Thursday, October 02, 2003

Unbeknownst to you ...

There has been another entry written for this journal. Half written, anyway. Mostly written, we'll say. Where is it, you ask, or maybe you don't. Well, I'll tell you.

I was asked to do some background work on the movie "The Elizabeth Smart Movie" which will appear somewhere on TV screens this coming November. I was hoping for four days work up to the time the casting agent called to say there was a mix up in wardrobe and that all the police uniforms (I was to be a policeman) were for people of 5'10" stature only. At 6'2", I do not fit the bill.

So I came in as a detective.

My call time was for 8:00. I parked in the church parking lot. The church was next to the university that was doubling as police headquarters. The church also housed an interior set and in the basement was extras holding. I parked my car in the church parking lot, went inside, had my wardrobe selected from all the clothes I brought, and then I sat and I sat and I sat. I read my book, I wrote my part of my Harrison Ford entry (which I just discovered has gone to data heaven thanks to a dropped pocket PC… DRAT!!!!) Late in the day I went on set and did two quick scenes, both outside, both with me a long way from the camera. But that's okay; the more unrecognizable you are in a scene, the better chance you have of getting more scenes.

I was asked if I was okay to come in for the next day as well, playing the same guy in the same clothes ("but bring all the other wardrobe stuff you brought just in case").

Day two started badly and would only get worse.

The call time for day two was 6:45am. I set my alarm clock for 5:45. I woke up in the middle of the night and had a bad time getting back to sleep and found myself constantly fighting the urge to check the clock to see what time it was. When I finally caved, the clock said it was 6:20am.


I made it to the set with 1 minute to spare. Driving quickly, you should know.

I parked in the church parking lot, but there's a security guard there this time, and he's kicking people out who are not on church business. I left the car to put my two bags of clothes inside where I met up with the casting agent. She told me don't worry about the paperwork yet, go get some breakfast. I said, there were actually three things I needed to do; park my car, breakfast and shave.

First, park the car. I ended up about five or six blocks away from the church before I finally found a spot where I could legally park my car for the day.

I step out of the car and that was when the kidney stone hit.

I remember saying distinctly and out loud to myself, "I think I might be in trouble here…"

Five or six blocks is a short enough walk under normal circumstances, but when the screwdriver that is renal colic is tearing at your guts, it's a tough slog. On the way back I saw one of the vans with "Elizabeth Smart" on the dashboard, and vainly I tried to flag him down.

I made it back to the church. On the way I had considered lying down on the sidewalk. I figured if I was just to lie down on the sidewalk, someone would surely stop and help me. I didn't. I made it back to the church where immediately people were asking me if I was all right. Seems also that the casting agent had brought too many detectives in for the day, so they were quick to ask me if I wanted to go home for the day. I told them I didn't want to go home, I wanted to go to the Emergency room.

A van and a driver were called for (not the one I'd seen, as it turned out) and a very nice woman waited with me until I finally got into a bed in Emergency. Drugs of several sorts were administered and all became right in my doped up world.

The ending of this little tale (to this point anyway) is minorly unresolved. The stone was passed and only one extra trip to Emergency was required. My car is where it belongs - in my driveway. My two bags of clothes were recovered and returned. I got a prescription for some great drugs. I haven't yet got a call back to do any more work on the set and wouldn't you know it, my shirt and pants from day one that were on a separate hanger are still missing.

(I give the shirt off my back and the stone from my urinary tract....)

When I was lying there in the hospital corridor, drugged stupid and reflecting on the day, my cynical brain was already crafting this entry with a cynical and jaundiced eye. It will end, I thought, with the sentence something like, "Since there were too many detectives, I helped out greatly by getting sick and removing myself from the set."

But later, as I'm trying to arrange to get my car home and my two bags of clothes, I met or heard from a number of people from the crew, most of whom I didn't know or hadn't met, and I was confronted with very genuine concern about how I was getting along and they all seemed very pleased to hear that I was doing fine. I have embraced with gusto this idea that Extras don't matter. It's the theme of this blog after all. Now there they were, the buggers, the crew, proving me wrong.

And it felt nice.

My initial cynicism blew away leaving a bad aftertaste for having had it.

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