Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wow. That Was Good!

By mid-afternoon, the film crew had set the stage for The Actor and The Aussie to bring about the demise of their friendship. Last things first, right? In the industry, perfectly logical.

The scene was being shot entirely outdoors, with spacious segments of lawn surrounding the narrow strip of equipment-laden framed area. I determined, based on L'il Man's ease into the day, that I could set up my own personal camp some distance away from the center of the foray, to view the action from afar.

Set, lighting (yes, even in broad daylight), props . . . all manicured for perfection to achieve a backdrop sufficient to the emotional exchange about to occur.

A rehearsal ~ once. Twice. Three times. Then, The Director stepped in. A bit of role play was necessary . . . role play that landed my son in the waterfountain behind him at The Directors heavy-handed push! A chuckle erupted from among the forty-five or so people, set crew, on hand. A merry-hearted, chuckling director checked on The Actor's well-being. The affirmative nod and broad grin said all was delightfully well.

The Leading Lady's mom turned to me just before they shouted "Roll 'em!" and took the baby out of my arms. In the blink of an eye, I was free to venture close to the screens, as they transmitted the film, the projection of the acting being performed about 60 feet away.

The entire crew, and all bystanders felt the electric energy between two characters as "Action!" was shouted out. My vantage point granted me a close-up of how the scene was viewed in a type of final edit.

Voices raised, anger stirred, The Actor and The Aussie pushed their characters to the max, while we all watched, mezmerized, knowing we were seeing something magical in front of us.

As the scene closed out, and the camera caught The Actor's visage, painfully contorted in utter frustration with his friend, my eyes filled with hot, stinging tears, and a lump in my throat informed me I'd not long have control over keeping those tears contained behind the dam of my eyelids.

A voice suddenly whispered in my ear: "My, those boys are HOT!" It was The Aussie's mum, in her brogue, sharing her own personal emotional reaction to the scene.

All of my sentiment was immediately channeled into a spontaneous reaction of uproarious laughter. I certainly hoped my son wasn't [yet] "hot" was my inward thought . . . and then realized she meant it in an entirely different fashion. Hot as in good - skilled.

Ah well. What do stage moms know about proper terminology on set, eh?

We were soon to find out, as the scene played out before us time and time again . . . you see, The Director ultimately, gregaiously shouted out "Now we're cookin'!!"


Yeah. Now we're cookin'!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The First Day

The first day of filming arrives, and a gaggle of girls have already have their hair and makeup done, ready in a moment's notice to change into costume. The sun has climbed upward in the sky, but there's a catch. The forecast threatens the outdoor scenes.

If sunny, then . . .; if cloudy, then . . .

Waiting in the wings becomes an exercise in self-control, the alleviation of boredom for the gaggle - and electronic distraction for The Actor.

A tensioned contrast between the appearance of the era of days gone by: sharp creased pants, high waistbands, button down plaid shirts, loafers or dress shoes daily; and a gadget that connects a global community, a world of information at the touch of a finger.

The clock ticks, the wait lengthens, the restrained energy is channeled into a focused activity.

Steel stairs, wooden floor, cocooned respite.

Production personnel, walkie talkies, handlers of all sorts, awaiting the cue.

In an instant, a decisive moment, the two potential course of action are chucked in favor of plan three: do tomorrow's work today.

Hustle, bustle, take and retake, hold the traffic! action! cut! that's a wrap!

Shaking hands, smiling crew, blue eyes of warm greeting, thanks and good-nights.

A job well done, the first day.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

It was the first official "down day." A day to relax, be relieved of any pressing need to be here or there at a specified time. Of course, as the first official weekend in a new area, who wanted to sleep all day? It was time to hit the sights of the surrounding city!

The Actor and his new pal, The Aussie were very jazzed about the prospect of an all-day-do-nothing! They inquired of The Leading Lady and the ever-so-cute Supporting Actress their plans.

Alas! Family plans would take them away . . . it would just be the boys ~ and I? The Driver.

We decided to hit the mall first. I inquired of The Actor the whereabouts of the stroller I had brought inside the night before. Gallantly, he opened a foyer closet door, revealing the item inside. Perfect. Please get it out for me.

That's when the first sign of boyish antics were revealed.

The stroller was over sized, or the closet miniature . . . either way, it didn't want to come out. It would take the skills and muscular effort of them both:

Pull! Tug!!
And then, we were off.

As the official driver, my first instructions were: If you see us in the mall ~ you don't know us!


However, I graciously complied.

I was a bit surprised when, after about two hours, the boys located me, ready to go . . . and in no way worried about being seen with me. :P

We then traveled to a local retail store, where they purchased several boxes of "poppers" ~ the fire-cracker-like little pods that snap loudly when thrown on the floor.

And then, a request for McDonald's.

Herein I learned something very cool.

In America, we've nicknamed McDonald's "Mickey-D's" or "McD's" . . .

In Australia? McDonald's is lovingly called: "Macker's."

I like it. :D

While at the Macker's counter, we realized ~ we've been shielded from the population at large. Those we've come in contact with have been those who discretely interact with us, sans any groupie behaviors.

Not so at Mackers.

You see, The Aussie approached the counter to order . . . and the clerk thrilled over his accent.

"You must be here as an exchange student?" she pried.

"No, I'm here working." he carefully responded, his brogue betraying his heritage.

"Working? You? You're so young!" - she pressed the issue.

"I'm an actor." The Aussie stated bluntly, hoping to pass over the discussion.

Like that was going to happen.

The clerk shrieked. "OH MY GOSH!! A REAL LIVE ACTOR?!?!?" and so on . . .

Pretty soon both boys were simultaneously amused and chagrined as the tumultuous flap had it's way with the Macker's clerk.

Finally seated, I couldn't help but delight in the boys lack of regard as to what had just happened.

They wolfed down their burgers as any normal teen boy would be wont to do, and turned their attention on making noise with those firecrackers . . .

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Hair Razing Experience

There was no time to acclimate to the new time zone. Call time was 9:30 am, so my son, the actor would not be sleeping in, as his nocturnal clock would request of him. The day was slated or preparation activities: physical, wardrobe, haircut . . .


I'd forewarned him ~ but I'm his mother. There are only so many mental notes a teen boy is willing to take from his mom. His manager had warned him. Evidently he'd listened to her. The task item on the list did not outwardly appear to phase him in the least.

I wondered how he'd react. His signature curls were important to him as of late.

When we arrived at the production office, the cavernous mouth of a warehouse greeted us. An old Ford pickup truck, school buses, a plywood platform: Room 1. A bevy of new faces and names. Rack after rack after rack of era clothing, standing next to a storage area of old desks, and next to that - steel works in various stages of development: Room 2. More faces. More names. Handshakes and smiles.

The star of the show.

The lad was non-descript by day to day standards. If one didn't know he were the star, one might miss him in a crowd of teen boys. The Aussie, gathering a handful of potato chips, flashed a grin as wide as the Mississippi river, and betrayed his age by the gangly manner with which he attempted social graces when his mind was really on the food in front of him. He and The Actor hit it off immediately, a knowing connection forming the two of them instantaneously into fast friends in the blink of an eye.

No time to chat. We were led through the organized chaos to yet another room, where even more hustle and bustle greeted us.

And then, he was whisked off.

Keller and I took up residence at a nearby table-turned-staging-area and waited.

When my son reappeared, I squealed with delight! The more-rugged lines of his face were now very apparent. The slight scar on his upper lip framed by a unique blend of baby face and handsome. His ear with the characteristic rim in full view.

I drank him in with my eyes, and captured the moment on my heart. The haircut poignantly displayed for me that my little boy was transforming into a man: right before my eyes.

Without further ado, The Actor was asked to step inside the makeshift dressing room. Plaid curtains sectioned off a corner behind numerous rows of even more clothing, all vintage. Here, behind the curtain, my son would spend the next. four. hours.


I said FOUR hours.



Let's be honest Moms of Teen Boys. Attempting to get your son to shop with you for 20 minutes . . . let alone an hour is like pulling teeth, right?



Let me just say. At hour 3.25, one of the Wardrobe Ladies gave a shout out to me:

"Is your boy always this entertaining?" she queried.

I raised my eyebrow, and looked her in the eye: "It's constant." I returned. Meaning of course, the stream-of-consciousness non-stop chatter that spews forth that for the most part, I tune out.

Then it hit me.

I had tuned him out.

He had been talking non-stop. For three and one-quarter hours.

I groaned inwardly, and tiptoed up to the curtain. "I'm really sorry. I just realized you must be absolutely weary with his antics!" I offered.

Her eyes were bright as she turned to me. "Are you kidding? I haven't laughed this much in a long time ~ nothing short of refreshing! Fun! I love it!" she said, nonplussed.

I grinned inwardly. How refreshing, indeed.

The few glimpses I obtained of my son in period costume were thrilling my heart. The haircut was snazzy. The clothing pristine. The era a woebegone day that I suddenly pined for.


As the close of four hours of wardrobe descended, so did the knowledge of an historic moment, that of Michael Jackson's death.

All the activity of putting together a show stopped short. The sewing machine stopped. The ironing ceased. Pins and hangers were put down, in trade for blackberries and iphones and phone calls.

It was eerie, surreal, and none could wrap their brain around what they'd just heard.

So My Son, The Actor and I returned to our little home away from home. He was suddenly, inexplicably weary. I turned inward to contemplate the news reports.

Day One was complete, and it was a doozy.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

First Class Freak Out

If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times.

My son, the actor, had his eyes set on flying the friendly skies in comfort. In style.

Frugality, coupled with a bag of pretzels and a soda water had taken its' toll on the lad. He'd had it up to *here* with cramped quarters, no leg room. However, being a member of our family dictated that frugality rule. We had little desire to use valuable funds in such fashion. Get to your destination, then use funding to enjoy said such destination was our motto. He'd have to wait for the day he could pay his own way for the infamous front cabin. -Or- He *could* land a gig in a movie/tv show/ commercial/other that filmed on location, and he'd be set. Or, shall I say, he'd have a new place to sit??

We arrived at the airport early. So early in fact, that we had to wait to check in, so that those on the first outbound flight could be processed. By the time we sidled up to the counter, Israel was chomping at the bit. I handled the details of boarding passes and luggage. As I did, I happened to notice our seat assignments. Rows 9 and 11. Hmmm. Didn't sound like first class numerics to me . . . but certainly explainable, though.

The counter representative had been exceptionally kind to us. Chatting, chatting . . . no additional charge for my slightly overweight bag. Her gentle demeanor was in stark contrast to an exhange we had just witnessed moments before between her and a passenger due to board the previous flight. Was this preferential treatment? And why? Surely there was no reason. Three locals, boarding a plane headed north. Unless . . . it crossed my mind that perhaps the name of the production company was listed on her computer screen as the reference having made reservations. But no . . . that seemed far out. Yet, if it were true . . . I contemplated this potential as she finished strapping on the last baggage tape.

Smiling and handing me our documents, I ventured a guess, with Israel's first class seating expectations in mind:

"May I ask? We are boarding a small plane here, correct?" I queried, venturing knowledge within my son, the actor's earshot.

"Yes, that's correct." Ms. Smiling Airline Representative nodded.

"Are you able to see if we are scheduled for first class seating on our next flight?" I rummaged, speaking a tad bit louder than necessary, so as to garner my sons' attention, without actually being the bearer of factual news.

"Oh, yes!" she exclaimed. "First class out of Atlanta."

"Oh, good." was my reply, as I gave a sidwise glance at my child. "I really didn't want him to freak out!"

Israel returned my gaze with understanding. 'Ok,' he said with his eyes. 'No FC accomodations on the first flight, definitely on the second. Got it. Check.'

I turned back to Ms. A. Representative. She was now returning my gaze in a somewhat glazed over look that I couldn't quite describe, or interpret.

No matter.

We gathered what was left of our belongings and headed to the gate.


Waiting, waiting, waiting . . . we sat somewhat occupied in the terminal. Israel busied himself with an electronic, and I watched Keller explore, accompanied by his occasional John Travolta move. That's when it hit me ~ the potential understanding of what Ms. Rep's look was all about . . . IF my far-out thought were anywhere near correct, that she had knowledge of our 'travelling actor' status . . .

If you'll allow me an interpretation of how her ears might have processed my comment, "I don't want him to freak out." I imagine her mind played a scenario similar to this:

"Oh, my gosh! Not another spoiled rotten actor, pouting and not getting his way, just because he's not seated in first class with the best accomodations! Well let me tell you what! He needs to be knocked down a notch, because there are starving children in Africa . . .If that were my son, you can be sure I'd be taking him out the woodshed . . ." and so on.


Was that the case? I'll never know.

But one thing's for certain. We *never* want to fit that mold, that description, that stereotype.

My son, the actor may very well fly first class again in his young life . . . but may it be with a heart of gratitude that he does so.

May the First Class Freak Out never happen on our watch.


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