Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Reminiscence Therapy - She's Out of My League - My Two Day Experience

Below is an account of my experience after returning home from my two day shoot of She's Out of My League.  I put it on my personal website under the "News" section back in 2008.  Re-reading it now, I put WAY too much detail, but I'm kind of glad I did and I'm glad I wrote it while it was still fresh in my mind.

At the time of the writing of this recap of events, I wasn't even sure I would survive the cutting room floor.  I joked with my friends that maybe they would cut me and re-shoot with Chuck Norris.  It wasn't until early 2010 when trailers started appearing and I saw myself in them that I had a pretty good feeling that I made the cut.  I saw the entire scene for the first time in the theater, on March 12, 2010, with the rest of the world and a large group of my friends.  It was so surreal.

05/08/2008      She's Out of My League
This is the story of my two day shoot in Pittsburgh for the Dreamworks picture, "She's Out of My League", directed by Jim Field Smith, and starring actors (to name a few) Krysten Ritter, Jay Baruchel, T.J. Miller, and Alice Eve.

On Tuesday, May 06, 2008, I woke up at 5:15 AM.  After the morning routine and last minute packing, I left the house a little before 6:00 AM.

After two quick stops at two different Sheetz', one for gas, and one for a water and a honey bun, I arrived at the shoot in Pittsburgh, specifically in Braddock, PA around 10:15 AM.  I parked near the white tent as I was instructed.

By 10:30 AM, I filled out the necessary paper work to make sure I get paid.  I was told to bring three outfits.  I wore my suit and brought two other casual outfits that some lady looked at.  She chose my second outfit, but ultimately, I didn't need it.  Once that was taken care of, I was told to have a seat.  While seated I took a rough count and there were definitely more than 50 extras there, so I estimated around 75 – 100 of us total.  There might have been more since some were filming at the time.

My call time of 11:00 AM came and went and lunch was served at 12:00 PM.  I grabbed some lunch and chatted with some of the other extras.  A lot of them had call times of 5 AM and hadn't been in a single scene yet.  At this point, I figured that I'd be getting paid to do nothing all day.  Thankfully, I was wrong.

Very shortly after lunch, around 1:00 PM, a gentleman with a radio came into the tent and grabbed me and two other extras in suits.  He walked the three of us to the set.  We stood and waited outside the airplane mockup.

Within moments, the director, Jim Field Smith, walked out of the plane and looked at the three of us.  He whispered to the gentleman with the radio and walked away.  The gentleman walked towards the three of us and asked the two extras standing next to me to hang back.  The gentleman asked me my name and took me onto the plane.  There I met the assistant director named Richard.  We shook hands and he told me that I'd be playing the part of "business man".  I said ok and sat in the seat where the business man would be sitting – seat 10A.

I noticed that in rows in front of me, diagonally to me, and to the side of me were filled with people with matching sweatshirts.  I didn't recognize any of them as the actors.  I saw that they had two names written on a piece of tape on their sweatshirts.  After they were dismissed and the actors came in, I realized that they were the stand-ins.

So the actors came in; the director spoke to them, and then the assistant director Richard spoke to the extras.  That's the way it was.  The director doesn't direct the extras; that's the assistant's job.

So we filmed a scene with the camera to our fronts, and then to our backs, while the actors did their thing.  The scene was T.J. trying to get Jay off the plane because he's not with the girl he's supposed to be with.  Jay says that's he's with Lindsay and her family now and that's that.  T.J. gets taken off the plane by the pilot and the scene ends.  So there's a good chance you'll see me in some of those scenes in the background.  They gave me an organizer so it will appear that I'm taking notes if I'm seen.

After a couple of takes the unneeded extras are sent back to their base camp - the white tent.  We waited there until we are needed.  A few of us were called to set around 5:00 PM, but when we got there, it was decided that we weren't needed for the shot, so I waited off to the side, just in case.  I wasn't used for the rest of that day.

Dinner was supplied at 5:30 PM.  First class passengers were on the plane, and they got dinner (pizza) when they were done filming the last scene of the day which was done at 7:00 PM.
The casting agency had us line up so they could sign our paper work from the beginning of the day.  We were told to show up at 6:30 AM tomorrow.

After getting our sheet signed, I left the shoot and arrived to the Days Inn in Monroeville around 7:30 PM.  I checked in, got my room, relaxed and hit the hay at 10 PM after watching some free HBO and checking my e-mail on the free wireless internet.

On Wednesday, May 07, 2008, I woke up at 5:00 AM.  I got showered, dressed, and then packed up all my belongings.  I checked out of the hotel around 5:45 AM.

I got to the shoot at 6:10 AM, and got the necessary paperwork once again so I would get paid for the day.  I was happy to see that breakfast was provided.

Around 7:00 AM, they called for the first class passenger extras, and shortly after they called for the extras in rows 11 and lower.  Since I was in seat 10A, I made my way to the set.

We were filming the scene after the blow up between T.J., Jay, and the pilot from yesterday.  Jay sits back down after the blowup and Lindsay starts talking.  He decides that T.J. was right and he needs to get off the plane.

Jay stands up and gives a little speech.  The camera is behind us facing him.  He tells all the actors in sweatshirts "Fuck you" individually, except for the mom character.  While flipping them off, he says, "Fuck you, random business guy" and proceeds to flip me off.  Then apologizes quickly and proceeds to tell Lindsay "Fuck you" and then tries to get off the plane.  They won't let him off because they already closed the doors.  So Jay has to come back and sit down with all the people he just told off.  Then the scene ended.

Needless to say, I thought that it was pretty awesome that my character of businessman gets caught in the line of fire.  The back of my head will probably be seen with all the actors looking at me at some point in the scene.  I wondered if they'd do some shots from the front, but they didn't at the time.
We finished shooting that scene a little after 9:15 AM.  All the extras headed back to base camp.  We waited to be called again.

At 11:00 AM they called for ALL EXTRAS to fill the plane.  Everyone came to the set, and they filmed a quick scene where everyone had to deplane because of a problem with baggage.  Jay rushes out and Lindsay follows behind him while we all shuffle about and react.  We did that a couple of times over and over again.  Finally, at 1:00 PM, we broke for lunch.

Shortly after lunch, around 2:00 PM, we all got called back to the set.  We all got on the plane, and the extras that weren't needed were asked to step off.  I spent the rest of the day on the plane.

They took reaction shots of the parent actors and the other actors from the scene where Jay tells everyone off.  Then, to my surprise, they took reaction shots of me.  The makeup people came on the plane and put makeup on me.  Then Jim Field Smith, the director, provided me with direction, while Jay said his line off screen.  I heard Jim laughing at the monitor on the camera when I did my reactions.  I did a confused look, like what did I do type of thing.  We did that about 5 or 6 times.  Jim told me to do a couple looking mad and I did.  It was freakin' awesome.

After doing a few more reaction shots of Lindsay and Jay, we had finished all the scenes for the plane at 4:30 PM.  Shooting had rapped for the day and we were dismissed.

When I got outside, extras were waiting in a line to get their paperwork signed.  They had Arby's for us to eat for dinner.  I got changed, gave my prop back to Jesse, the prop guy, got my paperwork signed and grab some roast beef sandwiches for the road.

I stopped at Sheetz for gas ($3.65/gal) and proceeded back to Bloomsburg.  I got home around 8:30 PM and thus my trip ended.  It was a really cool experience, and if the scene doesn't get cut or edited, there's a really good chance that you'll see my mug on the big screen in 2009.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

STAR WARS TAG & BINK WERE HERE #1 [2018] spoiler synopsis

This Legends Star Wars story details the adventures of Tag and Bink, two rebels who end up intertwined with the canon events of the Star Wars movies.  These stories originate back to the Dark Horse comic days, which is extremely evident when they show the Dark Horse logo in lights in the shadow of the Death Star.  It has a lot of humor, but it's a little campy.

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink Are Dead #1 - "Episode IV.1:  Tag and Bink are Dead"
The opening crawl is very meta talking about Episode II being months away, so it appears this was released sometime in late 2001, early 2002.  Tag and Bink are Rebel officers on the Tantive IV.  They dress as stormtroopers and end up on the Death Star.  Their adventures coincide with the main adventure in a clever way.  They appear to be the two gunners with Darth Vader at the final battle and somehow survive.

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink Are Dead #2 - "Episode IV.:  Tag and Bink Live"
Again, we get another meta opening crawl and a meta moment where the writer draws himself in to explain a plot twist.  It it revealed that Tag & Bink weren't the gunners after all;  they took a different route and actually steal the shuttle Tydirium.  They end up back on Yavin after everyone is gone, run into Boba Fett, and then head to Cloud City before our heroes get there.  Chaos erupts on Cloud City like in the movie, and they escape.  They give the shuttle to Mon Montha and then Boba Fett's ship shows up and it ends.

Next we get the Star Wars:  Tag & Bink Were Here TPB (2006) cover art which collected these stories back in 2006 by Dark Horse.  Now that Star Wars is owned by Disney, it's just them republishing it under the Marvel banner.

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink II #1 - "Episode VI.1:  The Return of Tag and Bink -- Special Edition"
The opening crawl mentions that the writers were given an opportunity to write a third part of their adventure in Star Wars Tales #12, but due to deadlines, had to submit what they had and they weren't pleased with it, so this story is an attempt to fix their "grievous" wrong.

The story is intertwined, you guessed it, with Return of the Jedi.  It start before the events of Jedi with Tag & Bink partnering with Lando to get information from Boba Fett on the location of Han.  Tag ends up dressed as Boba and Bink as the guy who shoots Luke in the hand on Jabba's sail barge.  Boba Fett's ex-girlfriend Kannen saves them.  She puts them in contact with Manny Both-hanz.  Then they end up on the Death Star disguised as the Emperor's Royal Guards.  They end up blowing up with the Death Star and end up Force Ghosts

Star Wars:  Tag & Bink II #2 - "Tag and Bink Episode I:  "Revenge of the Clone Menace
We get the prequel backstory of Tag and Bink being told to Anakin by Palpatine during the Darth Plagueis the Wise story where they were identified as Jedi and end up being trained by Yoda and intertwining with the events of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.  They survive the purge as they were friends with Anakin, and end up going to Tatooine in the end, where they eventually join the Rebellion and well, you know the rest now.

Star Wars Tales #12 - "The Revenge of Tag & Bink"
Starts off very similar to the special edition, except they never make it on the sail barge.  They end up in the Sarlacc Pit, tied to a long stick that ends up getting caught.  Later on, others end up falling in as well as Boba Fett, they grab his jet pack and somehow save themselves and Boba.  The issue ends there.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Westworld S2E2 spoiler review

Updating my brain timeline to help keep things straight. A lot happened but nothing big was revealed.  It was heavily implied that management is using Westworld as a data collection store for marketing purposes. "Westworld is one thing to the guests, another to the shareholders, and something completely different to management."

Timeline 1: Right after Season 1 ends
S2E1

  • Bernard & Charlotte finding secret bunker
  • Dolores & Teddy causing mayhem
  • Maeve & crew looking for her daughter
  • MIB (Man in Black) door adventure

S2E2

  • Dolores on a mission to "wake" Teddy and recruit those to their cause
  • Dolores (and team) and Maeve (and team) briefly meet up but go their separate ways/separate missions
  • MIB continues on his adventure where Robert seems very much present (Great acting from Giancarlo Esposito, but not really needed plotwise)


Timeline 2: Two weeks later after Timeline 1
S2E1

  • Bernard & "Rescue" team

S2E2

  • [nada]


Timeline 3: The Past
S2E1

  • Appeared in some of Bernard's flashes

S2E2

  • Arnold and Dolores in the real world. Quick appearance from Ford
  • Presentation put on for Logan Delos with Angela and other hosts - agrees to financing Westworld (I think this is the first time is last name is revealed.)
  • Sometime after William's first visit, he visits Westworld with Logan's father and his father in law Jim Delos
  • William and Dolores have a private chat. William appears to have come to his senses and has an awakening of his own.
  • Dolores plays piano and talks to Logan in real world years later as it seems Jim Delos is retiring/sick, and William and wife have a daughter

So this episode added more to the past, a lot more, with little to no explanation about underlying motives, but there was a lot of exposition, almost too much. Dolores remembers everything so she was collecting data before William thought about the idea of collecting data, so who's really in charge, right?

Since we got so much Past, we didn't get any Future concerning Bernard, which I assume we won't visit again for a while. The Present continued the plot lines right after the finale of Season 1 and it was mostly setting up future events. Not sure how much of a rush they are in. Maybe Dolores knows how long it's going to take for the rescue team to show up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Westworld S2E1 spoiler review

I very much enjoyed the season premiere.  

The episode opened with Arnold talking to Dolores, but then it cuts to Bernard on the beach 2 weeks after the events of Season 1.  Bernard seems to be semi self aware yet it's kept intentionally vague as we go on the journey with him.  Are the others (the "rescue" team) going to figure it out?  Are they going to assassinate him like the others?  Eventually we visit the aftermath of the new narrative and we see Ford's body being eaten by maggots.  Do maggots eat host bodies because I don't believe for a second that Ford is really dead.  I believe he used the same catalyst that was used before the park first opened to kick-start the hosts to become "self aware".  Are they really self aware, or did Ford program them to kill his partner Arnold?  Are they just following another program?  Anyway, Bernard says, concerning the hosts, at the end of the episode that he "killed them all".  Seed #1

Meanwhile, we get some flashbacks concerning Bernard 2 weeks prior where Season 1 left off.  He and a few guests survive the shoot out, later survive a trap, and make it to some hidden area that he didn't know about but Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) knew about.  There's a pretty important scene that is pushed aside that this hidden area is taking GUEST memories and DNA.  Seed #2

The writers also make it a point in this episode to show us multiple times that there is a white fist size object in each host's brain that holds their memories.  I don't recall seeing that in Season 1, so I think it's new.  We do know that Charlotte put all the data from the park into Peter Abernathy's brain, who was supposed to be delivered off park, aka the package, but it was not received.  Seed #3

Elsewhere, we find out that Dolores appears to be fully self aware and has one part to play - herself.  She leaves some guests to die, but is seen killing a bunch on horseback like a badass.  She has some things to show to Teddy to reveal the truth.  Angela, another original host, the one that gave the young William (future Man in Black) his hat choice, appears to be on the level with Dolores as well.  It appears that Dolores's end goal is not to find a nice place to live quietly, but prevent those that would enslave her mind to ever do so again.  Seed #4

Speaking of William, the Man in Black is alive (of course) and after surviving a mini shoot out, tends to his wounds, and proceeds on a new adventure.  He runs into the young Ford robot whose voice is a combination of a young boy, old Ford, and techno babble almost like it's malfunctioning.  He says he has a game for him to find a door.  William is finally where he wants to be because the threat of death is actually real this time so we get to follow his journey as well.  Seed #5

Last, and certainty not least, Maeve is on a mission.  She wants to find her daughter.  She gets partnered with the guy everyone loves to hate, Lee Sizemore, who almost gets her killed, but she keeps him alive because he knows the park and she needs his help.  They run into Hector Escaton who also joins them on their journey.  She doesn't use any special commands, but appears to be able to command the hosts.  I hope they explain that.  Seed #6

Well if my brain hasn't forgotten anything, I count six seeds planted and ready to grow into what will be a hell of a ride concerning Season 2.  Based on the weeks ahead preview, not only will is flash between present and two weeks prior, but it appears to flash back to the beginning of the park where we'll see young William again, and just a guess but we might get flash forward in the future as well, where Dolores appears to be in a city.  This could be the outside world or maybe there is a park based on a city.  I'm looking forward to the journey into night.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Too Much TV - Most Recently Viewed 20180424

Homeland, All In, S7 E11 - Best episode of the season. You could take this episode, throw a 30 minute exposition piece in front of it and have an awesome 90 minute standalone movie. I heard that Claire Danes said S8 is the last, which I hope is true as I hope this show goes out on a high note after a weak 5th and semi weak 6th that brough things back around. I'd say it's the second best show on Showtime. But what's the first? Well...

Billions, Flaw in the Death Star, S3 E5 - Great episode and nice turn of events on the side of Chuck Rhodes. It's good for him to get a win this week as his old friend gets closer and closer to the truth, alliances are made and unbent, and Axelrod continues to shine but realized he's screwed. So Axe is going to need a new angle even though Rhodes has what one would call the smoking gun. We'll see how he uses it and if it makes it to trial. Taylor had their own little side story which I'm not sure where its going, but hopefully it doesn't come back to bite them in the ass. The Dollar Bill side story was fantastic and was a great source of humor this week.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, S2 E22 & 23 - Two decent episodes to round out the finale of the season. The Chopper was fun and it was great to have Holt, Peralta, and Boyle team up. Their dynamic is fantastic, especially when Holt finally gets into it. As with the S1 finale where Peralta goes undercover and "leaves", Holt is forced to leave per his boss to the public relations office. So the crew gets a new captain who is.....?!?!.....revealed in S3 which the wife and I will probably watch tonight.

Batter's Box: Family Guy, Westworld, Last Man on Earth, Flash, Arrow
FYI: No new Roseanne nor Modern Family airs this week.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Too Much TV - Most Recently Viewed 20180410

The Walking Dead S8E15 - only one more episode to watch before I say goodbye.  I'm glad this episode did not disappoint me as it continued to support my decision to quit this show.  Everything that you expected to happen with the Saviors happened.  Daryl and Rosita capture Eugene and then lose him.  Oceanside and Aaron get a few minutes of screen time for no reason other than Aaron's passionate speech to fight.  

Prediction for finale - Rick and group fall for Negan's trap.  Oceanside comes to the rescue.  Maybe Jadis shows up to help the heroes for once.  Also they keep advertising the big crossover event where Morgan goes over to Fear.  I wonder if some Fear characters will pop up in WD.  Maybe they're the ones with helicopter.  It doesn't matter because it'll just be more characters I don't know/care about and since I won't be moving forward with the show, it truly doesn't matter either way to me.  They won't kill off anyone important.  The episode will end with Rick bleeding by the tree so fans can speculate until next fall whether he survives or not.  It feels so good that that will not be me.

Billions S3E3 - this season is still dealing with the fallout and aftermath of season 2 and I'm not too proud to admit that it's a little hard to follow at times.  I'm definitely enjoying it but when I'm not sure where alliances ally sometimes until the final few minutes of the episode.  The acting is excellent by all as always.  The actor/actress that plays Taylor continues to be the standout and the fun one to watch even though it takes my brain a second to process the pronouns because their pronouns are they and them.

The Last Man on Earth S4E14 - the big focus is Todd wanting a child and it appears that Erica will be the one to carry it if and when it takes.  Melissa acts very out of character for no reason.  There was a big reveal at the end of the episode which the previews for next week confirmed so good potential for some funny next week.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S1E20 Jake and Charles spend the day preparing for Charles wedding with the threat of him moving to Canada with Vivian in the background.  Good as always, and super clever writing keeps us returning.  The wife and I looking forward to the final two episodes of the season and seeing what happens with Charles and Vivian.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Walking Dead [2010 - 2018]

The Walking Dead has died on April 15, 2018 at the age of eight years old.    It is survived by Fear the Walking Dead and is preceded in death by all the zombie related media before it.

The Walking Dead started on Halloween in 2010, where viewers were given a promising six episode story arc showcasing a man waking up to a world of the undead hellbent to find his family.  With the odds heavily stacked against this man, he eventually finds his family, but learns that he and everyone he loves is infected.  When they die, they will also turn to become the undead.  This man, his family, and a few other survivors are "The Walking Dead".  The end...

...Wait, this isn't a movie where the story ends here, this is a television show and the story can continue on.  What will happen to this man and the rest of the survivors?  Nothing good. 

They found a farm, and then it was destroyed.  Friends were lost or separated.
They found a prison, and then it was destroyed.  Friends were lost or separated.
They found a town, and then it was destroyed.  Friends were lost or separated.

After eight years, the black and white of good and evil has bled into gray.  The story of moral ambiguity will continue on, but it will so do minus one viewer.

As a viewer, I was emotionally involved with the characters that I cared - characters that the writers took the time to write well and make us care about.  The threat of their passing along with their mission to survive made for interesting television.

The telltale sign finally came to me in season 8 when I realized that I was no longer emotionally involved with the show.  This came in the form of the death of a first season character, the son of the man from the very beginning was killed off pointlessly.  He was bit.  He was bit by a zombie.  That's all.  In this post apocalyptic world where it's man against man, the threat of the undead is treated as a footnote. 

The show has forgotten itself and therefore keeps reinventing itself.  It's stuck in a loop, repeating the same themes and similar beats, while the characters take turns either being the fire that leads them to victory, or the reason they fail because of very bad and poor decisions that only serve them and not their survival.

It has been forgotten by most that the characters are already dead so there is no point in fighting.  The philosophy of season 8 is that they don't need to fight;  they need to work together.  That's never going to happen.  That's not interesting.  Conflict is interesting.  Killing off characters the audience hates is interesting.  Unfortunately, I've lost interest in the writing, the story, and the characters that I'm supposed to care about. 

The time has come to walk away.  I finally feel comfortable in doing so and I will invest my time in media where storylines are well written and characters are valued, non hypocritical, and true to their nature from season to season.