Chapter 5: LA part 9 – Lost Focus part 1 Bar Scene

Sunday 8th of June 2003

Lost Focus, the name of an Independent movie written, produced and directed by Sanford Fleishman. Has en entry at  IMDB  (Image Movie Database) where I am also mentioned in the credits.

The call

Yesterday Michele from Extras Casting Guild called me again. She first tried to get a hold of me on Friday evening but left a message instead asking if I was still interested in going to a film shoot at a night club scene on Sunday which I had submitted myself for the day before. The pay was food and gas money of $25. I told her that I was still interested in going, so she gave me the details about where to go and when to be there.

A few days ago when I exited Santa Monica Freeway (highway 10) at La Brea Street, I took a wrong turn and drove south one block before I did an u-turn and drove north toward Hollywood. I was puzzled at the time as I wondered why I happen to take the southward exit when I knew very well that I had to go north.
When I checked mapquest.com as to where the night club was located I noticed it was fairly close to where I had been a few days ago when I had taken the wrong turn. The location of the Faisdodo night club is one block south of highway 10 on Adams Street which crosses La Brea. I drove the same route I had just a few days ago, but this time I went southward at La Brea on purpose to get to the night club.

I drove by the club a few minutes before 9am without noticing it, but people where standing outside, and that I noticed. My Call Time was 9.30am and I got there my usual half hour early.

I parked across the street and brought along my garment bag, backpack and another smaller bag and walked over to the club. I asked one of the guys standing outside for where I could put my stuff and he told me to go inside and upstairs to the second floor, which became the Holding Area (extras waiting area). I hung around and waited as additional people a mix of actors, extras and crew showed up. Within 45 minutes there was busy activity to get things going. The windows were covered with black plastic to keep the day light out, lights were set up in the ceiling on the spot light rack, and the stage was prepered for the singer and her two backup guitarists.

Background artists

We had to wait for 2 hours or so before the AD (Assistent Director) yelled for Background. We walked down the stairs to the main bar area next to the stage and huddled around one of the crew sitting at one of the tables waiting for us. There were perhaps 15 extras, which was too few for them I later heard, but since we were getting $25 for the job not too many had submitted themselves for the job through Extras Casting Guild´s web site.

Mimmi

The crew person sitting at the table told us that we were going to dance in front of the stage as the female singer performed. He formed three couples to dance in front of the stage and the rest were placed at tables close by. Mimmi and I were to dance together, a girl my age born in with dark short hair and brown eyes born. Born in Switzerland with one parent Swiss and the other from Puerto Rico. We had no idea what kind of song was going to be played and I was very surprised when a soft angel like tune came forth from the singer. This was going to be a slow intimate dance. It has been a while since I have danced that close with a girl I feel attracted and connected to, so Mimmi and I had a very nice time holding each other. My hands behind her lower back, her hands behind my neck, faces almost touching.

One of the many thoughts that crossed my mind was that acting means variety. Doing many things be it playing pool all day at Q´s Billiards in downtown Pasadena for a MTV Reality Show or dancing almost cheek to cheek to a sweet girl and actually getting paid to do so. Well not much pay but anyhow still paid.

The same scene was repeated I think 3 times, and the song started out very smooth and in the middle went a little faster. At that point Mimmi and I broke up and danced close without touching, as if it was a slow disco song, while keeping eye contact and smiling at each other.

The Parisian guy

Between one of the dance scenes the Parisian guy dancing with a black girl beside us asked me a question if I would kiss Mimmi during the dance scene if the Director came over and gave me $5, and asked me to do so. I did not want to answer at first, and he asked Mimmi which did not answer as well, but he pressed on with me, and I told him yes that I would.

As he later told me, which I of course very well knew, our faces almost touched during the dance, so I could have easily stretched through the little space between us and given Mimmi a kiss. Giving her a soft kiss on the lips would be crossing a line I was not ready to cross, even if we both might have wanted it.

Change of pace

The scene after the slow dance contained quicker music. After having spent angel like time with Mimmi the contrast became huge. Suddenly it was not easy to dance, and was saved after one rehearsal when a crew member came over and gave us new directions. “When the AD calls Action you shall walk over to one of the red plastic benches and sit down.” They needed some variety of movement in the area in front of the stage, so other people also received new directions. The scene began and we walked over and sat down. Mimmi on my right side, with me sitting close beside her. Even if it seemed like we were not in front of the camera, I took my arm around Mimmi, just in case. I wanted to hold her again, as it might be my last, and I think it perhaps was.

Mimmi had to leave early, since she was going to an audition or some other thing. So after lunch, sitting around for a while waiting for the crew to need us again, her time came to leave and she was suddenly gone without having even said good bye to me.

Mimmi was missed not only be me, but also the crew as they had to done some closeup shots, but since Mimmi was missing they had to figure out what to do, so they got another girl, a black girl about her size, to take Mimmi´s place. During the dance scenes there were actors behind us doing their thing for the camera, so the focus was always on the actors.

Scene 2

Later in the day we went back to scene 2, but this time a closeup of the actors. We began the scene with me walking off the floor without having anyone beside me. I do not know how the scenes will be with a mix of Mimmi there and not there, Mimmi white then someone else taking her place, but I hope to find out someday.

The day stretched it´s self out, as scenes had to be shoot multiple times. It was slow moving, and at times we also had to sit and wait. It is a part of making a movie. During the last scene I stood behind the AD, Director and perhaps a Producer and watched the monitor they were watching during the recording. It was fascinating to watch as it reminded me of selecting the right frame for the the right shoot when I take pictures with my own camera. If it does not feel right it is done over again until it does feel right. The same goes with film. The Cinematic Photographer, the guy who looks through the camera, is the one who in ways is the person who has to feel that the scene was right, and when he feels ok about it they move on to the next scene.

It’s a wrap but I am not leaving yet.

The crew noticed that they did not need the extras any longer, so the AD called out “Extras Wrapped.” So all of them except two of us left. Another guy who was a part of the last scene and myself. I stuck around as I wanted to see how things continued.

In the next scene the crew needed someone to walk by the table were the actors sat, so us two extras were used. We were also used in another scene were they needed someone to walk in the background.

While I stood behind the Director, AD, and Producer chairs the makeup man Miles happen to stand right by me so we had a little conversation. I wondered who to give my card to just in case they needed me later on, and he told me to give it to Joe the guy who handled the extras. Joe walked by at that moment and Miles stopped him and asked him if they might need me later on. Joe did not know, but I gave him my card just in case.

In another scene I also watched from behind the crew chairs and spoke with the Asian actor who was the Fashion Photographer, extra, or whatever else they could use him for in the movie. He asked me if I had done commercials, and I told him not yet. He talked about how  busy he had been years ago with commercials, and he also mentioned that I had the “look” (as in they way I look) to be in them.

The screen likes me

During the scene were I walked back and forth as part of the background, Adam the Cinematic Photographer ended the recording by focusing the camera directly at me so that the crew saw me on the screen of their monitor. I stood still on the side, thinking that I was outside of the scene which I was, but began to wonder when I noticed the attention I was getting as the camera pointed directly at me. I became embarrassed thinking that I had not gone far enough out of the scene. The Director, AD and Producer said something about me as they saw me on their screen. They probably saw my surprise as Adam aimed his camera at me. The Script fixer told me a little while later “the screen likes you.”

Come back on Tuesday

The last scene was done and everyone was wrapped (movie speak for finished). Miles came over and asked me if I had told that they needed me on Tuesday to play a waiter. I told him that I had not heard that yet, so he said ops, perhaps I should not have told you that. But a few minutes later after Miles had left to continue whatever he was doing, Joe approached me and asked if I had received a Call Sheet (information for the next location where recording was to set place). I looked confused and said no, and over his headset with the microphone dangling in front of his throat he asked someone else to bring him a Call Sheet. Another crew person came over and Joe grabbed a call sheet for me. He told me that I would play the part as a waiter and to bring black pants and a white shirt. “Directions on how to get to Newport Beach are on the Call Sheet,” he said. “Call Time is set to 8am.” Joe wondered for a moment if I should arrive later, but decided that I probably needed to be there at that time.

I went to find Jeff the guy who I was told was to sign me out, even if I had no papers to sign out. I was told he was in the “office” trailer so I went over to find him. Miles was in the trailer as I entered, packing up his makeup kits and I mentioned to him how interesting fate can be. I had spoken with my acting instructor two days ago and we talked about the extra work I was doing and how that could lead to speaking roles. I happen to mention that someday I might not be able to make it to the Tuesday evening acting class because I am working on set. I did not expect for it to arrive so soon. I expect I will be working all day at Newport Beach on Tuesday and will likely not make it back to class in the Burbank area. For all the extra work I have done up to this point have lasted more then a full day. Usually into the late evening. I do not know if I have a speaking role. That is something I will find out as I get there.

Life guides me to the exact place I need to be. It will be very exciting to see what happens on Tuesday, but before that I will be a part of the recording for MTV´s Burnt reality series which is filming at Q´s Billiards in downtown Pasadena. We rehearsed for it last Thursday, so it will be interesting to see how the live action turns out with having hidden cameras and microphone and a person entering the room not knowing about it. This person is to be “burnt” (tricked in some way) on TV by his friends.

I will write more in a few days.

 A side note

O one more thing. I dropped by Elite last Wednesday and the girl in charge who was talking with various hopefuls also went through some of my portfolio. But she told me something like that they were not looking for someone with a commerical look like mine these days. The session was over in less then a minute. I left my business card just in case….

I have a feeling that I will not be doing much modeling.