Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Leatherheads Day 6 - The play of the game

Most of htis week is filming of a football game. As you can imagine like most sports films we have important plays in the game. Today, they worked on the final play of the game all day. I started in the end zone on the home team side next to some "band members". I reminded me of a smaller version of the Stanford Band. A friend playing a police officer was also nearby. I was basically just background at this point as the play was taking place way down the field.

I have learned from the assistant directors that movement is preferable in a scene so I walk up the sidelines once they yell action. You actually hear the words,
Pictures Up!, Rolling, and then "Background Action" to know when it is time to move about in the scene.

As the play moves up the field toward the endzone of I move with it and by the end of the morning end up next to the cheerleaders 3 men and 3 women and end up doing my pantomine talking and photography.

They continue to move fans in the stands around behind us as fillers. They fill in the first 5 rows of the stadium in about 6 sections. We have a long hot morning.
Ginger who is one of the wardrobe people, comes up throughout the morning to work on extras to make sure they are authentic and their scarves, hats and coats are on correctly. She has straightened my hat a few times. Our pants also need to be hiked up to show our socks...think of an old man pulling his pants over his belly and that is what a lot of us had to do during filming. Of course this was hidden by our overcoats.

Ginger, who has a resemblance to Carmen Diaz was really in her element as a wardrobe expert. She was really a stickler for detail and even noticed the little things such as whether we wore the same tie each day or how our winter scarves were tucked under our coat. As far as my brown jacket, I would have these wardrobe experts tie a square knot to make it look authentic.

Most of the day was fairly uneventful, except it occured to many of us it is taking 6 days (60+) hours) to film these scenes. George Clooney is all over the field that day. He is a player on one of the teams. Both teams are on the filed for most of the day. Some are professional actors such as Ed Miller (who is from Los Angeles), others are from local casting.

The players were having to do many of the scenes repetitively while camera's and audio folks captured a variety of shots from closeups and dialogue to shots from a distance...This is a romantic comedy, so there were a couple of scenes that had George Clooney laughing right after shooting.

The players on both teams were playing in the "elements" (which I can describe in detail, we'll have to wait for the film promotion to start) and they had "heaters" on the sidelines to warm them up when they were done shooting.

We are told they need an extra day to shoot so we will be back on Tuesday...

Leatherheads - Day 5 - George Clooney Directing

Friday morning, I woke up at 5 am and arrived at the set at 6:30 am. I figured at this point I had only about 20 or so hours of sleep this week, but was still excited with anticipation of the days activities.

We park our cars at the lot near Bobcat arena and take a shuttle bus over to Memorial Stadium. The bus driver has a large jar i the front of his bus for two police officers slain in the line of duty in Charlotte a few weeks ago. He asks for donations to the almost full jar.

When I arrrive, I go to a table where the casting director's staff has us fill out our daily forms or timesheets with name ss@ etc. At the top of the form it says we are working on Leatherheads from Speakeasy Productions.

By the time I am dressed, coiffed and put my sunscreen on, I arrive at extra's holding at about7 am. I have my food and then sit with others and talk about today's activities. We are told they are adding an extra day of shooting on Tuesday.

In the morning, my first shots are fan in the stands. We end up cheering, booing etc.
The day is fairly uneventful until the end of the day. The last shot of the day I am a photographer again on the visiting team sidelines. I am at the 40 yard line standing near the sidelines. One of the assistant direcots comes up to me and tells me to move back behind the team bench about 10 feet off of the firld. He places other extras in specific places as well. I am thinking I will be more of a background player again.

Then all of a sudden, he places the Head Coach of the team to my right and the team mascot and trainer are nearby as well. The Head Coach, played by Wayne Duvall (Robert Dubal's cousin)is a fiarly large man which a deep luud voice you would expect from coaches.

The next thig I see are the two cameras in front of us with all the direcors sitting in back including George Clooney as he is not in this scene as an actor. Tape measures are run from the cameras to us to measure the focial point so we will be in focus. There is also a camera on a golf cart type vehicle that will be going down the sidelines. Now I realize why we were put back behind the benches. It needed the space to ride inside the sidelines.

We then do about 4 or 5 takes of this shot. In one of them the coach takes the old camera I use as a photographer and starts to look at it and pretend to talk to me.
I realize now that this is even a better chance for me to appear in the movie with a close up from 3 camera angles. I turn to the actors to my left and say..."it doesn't get any better than this".