Tuesday, February 3, 2009
So, for those of you who don't know, I wrote my second paid screenplay last year. As it happens, the movie has actually been shooting, and they wrap this week. Whoda thought?
It's a CIA spy thriller / action film titled "Ballistica," and I actually got a chance to go be on set for a night of filming. It was Saturday night, and instead of just a casual visit, it turns out that they needed me for an on-set re-write of the ending. I got off the phone with the Director at 4pm, after finding out that my call time was 6:30pm, and we would be shooting throughout the night.
I had gotten up at 8am that morning to workout.
Regardless, I spent 14 hours watching them shoot a movie that I wrote (mostly,) all the while doing fixes on the fly for the Director and the actors. (So if you're keeping track, that means that I left at 8am the following morning...I seem to only update this Blog after all-nighters.)
This was where I was set-up...sandwiched behind the monitor cart.
It was a blast. Tony, the Producer, had told me a week prior that they had secured two actors for the movie whose attachment would help sell the film. He mentioned their names, which I promptly forgot, and when arriving on set, found out that they were Robert Davi (Special Agent Johnson from DIE HARD,) and Marty Kove, (The Evil Sensei of the Cobra Kai in THE KARATE KID!)
Yeah...Special Agent Johnson and Mr. Cobra Kai together on screen! That is GEEKTASTIC.
Now, obviously, I thought both of these guys would be absolute hard-ass mothafuckas. In fact, I was a little hesitant to talk to Marty Kove at all because he had his students beat-up Ralph Machio. Imagine my surprise when he and Robert both turned out to be REALLY nice guys. Robert heard my name once when I was introduced to him, and remembered it all night long. That's a hell of a lot better than I could do.
Marty Kove, Tony Kandah (the Producer,) Robert Davi, and Gary Jones (Director/ridiculously nice guy.)
Robert Davi in his Trailer, telling a story about how he met Sinatra.
Gary at Video Village.
So after a long night of shooting, I basically came to two realizations...
1. SCREENWRITER is the BEST position to have on set. The only thing you have to lift is your laptop, and they let you sit up front at video village. Oh yeah...and you get to interact with the Director and the Actors over the story. (At one point I was discussing the differences between the CIA and the NSA to Special Agent Johnson, and almost sucked myself into a Black Hole.)
2. I had forgotten how much movie crews are like Flash-Families. You're with these people who you don't know for no more than a couple weeks. But during that time, you sweat and laugh and bond with them as though you were all related, and then when its over, you never see them again. I showed up at that set knowing four people, but by the end of the night, I was part of the family, like I'd been there the whole time.
Me and my long-time friend, Vera.
This was lunch at 1am. VERY tasty.
The sun coming up at 6:30.
Gary, me and Robert. (I'm not that guy who asks to get my picture taken with celebrities. Robert was about to walk away, saw me and said, "Hey! We didn't get a picture together yet!" So that was cool.)
But for as surreal as the night was, my biggest geek-out moment was when I got there. The props master had brought a friend with him who I immediately recognized, because he recently played DRACULA in low-budget Vampire film that I LOVED.
His name is Tom Downey, and his character in Dracula's Curse is named "Rufus King." Of course now I've totally spoiled it for ya, because you don't find out that he's Dracula till the end of the film. So try and forget that in case you watch it. (Although I've never met anyone else who's ever seen it, so you're probably not in any real danger.)
Turns out that he's also a really easy goin' funny guy, and since I've learned not to TOTALLY geek out on people, I think I came across as fairly normal. As a result, we had an un-awkward fun time that night...even though being the Vampire Lover I am, couldn't stop thinking "THAT'S RUFUS KING!"
So as I was leaving, I did brake my rule and asked him for a picture. As we were posing for my iphone, I turned to Tom and said, "Give me your best Rufus King."
MF says I look really gay in this picture.
And she's right.
But I love him.