I got the call Sunday night. I was to be ready at noon on Monday for my big speaking scene in the movie. I was ready to roll. For some reason I had trouble sleeping, I don’t think it was nerves, because I wasn’t nervous, at least not at that time. I think I got about 3 or 4 hours of sleep by the time I gave up and decided to hit the shower. Then I took off for the outskirts of the county located in the Branch.
I arrived and immediately felt the same uncomfortableness I felt on Saturday. I felt that I was an outsider and it wasn’t because of anything anyone on the set did, they just did what they always do. I just hadn’t spent any time with them. They had a rapport, a frame of reference so to speak. The director arrived and shot a scene between the two leads, and then it was my turn.
In the script, my character has two lines basically. I talked with Coach A on Saturday and he said that he had a few lines, but it turned into 7 or 8 lines, so I was ready to get more lines, at least I thought I was. I was dressed in my nice blue jean overalls with my white t-shirt on and my work boots. I had grease and dirt rubbed on my arms and face and shirt. I looked like I had just crawled out from underneath a car and for me that would definitely be acting.
We ran through the scene and the first thing that changed was that it took place outside instead of around the dinner table. The director started adding some lines to the main characters. We ran through it one time and it felt kind of forced and unrealistic. The director wanted me to goad Curtis into a fight with Aline, he wanted me to say more things like, “How do you put up with her?” Things of that nature. He wanted our conversation to be comfortable. It was just a little hard to sit and talk with your “best friend” if you do not even know the guy. I guess that’s why they call it ACTING!! Thank yow!! No, thank yow!!
Anyway we ran through it a few times because we had to nail it in one take because the end of the scene had the put upon wife dumping a pitcher of water on the abusive husband. We also find out that there is narration over the first part of our scene, so I and Curtis had to adlib a little conversation before we hit the important lines.
Action! Curtis passed me a beer, actually Diet Dr. Pepper in a washed out (I hope) beer bottle, then he passed me a cigarette and I lit up. I was asked if I smoked because they wanted me to have a cigarette in the scene. I said that I didn’t smoke, but I had practiced earlier in life. I lit the cigarette with the wooden matches praying the wind wouldn’t blow it out before I got lit. I would have really looked like a jackass if I had to make a second attempt at my cigarette. It lit and I began puffing away. We got into the main part of our lines, I threw in some adlibs such as, “Is she like this every day?” and “I don’t think I could put up with it.” Then the water came and splash. Cut! We were told good job by the director, but I felt like I didn’t do as good as I could, but oh well. If it looked ok then it should be alright.
I was relieved and I smoked that cigarette to the filter. My scene was over and I thought I was done. I could now get a haircut that was way over do and shave the scrounginess off before I return to work. I am not sure how my patchy 7 day beard would go over very well in the courthouse. I asked if I were done, as in for the whole movie and was told there was one more scene they needed me for. I am now in the café scene where Curtis first meets Aline. This will be my third scene, which is exciting but I was sure they wouldn’t let me cut my hair. I asked, they said they didn’t think it would matter, so today I am going to get shorn.
All in all it was a pretty cool experience, although a little nerve racking when the time came to put up or shut up. I guess I put up, but I kind of felt like I did a little shutting up. It’s not over yet, I should have another entry or two to go before this is over, then it is on to the next project.