SVA: Cop Vacation

I was back at SVA (School of Visual Arts) tonight, this time for a “class shoot,” working on a short film script called Cop Vacation.  I got a call last night around 7, asking it I was available to come in tonight for the class.  I confirmed that I was available, and around 9:30, I received the script over e-mail.

It’s a funny little comedy about two cops, one a detective and the other a captain, trying to work the system to get forced vacation.  I was playing the detective, trying to convince the captain that I had caused so much controversy in the department that they must be giving me “mandatory vacation so I can cool my heels.”  The captain, who was played by John G. Gallagher–and actor I recognized from TV–plays along, letting me know what a great detective I am, and how they couldn’t possible lose me until I finished the case.  In the end, when I tell him it should all be wrapped up next week with a major takedown of the D.A. and police commissioner, he says “great, I’ll still be in Hawaii at that point.”  He then stands up, revealing the below his jacket, shirt, and tie, he is wearing Bermuda shorts.  Turns out he outsmarted me, and convinced the “uppity ups” that he, himself, was the hothead in need of some time away from the office, and was on his way to the airport.  As he leaves, I sit there, dejected, and phone my girlfriend to tell her our vacation plans are off.

It was a great script and really fun to work in class.  It was a class for first year students, taught my Sal Petrosino, with a woman named Martha as the guest lecturer.  What I love about these projects is the free education I get from these superstar instructors who are actively working in the field, and it’s great to know what the next generation of filmmakers are being taught.  I was there an hour early, so I was able to sit in and take notes–probably more than some of the students–while Martha was teaching them about the role of a script supervisor, something I knew nothing about!  Not only am I learning a ton, but it really makes me appreciate everything that goes into the production aspect of a film.  I understand how theatre works, and could tell you what most of the major players do on the production team, but film and television is still a foreign language to me.

It also keeps me on my toes as far as acting and memorizing!  In theatre, we have the luxury of rehearsing and rehearsing until it’s “go time” and the audience is there.  In film, for the most part, you look at your script and go.  I had the script right before I was heading home to bed, and after working a few hours at the Equity office today, I had just enough time to grab a coffee and cram these lines so that I could have the script memorized and ready to shoot, and with an actor I had never met.  John and I were able to shake hands, chat for a couple minutes, and after one run through, it was time to start rolling!

This was my third time at SVA and hopefully the work will keep coming.  The students there are great, the faculty members are incredible, and the education I get, along with the acting experiences, have been stellar!  And you never know, one of these quiet, start-of-their-career students, learning for the first time how to really make a movie, could turn out to be the next Scorsese!

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The Twins Film: Photo Shoot and Rehearsal

Today started with another great monologue class with Chelsea.  I presented a monologue from the play “Cock.”  It went really well, and I got a ton of helpful feedback so that I can really get the monologue in a great place for auditions.  Next week, for our showcase in front of casting director Michael Cassara, the class and Chelsea agreed that I should do my pieces from Next Fall and To Ninevah.

Random side note, when you’re at the Drama Book Shop and you’re trying to Google the name of a play to find out the playwright (since they’re listed alphabetically by last name), be careful.  For my monologue last week, I was there and googled “To Ninevah Play” and the information I needed came right up.  When you google the title of this week’s monologue, followed by the word “play,” you might get a few thousand matches you won’t want to show your mama.  I can’t believe I didn’t catch on to what I was searching for until the results and images came up!

Tonight I met with Bob and Tina for the film I’m shooting this weekend, which I still don’t know the title of!  I keep forgetting to ask Bob, the director, if he has one and just didn’t give us the title page, or if he’s waiting to see the finished project to put a name on it.  So since I’m playing twins, sort of, that’s what it is for now.

The first thing we had to do was a quick photo shoot.  There’s a scene in the movie where my girlfriend, Lizzie, runs into a woman named Karen.  They bump into each other and some photos fall out of Karen’s purse.  Lizzie helps he pick them up and sees all of the pictures are cute, lovey images of Karen and I, or so she thinks.  She confronts me about it, and then I start to explain.  So we had to meet to take the photos that they’ll use as props, and then we had a blocking rehearsal for our scenes.

Tina, who plays Karen, is awesome.  While we were chatting, we realized that we both spent a year in Seoul, one year apart, so we had lots to talk about!  The one thing I learned is I don’t have a “wicked smile.”  In the last scene, Karen is coaxing me to get in bed with her.  The script says that I watch her walk to the bed, straight-faced, then flash a wicked smile, and then a normal smile.  I’ve got the normal smile, or at least what I think is normal.  But a wicked smile?  Totally lost.  I couldn’t stop giggling, thinking of how stupid I must look, being totally out of my comfort zone.  Bob kept saying, “you know, it’s that really sexy, I-know-what’s-about-to-happen-and-it’s-gonna-be-wild smile.”  Oh yeah, I flash that one all the time!  So I’ve got some awkward practice time in front of the mirror planned for the next couple days.  And it’s a tight close-up so there’s no way around it.

Time to go seduce my reflection!

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