Connecticut filmmaker Danny LeGare (writer, director, lead actor of the movie) was kind enough to allow The CuT to cover the open auditions he was conducting for his feature film, Love & War, and during that process, he asked me if I would like a small role in his movie. I would play a guy who hits on the leading lady and then mouths off to him. Since I’ve had a lot of practice mouthing off over the years I figured I could do well with that. The hitting on part…not so much.
The set was a restaurant that had yet to open called Basil’s in Stafford Springs. The owner of the place opened it up for the movie a week before the place’s debut. Upon getting inside the restaurant around my 6 p.m. call-time, there were a number of crew members hustling around setting up for the shot. Camera operators, lighting people, sound technicians, assistant directors, make-up artists…the size of the crew was quite impressive, especially considering this is not a high budget movie. And the cameras being used were huge, like the size of a 12 year old boy from Arkansas. Big stuff.
First things first: if you were going to be shown on camera, you need to sign a waiver which basically says they can use your image and likeness in the movie…or something, I didn’t really read it so hopefully it was on the up and up. Next, a make up artist came to put some anti-shine stuff on my face. Cause, I shine so much. Not figuratively.
Then I was seated in my spot at a table with my two movie friends, one of which happened to be the owner of the restaurant. The next table over was that of LeGare and his girlfriend, played by actress Gloria Stewart.
After chatting up the other people in the scene for a few minutes, the set up begins for the big scene. For this movie, there was no script. It was all improv so I had a few days to think about my lame attempts at hitting on the lady and the insulting things I’d like to say to Mr. LeGare. Finally after all the prep work was done, we heard the word from an assistant director: “Action!”
The scene called for me to get up from my table and sit at LeGare and Stewart’s table after he went to the bathroom. I would then start hitting on his girlfriend. (Do guys really do that?!) When LeGare returned to the table, we would have a back and forth, insulting each other (Yes, guys do that. Often.)
We did about four takes of this scene, each one being different than the other. The character I created for myself was that of a pompous, smug, rich, douche bag named Tad whose biggest threat to LeGare was that he was a yellow belt in karate. This allowed LeGare to more or less laugh in my character’s face and get the better of me, which was the point.
Numerous barbs flew around the restaurant, a good number of them not fit for print as this will definitely be an R rated movie. I thought our jabs flowed pretty well with a lot of quick responses and funny lines. When I initially went over to sit next to Gloria Stewart, I was acting as if she were a Russian mail order as my character thought she was way too hot for LeGare under normal circumstances. LeGare returned to the table, I went on about how amazing I am, he threatened to kick my butt, I suggested that was a bad idea because of my karate powers (yellow belt, sucka!) and it went on and on. In what was I took to be a good sign, I actually saw some of the crew laughing out of the corner of my eye.
I saw an edited cut of the scene this week and wow, I look awful! I make Gollum look tan. But the scene itself looked like it came out pretty darn well. LeGare and Stewart were total pros and definitely made a novice look less novice-y. And I didn’t look into the camera once. You only do that in porn movies…so I hear.
Overall it was a great experience. The crew was courteous and welcoming, and the restaurant was more than accommodating, even providing a big dinner for all involved. (Seriously, go to Basil’s in Stafford Springs! It looks like it’s really good.) The movie should be completed within the next few months and The CuT will a) let you know when and where that will be and b) give a report on the premiere. And I’ll be happy to sign any autographs afterwards.
Also, Danny LeGare wanted us to pass along word to any aspiring actors out there that he will personally be running an acting workshop called “Living Truthfully” on three consecutive Saturday’s starting February 12. (Hey, we’ve got no problem plugging someone who gives us access!) This is a great chance to learn from someone who really, really knows what the heck he’s doing. He’s not the type that will sugar coat things and be all nicey-nice with you. If you’re looking for that, take a class from some goober who’s looking to bang you. But if you’re looking to be a much better actor this would be a great way to do it. For more information go to blackholestudios.net and get yourself learned in the ways of the Meiser Technique. And if you don’t know what that is, all the more reason to attend his class.