Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Holy Crap! What A Week!

I mean seriously, folks... Holy Crap! this week has been a killer. Overall, it's been a good week... but I is one tired puppy.

No matter what the time-stamp says, I'm writing this post at 5:45 am on Saturday morning sitting at The Sandy Hut while the Nickel & Dime crew sets the room up for the day's shoot. Film & video shoots usually involve a lot of sitting around and waiting for the actors (nothing against the crew - they're working hard! It's just the nature of the medium... there's a lot of behind- the scenes work that has to be done in between shots). Luckily, I have my Treo with me so I can update you all on my week.

Monday - Oh My God, It's What Time?

Monday could have been a lousy day. It had all the hallmarks: My alarm didn't go off, so I woke up at 9:15... and late for a 9:00 appointment!

So I was on the run all day, trying to make up the time I'd lost in the morning. To make matters worse, I left Outlook running on my PC when I blew out the door, so I couldn't get my email on my Treo.

This could have been a big problem, since my agent Kaili uses email as her primary communication method, and it's not uncommon to get a message with an audition or job scheduled for the next day.

This COULD have been a problem... but it wasn't. Thankfully Trish had a meeting with Kaili that afternoon, and Kaili just happened to mention that she'd been emailing me to see if I was available to appear in an Oregon Lottery commercial I'd auditioned for last week. So Trish gave me a ring.


The part they cast me in isn't the one I auditioned for. Instead I'd be cast as a "featured extra" (that means you MIGHT recognize me in the finished spot, assuming I don't get left on the cutting room floor) carrying a camera at a World Poker Tour tournament.

My day was lookin' up after that. I finished with my last client and had time to run home and feed the dogs (Trish was already gone to perform in a reading at the Miracle Theatre) and get the details on the next day's shoot before leaving again to attend a production meeting for Nickel And Dime.

The night ended up with Trish and I meeting for a drink at The Bull Ring in Northeast Portland. Lana Veenker Casting held its own awards ceremony to honor those actors who've booked a lot of jobs through them, and who've had really memorable auditions. Trish and I weren't up for any awards, but it was a nice night out.

Tuesday - Behind The Camera On Camera

Tuesday morning was spent getting ready for the lottery shoot. I wasn't due on set until noon, and I didn't have any lines to learn, so other than getting costume options together there wasn't a lot for me to do. Interestingly, they asked me to dress all in black, which is generally a no-no on camera. Black just makes you fade into the background so you look like a floating head. Since I'm playing a cameraman, though, it fits the part (and I'll be a floating head with a camera).

Heather, the production coordinator, called me at about 11 to ask if I could come in early. I grabbed a microwave burito and drove to the OPB building where they were shooting the spot. I was rushed through wardrobe and brought to the set, showed the camera I was going to carry... and then waited three hours until they needed me.

Like I said above, it's the nature of the medium.

Once I did get on camera, I learned a valuable lesson: beta cam's are freakin' heavy!! I probably carried all 35 pounds of that camera on my shoulder, "taking shots of the poker table," for five hours (though Ryan and Johnny from the props department did their best to relieve me of it in between shots. They saved me from having a permanent dent in my shoulder at the end of the day). By the time I was done my shoulder was throbbing... and the REAL camera guys were snickering at me for being such a wuss.

It was a good shoot, though. The whole Food Chain Films crew was great to work with, and the finished spot is going to pretty funny. They got a real set from the World Poker Tour, complete with a table wired for lipstick cameras - the first time people see the commercial I'm sure they'll think they're watching the real show.

The shoot did run late, though, which made me late for the pre-shoot rehearsal for Nickel and Dime at the Sandy Hut. I managed to get there, though, and the director got us prepped for Saturday's shoot.

Wednesday - A Face From The Past.

I'd been looking forward to Wednesday all week. This was the day that a very good friend of mine in High school, John Heginbotham, was coming to town to perform with the world renowned Mark Morris Dance Group.

John was a great guy in high school, and one of the most focused artists I knew. He was a brilliant kid (we were both in East Anchorage High School's "School Within A School" program for special - er, I mean "gifted" students), and totally dedicated to dance. He danced, choreographed, and was even Rudolph Nureyev's personal assistant when he came up to Anchorage to perform.

I have the most vivid memory of shooting John's audition tape for Julliard at a little dance studio out on Fireweed Avenue in Anchorage. I wasn't a big dance fan, but when I saw him take these flying five foot leaps off the floor, I knew that he was destined for greatness. And, it turns out, I was right. John's been dancing professionally all over the world for the last 17 years. He even did the choreography for a rock video.

Seeing him on stage at the Schnitzer was a real kick. We were up in the nosebleed seats for the show, but even after 17 years I could instantly pick him out in the crowd. His movements were the same that I'd seen way back when, but stronger and more grounded. His grace was still there, but it was tempered by a self confidence that he never had back in high school (go figure, huh?).

We met up afterward and went to Higgins and had a couple of beers together (world-traveler John recommended Chimay Tripel, a Belgian beer with a three-American-beer kick. Boy was I glad Trish was there to drive me home afterward). It sounds like life has been treating him pretty well... living in Brooklyn, traveling the globe to dance, looking ahead to what's next. Sitting across the table from him, I felt like 17 years had been two weeks. Now that I finally have his email address I'm really looking forward to keeping in closer touch with him.

Thursday and Friday - The Blur

Two Chimays and staying up until around 2AM with John made me more than a little fuzzy Thursday. I was supposed to be part of a reading at ART that evening, but it got called off at the last minute because a couple of the players were cast in a coffee commercial being shot in town (so, coincidentally, was Trish). I wasn't crying too many tears over this, since I was feeling pretty tired from the last few days' events. I cut my back yard (it's that time of year again...) and hit the sack.

Trish had a decent enough time at the commercial shoot. She was just doing extra work, but the crew treated her really well and she even got a pound of coffee out of the deal. How cool is that?

I was feeling better on Friday after some sleep, but it still felt like a short day. I knew that my call at The Sandy Hut for the first day's shooting of Nickel and Dime was going to be 5:30 am, which meant that I was going to have to get up at around 3:30 or 4 (I need time in the morning to regain my humanity - usually caffeine and mental stimulation via internet is involved in this process). That meant that if I was going to have to get to bed at around... oh... 7 pm?

That may have been the plan, but of course it didn't happen. I finally conked out at around 9 for a pretty short night (or at least I short morning).

Saturday - Short Shooting

Which brings us back to today (I started this post in the morning, worked on it between shots... and here I am in the evening finishing it up). Overall the shoot went pretty well. I arrived on the set at around 5:35 and hung while the crew got the place set up for shooting - replacing standard light bulbs with halogens, gelling the televisions so they didn't cast additional light... that kind of thing. It was about two hours later that we realized one of the actors hadn't shown up for his call (Wendy, the producer, and Jeffrey, the director, had realized it a lot earlier. Obviously). When the actor hadn't answered multiple phone calls, Jeff made the decision to re-cast the actor playing the bartender into the missing actor's role, and we started blocking the first shot. Just as we were getting ready to bring the camera in to shoot the day's first shot, the missing actor called Wendy to say that his alarm hadn't gone off and he hadn't heard his phone ringing. So... we waited for him to get there. It was probably 9:30 before he finally got there and we were able to get the first shot (four hours into the shoot day).

Things went pretty quickly after that. We had the shoot planned for two days, but were able to get it all in the can today (which means I don't have to get up at 4am again tomorrow - YAY!!!). The Sandy Hut generally opens at 10am for breakfast. Our director Jeff persuaded the owners to keep the place closed until 2pm... and we used every iota of that time. The owner opened the doors of the bar just as we were replacing the last light bulb... and as people came streaming in (yes, there are plenty of people who are anxious to get into a dive bar at 2pm on a Saturday) we packed the last of the gear away and got lunch at the Nob Hill Cafe.

And... that's a wrap. I'm going to get some sleep!

Hope you're all doing well...