Tuesday, March 08, 2011

IN PLAIN SIGHT, 'on set' Albuquerque NM, Old Town

I received an email from 'On line casting'. An offer for a casting call with TV's "In Plain Sight"
  • I am a member of OLC, but not the premium paid membership. After getting more instructions of set location and call time, I was hyped. Picked out three sets of 'wardrobe' and left early. The drive was about 30 minutes and 9:30 AM on Monday.

    Arrived early, so I had a chance for a good plate of scrambled eggs and thick bacon. They make great bacon on most sets... especially if Mario's is catering. 'Sign in' completed, wardrobe checked OK, we loaded into the vans for transport to the 'set' in Old Town. Cold vacant 'store' building, but I found a small heater, curled up and took a nap in front of it. Folding chairs were limited, so I hoarded mine.

    The young girls (future starlets) are in great shape anyway, they can sit on the floor, have discussions and repeat their favorite word... "Like"... thousands of times. "'Like' you know, 'Like', he goes....., and 'Like' I go".
    How old do they get before they drop that childish habit?

    After a prolonged wait (always lots of waiting as 'background'), we were eventually called for our scene after the Chapman and the Peewee 'dolly' tracks were reset (this track laying/relocating procedure is performed endlessly during filming).
    The armed arrest with 'Mary', FBI, US Marshals Service and APD officers. At first no real action, just the preliminaries with the 'perp' walking to his clandestine meeting. Lots of angle shots using the 'ARRI' cameras with their large lenses, required a few moves from background table to table as two ladies and I sipped empty coffee cups, read the newspaper and were cordial.

    After that was finished, we returned to the cold 'on set' holding area, while cameras were again set up. After more waiting (lots of waiting in movie work), we were called out for more 'background' action. Many takes of the handcuffed arrest after the 'take down'. 'Perp Walk' was shot from many angles and distances. Lots of vocalization and arguing between the various 'authorities' on this scene. It had to be redone many times due to 'line flubs', bloopers and lapses in timing.

    We did background action while being restrained behind a police line. Met an official commisioned APD officer's wife. Beautiful girl, we discussed aspects of police work. Standing behind police line, pointing and mouthing words for an hour or so during many camera angles, we then eventually were sent to base camp for a fine buffet by Mario's Catering chow crew. Chicken, Fish, Prime Rib and all varieties of side dishes.

    The food was great on this set. Most sets are very good as far as the 'feeding frenzy'. A few movie sets are low budget and poor, with basic protein such as peanut butter and bread. After the late lunch at 'base camp', (we only eat twice a day....but with lots of snacks) We returned to on set 'Extras Holding' for the waiting game. This crew is relatively fast at scene changing.

    During the 'take down' on the second floor, the entire scene was chaos and yelling as they made the arrest. As 'background', I and others were crossing the streets below. Many calls of "Backgrond 'Action', 'Cut' then 'reset'.

    It became routine to cross the street and then the other street, then 'reset' to positon one for another 'take'. About ten times later it was accepted. 'Extras Holding', 'on set', was another cold vacant store. Many portions and buildings in historic Old Town Albuquerque since the 'boom' ended and the economy has stagnated, have never re-started. Using 'Old Town' as a movie set is one use for this once prosperous area of the city.

    During the past the real estate was premium, now it is falling into the realm of 'affordable' in realtor's terms. The crew moved us to a nice warmer loft (also vacant), but nearer the set we worked after dark. The temps fell, so the heated space was welcomed by all.

    I met a few of the 'Background'. None were recognized from other films. I have not worked often during this last year. Few films are 'shooting in NM at this poor time, most are low budget with no pay.. "True Grit" was an exception. The financially strapped state of NM (like others) is intensely reviewing it's financial commitments. The new Governor, Suzana Martinez (R) is looking to save the budget by cutting loose spending practices from the last administration of Bill Richardson.

    Bill Richardson's was the 'free spending', 'run for President' admin (D). Jet plane and all. Suzana has basically grounded the Cessna Citation XLT and put it up for sale (like Sarah Palin did with Alaska's). It is the jet that Bill ordered the Hwy Dept to purchase for his personal 'Politicking...' and close friends transportation immediately after he was elected.

    The last use was for the State Film Commission to scout out a 'site'..figures. They are strongly lobbying and crowding the legislators meetings to save their lavish financial funding.. The state is trying to hold the spending limit within reason. The state's taxpayers kick in 25% of the funding for most films. The return is minimal... after a few sour deals that failed to repay, or spent their taxpayer provided funds out of state. Yep, they are sneaky in Hollywood.

    This set was lastly in the little art and gift shop where Mary stops in periodically.
    One line was an obvious 'put down', as the proprietor saw 'Mary' enter the shop. His remark was syrupy as he noticed her enter. "Mary have not seen you for a while'. 'You look so....Interesting". The scene was repeated several times with 'stand in' and then 'Mary', as the camera distances were measured and marker tape was placed on floor. I primarily had my back to her and was checking out the paintings and artwork as she entered then went into the back room.

    After the last scene, we were 'cut and wrapped' then sent back to base camp for 'sign out'. Mistake, we (certain individuals) immediately were 'Un-wrapped', ordered into the van for return to set, and final re-take' of shop scene. On approval, we 'wrapped' once again and returned to 'base camp for sign out. 13.5 hours after arrival, I left the downtown area tired and wanting my own bed.

    Life is great in NM. The USA is still "One Nation Under God". Lots of possibilities for entertainment while waiting for spring?

    Blogger KENT said...

    Well, pretty soon FOX will need to find a replacement for the "IN POOR TASTE" 2.5 men since they canned Charlie Sheen. Maybe Fox will start shooting some other sloppy sit-com in NEW MEXICO.

    Good Work Dad.

    9:01 PM  

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