DAY 145: Helping actors act

23 Jan

IT’S an oppressively hot day, and Ezekiel Ox is looming menacingly before me in a funereal suit. He exhales a plume of cigar smoke and says softly, “How do you kill someone twice, cockhead?”

I gaze back into his pitiless eyes, shaking. That’s on account of the boom mic I’m holding above my head, which is tons heavier than expected. If the vibrating furball bobbing above his nose isn’t putting him off his lines, my grimace should be, but Zeke – an actor and band frontman of much notoriety – is a professional.

I listen to him emote through his lines, mentally urging him faster. Ohcomeonohcomeonohcomeonohcomeon

“And cut!”

Blockhouse Blues and the Elmore Beast, written and directed by Ross McQueen, is a tale of two bumbling goons who accept a job to kidnap a schoolgirl in the hope of impressing a local gangster. Of course, all goes horribly wrong.

In the scene we’re shooting in a suburban back garden, bumbling goons Paul Cousins and Nathan Strauss (look, I’m going to jump in and point out the latter is ‘Jason’ from that RACV ad, because I reckon we all need to get it out of our system now before the film comes out) are starting to feel they’re in over their heads.

The scene calls for a sunset, so the director of photography, Nicole Cleary, gets me to help her attach a barn door shutter to some antiquated lights, to which we then apply orange gel – essentially thick cellophane. She artfully arranges the lights inside and outside the garage and voila: the actors are bathed in a hazy glow. Jeez, it’s not exactly hi-tech, though. I’m wondering what she’ll get up to next with a couple of toilet rolls and some sticky-backed plastic. “It is like primary school art and craft,” she agrees happily.

Fiddling at the barn door.

Having worked through the roles of boom operator, grip and gaffer (I think one involved moving a light and another involved plugging it in), it’s time for me to be the clapper.

On set, the guys are all discussing the porn version of the film – Blockhouse Blueballs and the Elmore Fist – which’ll no doubt come out in a few years. “We probably won’t have worked since this film, so we can all put our hands up to be in it,” Zeke says, in band banter-mode.

“Zeke, can we get you blowing smoke as you go past?” the director interrupts.

“Up your arse? You’re going a great job, man.”

And… action!

My clapping needed direction.

Found this on my camera later, amongst other stuff.

 Keeper? Ah, the camaraderie of a film set (when the raging egomaniacs aren’t in the scene). This was pretty inspiring.

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