I have been involved in the making of a few indie flicks in my time, both in front of and behind the camera, most of them understandably not available on Netflicks at present. People ask me if I ever miss the world of film. I always say, emphatically, no. Here’s a taste of why that is, with some of my more memorable moments in the cinematic milieu described for you:
- Auditioning for an ad in which the try out required you to improvise “a crazy story about the alternate meaning of a mainstream film”. So you know, like how the Wizard of Oz is really about man’s struggle with dwarfism, or that Raiders of the Lost Ark is really a parable about the Zionist international banking conspiracy. I figured out fast that what the producers wanted to do was tape our little tales and then proceed to rip them off (you had to sign a release to this effect before they’d let you audition). I made up some insane shit about how Transformers: the Movie (the 1986 cartoon version, not the McG catastrophe) was really about Marxism. They used it anyway, but it didn’t matter because they also used faked actors (including myself), so the client shelved it all in the end.
- Trying to make Wales look like Texas for the purposes of a short film about a folk band that slowly morphs into animals. Had to find a way to keep sheep out of shot – easier said than done.
- Danny Dyer shouting c-u-next-Tuesday in my face in take after take as I portray Dick, the clueless American detective, in a film that thankfully for both Dyer and me will never, ever see the light of day.
- Finding myself in Baku, Azerbaijan on the pretence of making a film about Karabakh refugees, which quickly turned into a van ride through the deserts of Central Asian following several American maniacs on a tour of semi-live war zones. The all-Russian crew were nice enough to alert me to danger when appropriate, with comments like, “Boss, we in sniper range now”.
- My Chicago Connection and me travelling to a rather rough part of the south side of his fair city to film a scene for a movie tentatively titled Assclown McGee, in the abode of one Mr Black, an elderly African-American gentleman who it sounds like I’ve given an incredibly crude pseudonym to, but was his actual name. On the way we had to stop off at a butcher’s for a pig’s head (which was integral to the scene ahead), which I asked Mr Black if we could place in his fridge when we arrived on location. Mr Black, it turns out, could not act once a camera was placed in the room, a rather obvious obstacle to what we were all trying to collectively achieve. We cut the shoot short and bailed – forgetting the head of a swine we’d left behind.
- Showing up at what was obviously the director/producer’s dingy flat to portray a 73-year-old widower (why not just cast an actual pensioner?) to find the crew discussing with said auteur a minor problem, i.e. the total lack of a tripod. In true Ed Wood style, she snapped her fingers and said, “We’ll just do it all handheld instead”. Nothing like a vision to keep you going.
So if you’re the next budding Cassavetes or Buscemi this is what’s likely in store for you on your journey to the top. Only you can decide if it’s worth it or not. The road is paved with many bodies, of whom I am one. But I’m happy about it at least, unlike some. I don’t miss Baku very much at all.