Kevin Andrew Murphy November 13th, 2006
Well, last night was a first for me for a couple things, the second of which was a complete surprise: It was not only my screenwriting debut (actually story credit with script consultation, but most of the dialogue is right from my short story), but also my acting debut, a cameo with two briefÂ lines of dialogue.
I also have the contract in hand now, so I can go ahead and broach radio (or actually blog) silence.Â Last spring, I met up with Robert Mims, a new producer looking for material for a short film.Â IÂ sent him a copy of “Clove Smoke,” a short of mine that’s been well-received and even translated into Spanish.Â Next thing I know, I’m looking at a screenplay adaptation by Robert’s writing partner, Justin Queen.
A thumbs up, and next thing we’re in the fast track.Â Principal shooting finished yesterday at the House of Shields in San Francisco, where I’d gone both to get to see the actual production of the filming of my story, and to set myself up for a cameo as background.Â Stephen Watts, the director, then surprised me by offering me the role of the bartender, since it gave me a speaking line and also offered some contrast visually since I’d known the color palette the production designer was going with and I’d dressed to match it, adding the red that the principal actorsÂ weren’t wearing for the scene.
I also got to meet the actors, Anissa and Jason, who are playing Aurora and Jimmy, a strange bit of serendipity giving them the same initials.Â They were great, both in terms of acting and in looking the parts.Â The second, in fact, even better than I’d pictured them, thanks to Anissa’s wardrobe (she’s also a model) and Kirsten Larsen’s skill as production designer.Â Richard Cascio, the director of photography, was also getting some amazing shots, or at least from what I was getting to see literally looking over his shoulder–one shot was from the bardtender’s perspective, so I was standing right behind him so Jason could get the right line of sight to my eyes for when we later reversed the shot.
And I stepped on a light box one of the grips had left behind the bar, mistaking it for some sort of platform you’re supposed to step on.Â However, one fluorescent bulb is not a disaster and it was fascinating to watch a full production up close.Â The dolly shot curving around the bar was particularly amazing.
What was also amazing was the location.Â The House of Shields is a hundred years old, literally, being built in 1906 and opened in 1908 (delays caused by the great quake and fire).Â Edwardian lamps, the bar from the old Palace Hotel, coffered ceilings and so on.Â Gorgeous.