I Get Paid in Sandwiches

Kat Glover, professional actress.

If you get paid with a sandwich, does that mean you are officially an actress?

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of being in CO to participate as an extra in the filming of Project 5. 

http://www.facebook.com/P5movie

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The movie is being made by Bob Morsch, Shamus MacLeod, and Joshua Bower.  The film is about two brothers who commit a string of crimes they call “projects,” hoping to add excitement and meaning to their lives.  As their crime spree progresses, one brother wants to back out, while the other wishes to continue. Therein lies the conflict.

Since I had flown in from out of state, I spent the prior evening with my friend from high school, Jen.  I believe she prefers to be called Jennifer, but I can’t help it- she’s Jen to me.  The morning of the shoot, we got up, ate breakfast and went our separate ways to finish getting ready.  This is to be my film debut.  I wanted to look good.  I opted for an airy green dress with black leggings and black boots.  I flat ironed my hair and put on jewelry- two things I almost never do.  For a 38 year old mother of two, I looked pretty smokin’.  Only problem- I looked like I was going out to shake it in a club, not down PBR’s in a sports bar.  But hey, no one from wardrobe contacted me about my costume changes, so my outfit had to suffice.  Maybe I looked like some cougar on the town to check out the prospects meeting up for Fantasy Football League.

When I saw Jen in her spaghetti strap tank, school girl plaid skirt, and black motorcycle boots, I let out a sigh of relief.  At least one person went as overboard as I did.  I can talk all the talk about appearances not mattering, but when it’s caught on film, you best believe it’s not gonna be a yoga pants day for these cats.

I didn’t know what to expect at the shoot.  Would it be a tightly run, professional operation or complete mayhem?  We arrived and introduced ourselves to the director.  He advised that he was checking some sound levels, or some other technical term, and we’d start shooting in a few minutes.

Jen used this time to get into character.  As “Girl Playing Darts,” she would be expected to, in fact, play darts.  She tossed a few, while I applied some lip gloss.  She glanced in my direction, and said “why does it look like you have cake batter in your hair?”

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I sprinted to the bathroom to check it out.  Apparently, you have to spray the hairspray bottle more often than once a decade for it to not congeal as it is sprayed on to your locks.  I pawed at my scalp in a fevered attempt to make it not look like a bird had shit on my hair.  Luckily, Jen had a brush with her and was able to fix the worst offenders.

The director, Josh, rounded us up for a “go team” type speech.  He broke down the course of action for the day, and thanked us for helping to make his project a reality.  It probably sounds cheesy, but I felt pretty good when he did that.  It’s not often when you get the chance to take part in someone realizing a dream.  By god, I was going to be the best “Girl at Jukebox” he’d ever seen.

Josh asked us each to sign a waiver stating we were not getting paid for our appearance in the movie.  But he then said we’d each get a DVD copy and a free lunch for helping him out.  Score!  Free Rueben!

There were jugs of apple juice and sparkling cider on one of the tables.  All the alcoholics simultaneously began thinking “do we have to drink juice instead of beer?”  I know this, because that is what I was thinking.  If we would have been in the classroom, every hand would have been in the air, waiting to ask the all important question for clarification.  Josh must have read our minds because he finished his speech with “and you don’t have to drink apple juice.  You can have beer.  We want this to feel like a real bar scene.”  Done and done.  Audible sigh of relief from my thirsty brethren.  My brother Chris races to buy a pitcher, commenting on being a method actor.

Jen is whisked away to go throw her darts.  At one point, I am asked to come high five her as she scores a bullseye.  Scores a bullseye?  Is that how you say that?  I know nothing of darts.  Producing a natural high five is a lot more challenging than I thought.  Jen and I have never really been known to high five each other.  We awkwardly slapped hands in congratulations.  I will be very curious to see if this scene ends up on the cutting room floor.  Had I known this gig would require me to take on multiple roles, I never would have signed that waiver accepting a sandwich as compensation.  At the very least, I would have made them throw in some fries.  I guess that’s why you always get the money up front.

My big scene was ready to be shot.  Bob explained my queue to me.  The camera was going to follow a guy as he enters the bar and walks over to a table.  At the table, he would bro hug his cohort and sit down for a beer.  The camera would swing back around to the table featuring the stars of the movie.  At this point, I would walk over to the jukebox, and pretend to play a song.  I was jazzed to discover the song that I was supposedly be putting on will signal  the entrance of the female lead.  My part has meaning! I’m playing her song!

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I nervously sat and timed my queue.  It was a bit difficult to watch the camera without watching the camera.  Time to go! I sauntered over to the jukebox.  I didn’t have more than three seconds to choose a song, so I basically selected the first song I saw.  We did five takes.  Here is what would have been played according to my picks:

  1.  Michael Jackson- “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough”
  2. Lynard Skynard- “Free Bird”
  3. Metallica- “Enter Sandman”
  4. Bob Seger- “Against the Wind”
  5. Queen- “Bohemian Rhapsody”

The director then took some closeup shots of my hands typing in a search for the actual song to be played- gotta see the movie to know what it is!  I noticed he had a more expensive version of the camera I own, and that made me happy, even though I had no hand in selecting my camera.

Small break that somehow led to Jaeger bombs in the parking lots.  When I say Jaeger bombs, I don’t mean that the bartender prepared a round of shots for us.  Rather, we stood in the parking lot, drinking Jaeger straight from the bottle and chasing it with a warm Red Bull.  Ahh, 11:30am on a Monday.

Back to work.  Jen and I were now “ladies at the end of the bar.”  Man, how many roles can I play in this thing?  We are to chat quietly and drink beer while the actors at the other end of the bar have a pivotal conversation.  We completed take 1, and the director complimented Jen and I on our acting.  Nice.  I guess all those years getting drunk during day light hours were good for something.

We shot a couple more takes and lunch break.  I met the female lead, Xanthe.  We became fast friends over a round of shots.  I invited her to sit at a table with Jen, my brother, and my friend Dan who looks like Paul Bunyon, and is an actual lumberjack.  He could not possibly fit the physical appearance of that role any better unless he had a blue bison.  At some point, Xanthe breaks out a guitar, and begins singing and playing.  How cool is that?

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Lunch ends, and in true jet setter fashion, I had to leave to catch my flight.  Which is a good thing, because any more beer drinking from me and the movie would take a very different direction.  Instead of being a feature, it would be some horrible clip that would be featured on Tosh.0.

Back to Arizona, back to reality.  But it was fun to be an actor for a day.

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