Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 83: Leonardo Has the POWER!!!

Last night the wife and I had our big screen debuts! Sort of. We were really in a movie and it was really playing in a legit movie theater (an Alamo Drafthouse no less!). But to be fair it was in a fan film that was really intended to be viewed on the internet or in a home theater setting. Even so it was pretty awesome watching it with so many other people. While some of the people in attendance worked on the movie in some fashion there were quite a few people there who weren't connected with the production in any way. The Alamo staff said it was one of the biggest private release they've ever worked which is pretty awesome. What is this film I keep talking about? That would be Masters of the Universe: Wizard of Stone Mountain!

Our good friend John Carroll is the biggest Masters of the Universe fan I have ever met. I have to be honest, I never watched the show when I was little and I have very little knowledge of the universe built around these characters. When he first started talking about doing this movie I knew He-Man, Skeletor and that's about it. I still don't know much beyond that, but at least I've seen some of the other characters or heard them mentioned. So John decided to write and film a trilogy based in the Masters of the Universe universe and he asked my wife if she would be in it as Princess Adora/She-Ra. Really what that amounts to in the first film is not much more than a few seconds on screen and no lines, but it does promise some more screen time in the later films. So that's pretty awesome for my wife; she likes to act and figured this would be a good experience.

Then I got offered a part.

Let me explain something to everyone. I'm not an actor. I don't like to act, I'm no good at acting and I've never aspired to be an actor. I was not made for any sort of spotlight, even when it comes to music. As much as I enjoy it performing live was never my favorite part of being a musician. Fortune I'll take; fame I have never wanted.

My initial answer when John asked me to be in the movie was, "No. Absolutely not." Then he came back with a promise that I wouldn't have to do any acting. The role would be a bit character with no lines and I would be wearing a mask. I don't like to act, but I am a fan of costumes so I said OK as long as I didn't have to actually do any acting. Ironically once I got the costume on I wasn't able to show any emotion or even turn my head, so it wasn't so much that I refused to act, but that I physically couldn't.

I was playing a Caligar Ambassador. Translation: I was a lizard-man. John told me that he actually had a back story for my character planned out even though I wasn't going to be speaking or doing much of anything. His name was supposed to be Seratis (Ceratis?), pronounced Sarah-tiss, but everyone we were hanging out with at John's house decided we liked the name Lizardo better so I became Seratis Lizardo. I don't know what the actual back story was supposed to be, but it was determined by everyone else that I was a lizard-man that lived under a rock and enjoyed fancy dinner parties where spaghetti is served. I held onto that back story as my motivation for my scene.

The day came for my wife and I to meet the crew on location at a small church in Leander, TX (not far from our apartment, actually). We would be in the same scene so it worked out well. We spent roughly 85,000 hours waiting to be called to set in which time I did a lot of reading and some sleeping on a stage in what I assume was a reception hall for the church. Since I was wearing a mask I didn't need anything done with my hair and my makeup consisted of painting green around my eyes and black around my mouth.

In our scene we were sitting around a table presumably enjoying breakfast with the royal family. I wasn't the only freak in the scene; sitting across from me was Chief Carnivus, a lion-man with awesome makeup. I was supposed to be strictly background due to my aversion to acting and because the mask wasn't quite high quality enough to be prominently displayed in a scene. Unfortunately the room we were shooting in was pretty small and didn't allow for anyone to be in the background, so they sat me at the corner of the table as out of the way as possible.

Apparently sitting at a table with a lizard-man is pretty funny because the other actors could not keep a straight face. Everyone was making fun of my serious expression and the fact that my laughter was only evident by my shaking shoulders. They kept trying to push me further and further into the corner and out of the direct line of the camera and someone made the joke, "Nobody puts Lizardo in the corner." That was the end of shooting for about fifteen minutes while everyone doubled-over laughing and make-up had to be reapplied because of the tears of laughter. We did eventually get the shot and we were free to leave shortly afterward.

So, like I said, last night was the premiere in Austin. Technical issues aside the movie was actually very entertaining. The story was straight forward and didn't take itself too seriously, both of which seem to be common problems with films by first-time filmmakers. The costuming and visual effects were impressive especially considering the means that they were working with. The directors stated before the show that this, being their first real outing into the realm of film, was definitely a learning experience and they are now much more prepared to continue on with the final entries in the trilogy.

In case you're curious I did make it into the movie. There are a couple of moments where the camera doesn't quite hide me behind another character's head in the scene and I was even featured briefly in the outtakes. The most exciting thing about the night was first when I got to stand up with all the other actors even though I didn't really do anything in the movie, and then later when they talked about how funny that scene was and I was asked to stand up again and got my own round of applause. Nothing like getting recognized by a theater full of people for wearing a mask and sitting perfectly still.

Sadly it doesn't look like Seratis Lizardo will be making an appearance in the next two films, but I'm OK with that. I'll just sit on the sidelines and remember my glory days as the emotionless lizard-man.


In other fan film news I keep forgetting to mention it, but the Casey Jones movie that I blogged about a while ago is now up online. You should go check it out cause it's pretty awesome.

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