Thursday, May 10, 2007

Leatherheads - Day 8 - How Filming is done out of order

May 3, 2007 - We are now in the parking lot filled with old cars. The stadium is adorned with the red white and blue banners you see hanging in stadiums during the world series. In front is a banner that says the name of the teams playing in this game.

Even though this is 5 days later in Greensboro, the filming is actually the beginning of the game we filmed in Charlotte. The scene we will film shows the fans walking into the stadium. The stadium looks so realistic with the 1920's cars in the parking lot and all the extras in costume.

We do shots from a few different angles walking into the stadium. I am walking with my buddy Rick and we learned from Charlotte that walking slower gives you more camera time and more time to react and create different gestures for the scene.

George Clooney in in his white t-shirt and pants as director this morning. He is not in this scene. As the directors tell the production assistants, you hear the familiar loud refrain "Pictures up, Rolling, Action, Background Action". When they say background action, that is when the extras start their movement. We then move to the edge of the road to walk in from the street. I am about 20 feet from George Clooney as he peers into the camera to make sure he has the right shot.

After this we go to break and head back to the Extras Holding area in the white tent.
Before we get in, Michelle, one of the production assistants says "I need nine men, for the next scene". Again, this is sort of a being in the right place at the right time. Christian K. and I volunteer for this and we are led back to the stadium.
Now we see a contraption of pipes that makes rain and we are told we will get umbrellas and walk under the water. However at the last moment a decision is made to hold off on that scene and we are told to hangout in the stadium There are the 9 men, the "vendors", and a family.

Now we walk into the stadium and are told to take a seat anywhere. Surprise!....this is a baseball stadium with a beautiful green manicured infield. We realize no football plays will be filmed here.

We wait around for about an hour or so and nothing is happening. We realize they are filming scenes outside the stadium There is a giant construction crane. We understand now that it has a hose and somehow is dumping water on the top of the stadium to make it look like its raining outside. I wonder if computer graphics are going to put people in the scene.

We then wait around even longer and then we see activity inside the "tunnel" leading into our section of the stadium. Cameras are being set up on te concourse area and also looking down our gate area where you enter to get to your seats. We now see George Clooney in a tuxedo and John Krasinski also. They are filming their entrance into the big game. They both are again about 20 feet away. This is really the first time I saw John Krasinski close up. The basic scene are the two stars of the football game signing autographs.

We watch as the production crew raises a white background. It is a giant sail inside a rectangular metal structure about 20 feet by 20 feet. It is held down and tied down by four technical workers. I ask what it is used for. They tell me it helps to cut down the wind so the wind does not get into the microphone. I thought it was a background for filming so you wouldn't see the baseball field. I just learned another new detail of production

Now finally after waiting for about 2 hours, we are told to come back down toward the front of the stadium. However, when we reach the end of our area, we are told to hang out by the concession stand. They line us up to buy the old peanuts, souvenirs and other paraphanalia. they give some of us replica One dollar bills from that era.
They put us in three lines to make our way to buy our conccessions. However, when they set up the shot, the assistant director and George Clooney realize they can't get a clear shot of the souvenirs and food and other replica items.

They then tell my line to move out of the scene and down out of camera range. So we then think again, we missed the shot or scene after sitting around for 2 hours. After about 5 minutes of the director and cameraman setting up the shot. Ian Calip, the Asst Director, is at my shoulder and then George Clooney walks up to the other side of me and turns and tells our group he wants us to cut through the line to make our way to other sections of the stadium. Well, to me it seems like what happens as you push your way onto a New York City Subway car. They adjust the people in line to put a little space between them and at that point when action is said, we push our way through the line and make it past them. We are about 5 to 10 ft from the camera. We are talking and saying "excuse me", "coming through", "trying to get to my seats", etc. some are pushing back or blocking us to make it look realistic. When we finally make it through they are still rolling so some of us are sent back into the scene and told to get in line and try to buy some concessions. We do about 5 takes of this scene. On the last take, I get in line and still have the dollar bills in my coat pocket, so I then get back in line and wave my bill in the air as I try to get the vendor to sell me some peanuts. I grap my bag of peanuts. The conccession vendor takes my dollar an they yell "Cut". (By the way George Clooney was directing from behind us to the left of the concession stand. He was about an inch from me on about 5 different occasions)...He even jokingly said to Ian "Your fired" and was also joking with a young boy who is a main part of the scene.

As we walk out of the stadium to go back to Extras Holding George Clooney is walking past us. A women who has been shooting since Charlotte says to George "You are so much better looking in person", George turns and smiles, I then say to her within earshot of George "What about me?", he smiles again.

Time for the lunch tables. They are setup outside the tent...chicken, macaroni and cheese, lasagna and vegetables. We grab our stuff and walk into the tent to take our seats.

At the end of lunch, the casting director's production assistant Michelle starts to yell that we are "wrapping" for the day for many of the extras. She calls out different groups, woman and children "Get dressed , time to go home, thank you for coming today", all self dressed actors "Get dressed, time to go". Press people "stay". Well, I consider myself "press" from the other scenes in Charlotte so I wait around. It is now about 3 pm. I am torn about leaving and staying...hundreds of extras make it through the lines outside back in their regular close...the transistion for the woman are the most drastic as they go from bobbed hair hat and elegant clothes to jeans and a t-shirt.

Well, we think we are going to get one last scene as press for the day. However they finaly say "Press, time to go home, thanks." Well, this means a lean payday today since every hour past 8 hours we get paid overtime (time and a half)...I figure with gas and my two hour drive time, I probably have made about twenty bucks net for 12 hours of work and drive time..."Great work if you can get it" (lol).

Well I guess this is the end of the road for my leatherheads career. I was not able to fit into the fireman's outfit they wanted for the night time filming in Statesville, NC. This day turned out to be fun and interesting. Almost like a reunion since I didn't think I was coming back after Charlotte. I was able to get some great pictures with the costumers, hair and makeup and the "concession vendors".

Well that's a wrap!! It was a great ride. I guess George Clooney is getting ready for the Cannes Film fesitval. He also just signed on to do a comedy with the Coen Brothers.

It is now about 2 pm and we head back to the extras tent to eat lunch

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