“There are so many people that I would like to thank for helping getting me to this point. I don’t have a sense of entitlement or that I deserve this at all. I really don’t know what I did in this life to earn this. I’m just a boy from a Midwest suburb who had a dream to succeed in sports, not win an Academy Award. Of course, I would like to thank the Academy, my family and most of all Best Buy for selling me my first DVD player in college allowing me to watch thousands of movies a year to prepare for this.”
Ok, so I may be a little crazy to look in the mirror and practice my acceptance speech for the 2011 Academy Awards Show, but hey, you never know. I am now officially a thespian (fancy name for an actor). I better step back a bit and explain before I confuse my readers to much.
For the past three off seasons from my job in Minor League Baseball, I am attempted to find part time work that would allow me to make some extra coin, and ultimately enjoy myself. Through a friend of a friend, an opportunity to help out with an Independent film arose. I was to be a production assistant for the flick, serving as a liaison between the set and the office, and bouncing around helping in many areas to help make the production of the movie run smooth.
The film is about World Famous Trumpet player Phil Driscoll and his life and family. He is the writer, producer and star of the film as he acts with his real life family members to tell some of his story. Not being much of a music fan, I didn’t know much about Driscoll before the movie started to film, but quickly learned how talented of a musician the man was.
For eight days, myself and a large group of crew members ventured 75 east of Atlanta, Georgia to the small town of Greensboro, where the Driscoll’s own a home on the lake. We filmed in the area using many different venues both inside and out. But for me, the excitement started the day we filmed at the Methodist Church in town.
I spend most of the day on set helping to set up the different venues of the shoot. We had a lot to get through in the one day that we would have available to film three scenes. When the outdoor scene of Driscoll playing catch with his grandson took place, a problem arose. They were short a few extras to appear in the background of the movie. I gladly stepped in for my acting debut.
The first scene I was in, I walked alone up the street, then made a right turn and walked down the street, hopefully being scene in the distance of the shot. Several minutes later, the same scene was shot from the reverse angle and more extras were needed. I again was asked to stand in, and would be located much closer to the action. I had to change my shirt and lose the hat and sunglasses, so I would appear to be a different background actor then in the previous angle of the shot. I joined another production assistant Morgan, and the two of us walked arm in arm behind the shot hoping to be caught on film.
Of course I have no lines, and will appear out of focus if the shot doesn’t get cut in final production, but I feel it is ok to tell people I made my acting debut on screen in a real movie. And who knows, maybe this will lead to an Academy Award someday. Everyone gets there start somehow, right?
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by Red Barber