You really really like me!

I’m planning my speech. You know, for Hollywood.

So it was a small budget Indy film that may never see the light of day. That was some adventure my friend Susan got me into. Susan is one of my Florida buddies from Family Village and we have all kinds of six degrees. Professionally, she worked in college athletics for years so there’s that whole NCAA/Rich’s work connection and I had been reading one of her good friend’s blogs long before I ever met her down here (Wayne? Are you there?). Most of all, we get along famously. The other day we had plans to go to the movies- Rich is traveling and I’d been wanting to see Juno and the chances of getting him to see that movie are slim to none. In the midst of arranging that, Susan got an e-mail saying that there was a movie production here in St. Petersburg and they needed extras. All we had to do was show up at the theatre at Eckerd College, dressed up to go to an evening concert. Cattle call began at 130 pm. Nine hours later, we knew all we want to know about movie production (it’s very s l o w) and we were ready to go on strike for more canteen breaks.

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(Susan, looking radiant in central casting)

Misconceptions is a quirky little story about a Southern Evangelical Christian woman who feels called to serve as a surrogate mother for a couple of gay guys who want to adopt. (Why didn’t I think of this plot for my book?) Seriously, I think it’s better than that sounds. Ron Satlof is the director and the movie stars A. J. Cook (Virgin Suicides, Criminal Minds), David Sutcliffe (Gilmore Girls) Orlando Jones (Mad TV, Evolution) and Sarah Carter (Smallville). I’m embarrassed to say I only recognized Orlando Jones from Mad TV. Anyway, here’s a link to an article in the St. Petersburg Times about it with a far better, more substantial discussion of the movie plot, director and actors.

More to the point of this post is OUR fifteen minutes of potential fame. Okay, 4 seconds. That will surely end up on the cutting room floor. They needed an audience, you see, to fill up the seats at this dance concert that the stars were attending. Mostly, we sat in the seats and waited. Periodically, we all got up and filed in again so they could film the part where the audience is entering. We did that many times. Then we stood up and applauded and shouted “Bravo” many times. It dawned on Susan and myself fairly quickly that the key to stardom involved being strategically seated near the stars. As you might imagine, there was a fair amount of jockeying for those particular seats and we had to compete with a former zombie who had a bit part in Dawn of the Dead, a woman who had some very serious facial palsy/twitchy/grimacing thing going on, a stage mother and her less than precious preteen who kept sassing and numerous St. Petersburg socialites dressed to the nines in floor length, black velvet backless dresses. Plus, the author of the screenplay and all the friends of the director. I still have no idea how Susan got this e-mail call for extras in the first place because we were clearly the odd women out.

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(Our new friend, the zombie from Dawn of the Dead)

So, it did seem as though we were at least in range for most of the audience shots and then at one point, the scary casting guy went around pointing, “You! you! you! c’mere!” I was the first one he pointed to and I was certain I was being tossed for disruptive audience behavior. (It was friggin’ COLD in there. You could see your breath and mostly we were just sitting waiting and so, after a while, we began to care more about sitting in the vicinity of the giant spot lights for warmth than we did stardom. That involved some shuffling. Plus, we were yukking it up with Dawn of the Dead guy and making fun of stage mom. I was sure I was getting thrown out when he said, “You!”

But no. This was my chance for a walk-on. When they started shooting the close up entrance of A. J. Cook and Sarah Carter, I got to be the first person who walks in right in front of them. I kept trying to stand up straight, suck in my stomach and smile- all behaviors that come naturally to most people but not me. Plus, I’m still missing tooth #14 (for all you dentites) and I was pretty anxious that this rictus would make me look like someone from the cast of Beverly Hillbillies, only fatter.

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(waiting to make my entrance. For the umpteenth take. And Orlando Jones.)

For whatever reason, Orlando Jones was standing there next to me, also waiting, and we had a five minute discussion about zoo tigers. He seemed genuinely interested and talked about some time spent in Africa. Which was fortunate because it was that topic or me starting an inane comparison between Mad TV and SNL. Nice guy- and I appreciated that he was doing this film for not so much because he believed in this script. Yup, he told me that.

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(These are REAL actors. You can just tell. They have all their teeth and see how beautiful they are?)

Movie production is very interesting. They really do that clap board thing and yell “quiet! sound! ACTION!” Over and over and over. They have many many bright lights and they set up little mini-train tracks and run a dolly back and forth with the assistant director and camera zooming in for closeups. They film the same scene from the front and the back and sides. There’s a makeup person slapping powder and straightening hair every two minutes. And they really set up a makeshift canteen and feed everybody pretty good pulled pork sandwiches.
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(Center stage, cute camera guy, script lady, Director Ron Satlof and assistant director.)

Susan and I had a good time before we got so tired and cold that we began to rethink our acting careers. Plus, I’ve always figured that that horrible experience of being a “child therapy expert” on CBS This Morning years ago was my one big media travesty.

Susan has a new iPhone which is a highly entertaining little gizmo. When someone calls her she has it programmed with their picture and individually fitting songs for their ringtones start. I want one. Zombie guy had one, too, so we were playing with those when we weren’t busy acting, but Susan managed to discreetly snap some pictures. Eventually (next day) we did also get out to see Juno, a wonderful little film that started out as an Indy production and has become a huge hit. Not only is the acting great but all the characters are both very human and delightfully endearing. Who knows? Maybe Misconceptions will make it big, too.

Now, I’m back to real life- doing a little writing, working on some more felt construction and cooking up new things in the kitchen (Lord, I love the fresh produce down here). I will post pictures of felt and food, soon. I’m also getting ready to go to work at Family Village and see my young homeless friends tomorrow. Real life is good to me.

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(Orlando Jones, my new friend after I told him all about tigers. Just before I fell on him and stepped on his feet. See? I’m already tipping over.)

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23 responses to “You really really like me!

  1. How very, very cool. Or in your case, cold. Couldn’t they afford heat? What a great experience, but sounds like a person needs a lot of patience. Love the photos.

  2. A STAR is born! What fun!

  3. EEP! You have more fun than anyone else I know!

  4. It was THAT cold in FL??? I should think you’d be like the Canadians when they visit Disney – wearing shorts and tanks in Dec. when the temps are 48*!

    Soon we will be saying that we knew her when……except I don’t know you (really)….but I sure wish I did! You have an exciting life, Vicki!

  5. It was 70s outside. Inside they had the AC on as cold as it would go because the lights-if you happen to be “under the lights” -are very warm indeed. I think that’s the rationale.

  6. I worked security on the set of “Illegally Yours” a Rob Lowe flop from the ’80’s. Movie making is definitely hurry up and wait, wait, wait.
    Pretty cool, you do look starstruck in tha last photo and the star seems to have no clue he’s about to be struck.

  7. What fun! I was once married to a film-maker. I remember how time-consuming it always was, and for very little productive results. I’m just delighted that you know someone who knows Wayne! That’s very cool.

  8. Wow, I just re-read that comment and realized it could be interpreted to mean how time-consuming and unproductive it was to be married to a film-maker. Well, yes, that is true, but that’s not what I meant. Ha!

  9. Robin- I’m laughing at your comments. Long ago Rich worked for Children’s Television Workshop and he forewarned me that it would be a lot of hurry up and wait. I think, in 9 hours, they probably got about 6 minutes of product.
    F.C.- It wasn’t actually all my clumsiness- he unexpectedly put his arm around me so Susan could take a picture and that tipped me off balance.

  10. I’m just sure that you’ll win an award for Most Entertaining Extra! It sounds like quite an experience, with its plusses and minuses. I want to be in Florida too…

  11. How absolutely wonderful. Susan certainly does look radiant, as do you, but no surprise there! How much do I miss her, and how great to see her photos!

    I’m going to have to remember that stairs thing, next time I have an audition. As to how Susan might have gotten into all this – ha!

    What a neat post. You’re on the road to stardom.

  12. I love your film story. My mother in law has been an actress, part time mostly, forever. She’s been in lots of movies, mostly as an extra – “Breaking Away” is probably the best known, the story of the Little 500 bike race in Bloomington, IN, where she lives, and she was the first to have a cable cooking television show in the 60’s in Bloomington. She’s a celeb in her own rite, kinda. I love her stories. Currently she is waiting to be called for a game show she tried out for and the young woman assistant told her she’s a finalist.

    My son loves MAD Tv. I’ll show him your photos with him.

    Life is never dull.

  13. Impressive!

    My stage resume goes way back. I was a tree in grade 3 and Roman slave in grade 5.

    I think my ex saw that production.

  14. Well, I told my son your story and showed him the photos. He was really interested, he has read about this movie. He’s all up on film, prefering indie work and such. Anyhoo, he said he’ll watch for you!

  15. Fabbo, Vic-ster. What a MAAAAAAhvelous story about your time in film. I’m looking forward to it’s release. DOOO let me know when it will be out, WON’T you?

    (did I sound like one of the high-rolling film muckety mucks? I wanna fit in the next time we see each other…) 😉

  16. Is that you, about to breathe in Orlando’s ear? You have changed hair-dos, I do believe.

  17. Hoss- I just stopped DOING my hair, is all. It’s just naturally white now.

  18. Why do your comments think it is already Jan. 15th? Please don’t let the 15th get here any sooner than it has to…

    Now that you have been (again) to the islands and are officially a movie star… I think I must find something more than garages to post about…

    About the 80th birthday party? My mother has created a monster. She has sent out 130 invitations… that means at least 260 people. She thinks that only a fraction will show up. I reminded her that even if just 20% show up… there will be cars lined up around the neighborhood for miles……can you say… shuttle bus? I also reminded her that she thought the same thing about their 50th anniversary party…. and we fed 225 people. We have already had 14 RSVP with a yes and only 2 NO and they only went out on Friday!

    Please say hello to Sophie for Mr. Rhett. He is very angry with me for losing her picture when we moved… I told him I would print him another one… perhaps of her sunning herself in Florida.

  19. Can I have you autograph please?

  20. Hey, you’re famous!! I’ll be sure to watch for you.

  21. I’m assuming that Dawn of the Dead zombie was from the recent re-make and not the original. I wonder if I can spot him in the film since I have the DVD.

    That is sooooo cool, though. My brother’s father-in-law was in a bar when he was asked to be an extra in the Sean Penn film “Into the Wild.” After one day of strange directions (“Make it look like you’re talking, but don’t say anything”), he’d had enough. Collected his paycheck and didn’t return. My brother saw the movie but didn’t see his father-in-law. Didn’t make the cut.

  22. Well, I’m envious. I wanted to go out for the extras call so bad, but could not get anyone to go with me and was afraid to strike out alone. I have a minor crush on Orlando Jones and your pics put me right there. 🙂 Maybe I’ll run into him while he’s still in the area shooting.

  23. I hope you will remember all us little people after you’re famous.

    Now you have me thinking about the differences between all those sketch comedy shows. I think “The State” was my favorite.

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