Thursday, December 22, 2005

They're not Monkeys!

Spent 2 days filming a 50 sec commercial for Chapman film students. Director Rosie Lambert wrote a great little script where a guy (me) is filming chimps in the wild. He gets frustrated by their inertia and tries to evoke a response, but to no avail. When he cracks open a coke however, the games are on.

The chimps, Cody and Sable, were so human that it's hard to see them as anything but one (or two) of us. The eyes watching you as you take a sip from a bottle they've just handed you. Will you give it back? Have they just been shafted? The sudden interest in your elbow or a particular finger. But only for a moment. Then it's back to looking around. And my best - the longing for trees. The trainer had them seated under a branch for the first shot, but they couldn't help but look up. The desire to leap up and swing was clearly so strong. Like candy. Or coke, which is even better.

The final shot had us sharing a coke, which was cold tea in a coke bottle - to enable easier sharing. Cody was keen to get the bottle back, but after a sip threw me a look which clearly said "this new formula sucks". For some great photos, you can visit Gearhart Photo.

Rosie's short, "The Reel Monkey", is a finalist in the Coca Cola Refreshing Filmmakers competition. It should be online around the start of Feb at CCRFA.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

In the festive spirit, I give you this

Ten Things the LA Actor Doesn't Have to Struggle With

(not yet, anyway)

1) You can't cross Hollywood and Highland without a SAG card.
2) Sign-in sheets ask for your Church of Scientology number.
3) Random checks and fines for real teeth, hair or wrinkles.
4) All reads must mimic the casting director.
5) The use of make-up is prohibited for no-name actors.
6) Street parking is only for cars made after the year 2000.
7) 2 years mandatory service playing Spiderman on the Walk of Fame.
8) 2 years mandatory service mopping floors at fast-food Wok of Fame.
9) All acting coaches broadcast raw unedited footage on national television.
10) You're the Universal tour guide pointing out the studio you once owned.

Here's to a fabulous, festive, sickeningly over-indulgent festive season, and may 2006 bring you everything you deserve and everything that's coming to you!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I'm Going to San Bernardino

I set off for San Bernardino last week and turned my MP3 player on. It's always set to random shuffle and, incredibly (or so I thought), started playing a track called "Boom, Like That" by Mark Knopfler. Incredible, because it's a random play from a possible 800-odd songs AND the opening lyric is "I'm going to San Bernadino". But hey - that's my life: full of synchronicity. Most of the time it has zero significance beyond my own desperate desire for it to be just that - significant. Don't even get me started on my 72 thing. It's out of control. WAY out of control.

But my post, the real reason behind my post is this fabulous sign I snapped in the aforementioned San Bernie. Made me chuckle as I stood outside a rundown old restaurant alongside the tracks in the middle of nowhere. Well, it wasn't nowhere really. It was San Bernardino, of course. But if it weren't for the directions on my map telling me that this place was indeed on the map, I could have sworn it wasn't...

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Yes, but I'm not a professional dancer!

"Cape of Good Hope" opened in New York in November and is released in LA on the 16th of December. (It'll be at the Laemmle Sunset) Laura Kern of the New York Times called it "a genuine uplift of a film", which sounds like it would make a good bra. Roger Ebert found it "wonderful!", which is wonderful, except that his critical buddy Roeper didn't agree, saying it wasn't enough like "Crash". (Maybe that's because it's a different movie.) I guess that means it get's "one thumb up". Which isn't exactly "2 thumbs down", but not quite "2 thumbs up". And there was I thinking they were ALL thumbs...

It was good to see lead Debbie Brown and fellow actor David Isaacs at the Q+A screening on Wilshire recently. They made the long haul from Vancouver and Cape Town, respectively. I made the long haul from the Valley. Respect.

At the Q+A, director Mark commented that Debbie didn't have a dance background, but I did. I was concerned from Day 1 that he thought I really was a dancer, as he had me improvising a tango lesson (!!!) before the scene started. Now I'm convinced. (Does that mean he thinks I'm a crap actor?) No matter - it means he liked the dance. Or at least found it authentic. Oh yeah - I'm a tango teacher in the movie, if you hadn't guessed. And yes, we BOTH worked our asses off to get the moves down. When they cutaway to the precision of those toned and taut legs and feet, they're OUR legs and feet, thank you very much!