Don't Quit Your Day Job

August 13, 2010 by cynick | Posted in film

Several weeks ago, my downstairs neighbor invited me to be in a film he was making.

A non-speaking role only; he just needed a couple people to play menacing villains, and I was the first person he thought of. I wasn’t sure whether I should have been flattered or insulted, but I can definitely look really scary if I want to. Even my normal appearance is somewhat intimidating. He signed up his future son-in-law as Villain #2.

They have been shooting the film over the last four weeks; the scene I’m in was shot yesterday, on the last day of shooting. The shoot was at a greenhouse in South Minneapolis, near 44th and France. It’s an old school neighborhood greenhouse that has been around for decades – and whose underlying real estate must be worth a fortune.

I was only privy to the pages of the scene being shot there, and got a hand-wavy description of the rest of the story, but basically, it’s about a young woman with some kind of magical powers who travels from the past to 2010 MInneapolis.

The greenhouse scene involves this woman walking into the greenhouse to inquire about a job, only to realize she’s walked in on a robbery in progress. A couple of robbers are stealing some very particular kinds of plants, and the greenhouse owner, with her hands up, is pleading with the robbers about how valuable the plants are, and how they need special care. The implication is that those robbers may actually be from the heroine’s world and that those plants may have something to do with her magic.

She stares the robbers down, throws some threatening words at them, and then poof! they disappear in a flash of special effects.

This all takes place in, say, 15 seconds.

Of course, the reality of shooting it was much different. Since they were shooting with a single camera, multiple angles had to be shot in sequence, which meant that the scene had to be played out over and over again. I lost count of the number of takes, but it was probably around a dozen. They needed me for about an hour, and then I was released.

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous at first – I generally shy away from being caught on film – but after the first few takes, and I saw that the people running the thing really knew what they were doing, I began to enjoy it.

Ultimately, it will be released in small, weekly webisodes; I’ll post a link when it becomes available.

I may not actually watch it myself: I’m not sure how keen I am to see myself on camera. But others might get a kick out of it.