Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Star Is Born

In one of the scenes we shot today, the girl who came to NY has gotten a Cabbie to take pity on her. He gets her to a nice part of the city and not only does he not charge her for the ride, he gives her $20 to help her out. He offers some fatherly advice and recommends a really good, really cheap place to eat. Before she walks away she kisses him on the cheek and thanks him. As she leaves, he smiles, becoming a gentle giant instead of the ogre we imagined when we first saw him.

Well, while we were setting up for the scene, it occurred to the director that anyone walking by and witnessing this little tableau without the benefit of any context, might think the whole thing looked a lot more pervey than sweet. He decided he needed an Extra to react to them. He decided I needed to be that Extra.

Now getting asked to be an Extra in a scene is pretty common on smaller non-union shows. They don't have the budget for enough extras to make the street look busy and they're always asking the crew to be in a shot. I've always said, "No". I've got my own job to do. If I'm established in the scene, they're going need me to be in every take for that angle, and then when they do alternate shots for the scene, I'd need to be in some of those. I really can't do my job if I'm not available to deal with any problems that arise at a moment's notice. I just can't afford to be tied to the set like that.

But I like these guys. And this was a "featured" Extra...someone who is actually part of the scene instead of just "out of focus head #3". So, I said "Yes."

I'm supposed to be walking down the street and stop to look at stuff in a store window. The cab will pull up directly behind me. When I hear a certain line of dialog, I turn to look at them, just as he hands over money and she kisses him. Up to now, I've been chewing on a cigar; now I'm puffing on it furiously. She walks away. I look back and forth between her departing figure and the cab driver. The driver notices me and his smile disappears immediately. He hollers, "What the fuck are you lookin' at?" I walk off sheepishly.

Fun, huh?

During the course of shooting this scene I also had to do my job a little bit. First Con Ed showed up and wanted to dig up the street in front of the restaurant we were shooting next. Talk, Talk, Talk; phone call to Con Ed Dispatcher; problem solved. I also had to find a store that would let up plug in a light since our generator was a block away with the guys pre-lighting the restaurant.

And then, the British Producer, who shoots behind the scenes footage interviewed me; but not as the Locations Manager...as the aspiring actor, "And do you think this role might be a turning point for you?"

So...eventually, I'll be in the show, which they post to their website after its aired, and he wants to put the interview on their website as well. I'll post links when this happens. Cool, Huh?


Tania said...

To reference someone else...

Hey, cool! When it comes out, let me know, and then I can share it with everyone and say "Hey, I sometimes comment on his blog!!!!!111!!"

Shawn Powers said...

That's really cool! Congrats!

And yes, we all want to see it when it's out. We do.

MWT said...

Nathan's gonna be on TV!

*dashes off to spam everyone else's blogs*

(not really ;) )

Janiece said...

We wants to see it, precious.

Anonymous said...

That is very awesome. Does that mean that you're now free to post a head shot on IMDB?

Anne C. said...

MWT, you crack me up.

Congrats, Nathan. Will you remember the little people (us) when you're a superstar?

Nathan said...

Given the choice, I'd still rather be on Jeopardy!

Jim Wright said...

Well, sure that's OK, I guess.

It would have been better though if you'd add-libbed in a good Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones dubious nod at the cabbie, casually tossed the cigar, and said in your best Brooklyn guy voice "Yeah, Beeeotch, I'm lookin' atchu. You wanna piece of dis? That's right! Drive away, go home to yur mother!"

Directors love it when you ad lib shit like that. You blew it, Man. It was your big chance and you blew it.

But, you know, I'm sure your way was fine too.

Nathan said...


During one rehearsal, I did say, "Drive ya fuckin cah cab-boy". The crew all laughed. The Director in his vedddy British accent said, "That was lovely Nathan...but not."

Extras, by definition, get no lines.

Unknown said...

very cool, that spat with con ed reminds me of a scene from Ghostbusters II. Which movie are you guys shooting? I'll keep a lookout for a cigar smoking extra. btw I've never seen your picture before.

Nathan said...


Its for a TV show that airs in the UK. I'll post the video after the episode has its first airing. I may have access to the interview footage before then.

I've always thought that I photograph terribly, so unless its got some other context, (like I'm making my UK debut), you're just going to have to wait to see a picture.:-)

Nathan said...

BTW Saqib,

I'm extending a personal invitation to you to participate in International Hijack™ Day. Go to the top of the blog and also look through last weekend's posts to see what its all about.

So far, everybody playing is in the U.S. and your participation would make it...well...International.