“You have to make your own career in this town.” That’s what “they” say. And they are probably right. That doesn’t just mean going out and networking with as many randos as you possibly can, though. It also means making your own product – writing and producing your own work so that others can see it, and maybe see your name as well. Because if you don’t give yourself a role, how can you expect anyone else to? Well, sometimes you get lucky I guess, because my recent creative slump has apparently resulted in a good friend, Jason, writing and directing a short – with me in mind for one of the roles.
I won’t explicitly state the title in the body of this review, as the shoot has not be entirely legal (we almost started the latest and greatest California wildfire), but it is a lot of fun. The short is a parody of a Cops-style show, with a paranormal bent. The premise isn’t wholly unique, but Jason’s vision is distinguished by the quality of the production, and the incredible talent he has lined up.
I’m not just talking about myself, though I am number one on the call sheet (don’t tell me it’s just alphabetical). Jason has mined the connections he has made in and around the comedy community (that networking I was talking about) to put together a strong cast of improvisers and actors.
The quality doesn’t stop there. I was consistently amazed by the amount of thought and time that went into every shot Jason and the cinematographer put together. And I was similarly impressed by how many disparate crew members were willing to rally behind an odd project that they really had no stake in (besides credit). Perhaps that can be chalked up to Jason as well.
But day one ended up being a real long day. Call was at 6 am, and I wasn’t back on the road to Hollywood for a good 12+ hours. That’s okay, it’s kind of what I signed up for, but a theoretical 12 hours is way different from a practical 12 hours. All of a sudden, the care that went into setting up shots was more annoying than impressive. And my respect for the volunteer crew members waned as their conversations drifted from interesting topics to home invasion prevention during a zombie apocalypse.
This is absolutely more a problem with me than with any of them. I was tired, I was hungry, but mostly I’m just a misanthrope. And I’ve come to accept that.
Eventually some issues with a third location led to a wrap for the day; I shudder at the thought of what time I might have left Tarzana if the home-leasers had been more accommodating. The only thing that got cut short was rehearsal for tomorrow: a four- to five-minute tracking shot through the inside and and outside of a house. It may not be quite as inspired as what Cary Joji Fukunaga did on True Detective, but at least Jason is making intriguing choices.
Hopefully with a later call time (11 am), and a scene in which I am featured more prominently, I will find the energy and courage to stay in a good place for the entirety of Day Two. Not likely, but maybe.
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