Monday, January 28, 2013

Movie Making Weekend

Oh my gosh, I can not explain the range of emotion I’ve had from this last weekend.

I’ve been a makeup artist for a long time but it’s really only been the last 5 or 6 years that I’ve really been going strong with 3 or 4 shows every year, but so far, I have yet to do a movie. That all ended last weekend with the final scenes of “Darkness.”

Last July I was working on a production of Cinderella, where I met the set designer, Brad, who also happens to be one of the producers for this Indie film, “Darkness.”

The movie is about what happens to people when all the power in the US goes out because of an immense solar flair.

So anyway, Brad asked if I would like to help out with finishing the film… and I said… Sure.

Ok, so, Friday morning, I met Brad so that we can load some equipment and then meet the rest of the production on some lone stretch of rural highway in the middle of Summit County. Well, we started running late, and got up there about an hour later than we should have. After jumping out of Brad’s suburban, I met the two principal actors for the picture… Jasen Wade and Heather Murdock… Yes, THAT Jasen Wade. So, While the crew was setting up the dolly track and the camera boom, I was getting them into makeup. What I called the “Hammered” makeup, because they were both supposed to look absolutely hammered.

I don't know, do they look like they've been trapped in the snow and ice for a week or so?
That's what I was going for.
So, the whole time I’m doing Jasen’s makeup, I’m thinking, “What am I doing here?” I’m guessing that Jasen could sense my nervousness because at one point the director pokes his head in to see how things are going and Jasen says, “Hey Sam, looks like you stepped it up on makeup this time.” I gathered that their last makeup guy was ok, but not very organized. But anyway, the comment gave me a boost and I was able to do a pretty good job on his face.  If I do say so myself.

After spending a couple of hours on the highway, we cleaned up that location, and moved on to the town of Midway for some inside the car shots. I wish I would have thought about taking some pictures of this because it was so stinkin' funny. Imagine a small Subaru Outback. The actors in the front seats, without their head rests because they blocked the shot. The director and the sound guy, with all of their equipment in the back seat, then the camera man, curled up under the rear hatch, with the camera sitting on some “apple boxes” looking over the director’s and the sound guy’s shoulders. It reminded me of a clown car. So, anyway, they drove around Midway like that while I curled up in the trailer and tried to get some sleep.

Oh yeah!  The pampered life of a big time Movie Makeup Artist,
Sitting in the suite, drinking bottled water from stem ware. NOT!

At about 1am we wrapped for the night and headed to the Zermatt Resort where we had a suite. I was fine with the floor, but Jasen insisted that he take the floor with some kind of Cock and Bull story about his bed at home being to soft. I didn’t argue because… hey… I was dead tired and who was I to argue with the star of the show.

Sam, the director, woke me up at 7am so that I could get Jasen into makeup so that they could go out and get some random shots around town.  I think they called them "Plate Shots" but I have no idea what that even means.  I stayed in the suite and watched TV for a bit, and took a couple of naps. I was then taken to my trailer so that I could get a couple of other actors into makeup for several car scenes. I’m afraid that I don’t remember the names of the other actors, but they were really nice and fun to talk to. Through all this time I spent a lot of time with Marissa, the production assistant. Very nice girl who drove me around to get food or whatever I needed.

This is a terrible picture of all of us... 
I don't think that the waiter knew how to use a digital camera
We finished the final car shots and at about 9pm and then we all went to some pizza place in Park City. It was good pizza, but I’m not sure if it was worth the price. But I wasn't paying.  Also, it was the last day of the Sundance Film Festival, so the place was full of nicely dressed people in black (posers) and then there was us. Actors still in costume, me covered in makeup, award winning cinematographer and sound guy. You know… the heart of what Sundance is supposed to be… and we got some pretty disgusted looks from those black clad dorks. We knew who we were… what did we care? After which, we all split off and went home.

Sleeping in my own bed was fantastic! But I was up at 7 the next morning so that I could meet Brad once again, and head up to the Zermatt for a few final shots.

There I met a guy, well… I hope that I never have to work on him again. When we all got there, and were scouting some locations, Sam gets a call… from one of the actors who was supposed to be in the scene… he’s kind of pivotal to the scene… anyway… he calls to say that he's busy with post Sundance interviews and won’t be able to make it. Sam is dead tired… he’s put everything he has into this production and I could just see the defeat in him. So, they decide that I have the same height and build as this actor, so they sent Marissa to the store for dark brown hair coloring. They were going to dye my hair and shoot me from behind. The DP (Director of Photography) who has won a freaking Emmy for crying out loud said it was done all the time. Fortunately, this actor… Doug Something… or maybe that was his character... I don't know... or really care, decides to show up (before they dyed my hair) but he’s not very happy about it. I’ve never heard that many F-bombs from my makeup chair... ever.  I finally had to ask him to please stop. It’s strange, he seemed like a nice enough guy, but I think that he’s kind of a butt head.

I did end up on screen after all, however. The weather turned pretty bad while I was getting F-bomb guy into makeup. So, we repositioned the cameras in a ball room. It was such a big empty room that they decided they needed more action than what the two actors could do, so they… purloined… some staff uniforms from the Zermatt, put them on me and Marissa and told us to stack chairs, in the background, as if we were cleaning up an event, while the actors performed in the foreground.

After that, we cleaned up, and headed to a warehouse where they had a green screen set up.

All-in-all it was a long weekend, and a very tiring one. But I would do it again in a heart beat. Next weekend, if all works out, I’m going to take the whole family out to Tooele so that they can see the crew blow up a car. It’s going to be so cool!

I can’t wait to see this thing when they are done with the editing and such.


Redhead Running said...

So very, very cool! Can you please remind us when this movie comes out so that I can go see your handy work in action?

Murph said...

Will do Red. Most likely, Darkness will premiere at Sundance next January, but you never know, they may find a buyer before that. There is a link to the Darkness Facebook page in the body of my text, if you “Like” the page they will send out updates on the movie’s progress from time to time. Otherwise, I’m sure I will post updates here on my blog.

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