Friday, June 20, 2008

Cool Briefs

What I meant to say is a Brief posting about some Cool things I saw, but "Brief Cool" just is not a good headline. A good title for a French language police thriller, perhaps.


Time is short as we are shooting James McKenney's new movie, "Satan Hates You" over the next two weeks in Brooklyn and Queens, but after three days of shooting I wanted to take a moment and relay two cool things I saw last night.

First, I worked with Michael Berryman, horror icon, last night and watched as yet another star of a million kid's nightmares gave an hilarious comic performance. Between takes he turned to Ruth Kulerman, the actress he was working with, and started singing! Angus Scrimm, the infamous Tall Man of the Phantasm movies did the same thing when we have worked with him. I turned to Jim and asked "So of the five or six Most Terrifying Men in Film, I've met two any of them not sing?"
Having never been a horror movie fan (they actually scare seriously...not in a fun way), I didn't have any preconceptions of these actors but I have to admit I wouldn't have expected them to be some of the sweetest people one could ever meet. Both are serious animal lovers. During the inevitable "My pic with Michael Berryman" receiving line after his day of shooting was over, he patiently stood for pictures with every member of the cast and crew, which though tiny, still took quite a while, his only request that each person just go and visit the website for the wolf sanctuary he's involved in. (I left the addy at the set, will edit it in today!)
Berryman has a great comic sense on camera and is an energetic raconteur during breaks. If I write here that he dropped some words of film wisdom Milos Foreman told him, I'm sure it reads very Dennis Miller Los Angeles Skeezeball Grotesque, but in the context of a discussion with Jim about what we actors should be worrying about and not worrying about in the scene, it was just shop talk.
Intimidating shop talk, but shop talk nonetheless.

The second and in the end cooler thing I saw was our sound man, David, explaining his equipment, piece by piece during breaks to our 18 year-old, I-just-want-to-learn-everything-about-film intern and letting him boom a couple shots at the end of the day. Like carpentry, the tradecrafts involved in making movies benefit greatly from book knowledge, but cannot be learned from books. Somebody has to decide to show you how to do it, then stand there and make sure you don't f- it up. If you are lucky, they don't just show you how to operate each tool and complete each task, but how to approach The Job and Work in general; how to be a Professional, and just how small a percentage simply operating tools and completing tasks has to do with earning that title.
Every once in a while things devolve into sentimentality around here, I know, I know...
But every once in a while things slow down enough for my eyes to actually see, and when that happens I usually see something pretty decent. Last night, sitting alone on a staircase with a faceful of makeup and a fistfull of beer, watching the last shot of a long day, I saw a very young kid learning The Job from a young pro as they recorded the between-takes ballads of an "old" pro still full of surprises in the twilight of his career.
It gave me a grin so big it should be easy to find and pull out next time this cantankerous old brain turns on me again...

Mr. McKenney is being as secretive as always, but as soon as I clear photos for public consumption, I'll post 'em.

(By the way...being late=not pro, which I am about to be...I thought this was supposed to be a short post...?)


  1. “Sentiment is intellectualized emotion; emotion precipitated, as it were, in pretty crystals by the fancy” ~james russell lowell

    in honor of the the moment....

  2. "Cool Briefs" mede me think you'd discovered some wonderful new undergarments for the months of heat and humidity. (No, seriously.)

    A giggle-inducing title for an awwww-inducing post.

  3. I know Martha, I thought he was giving a "must have underwear" list to go along with the essential tools list.

    I just got Automatons last week and very much enjoyed Angus Scrimm's contribution to the extras. He seems a real class act, and pretty damn witty.

  4. I would never presume to list "must haves" in the underwear department, it's just too much a personal taste. I will, however, say I've found a good general rule during summer months is to match the percentage of non-cotton material to the relative humidity.

  5. Ahh! I am so jealous! Berryman & Scrimm!! I can't stand it! You are a lucky man.

    I thought "cool briefs" was finally going to answer the question, "Does DW wear boxers, briefs or go commando?".

    Ah well, some things are better left to the imagination.

    *evil snicker*