Today has fewer BG (Back Ground people) so we are invited in for lunch of a most tender roast and scalloped potatoes, along with portobello mushrooms and squash with delicious greens, of course always pasta for the non-carnivores. While eating in our own Back Ground tent (we can't have it all).
Our table discussion turned to curiousity about 'Da Flikkers'. The hits are running at record levels lately. More like Astronomical. We have no idea how they are finding our little blog. Comments and questions are welcome. We try to post answers in the following, or as additional info added to the post. Readers must be sharing their little 'find'? Must be Viggo, or Ed, or Renee. Hmmm.. Hard to decide who is the major attraction. All are very nice, fun loving, interesting people and proving to be a lot of fun to work with each day in our little Appaloosa.
Ruben, who actually looks like Viggo, is the 'Gun shop Owner', we discuss Helo's and WWII history. Jerry is 'The Assayer' wearing his truly antique 'Knox' bowler, made in New York. Ed the Appaloosa Doctor, is wearing a brown reproduction of an original. A surprising amount of the wardrobe is actually original and found in antique stores all across the US and around the world.
'Wardrobe' management personel are very protective of their 'treasures' and work extremely hard to maintain it. How they do it all is beyond me. Inventory is strictly monitored. Wardrobe holds on to our pay vouchers until we find and return the missing item. Now that is incentive.
The Wardrobe and 'set decorator' professionals roam far and wide hunting for our authentic movie items. I have seen the wardrobe people in thrift stores finding treasures discarded by others. On 'Comanche Moon' (3 part TV Western to be released at end of this year), a beautiful set of 'hoop' dresses, parasols and hats, actually were used in 'Gone With the Wind'. Start of 'Da Flikkers' began on that 'Bonanza Creek' movie set and can be found in the very first post in 2006 under 'Archives' in right sidebar.
There is not enough 'set and wardrobe' to go around, so companies provide reproductions that look exactly like the originals. During the 'makeup' process with Karen (loves Costa Rica and owns 2 homes there, wants to grow Mangos), I recognised Ed, (Appaloosa Dr) from 'Swing Vote'. All in all a great group, including many others not mentioned. Van load with last crewman holding a plateful of food and barely swinging aboard, 1/4 mile (402m) to 'set holding', our Hay, Grain and Feed barn.
While waiting for our orders, standing outside, the crew started to hold their ears and yell "Fire in the Hole". Kaboom, the sound of Hitch's (Viggo) 8 guage (most likely a 10 ga) long, double barreled, shotgun fired, as it does at times during the filming. It is plenty loud. The horses jump, even though they are far away from the blast. Filming was in the next street over. 'Appaloosa', which has real buildings, not just storefronts, has two main streets. Pretty big little town, Hey?
Rebecca runs to 'set holding', and shouts my name, we run up the street to the house I'm building for Cole (Ed Harris). Finally I get to play my role as his carpenter. The set is piled with lumber and sawhorses. Rebecca runs back later with bottled water for me, she is the sweetest person and looks out for 'Da Geezer'.
The first 'camera shoot' is started before the call 'Action' by Walt, our hiding PA (production assistant). Dennis rides into the scene on his black horse. My helper, Tim the wrangler, looking out from under his broad brimmed hat, notices the buckboard approaching, spits his 'dip', and quietly says go.
I quickly take my old cloth tape measure, in it's leather case, walk briskly to the porch, measure where I want the railing, move to the next post, measure, return to the saw horses, pick up a 2x4, walk back to porch, hold it in place and mark it with a little stick (my pencil).
Then I walk back to Tim, showing him where to cut. He is sawing silently with the teeth up, as we usually do. Ed, Renee and Viggo are now at the house. Ed jumps out of the Buckboard, 'CUT' is called. Ed Harris (Cole) comes up to Tim and says, "You need the teeth down to really cut the 2x4 with sawdust floating down, then proceeds to set up the board for Tim. Good idea, Ed tries very hard for reality in each scene. The sawhorses in the first scene were mistakenly the new ones from Home Depo, used in the actual construction of this nice little house with a front porch...Whoopsy! Quick switch them out for the old handmade log sawhorses.
"Reset to One" (first position) is called out, then we do our part again...and again...and again, many times, until all finally looks right. The sun is getting lower toward the horizon. We must move rapidly now. The camera crew runs up the street with all of the equipment right towards our new little house construction site.
Our site is now fully wireless with an antenna set up to record the remote transmission from the golf cart camera with it's audio. The buckboard rolls up the street with the 'Stand-ins', as happpens before each 'shoot' to be absolutely sure every thing is in focus. The horses like it better when they are really doing something worthwhile. Sounds like people.
It is starting to get extremely busy in our small construction site near the house. The direction that the camera now faces is towards the setting sun. Somehow the equipment and operators deal with it. The 'barndoors' (non-reflective, black flaps positioned around the lens) are used to control the field of view. Pretty, red haired Renee retreats to her little blue fold up cabana, for a refresh makeup. Her silky, Copper colored, bustle dress with dark blue vertical stripes glistens in the low angle sunlight as she walks smoothly across the irregular dirt surface. Upon her quick return to the 'live' set, the three of them are joking and just having a good time, like the rest of us in spite of the urgency of the setting sun. This group is professional and maintains their sense of humor.
Set up is complete. Now the Buckboard with Viggo, Renee in the center, and ED on the left, comes up the street with a golf cart in front of the horses. The cameraman with his body mounted, floating camera, is standing on the rear platform of the golf cart. The big, gray, fuzzy (wind and noise protected) directional Mic, boom, is held by hand, out of camera field, over the buckboard by a crewman running along side the golf cart in front of the horses.
The 'buckboard dialog' among the three of them, was recorded during this mystical, dusty, sunset backlighted, little trip up the street to Ed's new house. Many times this was repeated with the sun setting lower and lower. Each time the tracks in the street were swept away rapidly by the crew including Dennis 'the horseman'. All of a sudden Viggo Mortensen apppeared, grabbed a big broom and started sweeping vigorously alongside the crew.
Now that was different. Viggo Mortensen is definetly not afraid of hard work and dirt. The scene was repeated again and Renee is heard to say dialog referring to 'Braggs' (Jeremy Irons) men. "Are You Afraid of Them?" to Cole. 'ED' replys, "No I aint afraid of them", "Now get down out of there", as he jumps like an athlete over the left front wheel of the buckboard, turns and catches Renee by the waist, while she is climbing down from the seat.
This was done many times to get the timing right as ED (Cole) folds Renee's parasol and places it behind the seat. "Reset" was done fast, many times, like a rapid replay, with ED (Cole) jumping in and out of the buckboard several times, (like I said, Ed's an athlete) until it was good. "Cut" was called, then the command "Checking the Gate" where the action is reviewed to be sure all is perfect on film. Time was standing still while we waited.
The two horse team was getting a little fidgity. Viggo Mortensen walked over to the horse nearest him and started caressing its right flank slowly, and repeated it over and over, while talking to Renee, standing in the buckboard. The horse relaxed along with it's teammate. ED was in the little house reviewing the action on the monitor with the camera crew. The call we all were waiting for. "It's a Wrap". Time to climb into the vans, now fully loaded and pulled onto the 1/4 mile (402m) ride to base camp over the hill, just out of sight of Appaloosa.
All were amazed to see Viggo Mortensen, in his dark green jacket vest, still wearing his 45 caliber Colt on his left hip in a 'cross draw' fashion, walnut gripped butt forward, with all of the cartridges vertically lined along the brown 'fast draw holstered' belt. Viggo had started walking back to base camp along our little road. We stopped our full van. We gladly 'scrunched' together and Viggo Mortensen climbed in, laughing and joking with us. Viggo has a sharply chisel featured, face. He then stared intently out the window watching the beautiful full moon just starting to rise above the Eastern horizon.
I followed him out the door as he walked briskly toward his trailer. This day passed extremely fast. The hours were flying by. No time to read my book. That is wonderful. Then it was our turn to 'chango-tent' and take our 1880 clothes to wardrobe, pick up our payroll form, deliver it to Elizabeth, check our next call date before leaving. The Carpenter (Blogengeezer) returns again on the 14th of Novenber. You will just have to check back then for, "The Rest of the Story" as witnessed on the set of our great little Western movie, APPALOOSA.
I drove slowly out to the highway, head South for the 65 miles (104km) drive to 'the house'. The full moon was now above the Eastern horizon in the darkening, cloudless sky. The sunset was now a blazing red in the West. The mountain ranges to the West, were as silouetes against the red background in the dusk. I drove along in the quiet solitude of this wonderful desolate highway, reflecting the entire day in my mind, repeating the images over and over as if it were a scene that we were trying to perfect.
What more could a person ask for in this, "One Nation Under God" the United States of America.