I opened up this window intending to talk about the Toronto International Film Festival premiere I almost just attended but it occurred to me that I could do with talking about the weekend as a whole because it was full of movie magic.
Friday I departed for Toronto early so as to be on set for 11am to shoot a short film called The Prostitute. Although it was all above-board with regard to permits and such, it had a very guerrilla feel to it due to the fact that the director had the actors helping out with things like blocking traffic and such. I didn’t mind this because I think film-making at the indie level is, by definition, a collaborative effort, but towards my 8th hour on location without being called in front of a camera I got the sense that such delegation was symptomatic of a deeper disorganization. The crew members confirmed as much to me as it was starting to get dark.
Now when I’m on set I plan on being there all day so I wasn’t too perturbed about not being called for hours, but there was another lady accompanying her 5-year-old daughter (one of the principals) and as it started to get dark she was getting visibly agitated. I felt for her because she had also taken the day off work and when it was all said and done neither of us had gotten on set at all.
As it stands, the ADs are going to aim to schedule another shoot date where they will have organizational control and the director will simply direct and not plan. I think this will be a good arrangement because as a director I think he really has a vision and is someone who knows how to coax the best performance out of his actors. I look forward to going back and finishing the project.
This project is also significant for me in that it will be my first on-screen kiss. I met my on-screen girlfriend on Friday and getting to know her and doing blocking with her had a vaguely first-date feel about it. Hopefully this chemistry translates well to the screen because my IRL girlfriend, Chelsea is not thrilled about this arrangement, and we wouldn’t to be in the doghouse for naught, would we?
Oh, and then I went to go get my bike after we wrapped and someone had stolen the seat from it. I hope it helps them in their endeavours.
Saturday, I had two auditions: The first was for the part of a reluctant neo-Nazi; more frustrated young man than racist ideologue. He is actually the protagonist in the story and it worked well because I already have a shaved head (which is entirely incidental BTW). They also had me do a cold read for the antagonist, the leader of a skinhead group named Ian. Something of a charismatic orator, Ian has a hard-on for hunting blacks so I ad-libbed some of the oration dialogue employing everyone’s favourite N-word. I only bring this up because it was my first time saying “nigger” in an audition and I would be saying it again in an audition before the day was through.
The second audition was one of those ones you go to that you don’t really remember what part you are trying for and you can’t even go back and look at the original posting because the filmmakers have already taken it sown. So I walked into the meeting room and the filmmakers gave me free rein to deliver some prepared dialogue (monologue), but to ascertain the kind of character I was trying so so I could better inform my selection of monologue I started asking some sneaky questions like, “How do you see this character,” and “Give me your take on his motivations.” They were happy to talk at length about the character; they even lauded me for hitting the nail on the head as to how he should be played when I wrote my cover letter for the audition (“Oh…yeah…my cover letter :-|), but unfortunately their explanations didn’t give me a clue to which monologue I should go with so I said fuck it and just went with a brand new one I had adapted from this classic scene from The Wire.
Well, my gambit paid off as it turned out both casting directors were big fans of the show and really liked my Avon impression (which, in case you were paying attention was my second and third utterance of “nigger” in an audition setting that day and ever). However, they wanted to see another side so I did one of my more recent favourites which is the “Mongoloid” monologue Sheriff Earl McGraw delivers at the beginning of From Dusk ’til Dawn.
Overall I was happy with how both of these auditions went and I feel like if they go with someone different its because I didnt look the part or someone else just did way better. That’s the best way to feel I find because that way you don’t have to torture yourself worrying about how it could have gone better.
Two more auditions. The first was kind of lukewarm due to the fact that it was a cold read and the first role I read for was not really a character who was suited to my particular talents. They asked me to read for another character though which went a lot better so we’ll see.
The next audition was actually a callback which I should have memorized but did not and I ad-libbed some of the dialogue which would have been okay under normal circumstances but these particular filmmakers wanted a more faithful read-through of the script. Even worse I think I threw off the guy I was reading with. Fortunately when I went back out to the hall I practiced it a couple of times and when I read through it with the next guy it was a lot better and verbatim from the script with my own added flair. They seemed to appreciate this so we’ll see how it goes. I was kind of disappointed in myself for coming in there all reckless like I did but hopefully my 180 in the span of a few minutes impressed upon them some adaptability on my part and made me a little more memorable in their minds.
Afterwards I made my way down to TIFF to meet up with Matt, Nita and Danny to wait in line for the premiere of Gravity. For three hours we waited and when we were close to getting in, there came the announcement that Rush seating had filled and that we would not be able to get in. This was disappointing but I certainly didn’t regret hanging out for three hours with some cool peoples.
That said, as soon as we got the info that the movie was a no-go I took the opportunity to break out as quick as I could and head back to the home I hadn’t been to since Friday morning.
All in all it wasn’t a horrible weekend: nothing on film, four solid to good auditions, stolen bicycle seat, lost earphones and three hours chillin’ with my peoples.
Can’t wait to see what next weekend holds.