Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LYCRA SAVES LIVES

Another early morning start for Day Two of the “Ice Blues” shoot, but this one was enlivened somewhat by the presence of Nelson Wong-



who plays the Eve Arden-esque



- sidekick to private eye Donald Strachey.



After a quick stop at the local Starbucks, to ingest some of their crappy but readily available coffee – and after a peculiar exchange with the mid-op transgender barista who asked us “did you guys party last night?”, obviously confusing our 5 a.m. grogginess for some kind of drug hangover –



- it was smooth sailing on the highway out to Langley for a change since we were able to travel in the HOV or “high occupancy vehicle” lane. I’m not sure how having TWO people in a car makes it qualify for “high occupancy” – if they were really serious about saving the environment by cutting vehicle emissions around here, every car on the road would be the equivalent of a Yugo filled with Circus Clowns – but at the crack of dawn I am not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.



We have a lot of work to accomplish in the short time we can afford at this location; the homeowners have graciously given us a deal – ten thousand dollars to take over their house for three days – but it’s still about three times what had been budgeted so we can’t afford a single moment of overtime. Upon arriving at the house, and seeing my tech team already in action getting things ready for the day’s work, I was feeling pretty confident – until, that is, one of my assistant directors took me aside and mentioned that the two young male extras, both under 18 and both accompanied by their moms, had not been informed by their agents about the content of the scene in which they were about to appear. And since the scene in question revolved around our Evil Kiddie Porn Producer and his Minions preparing to make one of their vile sex films, there was the distinct possibility that we would lose both of them and – ergo – the day.

This continuous problem with “Agents” not communicating with their clients seems to be endemic up here. I am currently hosting a young Canadian Actor at the hotel who is represented by arguably the best agency in the country and even after having starring roles in no less than three major feature films in the past year still can’t get them to take him seriously.



But in a nation whose film industry is almost entirely dependent upon the scraps thrown to it by the mammoth American entertainment conglomerates, having a “Canadian” agent is rather like having a seeing-eye dog with no legs; it will bark once in awhile but it’s certainly not going to get you anywhere.



So it fell upon me, as The Director, to have to explain to these nice young men that they were playing “street kids” who had to lounge around a living room in bathrobes and look as if they were about to have sex…with each other…for money.



To my relief – not to mention complete surprise - it went off without a hitch, especially when I kept referring to them as “dirty, filthy boys”, much to the delight of their respective moms who couldn’t have been more supportive. Of course the fact that they were playing their scenes with the inordinately talented Brittney Wilson –



- a young Canuck actress who will be a huge star one day soon – didn’t hurt either. Brittney and Chad’s big scene, where she discovers that the man who had promised to her get out of the kiddie porn business had been murdered took a little longer than I’d planned, mostly because I was enjoying filming it so much, but the plaintive look from my Line Producer -



- triggered my fiscal guilt reflex and I decided it was time to move outside.

The house has a full security system, including hidden cameras and motion sensor gates, and the script calls for Nelson’s character – Kenny Kwon – to slip unnoticed through those gates as the Evil Porn Producer roars past in his SUV, with young Brittney held hostage inside. Naturally, as we were running out of time, the gates refused to work properly and opened and closed seemingly on their own accord. This, combined with the fact that our “Porn Producer” actor insisted on staying “in character” as a repulsive, arrogant slimeball between takes, driving everybody on set crazy -



- and Nelson, giving his all in the scene, kept slipping on the wet pavement and falling flat on his face when the camera rolled ate up the last few moments of our night but somehow we still managed to finish the day on time.

However this minor triumph was short lived as, while I slogged through the mud pit which was the parking area on my way to my rental car, I was informed by our locations manager that the homeowners were upset about the naked actors from the night before being in their hot tub. They had kept their security cameras rolling during our shooting hours in order to “keep an eye on things” and the Lady Of The House was shocked to see an unfettered penis swinging in the night air. This, apparently, is against house rules and now, in the name of hygiene, the production has to pay to have the entire pool drained.

I must remember to make a note of this when I get home to my own pool in the desert; I’ve always outlawed swimming costumes at 801 just on principle –



- they were, after all, created by the same religious fanatics who believed bathing more than once a week was a sinful pleasure - but evidently that thin layer of lycra/spandex offers more protection from the defilement of chlorinated water than I had previously thought.



One truly does learn something new every day.

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