I was a stand-in on Wednesday for a yet-to-be-titled movie
starring Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, some cute kids, etc., along with Jeanette McMahon (pronounced "mac'-muh-hon," not "mac-man'," she informed me, and I hope I got that right) for whom I was the stand-in. It was fun meeting her. A stand-in gets no film time. As a stand-in, I'm basically a prop that can move itself; I was to stand-in for Jeanette during camera and lights set-up. There was more standing around than standing in. But I loved it! Let me tell you about it:
*There are more crew members than cast members. I would guess that the crew outnumbered the actors about 10:1. But maybe it just seemed that way because they were moving everywhere.
*Crew members get to carry cool utility belts that are just like Mary Poppins's bottomless bag. Once the main little girl actress sneezed and needed a tissue. No less than three crew members started pulling out tissues from their utility belts. The crew member in front of me pulled out a can of Dust Off to clean the camera lens then it disappeared back into her utility belt. Someone called for scissors--they were coming out of all sorts of utility belts. The mechanism for the lift on the van dropped and busted open a bit. Two crew members had that back together with electricians tape. Tools, tape, tissues, scissors, lint brushes, and probably the kitchen sink were inside those belts. The radios they all carried were primarily clipped to the back pocket. It looks kewler that way.
*You can get a lot done as a stand-in. I was on set from 9:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. I stood-in about three times; watched a lot, and edited my children's script for CET (www.cetsalem.org) using a clipboard. Not a brilliant idea. My arm, shoulder and neck were painful when I went to bed. Ouch.
*The call for lunch was about 4 p.m. I thought that was a pretty clever idea. Then you don't have to feed the actors (and props like me) dinner, too. And the truth of the matter is: you have to film while you have the weather to do so. The food was superb! I had a little of everything. The main dishes were herbed chicken breast, tri-tip steak and halibut. When I go watch the movie, I will applaud during the credits when the caterer's name rolls by!
*For the hours I spent there, the filming was all centered around the van. ALL of the filming was centered around the van in the driveway from at least 10-7:30 p.m. Each area was shot several times. There were shots happening at the rear of the van. The cameras were moved a bit and we have a few shots of the side of the van and the skateboarding child in the driveway. The right back doors were removed for inside of van shots. Those doors were replaced and the doors on the left were removed for more inside van shots. Cameras were moved and then we had takes looking straight into the front of the van. Then seats were removed in the back of the van (this is where I got to stand-in by sitting in the passenger front) and shots were taken looking outside the van. I had to step over cables, around tripods holding cameras, and squeeze between people to get to my place. I'm telling ya: crew work is intensive and seems more fascinating than the acting.
*The real Crowley family showed up, along with the nurse who's been with them for a LONG time, I understand. How neat is that! So when you watch the special features on the DVD, you'll see Tom Vaughn, the director, Keri Russell, the kids playing the Crowley kids, and others all standing around and talking and getting pictures taken. Cool!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Crowley_(biotech_executive) This wikipedia entry is about the family, kinda, more about dad; there's a book out, too: The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – And Bucked the Medical Establishment – In a Quest to Save His Children
*I got to chitchat with the Grandma of the boy who plays John, jr. After the shoot is over, they're touring Oregon. I told her some Oregon greats to go see. What fun.
I learned so much while watching everybody do their thing. It was fascinating (did I already say that?). Mainly I learned I prefer the stage!