DAY 23 - Tuesday
APRIL 3, 2001
CAKE AND DUCKS
RESTAURANT -- DAY
INT. RESTAURANT -- DAY
EXT. RESTAURANT -- DAY
INT. RESTAURANT -- DAY
Scene #106 pt.
dreadful rainy day when we were supposed to film at the
restaurant? Well, I certainly do. Today was the day for which we
rescheduled the work. I had been not-so-secretly dreading this day
for most of the shoot because of the massive page count spanning
four distinct scenes, plus the remaining two shots of scene 106. It
was a lot of work for one day, which led me to wonder why the Bills
were not on set at 8:30 AM when they had been called for 8 sharp.
inquiry with the AD department revealed that Cosmo (who had recently
become engaged to marry my assistant, Lovisa) had overslept (again)
and failed to pick up the Bills. A production assistant had just
being dispatched from the set to get them. I guess Cosmo was still
was pretty steamed. Cosmo was eventually given the ax, but not
before I broke the news to Lovisa that this would likely be the
result of his egregious transgression. She replied that he was
prepared to take it like a man. And I must say, our relationship has
improved greatly since he has ceased to be in my employ.
* * *
Directore checks out the shot
today was a scene that opens with a cop in the restaurant telling a
joke to his gathered coworkers. The role of comedian cop was
originally intended for Vic Henley, a stand-up comic that Jon and I
met at a comedy show at Siberia
Bar in New York. He was a southern guy with a particularly
funny, edgy shtick. He was easy to picture as a redneck cop riffing
on the bad guys he'd encountered that day. I ultimately didn't call
him for the job, but not because I had any reservations about him in
the role. On the contrary, he would have been outstanding. Vic
wasn't the problem; during the last days of pre-production I had
seen a hint of the difficulties we would encounter trying to film EvenHand
within our budget. I knew that even with the best rates
imaginable, bringing in talent from out of town would inevitably
lead to hidden expenses that we couldn't afford, or say no to --
once we'd made the choice to bring an actor in. So, sadly, Vic
didn't get the call.
guy we cast in the role wasn't particularly funny, but in the end it
didn't really matter. The scene isn't about the joke, it's about
Francis feeling out of sorts and escaping to a table where Morning
soon joins him.
Green, king of sound
remarkable thing about this day was that even with the actors
arriving late, we had absolutely no trouble getting through all the
material. Maybe my dread put us all in some sort of hyperdrive that
made it all possible. Or perhaps it wasn't such a hard day after
all. I've found that over these weeks it can be terribly hard to
judge how difficult or easy a day's work will be. Sometimes the
really easy stuff on the page turns out to be a bear and other
times, like today, we just kind of sail through.
A big ol'
can a' wupass!
the day: Bill Sage celebrated his birthday today (thirtysomething).
I got him a big creamy cake which we all ate with our fingers. There
we were, filming in a restaurant and we couldn't seem to drum up any
plates or forks. Big yummy mess.
amusing moment of the day: There was this guy, whom I'll call Samuel
(the name of choice for folks that are about to be whupped on the
internet), who worked in the art department. Samuel got his job when
he auditioned for a role as a biker and failed to make the grade. He
then offered to work for us in some capacity as an unpaid intern. We
cheerfully accepted his offer and assigned him to Gary Ledyard, our crack
seemed to work hard and keep his nose clean, so I didn't pay him
much mind. Those actor guys, however, noticed that Samuel seemed to
be sporting a rather, uh, enormous package. Curiously, the estimable
endowment was particularly evident today, when Samuel was appearing
as an extra in scene 106. The Bills consulted amongst themselves
about the veracity of the clearly delineated thing and
concluded that nature was not that cruel; it couldn't be real. Bill
Sage, never content to guess at what can be so easily confirmed,
marched up to Samuel and asked if he was stuffing. Samuel, with no
tells in his expression or voice, said no he wasn't. Bill S. then
offered to pop his little guy out for an impromptu comparison.
Samuel shyly demurred and saved us all from certain mortification.
Bills, who were by now pretty giddy with their discovery, retreated
and regrouped. Their chosen strategy was to stuff blue ducks down
their police-issue trousers and casually lounge about the set,
hoping to pique the interest of Samuel or unsuspecting female crew
members. No go on either count, apparently.
epilogue to this duck tale is that I got the following e-mail some
weeks after production had ended:
From: J___ D___
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 10:54 PM
Subject: deadbeat dad
I noticed you have a [Samuel] working in some capacity with your
film company. He is approximately $39,000 behind in child support.
He has two teenage daughters who have been financially neglected
long enough. He has a masters degree from S_____ Seminary in W___,
North Carolina. His daughters and my daughter live in North Carolina
also. If he is still working there, and he is on your payroll,
please contact us so the wages can be garnished. I am assuming I
have the right [Samuel] as he indicated from the last post card the
girls received that he was "making movies", and we thought
he must be working for "cash".
I found this website while looking for a name.
Thank you in advance for your co-operation.
Samuel was a deadbeat dad. I sadly had to inform the writer that
Samuel hadn't been paid any wages by us. And if I had known he was a
deadbeat dad, I would have never let him on my film set in the first
grilled by Morning
second funniest thing that happened today was a little joke I played
on Bill Sage. In the scene with Wen, Morning asks to see the kid's
license. He scrutinizes it for a few seconds, then eats it --
revenge for the kid pestering him in the restaurant. The license was
a little paper learner's permit, modeled on the Texas original. Some
weeks beforehand, I had Lovisa prepare a huge 12 page 8 1/2" X
11" license for Wen to pull from his wallet in one of the
takes. In a rare waste of film stock, I rolled the camera and
preserved Bill's reaction for posterity. I think his exact words
were "What the fuck is this?" as he contemplated eating
the huge wad of paper. Perhaps you had to be there...
seemingly unending Daily Disaster category, some of the footage of
scene 106 was shot on the same bad mag we used at Toby's Mom's house
yesterday. It was only one shot, but all the takes were affected
and, according to the lab, ruined. What really made this suck big
time was that this was the shot of hundreds of ducks hanging from
the ceiling of the restaurant. It's a weird moment in the script,
but one that has always spoken to me. It also took hours to hang and
adjust all the ducks to camera.
got the news that the shot was unusable, I consulted with Fernando
about what it would take to return to the restaurant on our final
Saturday and reshoot the scene. The answer was many thousands of
dollars -- for one shot which no one (except Mike Jones and I) would
ever miss. The scene was covered without the shot, so I didn't even
have the excuse of a continuity glitch. DAMN!
Tim and I
eventually looked at the dailies tapes and determined that one of
the takes was probably good enough to use. Another happy ending on
the EvenHand roller coaster ride.
- Joseph Pierson
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