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MOVIES, STAGE, and TELEVISION

Thespianism is a disease. An addictive narcotic. (Lee A. Wood)

(My Ford Van.)
MY `72 FORD VAN
When I started as an extra I used my van as a changing room.
I got more work by bringing lots of wardrobe and doing quick changes.
My van also appeared in an episode of `Wiseguys'.

This section of my web site tells about my endeavours in the world of cinematography, my acting and writing in Hollywood North.

In the late `90s, when I first came to Vancouver, I fell into the movie world. As a lark I started as an extra. Averaging five days a week I (barely) made a living at it for nearly a year. Poor pay, poor food, long hours (many at night), cold, damp (often wet). But I was a trooper, I slugged it out. Actually enjoying most of it. I met a lot of people and gained a lot of valuable experience. One cold rainy night a director told us, "you aren't extras, you are actors without lines". Not only heart lifting but very valuable advice.

THESPIAN
(Me in costume.)
Yours truly with makeup and costume before
going on stage in `An Evening of Murder'.
- - - - - - - - - -
« Go back to the Film Industry Pictionary
alphabetical listing,
`Thespian'.

I moved up to bit parts, auditions, live stage, singing. (I opened a play by singing a song. I started off stage in the dark and descended stairs into the set as the lights came up. Thrilling the audience with my melodious cacophony.) I took a course in traffic direction so I could get my flagman's ticket and get work as a PA. (Production Assistant) I have worked behind the camera on several sets, doing virtually everything except operate the camera.

I wrote a pilot movie for a sitcom. We spent a day auditioning hopefuls as we cast for the shoot. I met many people from all over the country, only a couple from Vancouver. Most of them had come to Vancouver with the express purpose of becoming an actor. Most of them had no experience or training but were convinced they could handle the part.

One thing I have learned through all my endeavours, if you really want to be an actor, take lessons. Your first reaction will be "I can't afford them". That is your second mistake, you can't not afford them. (Your first mistake is wanting to be an actor.) Lessons may not teach you to be an actor but they will hone your talent until it is saleable. Something else that is very important, the lessons will also tell you how to sell your talents. The credits for acting classes and actor's workshops will not only look good on your resume they will let the casting director know that you are dedicated, willing to put in the hours and take the direction that will be necessary for the long rigorous days required to film a movie.

If you live in a small town where you don't have acting classes volunteer for community plays. In Vancouver there are many playhouses, University film schools, and many other places where you can volunteer as an actor and gain experience. There may not be as many places in a small town but there are bound to be some, make use of them. Whether on stage or in front of the camera, all acting experience is beneficial.

One thing that I learned through all my experience is that I don't have the drive and the dedication to stand in the rain for long hours (plus the fact that I have trouble remembering my lines). I would much rather sit in front of my computer composing. Writing is my forte. My experiences as an actor have helped me to write from the directors viewpoint.

* * * * * * * * *

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO GET A GRIP ON A GAFFER??

Does a `Honey Wagon' really carry honey?
Does `Movie Terminology' leave you baffled?

  • HOLLYWOOD NORTH The Pictionary. A pictorial glossary of movie slang and terminology.

    * * * * * * * * *

    If anyone is interested in buying any of my scripts feel free to contact me at any time.

    SCRIPTS I HAVE WRITTEN

  • 1. A war movie for Arnold and Dolph.
  • 2. A police academy style farce / romance / adventure.
  • 3. A thriller chiller for Arnold, Demi, Gene, & Sly.
  • 4. A pilot for a situation comedy.
  • 5. Four episodes (half hour) for the sit com. Currently working on episodes 5 & 6.

    I think your projects are well-written, Sarah Cooper - Literary Agent - The Saint Agency

    STUNT ACTORS
    (Convertible with stunt actors.)
    Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn are replaced by stunt doubles
    for this scene in `A Bird On A Wire'. being filmed on
    Water Street in Gastown, only a block from where I lived.
    Yes, they are going the wrong direction on a one way street. I didn't meet either
    Mel or Goldie but I was in the opening scene of the movie and had
    lunch with David Carradine.

    ACTORS & ACTRESSES;
    I HAVE MET, WHILE WORKING AS AN EXTRA, OR ACTOR.

    Peter Deluise, Dustin Nguyen, Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson (21 Jump St.). Dana Elcar (McGyver). Gillian Anderson, Badja Djola, J. T. Walsh, Ken Foree (X Files). Jerry Lewis, Jonathan Banks (Wiseguy). Loretta Swit, Patty Duke (A Killer Among Friends). Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Demi Moore, Hoyt Axton, Ray McAnally, Henry Overland, Jay Brazeau, Gary (Gazzah) Little, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, Clive Warren (We're No Angels). Adrian Paul (Highlander). David Carradine (Bird on a Wire). Ritchie Palm, Sydney (Molly) Gustafsen (An Evening of Murder). Rebecca DeMornay (Outer Limits).

    ACTORS & ACTRESSES;
    I HAVE MET, WHILE WORKING AS A DRIVER.

    Peter Faulk (Columbo). Geoff Goldblum (Cats & Dogs). RDA [(Richard Dean Andersen) (Stargate)]. Tom Beringer (Peacemakers). Dule Hill, John Kapelos (Whisper). Stuart Margolin, Nicolas Campbell, Charles Martin Smith, Stephen E. Miller (DaVinci's City Hall), Sung Kang, Jason Statham (Rogue aka War), Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Jim Beaver (Supernatural).

    * * * * * * * * *

    Currently, I am a transportation specialist in the film industry.

    HONEY WAGON
    (Pic. movie truck.)
    The truck, called a honey Wagon', contains bathrooms and an
    office for the Assistant Director. The trailer contains dressing
    rooms for the actors. This unit was outside the old studios for
    `21 Jump Street', in which I was an extra.
    In 2000, twelve years later, I drove the same truck.

  • More Pictures of Movie Vehicles

  • Movies I worked on in `99:A storm in summer, Da Vinci's Inquest, Final Run, Flight 180, Head Over Heels, North by North Shore, Seven days, Stargate, Up Up & Away, Xmas in Calico - I started, on `Xmas' by driving to North Vancouver and parking my van in a secured parking. Several of us were then loaded into a van and taken to the movie set that was originally built for the TV series, Border Town.
    This is on a farm North of Maple Ridge.
    We left the pavement and followed a winding, narrow, rough, muddy, hilly road. The driver stopped. At the side of the road was a two year old male deer who eyed us but continued to eat some leaves from a branch beside him.
    We carried on to the farm where we were each assigned a truck to drive. The trucks had been there because the Country singer, Reba McIntyre, had been making a movie.
    Some trucks went out the way we had come in but the rest of us went out the other side of the farm. Down a short hill and around a corner and down into water.
    We couldn't see the sides, or the top, of the road. We turned a corner and then went straight for about a mile.
    My front bumper was pushing a wave in front of me.
    We came up, out of the water, turned, over the railway tracks, and then back into the water for about another half mile.
    There were two cars in the water. A farmer with a tractor pulled one out but the other wanted to continue up to the set. Youngsters who wanted to see Reba McIntyre. They had the hatchback open and two youngsters were sitting in the back looking through the water and guiding the driver.
    I told them there car would never get through the water on the other side of the tracks and besides Reba wasn't there. They drove to the tracks, turned around and came back.
    Eventually back onto dry pavement, we took the trucks to a railway museum North of Squamish.

  • In the year 2000 I worked on 17 projects; Say it Isn't So, Cats and Dogs, Class Warfare, Dark Angel, Level Nine, The Chris Isaak Show, The sixth Day with Arnie (No, I didn't get to meet him.), Three Thousand Miles to Graceland with Kevin Kostner,

  • 2001: (Fighting Like) Cats & Dogs, A Wrinkle in Time, Cabin by the Lake II, Damaged Care, Glory Days, I Spy, Under Cover

  • 2002: Smallville, The Chris Isaak Show, The Core, The Twilight Zone, Try 17, Willard

  • 2003: 10.5, Alone In The Dark, An Unfinished Life, Andromeda (Season IV), Blade III, Catwoman, Connie & Carla Do L.A., Da Vinci’s Inquest (Season VI), Dead Like Me (Season I), Final Cut, Huff, I Robot, Jake 2.0, John doe I, Kingdom Hospital, Much Music Movie, No Place Like Home, Paycheck, Peacemakers, Smallville (Season III), Stargate SG-1 (Season VII), Still Life (Season I), Tarzan, The Chronicles of Riddick, The Dead Zone (Season II) (I also did specials skills extra on this episode, operating an excavator and a scissor lift.), The Goodbye Girl, Touching Evil, Underclassman, Walking Tall, White Chicks, White Noise, Wilder Days

  • 2004: 5 Days till Midnight, American Meltdown, Elektra, Super Volcano. I had one day on each show.

  • 2005: Antarctica - I took a grips trailer to Smithers. I stayed up there for a week, working my butt off, digging holes, helping the grips build platforms for the camera crane, helping assemble the camera crane. I met Nick Phillips , the man who invented the Libra Head, see my article in my movie glossary. Then I brought the grips trailer back to Vancouver. 9 days total. (The movie was released under the name `Eight degrees')
    John Tucker Must Die,
    Intelligence ( A pilot for a spin off series from DaVinci's) My first show call. I was requested as Honey Wagon Driver.
    Whisper - Near the end of May I did four days driving shuttle. I bumped into my Friend Gazza (Gary Little), whom I hadn't seen for awhile. He was doing security on our equipment at night. Gazza and I used to be Continuity Extras on the movie `We’re No Angels’. I also bumped into John Kapelos, an actor from L. A. who used to live in Vancouver and did extra work with me. As well I got to meet Dule Hill, one of the regulars on the series `West Wing’.
    Wrong Element,

  • 2006: Addicted [(Feature, I think) No I didn't meet any of the cast. AVP (Alien Vs Predator) (Colorado Nights) (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast., Are We Done Yet [(Feature) Sequel to Are We There Yet)] No I didn't meet any of the cast., Battlestar Galactica (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast., Blade (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast., Deck the Halls, (With Danny Devito, no I didn't get to meet him), Eureka (TV Series) I talked with Matt Frewer, I met him last year, on `Intelligence'., Intelligence, the Honey Waggon driver broke his leg, I replaced him for 7 weeks. Yes I met all the cast. Had met most of them the previous year when we did the pilot., Psych (TV Series) I talked to Dule Hill. I met him last year on `Whisper', Saved (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast., Shooter, (Feature) No, I didn't get to meet Danny Glover, Smallville, (TV Series) Yes, I met most of the cast; Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, John Glover, Michael Rosenbaum, John Schneider, I had met him previously on a feature called, `10.4'. Aaron Ashmore, Justin Hartley Stargate - Atlantis (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast. Stargate - SG1 (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast. Nor did I see my friend, Director, Peter DeLuis. I did meet an old actor friend, damn, can't remember his name, we did a bit part together years ago. This was the next to last episode of a 10 year series. Supernatural, (TV Series) Yes, I met some of the cast. Jared, Jason (The) `L' Word, (TV Series). No I didn't meet any of the cast., Three Moons over Milford (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast, Traveler (TV Series) No I didn't meet any of the cast.

  • 2007: Aliens in America, Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman - pilot, Bionic Woman - Series, Dr. Doolittle, Intelligence, Joy Ride 2, Lost Boys 2, Men in Trees, Psych, Smallville, Stargate Atlantis, The 4400, The Andromeda Strain, The Eye, The L Word, Watchmen.

  • 2008: Cats & Dogs 2, Done One, Gym Teacher, Jennifer's Body, Scooby Doo (The Beginning), Stargate (Atlantis), The L Word

  • 2009: Fringe, Smallville, Supernatural, The Best Player, The Vampire Diaries

  • 2010: Eureka, Life Unexpected, Psych, Supernatural July to Dec.

  • 2011: Supernatural Jan. to Mar. - 3 month hiatus - June to Aug. and then I ripped my Knee. Trhn just day calling part tiem for different shows. Mostly `Fringe'.

  • 2012: Alcatraz, Falling Skies, Fringe, Once Upon A Time, Penoza, Percy Jackson, Primeval, Psych, Rogue, Seventh Son, The Cult, The Killing, The Secret Circle.

  • 2013: Arrow 13/1/11,

    For a typical day in the life of a movie teamster, check out my trucking page.

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    RELATED WEB SITES


    CINEMATIC RIGGING

    Services Ltd.
    (Video Village logo.)
    VIDEO VILLAGE

    Film production equipment

    This is a Gallery of Movie Vehicles
    Vehicles used in the making of the movie `Try 17'. (Mar. `02)

    LOCATION

    Locations can be anywhere. In this case it is a house in Vancouver, B. C. Canada

    CAMERA TRUCK

    Camera trucks are equipped with heaters, battery chargers,
    and darkrooms. And always closest to the set.
    POWER TAILGATES
    (Truck with power tailgate.)
    Most of the work trucks are equipped with power tailgates
    and custom made stairs to ease loading and speed the egress of staff
    7P

    Seven passenger vans, 7Ps, are used to convey actors, producers,
    extras, drivers, etc. from one point to another
    15P

    Fifteen passenger vans, 15Ps, are used to convey actors, producers,
    extras, drivers, etc. from one point to another.
    Sometimes the back bench seat is removed to make room for freight.
    These, like the 7Ps, are always new vehicles.
    All brands are used, GM, Chrysler, and Ford
    CHERRY PICKER

    An aerial platform, often called a cherry picker, is used to
    reach high places or to hold lights up high
    CABLE TRUCK

    Unlike Hollywood or the film industry in Toronto where much cable
    is pulled by hand, Hollywood North has developed a system of trucks
    that utilize net drums from fishing boats to wrap up and carry electrical cable.
    The drum on this truck is empty as the cable has been strung out to
    connect the vehicles in the circus with the generator
    ELECTRICS TRAILER

    The electrics trailer carries the wiring and equipment that the
    electricians will need to set up the lights on the set.
    This particular unit also carries an electrical generator behind the cab of the tractor
    GRIPS TRAILER

    The grips trailer carries rods and clamps and other stuff that the grips need
    CIRCUS

    The circus is a collection of pretties or vehicles that service the actors.
    The circus is usually close to the location, but quite often is not.
    Work trucks that cannot find a place near the location will be with the circus
    HAIR, MAKEUP, & WARDROBE

    Commonly called the hair & makeup.
    The front part, or truck, contains sinks, mirrors, etc.
    for doing the actors hair and makeup.
    The back part, or trailer, holds washer, dryer,
    and racks to hold the clothes for the actors and extras
    HONEY WAGON

    The truck on this unit contains, his & hers, the front two doors.
    The last door is the office for the 3rd AD (Assistant Director).
    It is his job to get the actors ready, see to their needs,
    and assure that they are transported to set on time.
    The third door is the drivers room.
    In the trailer are changing rooms for the actors or extras
    MOHO

    Moho, Motor homes, Fifth wheel trailers, and other RVs
    are often referred to as Pretties.
    These are the homes, away from home,
    for the actors when they are on set.
    The size of the pretty is determined by the budget
    of the picture and the importance of the actor.
    Those who don't rate a pretty use the rooms in the trailer of
    the Honey Wagon and extras often use the washrooms
    SLUSH TRUCK

    When a work truck can’t get close to a location,
    slush trucks are used to carry the equipment from the work truck to the location.
    If a work truck is too big, smaller vehicles, such as ATVs, will be utilized
    FIRST AID TRAILER

    All work areas require that a first aid attendant be present.
    Often they are supplied with a trailer or truck that is equipped
    with beds, water, and heat

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