did a lot of the classics,too. I got a little misty eyed during "Allison". It was a stormy rainy night here in Boston and you could hear the rain pounding the top of the tent. It was a nice backdrop behind some of the quieter interludes. He performed " Slipping and Sliding" and Margaret and I started twisting. I know I was doing it right because when I was done I had a stitch in my side.
I want to get " River in Reverse" . I really enjoyed the show. I'm glad I went. I wish I could provide better details, but I'm really tired . Nighty -night.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Devil Wears Prada

Kiki and I went to see "The Devil Wears Prada" based on a best selling "Chick Lit" book from a few years ago. Kiki had read the book, I had not. However, I DO subscribe to Allure, Vogue and Vanity Fair and read 'em all cover to cover. I may not read them in a timely fashion, but I eventually get to them all. I love looking at fashion. Of course, you'd never guess that if you've met me. I wear what fits and frequently what is baggy enough to cover what is baggy about my body.
So, the movie takes place in the office of a fictional major fashion publication titled "Runway". It stars Maryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway and a couple of major models that you wouldn't know unless you follow the fashion magazines. Even Valentino makes an appearance as himself. I think Streep gave a marvelously subtle and , simultaneously, over the top performance as the maniacal Editor in Chief of the magazine. She hires Anne Hathaway's character saying that she thought she'd "take a chance on the fat girl"-Anne Hathaway is a tny little bit of a thing. Stanley Tucci plays a normal gay man. He didn't overplay it and really seemed more like the gay men I know than a caricature.
I really liked the film. There was a fair amount of fashion changes, though I think I would have liked to see some more. The shoes alone were a sight to behold. The characters live in a very self-centered, self important universe. Their overblown beliefs in their powers are not really that far off the mark, regarding how haute couture trickles down to the K-Marts and in effect give us our choices. Meryl Streep's character tells Anne Hathaway's character (who is sometimes referred to as "The Other Emily" because she can't be bothered to remember Anne's real name-It's Andrea) that the ugly outfit she was wearing had actually been designed by them 2 years before. That fashion and art affect people's lives.
I do believe that fashion and art affects people's lives, however, my own personal experience agrees that most people don't pay attention to that and consequently don't care. There's also a private life that includes her college boyfriend that she struggles to maintain her relationship with. He's that cute kid from Entourage. Andrea also gets hit on by a really handsom , and powerful writer, who has the kind of career she wants to eventually have. She has boyfriend troubles with a beautiful man and then takes solace(ie-has sex) from a powerful beautiful man.
I wish I had those problems . .. .and those shoes !
She travels to Paris because of the job. I liked the shots of Paris. I've been there, but I couldn't really remember anything significant about it. I could identify with Andrea being young and in Paris for the first time.
I could also remember clothes that used to fit me better.
I liked the movie. It won't change the world and probably won't get nominated for any major awards. The audience was packed with women, who also really enjoyed it.
I recommend it.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mike Birbiglia Workshop

Yesterday, I had arranged to leave my usual Staurday job early so that one of my co-workers could pick up some hours and I could get some time to myself. As it ended up , I had to re-schedule a hair appointment . Also, Mike Birbiglia was in town working on his one man show and he was willing to have a workshop at the Studio before the show on Saturday. Ordinarily, I work until 6, but I was going to be available for this workshop. I was psyched !
Mike has appeared on Conan and Letterman and Comedy Central. He is a nationally known comic. He's originally from Shrewsbury. The workshop was an informal affair. There were about 20 of us to start with and we ended up with about 25 at the end. I was the only female in attendance. It was initially suggested that we each bring a question and we would see how far we would get. Most of the questions were about the process. I felt he was very honest in his responses. He had some really useful things to say, for me.
I will relay what I can remember and by no means will I be particularly accurate. I mostly remember what resonated with me. People asked questions and he answered. He said stuff like. . . . You really have to want to do comedy because it's a job of rejection. You need to improve all the time. He made a comparison with people who were practicing comedy as a sort of hobby. Listening to the radio on the way to the gig, shooting the breeze with the other comics, having a couple of beers. That's how one would approach a hobby. A comic would be going over the list on the way to the gig. Staying focused on the material. Approaching it like it's a job. Thats' what it is. He feels that little jokes can expand to longer pieces. I don't know if I entirely agree with that. Some jokes are really bolated. .. but I digress.
He suggested that you tape every set (which I do!). Go over it and figure out what works. He thinks every comic should take acting classes because it will just make your comedy better. It will expand you. In New York, he could perform in as many as 7 shows a night when he's working on material. He thinks you should see as many of the greats live onstage as possible. He worked at a comedy club of the caliber of the Comedy Connection when he was in college. He got to see everybody and he feels that taught him things.
He referenced Louis CK a lot. He thinks that you should keep your material personal because that speaks from your experience. People will identify with you . All his stuff is based on stuff that really happened in his life. He thinks that you should try and do new stuff every time you get on stage. Though, he was sure to point out that it depends on what kind of a relationship you have with the booker. If the booker trusts you , you can have the luxury of trying stuff out. If he doesn't, you have to keep to your time and subject matter.
I can't remember what else he said , at this moment. At the end of the workshop, I was really grateful I was able to participate. I felt inspired.
I stuck around for the show. Dan Boulger is the Comic in Residence this month. I think he's a great writer. Brian Longwell was on the show, I was surprised, because I hadn't seen his name on the list this week. Brian was great ! Kris Earle was also on the show. He was trying something out. I think it worked. I hadn't seen Bob Hegearty since April. he did some new stuff , too.Bethany Van Delft was also on the show. I hadn't seen her perform in a while. She just gets better and better all the time. Little Renta Tutko was on the show, she did new stuff , too. I always enjoy seeing her perform. Steve Calechman was on the show. He did stuff I hadn't heard before, very good. Shane Mauss, also terrific ! I forget who else was on the show and then there was Mike Bibiglia. He was great ! It was really interesting to see him doing exactly what he had been talking about in the workshop. I could tell when he was trying new stuff and when he was in familiar territory. It was like when I was in college and my teachers would be working with us on something in class and then you go see them perform at night and you see that they're actually doing what they were trying to communicate to you in class that day. It was great for me. Also, he was fucking funny ! It was a really enjoyable experience for me.
Mike only stuck around for a little bit after the show. I wanted to tell him how much I enoyed his set and the workshop. I was able to hang out for a while last night because I had arranged to take today off. I hung out with Kris Earle for a while . I flirted with Alvin David for a bit-he's always good to fool around with. I spent most of the night talking with Chris Oake. I hadn't really talked with him since the Christmas Party. I also got a chance to shoot the breeze for a bit with Brian Longwell. He looks fantastic !
I surprised myself and stayed out until after 1 am. I'm a little tired but it was a nice fun time for me . I'm glad I was able to be there. I am glad that Rick Jenkins and Mike Birbiglia were able to put this together at the last minute. It was good time.

A Ride to Comedy

On Thursday, I took a trip up to Gloucester to do a show because two of the guys I work with live up there and coming into Boston to see a show is a daunting prospect. So, I thought I would arrange to perform in their neighborhood. I approached Shawn Donovan , who produces a show up there and got stage time. It so happens, this will be his last show up there. And, coincidentally, I think it will be the last time I go out of my way to make it convenient for someone to come see me perform. I'm pretty sure Lloyd Webber wouldn't traipse down to Edinburgh so his friend from high school doesn't have to take a long train ride to see the Phantom of the Opera. My friend did get me good directions to the location , but him and the wife didn't appear.
Probably a good thing. The show was three hours long and Shawn performs with a partner. Yet another deal where a team is hosting a show, they haven't planned their material and don't have any awareness that there is no pace or progression to the show. Which, in my opinion, as a former half of a comedy team, would be their responsibility as hosts of the show. The show opened with a manic depressive elderly person singing original songs in between vague descriptions of the quality of his mental illness. I really wished David Walsh was there to see that. I think he would have enjoyed that portion of the show the most. Frankly, it was also one of my favorite parts and I'm glad my friend wasn't there to see that. It would have made him uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable.
I was surprised by all the comics that made the trip up . Josh Gondelman, Dan Hirschorn, Taylor Connelly and EJ Murphy. EJ did some beautiful material. Watching him was worth the trip. Brian Freer lives in Beverly, so he wasn't that far away and Andy Paquette came all the way from Auburn. Of course, he went last. Poor thing.
There actually was an audience with civilians. However, 6 of the audience members were just about to enter 8th grade. So, the pedophilia jokes made me a little uncomfortable. The hosts are fresh out of college themselves, so , I don't think they were all that cognizant of the inappropriateness. And the girls were very scantily attired and sat up front. Again, I'm glad my friends didn't show up .
At around 2 and a half hours, Shawn's partner, a young whippersnapper named Joe Smith (Not THAT Joe Smith) starts talking about watching a video tape of his birth and the size of his mother's pussy and then he brings me up. Good Lord! What the hell are these kids thinking ? (The answer is :They are not thinking). He wasn't even doing bits! They weren't even jokes ! He probably thought "Bring up an old pussy with material about an old pussy". By this time , I've already been in this converted storage space for about 4 hours.I have driven up from working an 8 hour day on Boston Common. I am fatigued and have little connection to my set list anymore . I am not all that funny now , myself. This kid has made a tough road steeper for me. I wish I didn't make the trip. I'm cursing my friends under my breath and I had no memory of what I had planned to say. I blabber. I wish EJ and Dan weren't still there. I rallied but it was really a waste of time for me.
Actually, I learned two things. #1) Don't go out of your way to perform near where people live. No matter what you do, they're tired . They don't want to leave the house. It's not about me. I usually don't want to leave the house either. I originally learned this lesson a long time ago. I guess I needed a reminder. #2) I need to learn how to pace and focus myself. I got caught up watching the show and got distracted from my material. I could have really turned that incomfortable situation around to my advantage. Instead, I got flustered.
I like Shawn, I think he's got some good material. I wish him well.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bus Politics

I ride Public transportation when it's prudent. When I was a little girl , my father moved us to this house specifically so that we would never have to run for the bus. In the winter, I can see the bus at the stop up the block, because there are no leaves on the trees. In the summer, I can usually hear it approaching from 6 or 7 blocks away. I don't have dog-like hearing, I just know what it sounds like after all these years. So, it's easier for me to take the bus some days.
I usually make it to the bus stop , for the return trip at the end of the day, with five minutes to spare. I estimate where the bus will pull up and stand as close to that spot as possible. Though I rarely recognize fellow commuters on the trains, I am familiar with the evening commute crew. They know I don't take this same bus every night with them, but they recognize me as one of "Theirs". As an outsider, I am to be watched in case I try to take one of their usual seats. I have been blocked and almost tackled by one or more of them so that they may sit near each other and talk with each other on the ride home. They're not neighbors because they get off at different stops . They don't work together, because they arrive to the stop at differing times. They are middle aged women, older than me. Some have grown children. There is a rotation of 4 or 5 of them. I recognize them , but I try not to engage them in conversation.
I don't want to spoil my evening trip listening to even more stories about people I don't know and probably will never meet. I like the quiet. I like the solitude. By the end of most work days , I have had it with people . It's probably good that I've never had children and it is unlikely that will occur .
However, this is not about my bus "Usuals". Tonight, I was waiting at the estimated "Good" spot. A young blond woman had squeezed her way around my bag and the pillar to stand in front of my sweet spot. Behind me, was a young mother with a baby in a stroller. Not a little mewling baby. A little kid, maybe 2 years old. It's not the family bond that's bugging me. It's the stroller. It's gonna take a long time to get all the stuff on the bus. The "Ladies" have bus passes, they sneak on the bus from the rear. Said family unit swung into action and swerved around us, leaving me and blondie in the dust for the estimated sweet spot . SO, now, I'm at least 3 passengers behind where I think the bus is gonna stop. When I get on that bus, the "Ladies" will be blocking the aisle , keeping me from the back of the bus. I like to sit in a particular spot on the bus because I like to look into the window of a place that washes dogs. I like looking at the dogs. It doesn't matter if they are wet or dry. It's a fleeting glimpse and it makes me happy. The "Ladies" sometimes steal that small joy from me. I don't like to let that happen without a conterattack from me.
SO, the bus is shooting down the tunnel. The family unit sees the bus and is blocking me . I am bummed. I am not going to get a "good" seat on the bus. I am sad. So sad.
Wait ! What 's this ? Hmm? New bus driver ? This could be good or bad . I was kind of hoping I would die in a firey bus crash caused by the previous regular route driver. But , what is this ? The new bus driver has seen the family units sneaky tactics and pulled up in front of me ! I get first pick ! I was first on the bus! The bus driver and I exchanged a knowing look. He knew that I knew what he had done. Screw the "ladies" and the "Little family". New bus driver guy picked saggy old me. I love you new bus driver guy. I really do. Maybe you're the only man I'll ever truly love. . . . until they switch your bus route in the fall.
Until then, I love you Mr. Bus Driver.