The Chocolate Lady

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pooper's first commercial, part 4

We pulled into the parking lot at Dodger Stadium, which was relatively empty. We joined a cluster of parked cars, and immediately, I spotted some crew members who were also just arriving.

While Sam and his mom happily got out of the car, I held my breath, in an attempt to soothe the angry beast of frustration that I wanted to unleash upon Pooper. I told him to get undressed, and I pulled out another outfit, thankful that we had packed several for our shoot. (note, after the pool party, I had him change into a cute outfit that I thought was perfect for the baseball shooting, but now that it was soaked in bubble gum ice cream, I tossed him sweat shorts and a t-shirt, which had been intended as a backup, or a comfy outfit for the long ride home.)

I then grabbed some handy baby-wipes and scrubbed down his sticky face, arms and hands. I reminded him, that he isnt his own parent, and that listening to his mom (the woman God gave him to help guide his life) would be in his best interest.

I grabbed my backpack, which had a second copy of, "Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand." I had brought two copies, one for David Fincher, and an extra, because I knew with the crew volunteering their time, there would be some other special person that we would want to share it with.

After the first shoot, Pooper and I agreed that Paul, the assistant whose wife was a breast cancer survivor, should also get a copy of the book. They didnt have children, yet, because his wife's treatment had left her infertile, but he told us that they wanted children. The book would be a wonderful story for any child's library, but it also is great for adults, and one of my personal favorites. Andrew autographed it for Paul, thanking him for his work to find a cure. And, by the way, if you dont have this book, consider getting your own copy of, Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand

We walked with our new friends, waiting out front of the stadium, in the line to check in. Unlike our intimate, "pool party" shoot, there would be hundreds of people in this commercial.

The handful of us in the earlier filming had "auditioned" and been selected from hundreds of "actors." But now, they were using hundreds of "extras", people that are paid to fill in scenes, crowds, passers-by in movies.

There are agencies that handle "extras" ....and I learned quite a bit about their craft, from the many people we met throughout this project.

While everyone else was volunteering their time for this event, the extras were paid. I think between $40-$80, for their afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

So, after we checked in, we sat and waited for things to start, we sat with our friend Sam, his mom, and another boy and his dad, who had also been in our pool scene (this boy and his dad were also VERY nice. They were the ones that flew down from N. CA, and I will say that the boy was not only handsome, but very well behaved.)

With about a half hour to kill, before the shoot was to get underway, I couldnt help but people watch. Sitting in the baking sun, while the 3 boys played, I noticed the throngs of extras, aspiring stars, many of whom stood out like brilliant, bright lights, (like the 20 something gal with magenta, kinky-curly hair, think Bozo, and daisy-duke shorts, and 4 inched heals that laced up to her knees) and then quite a few others, that reminded me that stars are really a mass of gas.

Our director guy (I know he isnt THE DIRECTOR, David Fincher, but he is the guy that was the head at the pool party,I dont know his name), he now had a bullhorn, and was directing everyone to line up.

I dont remember what the issue was, but as we started to line up, Pooper began to do something disobedient. Again, I cant even remember what....but as I was trying to get him to listen and follow me in line, he was doing something else. I knew he wanted to sit with his friends, and I grabbed his arm and whispered firmly into his ear, to follow me and pay attention. He fought me on it, with an angry tone, wrestling out of my grasp to do whatever it was he had been intent on doing.

Long and short of it, by the time he got in line with me, his friends had gone far ahead.

Now he was on the cusp of a full meltdown, starting to cry because he wanted to sit with his friends. I told him if he had listened to me and followed directions, he would be with his friends, but since he had been rebellious, he had lost our spot in line. I promised to do my best to get back with the other families we knew, not because I wanted to give in to his spoiled demands, but because I knew it would make the whole situation much more calm.

In the meantime, we are supposed to be quiet, not just quiet, but SILENT, as the director is giving us instructions. Crying and whining in a disrespectful tone, to your mother, is not synonomous with SILENCE, in case you were wondering.

I was in full "stage-mom" glory, as I held Pooper's arm and advised him to be quiet, while he flailed and complained.

I got a few cross looks from some "extras"....mind you, Pooper was one of a few kids out of the 300+ actors, and he was sticking out like a sore thumb, a sore thumb that had just been slammed in a car door.

He eventually settled down, and the single file line of actors was told to file into a section of the stadium seating. The director and his assistants repeated MANY TIMES, to go single file, one after another, fill every seat, do not skip seats, keep going, etc. etc.

We were going to fill up one entire section, no more, no less, but one section of the stadium, so we were all kept in line to fill the seats, in an orderly fashion, to ensure that each one was filled.

There would be no way to sit with our friends now, but I promised Pooper we would try to work things out. At this time, for all we knew, this would be our permanent seat for the day. As it turned out, it wasnt, but at the time, it seemed like it would be.

Despite the directors clear instruction, there were many "shining masses of gas" that wanted to skip a seat, or go to a different row, or who stood up, slowing the line as they strategically planned where they would sit (probably in connection to the angle of the camera) and the director had to remind them A LOT, to just keep moving, single file, on after another, fill every seat.

There was an older (70's) woman in front of us, Ill call her Rose, because to call her the "psycho woman" would not be nice. Pooper had finally acquiesced to the plan, and was obediently walking with me, hand in hand, behind Rose.

Now, as we went down the stairs, and approached our "row", Rose decided that she wanted an aisle seat, so she pulled herself away and allowed Pooper and I to go in front of her. We didnt want to go in front of her, because the director was still sternly reminding everyone to keep walking, dont leave gaps, just go to the next seat, etc. and, well, I didnt like being part of Rose's rebellion, perhaps because Pooper still had me in my "follow the darned directions!" mood.

But, not wanting to make a stir, Pooper and I followed into the row, while Rose stood on the aisle. And as those in front of us sat down, and Pooper and I sat down, it turns out, that Pooper was in the aisle seat (with me to his right.) Rose started to protest, telling him to get up, that it was her seat.

So, Pooper stands up, and Rose proceeds to yell at him to move. I told Rose that we were "together" (DUH!) and that he wasnt moving. So, now Rose is standing up, making a spectacle of herself, yelling at Pooper and I, while the director was yelling at all of us to be quiet. So, I sat, ignoring Rose, while she called me names, right up to my face, until finally, one of the production assistants came over and got her to move along.

I had no preference for that seat.....and would have been happy to give it to Rose, but to get up, and try to move, and interrupt the marching of soldiers who were moving row by row into the seating, would have just caused a lot of disruption, and I wasnt in the mood to tick off the director.

Rose eventually found another seat, but she screamed and hollored at us as she walked away.

Apparently, Pooper wasnt the only one who missed his nap, and now, thanks to Rose, the hot sun, and a weary Pooper, I was developing a migraine.


Anonymous said...

Oh my! What drama! Rose was a nut! Pooper should have offered her his autograph!!! :)

Veronica said...

Wow while this is very interesting, it doesnt seem like a good start to Poopers acting career. Hope the end result is great

Jason said...

This is a window into a whole section of society that I don't know much about, even though I do live twenty minutes away from Hollywood. Very interesting to read.

foolery said...

You did the right thing, and in a very upsetting situation. Kudos! What a hag. Wish they had thrown her off the set and blacklisted her. I got my dander up for ya.