'Global Cooling', the real thing
http://nmfilm.com/'Casting calls', click on 'In Production' and 'bulletin board' or 'for locals'.
Hyatt Regency Hotel on Tjeras, downtown Albuquerque, 21 August 2007. Parking a few blocks south and a shuttle ride to front door, just like the stars, except for the shuttle truck in place of the Limo. The second floor meeting room was beginning to crowd about 11:00AM. Sign in with the casting assistants then settle in for a long wait. Coffee and very basic snacks indicate a low budget film. Lunch revealed just how low, with a sandwich, pears and bananas.
More waiting for the call to set. Old acquaintances were reaffirmed and new friends were made. That is the attraction to this 'trade'. It surely is not the money. The first thing instinctively is to scan the room for a recognizable face. This does not always work because the 'wardrobe' is always changing.
'Daniel' shaved since our last film, 'Comanche Moon'. 'Alicia' wore a pants and blazer 'greeter' outfit. the last time we worked on 'wildfire' was at the New Mexico State fairground, and a little chilly. She wore gloves and a hat and scarf on that set. 'Deb' was easy to spot with her long strawbery blond red hair, we had just worked together yesterday on 'Swing Vote' in the mountains. Several others were familiar faces from other past films. We nodded at each other with that doubtful look of "Do I know that person"?
The 'call' came to report to the 'live set'. The 'set' was in the hallway and the entrance to the competition. In actuality there is no live dance floor on this set. The actual dancing is filmed in various clubs around the state. Yesterday was at the Santa Ana Star Casino. Another day's filming was at the old 'Caravan' on Central where Blogengeezer spent many, many hours of his wasted 20's.
Actually the original 'Caravan' was replaced with a new building in the same place and format as the original. For various reasons, most patrons never noticed the 'same day' switch. Faron Young,
if anyone recalls that name, was the Promoter of the many Caravan Country Clubs across the country in the late 50's and early 60's. Some names were later changed but the atmosphere remains to this day. (trivia)
The background actors are not all dancers. The competitive dancing is performed by the members of dancing clubs. Pure dedication drives these members because of their love of dancing. Pay was either non-existent or minimal due to budget restraints. I signed up for $64 dollars this day. The hours were from 11 AM to 9 PM. As I noted we don't do this for the money. The dancers travel at their own expense just to be part of a film that depicts their favorite hobby, dancing.
The first camera set, 'position one' for me, was at the entrance to the 'display' hall just after the elevator. I stood in my 'Tux' looking very experienced, conversing with an attractive younger woman (and you wondered why I like this job). The ticket desk was just to the side of us. The set was as follows; Amy's 'double', (the real dancer, a National Country Swing Champion) walks down the hall toward us, with camera following. Amy is waiting behind the pillar. As soon as the large pillar is in scene, they switch. Amy matches the stride of the 'double in a matching blue dress, and struts past us, into the display lined Hall, past the trophy table. We did this scene many times to get the 'switch' timed exactly right. Depending on the camera angle Blogengeezer may be in the shot. The TUX got me in that days filming. good idea 'Olga'. (Darlene Hanson casting)
The following scenes will not have us visible. The cameras were out by the elevator. I stand at the ticket table, take my ticket then walk down the Hall between the display tables many times. No camera was ever in our area, but we did this many times anyway?. Break for sandwich lunch, back at 'Extras Holding'.
Next actual scene was a short conversation with a woman named 'Jan' (Jans husband was standing at the trophy table,'Trophy Husband'). At 'background action' we count to 15 then turn and walk further off set, if that was even possible. Back to 'Extras Holding'. Short nap and wait for next call.
Several 'Swing' dancers were called for the last scene. Blogengeezer usually only danced to Texas Two-Step and Texas fast Waltz including all of the 60's 'Shakin' and 'A rockin'. I was waiting for the 'Wrap' call where we were done for the day.
Suddenly a small barely audible set of quick high pitched 'yips' came from across the room. Two ladies at the table were looking and reaching under their table. Knowing that many people have custom 'ring tones' on their cell phone, I thought nothing more about it. The sound increased in intensity and emergency. the ladies brought out a bag which I thought contained the cellphone.
When the bag was opened, a small furry face emerged. A tiny 'Yorky' popped out. 'Muffin' had been delivered just prior from 'the Doggy Daycare' and had been a little upset. A glass of water was offered and 'Muffin' drank deeply. Muffin was the Yorky owned by the lady I conversed with in the hall during the last set. Jan and James, dancers from Oklahoma City, were doing the last short dance scene while Muffin waited patiently.
'Muffin' carries a wardrobe. A Tu-Tu, a salsa dress and a daisy dress. A girl has to be ready just in case the camera comes her way. Muffin is 3 years old, and weighs 3 pounds. When Muffin was a baby 'Quarter pound er', she disappeared during packing for a trip. The trash had been taken out, so the 'fear factor' was high. The Police were called and all trash was searched intently by all concerned. Jan was crying uncontrollably due to the loss of Muffin. After the excitement of the search dwindled, Muffin emerged from her seclusion and all was well. I suggested to Jan, that 'Muffin' get a quick 'vid' posted on 'You Tube'.
The story of 'Muffin' made the day far more interesting than the 'rolling film'. We did not get any receipts for our time, so this days filming, possibly could turn out to be a 'freebie' as far as pay is concerned. Maybe I will be surprised by the outcome though, and all will be well. As I mentioned before, most of these true 'Dancers' are on this set just for "The Love of Dancing".