Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How I Spent the Weekend Before Last

It took two days, a big roll of blackout fabric, one expensive trip to the nursery, two semi-expensive trips to Lowe's, twelve bags of mulch, much sweat and exertion, but Chad & I finally have something approximating landscaping in the front yard.

Chad also tilled up the yard and spread grass seed and nontoxic fertilizer in the front yard. Now we just have to wait for the grass to grow. In the process of digging and tilling, we found several big rocks and lots of little plastic plant markers. One of our sweet, octogenarian neighbors told us that a part-owner of Shoal Creek Nursery lived in our house for several years, and planted the whole front yard like a lush flower garden. Then the next owner of the house ripped up all of the plants and had grass in the front yard. I'd love to see a photo of the yard back in its flowering garden glory.

Coffee, Tea or...

I've been busy, and alternately, recovering from the busy. A week ago, I got to play that 1965 flight attendant after all. According to one of the casting people associated with that movie, the director handpicked each extra based on their photos. The director insisted that I should be the flight attendant and ordered the wardrobe crew to make the dress work. Luckily, the vintage dress was stretchy polyester and posed no problem.

Last Wednesday, I awoke at 5:00 AM to put my hair in hot rollers and drive an hour down the road to the tiny Georgetown airport for my 6:30 AM makeup call time. The hairstylist teased my hair and used about twenty bobby-pins to coax my hair into a 1960s updo. Then the makeup lady worked her magic with liberal use of black eyeliner to make me look 1960s glamorous. Then the other extras and I sat in the big tent and waited for the rain to stop. We waited nearly two hours, because the airport was supposed to be set in Tuscon with a line referencing how hot and dry it was.

When we finally got to go to the airport landing area, we climbed aboard a vintage 1957 airplane to film our scene of disembarking the plane with the film's title character, Temple Grandin, who was played by Claire Danes. Claire climbed slowly up the steps to the airplane. She took her spot and asked where I'd be standing as we exited. She & I talked about how flying seemed much more glamorous back in the 1960s compared to how grueling and unglamorous air travel is today. Claire has gorgeous eyes in person. She is very willowy. One can't help but want to hug her and offer her a hearty meal upon seeing her.

After a rehearsal of the scene, the director decided that he wanted me to stand at the bottom of the airplane steps and say goodbye to the passengers as they left. We shot the scene about fifteen times from different angles and with different cameras, pausing a few times to wait out short rain showers. At one point during all of this, I heard a voice behind me call out, " Dear, your slip is showing." I turned and said, "Thanks for telling me, but why are you looking at my slip?" to none other than Catherine O'Hara. She replied, "I gotta stare at something between takes." Then she called a wardrobe lady over to help me fix the slip. Catherine O'Hara is strikingly beautiful in person. She seemed very nice and good-natured, hanging out with the extras between takes.

We finally wrapped our scene around 3:00 PM and headed back to base camp/the tent to change out of our costumes and hand in our pay vouchers. When I gave my costume back to the wardrobe lady, she smiled and asked if I knew I was singled out to be the flight attendant. I said yes and explained about the concern over the dress not fitting. She told me I looked perfect and that I got a lot of attention from the crew. *blush* Then she congratulated me for doing such a great job. Her very complimentary gushing was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae on that rainy Wednesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Housewife/Actress Needs Vacation

I've been busy. The past few weeks have seen me at auditions, acting workshops, working as an extra, acting in a film director's workshop for the University of Texas and then filming that scene, doing the usual housework/chores and trying to make it to the gym three times a week for 90-minute sessions. The next few weeks of my calendar hold more of the same.

I'm tired. I want to go away to a nice hotel somewhere quiet for a few days (maybe weeks) where I'll sleep a lot and read some books. While I'm gone, I'd like for a professional handyman (or handywoman) to patch the sagging trim work around the carport steps, replace the carport door, repaint all the exterior doors and shutters from black to "blackberry jam", install an electric dishwasher, build custom cabinetry and drawers in the kitchen to replace the 55 year-old cabinets and drawers that will be damaged when the electric dishwasher gets installed, replace the columns around the front porch & carport, repair all the cracked concrete in the carport and repair the rotting wood trim on the corner of the carport roof. While I'm gone I'd also like for a professional landscaper to level the yard (front and back), design and install an irrigation system, plant lots of pretty native/drought-tolerant plants, artfully place some big boulders along the front and busy-street sides of the yard and build a raised bed in the back for my veggies that are outgrowing their pots.

Just call me when it's all done, and (maybe) I'll be ready to return home. Thanks!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Night Lights, Take 2

I worked as an extra again yesterday for "Friday Night Lights". (I have got to watch that show this year!) Another lady and I got plucked from about twenty other extras to stand with actors who actually had lines at a scene featuring a real estate open house. I got to say a line too! It was, "No. Not yet." Exciting stuff!

Super-cute (but not as cute as my husband) actor, Kyle Chandler, said "hi" to me as we passed in the doorway to the open house. I've liked him ever since he was on "Early Edition".

After my scene was done, I had to clear out of the camera range, but was not allowed to leave yet. A nice crew lady gave me a folding chair that said "cast" on it. I got to sit in the room with the sound guys and watch the monitors of the different cameras. The sound guys even gave me a headset so I could hear what was happening on set. I felt like a real actor, and not just "background".

I think that FNL gets such good reviews from critics because the use of natural lighting whenever possible and the multiple camera views of each scene make the show look real, as if you're there. I also love that the scripts are somewhat loose on this show, allowing for a bit of adjustment for the situation and realism in the language.

Just before sunset, the director told us we were wrapped and sent us back to base camp in big, white shuttle vans. This second go-round on FNL was nicer than the first.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

But They're Real

I got a call today from an HBO production shooting in Austin. The Casting Directors liked my look and set aside my photos for consideration for a role as a 1950s era flight attendant. This is one of those phone calls actors dream of getting! And the movie stars
Claire Danes, who I've loved ever since she played Angela on "My So-called Life".

Anyway, I'm confirming some information for the casting lady over the phone which includes my clothing sizes. People in the 1950s were generally smaller than people today. My shortness is working for me, as are my small-ish feet. My pant size, dress size and shirt size are all fine for the vintage costume pieces. Then the casting lady asks my bust size, and I tell her. She says, "Really? Are you sure?" I confirm that I had a professional fitting for new bras recently (after all that weight loss) and that, yes, that's my bra size. She then says, "I think that takes you out of the running." I'm crestfallen and watching my role as a 1950s flight attendant slip away. I blurt out, "but they're real. It's not like they're crazy implants. I can mash them down with some ace bandages or something." The casting lady goes on to say that she's sure they'll have something else for me, and that they'll be in town shooting until Thanksgiving. Don't call us, we'll call you, and all that.