DAY 16 - Monday, MARCH 26, 2001

TOBY BOLTS (The Pig Stand)

Toby cuffed and frustrated

What happened to THE PIG STAND? See the 2011 Journal update below.

Scene #41

Scene #42

Scene #44

Scene #43

Scene #45

The Pig Stand being visited by one of San Antonio's finest

The EvenHand script is full of great dialogue. The true test of a script is hearing actors read the lines on set, and without fail 95% of the dialogue in this script works when put to the test. But, I was also prepared to allow the actors to add layers to their characters by improvising, as all good actors do. Both the Bills did some great stuff that was not scripted. Today, though, there was a moment when Bill Sage wanted to ad-lib his dialogue in scene 41 at the Pig Stand, in which Morning and Francis discuss life over doughnuts and coffee. As good as the EvenHand script was, there is nothing that can compare to the natural and spontaneous, so I welcomed these moments and the natural quality they engendered. In the opening of the scene when Morning is discussing a date, Bill S. wanted to change the script as follows:

Original dialogue:
"If she wants the goods, then I'm all for it. But, if she wants me to empty my soul out on a plate for her, then she took the wrong exit."

Bill's ad-lib:
"I'm good at two things, fucking and arresting people. If she wants her can scraped, fine, but if she wants me to empty my soul out on a silver platter then she took the wrong exit."

I felt that the tone of the ad-lib was all wrong and too explicit; EvenHand is a script with a lot of understatement and subtlety. I said I thought it was too much, and BOTH the actors started arguing with me. They felt the ad-lib added life to the scene and didn't want to go back to the scripted lines. While I agreed that being a slave to the script is wrong, I explained that lines like that will make it very hard for the audience to be sympathetic to Morning's character. The point of the scene is to convey Morning's detachment from his emotions, NOT make him seem like a pig. I suggested an alternative:

"I'm good at two things. The second one is arresting people. If she wants some of the first, fine, but if she wants me to empty my soul out on a silver platter, then she took the wrong exit."

Everyone ended up happy. Bill got to keep most of his ad-lib and I was able to preserve the tone of the scene.

*    *    *    *    *    *

The big cement pig provided a perfect backdrop
for Toby running away in handcuffs

I was so looking forward to today. The Pig Stand scene has always been one of my favorites, and it was a day all about Morning, Francis and Toby. No company moves to the Mural Wall, no moving vehicles and only three extras. It should have been easy.

The first scene up (Sc. 41) ends with Morning saying "I think he's cooked now," and walking over to the patrol car where we see Toby baking in the back seat with the windows rolled up. When Morning opens the door, Toby says "You're supposed to crack the window or something. That's the law, ain't it?" Morning replies: "That law's only for dogs." Possibly my favorite line in the script.

Our first problem was that it was about 45 degrees that morning and cloudy. Normally that's great -- Tim gets nice even diffused light without having to do a damn thing. But, the Bills were freezing in their short sleeved shirts and wanted to play the scene in their jackets. I was sympathetic, but how do we convey Toby baking in the hot car if it looks -- and is -- cold out? I finally decided to add a line for Toby as the cops approach the car: "Turn this fucking heat off, I'm dying in here!"

That problem solved, we shot the master of Morning and Francis sitting and chatting. We reset for Morning's single and then the clouds completely dissipated and we had blazing sun. Now we had a decision to make. Do we reshoot the master and go for a sunny look or get out the big-ass silk and continue with overcast? Maura, the 2nd AD called for a weather update. They said cloudy all day. But it wasn't cloudy at all! I looked at the horizon and saw a bank of clouds way in the distance. Hard to say what was going to happen, so we waffled for a while. Finally, it became clear that the clouds were going to be back in a few minutes, so we waited it out. Once they rolled in, the clouds stayed with us for the rest of the day. A good call.

Then we had a disaster. The camera, which was on baby legs, slipped. The legs just spread out like a drunken spider. Matt (1st AC) was holding the camera, though, so it didn't take a hard fall. It did stop working, however. After some quick analysis, Matt determined that it was the power connection. After 20 tense minutes with the camera's guts hanging out he managed to jury-rig it with alligator clips and we were able to complete the day's work.

But, that wasn't the end of our camera problems. Tomorrow's entry tells that story.

Morning and Francis wait for Toby

Here's the still from the scene that we featured on the EvenHand poster

- Joseph Pierson

Every once in a while, I get an email from someone about EvenHand. The most recent one was from Brian Kinnaird, a Kansas police offficer and criminal justice professor who recently relocated to San Antonio. Brian had some very nice things to say about my film, and one of his quotes is now proudly displayed on the home page (also see the Fan Mail page). Since moving to San Antonio, Brian has visited several of the EvenHand locations, including the Pig Stand, which now has a new life as a biker bar called the Hog Stand. I'm sorry the famous San Antonio Pig Stands are no more, but it's still nice to see that the old joint has a new life (and a similar name). Here's a picture of Brian in front of the Hog Stand.

Note the similarity to the framing and angle of the EvenHand poster still, above...

- Joseph Pierson 2/16/11


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