continued... by Maray Ayres
After a few months of production meetings, Jody came up with some rewrites for camera which grew into a totally different story than the original one act play. Hal, Rick and myself approved of the now, psychological thriller, and were eager to get SAG approval and begin searching for locations, and of course the permits that go along with that. What a nightmare! Thank goodness that SAG was generous and very helpful in getting our Union Credentials. After numerous huntings for a location in Los Angeles County, we found the cost was too prohibitive to adhere to their qualifications... so off we went to Kern County. We aquired Robert Amico as an Associate and Line Producer to assist us with permits, insurance and all those unknown issues that we knew nothing about. Robert was quite familiar with all of that having produced many independent films himself. Jody was very particular and specific as to the setting, wardrobe, hair, etc. but we finally found an acceptable location in Rosemond near Lancaster/Palmdale area where they were more relaxed with thieir requirements. So we only used one policeman for traffic control in the desert.... bad choice! But that's a whole other episode about our little film!
Sara and I had been rehearsing extensively with our director, Jody. She also added one more cast member to play the Lovely Skank. We now had our union cast and crew all on deck ready to spend two days and three nights on location. Of course we needed an RV around 20 feet, but our producer Hal, was able to finangle a 40 footer as our serve-all honey wagon. It was equipped with 2 full beds, kitchen, shower bathroom, and living room! EGADS!! I was so excited I nearly fainted! Finally something was going our way! Of course we still needed someone to drive this gorgeous nearly new $200,000.00 home on wheels! The private owner hadn't wanted to rent it for just 3 days, but evidently Hal said, "I'll give you X amount of dollars right now.... if not... you get nothing and it sits in the lot all weekend. Your choice." While the rest of us stayed in a motel about ten minutes away from base camp, my husband enjoyed the luxury of the RV (TV of course) until we needed it for wardrobe, makeup, and production meetings.
It was extremely hot for Sara and I on the highway all day, but I suspect Jody was delighted since my character needed to show wear-n-tear from the desert heat. She got her wish. The chore was to keep Sara fresh and pristine! Besides the RV, we hired an Armenian catering service. The breakfast was beyond super. You would have thought we were a high budget film company. When the crew saw our RV and the food... THEY nearly fainted also! We were able to park the RV and our personal vehicles on the property of a lovely woman and her son who were delighted to have us there. She even invited us back if we needed to do any more filming in the future... and we did! I will never forget her kindness. She opened her home to us and allowed whomever needed, to lounge around and even take naps on her sofa and eat snacks that she served up for everybody. And when we did return for more filming, she made room for makeup and wardrobe and basically handed over her home to us for whatever we needed. I'm sad to say that she has since succumbed to cancer and never got to see our film.
The first shot of the day started at dawn as I'm being thrown out of a car and then running down the road to gather up my belongings also tossed out of the car. After two hours of this, I was pretty sore and my old tennis knee injury was acting up, so I looked and moved like I had been run over by a mack truck! Took no acting on my part to look like a worn-out, exhausted woman! It's called "an actor living in the moment."
The next shot was with Sara and by now the temperature was 101 degrees and it was still morning! But we're tough! We drank water mixed with some kind of solution to help with the heat and dehydration whenever possible. And huge umbrellas were held over us for shade in between takes. Plus Jody supplied bandanas for the crew especially, to dip in a cooler filled with water, ice and Sea Breeze then tying them around their necks, wrists, foreheads, etc. Truly works well to keep cool. Day two was 12 hours and just as hot, but seemed to go quite well. Sara and I were on a roll and Jody seemd pleased with our performances. We didn't get every shot that Jody had hoped for due to the interruptions from traffic that came out of nowhere... and of course we only had ONE police officer to hold cars back at one end of this deserted (so we thought) desert road. We didn't have enough crew to hold back the other end of the road. Very frustrating for everybody. But lunch was GREAT!!
"Nothing can help you or hurt you as much as the thoughts you carry in your own head."-Zen Buddhism