Saturday, June 12, 2010

Let Them Shine, Casting Call

Casting For "Let Them Shine", a 'Hallmark, Hall of Fame' project to be filmed in Albuquerque New Mesico, took place at the Hilton Inn on University June 12th and 13th. At 8am I arrived early to find about 50 people already waiting in the glassed in Garden Room. Robert Baxter, Casting Agency (BBS) arrived not long after. I had brought a book, knowing the waiting involved in any film work. Robert started early and handed out the white plasticized 'Boards' to write our names and skills, height, weight and age, type of vehicle, and phone numbers on.

The 'Boards' are held up like a 'mug shot' during the quick 'Head Shot', then placed aside for a 'Body Shot'. The 'Boards' numbered 20. Not enough for the entire number of applicants arriving by the minute. I became the one 'wiper', Dane getting behind immediately while greeting the crowd and handing out the boards and pens. Robert asked if I wanted to do the 'camera work' while he wiped? My hands are not as steady as at one time. I told him 'I'm Good' wiping.

Seeing the quickly developing backlog, I ended up Volunteering for the rest of the day. Robert and I have worked on several projects, so no problem. We wiped faster and faster, just to keep up. Heather showed up and helped, as did Dave and Hope. DRY Markers are not especially easy to completely wipe away. It eventually took a fast 'Goo Gone' wipe, followed by a wipe of Laquer Thinner. Soon the entire room had a distintive fragrance of Thinner.

This kept up until 6 pm. At noon, Bob sent out for Bar-B-Q for the five of us that were staying to work. About 2pm a lull let me grab the sandwich. About 3pm a couple walked in, saw the bag of OUR chow and started ravaging through OUR bag, grabbing themselves a snack. Nervy to say the least. Parasitic to say the most.

Julie intercepted them, but too late. Being very large people, they had quickly woofed down OUR food. Later I saw an elderly man, stumble and hit the wall outside our courtyard window. He dropped and lay still on the pavement. Robert rushed out to help. A quick call to security for a check of his vitals, and he was soon up and spite of a bloody nose from hitting the wall.

This film is made for TV, and as most Hallmark films, is more a 'Chick flick' according to info I received. Cars and trucks from the years previous to the mid 1980's are needed. Robert mentioned a possible place for me as a 'Homeless' individual for a three week session of filming. Sounds good, I have done 'Homeless' parts before, laying in gutters, hanging around burning barrels. An old grizzled and Bearded Geezer is limited in Background work. Now Westerns are quite another opportunity :>)

TV's Crash found me as a 'Homeless' for one session. Dennis Hopper's Ben's) 'Hands' took up the rest of my talent on that run. Robert obtained that one for me also. RIP Dennis Hopper, I will take good care of your 'Hands'.

'Wild Hogs' was a fun film, I worked with Robert on that film as well. He was Darlene Hanson's assistant back then as well as background, riding his Harley. Now Robert owns his own casting agency. Good work Robert, see you "On Set' within a few weeks...If all goes as planned :>)

13 July 2010:
Received call, It is a 'Go' for Monday. Will be called with instructions on Friday.
Friday came and went, with no return call from Julie. I left messages after missing the morning phone call. On Sunday 18 July, Julie called and verified my 'call' time. Robert called once more after noting that the 'call number' still had the Friday information. It is a 'go' for Monday

19 July 2010:
Awoke at 3:23am, finalize wardrobe choice, leave home with Mapquest route supplied by wife. Arrive at old Santa Fe Railroad yard before 4:45 am call time. Greeted Robert Baxter on arrival. Breakfast quickly followed 'sign in' with bacon and eggs or a custom omelet.

As sunup bathed the yard, we began the shoot. Steph (#2) and I walked toward the camera mounted on an older car, and the other homeless around barrels, burning the propane for effect. Not that we needed any heat, the day was very warm already. The scene takes place in Utah in the winter.

We had to dress layered and warm. Gordon and other 'Wardrobe', worked to 'Dirty' us up (yes, including face and hands) after modifying and augmenting our wardrobe with 'props', (dirty 'catsup and mud' and shredded blankets, with worn duffels).

We had been told to bring three 'changes', Spring, Summer and Winter. Heavy load of clothes for just this one scene. My U.S. Flag, on the front of my old 'Boonie' hat, didn't sit well with Gordon for some reason (personal?). He turned my hat backwards after blacking out the little U.S. flag with 'soot' powder. Hmmm? Predictable 'Hollywood'... or?

After several various shots, and with minor adjustments to camera routine and placement (on the rolling cam rails), we got to rest out of the climbing sun, in the shade of the train cars. Stephanie (cute little 'background') suggested that we call ourselves 'The Train People'. Apparently it was a good suggestion, because we were often referred to as such by the Production Assistants (PA's).

(Chicago) Tom, still likes Beets and Cottage Cheeze, an old friend from many various films, got to return for several days. Friend Nathan of 'NM Actors' website, was also 'on set'. The 'tall' brothers, Nathan and Tom, were on set as well as Ron and Sarge (Big Cigars).

Sarge and I discussed his fame, being ticketed for selling his Cigars downtown. He won the case.. 'Becky' from the homeless scene of Crash, recognised me as her card playing partner, so we had a little catching up to do, by looking at her cellphone pics.

Mike, a retired Petroleum engineer from the State of NM, was interesting for a Govt point of view. We all got to learn a few things about each other, during the long 'holding' periods in the old SFRR machine shop warehouse building Now housing the just barely 'Wheels Museum'.

Chow line was set up (Mario's from Cal.), so we chowed down by 11:30am on delicious beef roast, chicken breast and fish. Good food on this set. More waiting and napping in our chairs, in front of the big AC tubes. Finally after 4pm we were divided into smaller groups, one retaining the 'Train People' designation.

I and both Stephanies, along with several others, were let loose to go home. Bummer, no return 'call' scheduled for us. We must not have been what they were looking for. Only so much character a person can put into a few seconds shuffle of 'homeless'.

We may, or may not be called for other scenes. Best to not hold our breath on that possibility. Glad This is not a major career to earn a living. Little Steph is taking educational courses to work with the crews. Sweet little girl, hope it works out for her.

Van shuttle to 'extras' parking. Due to darknes on 'O dark 30' arrival, I forgot to put up windshield sunscreen. Hot steering wheel and even hotter car. Must have been over 100 degree day on Monday. Summer life in the High Deserts of New Mexico.

Enjoy life in this "One Nation Under GOD" The United States of America.


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