I worked on my most difficult production to date which was a commercial for Guinness Black Lager. The project kind of started off on the back foot since it was brought forward two weeks and originally was supposed to shoot in LA but moved to NYC last minute to accommodate the celebrity talent's schedule. What's that? Celebrity talent, you say? Yes, and wait for it...get those Google finger's ready...it was non other than... Jack Huston. Who's that, you say? Well, he is most famous for his role in HBO's Boardwalk Empire as Richard Harrow, a severely disfigured World War I marksman turned gangster.
The commercial was an amazing tapestry of tales but highlight included the daily conundrum of finding vegan food options for the director (who occasionally ate cheese!); on my 10th 16hour day in a row I almost punched one of the 125 back ground extras who broke into the Director's $10 per juice esky (cooler) and when I confronted him he said, "We've been standing on set for two hours, we're tired and thirsty!", I'm not sure of the exact facial expression I pulled but I'm pretty sure it resembled a blend of death stare and stroke victim, anyway, he apologized and retreated before I could throw out the first punch. We also filmed out at Long Island on Atlantic beach which was eerily covered with a white haze all day long, a great horror film setting - no fog machine required. We also endured a storm there and everyone got soaked trying to save the equipment from the deluge - typical American rain! And despite the less than perfect weather, the Aussie in me thought it is was nice to have sand in my shoes, even at 3am. And the hair stylist looked exactly like Jack Sparrow...not Johnny Depp but Jack Sparrow, I'm talking full pirate get up, dreads, eyeliner and puffy shirt! Oh, and in the final cut of one of the ads one of the extras is standing bare foot on her tippy toes...idiot! There are many more memories from this shoot, including making some fantastic LA contacts (giving me a bit more confidence to tackle LA LA Land next year, maybe) and maybe some other memories that I will suppress.
I somehow managed to squeeze in a social activity and booked a cruise around Manhattan with my friend Robbie. We had a blast on the water, eating and taking photos of the spectacular NYC skyline, despite the fall air chill.
Next job was a Bank of America Commercial which we shot in the West Villiage. Apart from trying to lock up the streets to prevent bogies walking through the scenes - you try telling a New Yorker where to walk, I'm not sure how I didn't get shot! Anyway, I also got to be part of the 1st Team which involved looking after the principle talent, which was the CEO of Bank of America...code name Potato, because he is Irish. He was extremely professional and easy to work with. This shoot led to my first ride in a police car...luckily in the front seat. There was a car rig on one day and I got to ride with the supervising police officer, Dominick. He was awesome! A true New Yorker in style, accent and manner. He works in the unit that solely helps film, TV and commercial productions with their permits. I became Deputy Robinson for an hour and he told me great stories about Gossip Girl, Ben Stiller and Michelle Pfeiffer. But unfortunately, what's said in Dominick's car stays in Dominick's car.
After 3 days of shooting I had to muster the energy for a Halloween Party. The scariest thing about it being that it was organised by one of our housemates at our apartment. Considering how tired I was the make up for my Zombie Nurse costume was relatively easy. I think everyone from our roommates school came, you could not move in the place. Booze ran out quickly so thankfully the party was relatively tame. My favorite moment was when we asked our roommate if he knew everyone that was here and he said 'Yes'! Then one of his friends came over and said, "Hey, just wanted to introduce my friends to you, this is...", and our roomie cut him off saying "Yeah, yeah, I know him, I know him"! BUSTED! There were some fantastic costumes, Lady Gaga's, Batmen, Robins, Red Riding Hoods, Black Swans and sluts.
Aligning with Halloween came The Frankenstorm! NYC was shut down by Hurricane Sandy, no subway and various areas were evacuated. I watched the storm roll in over the city, preparing for the worst by eating the ice-cream in the freezer incase we lost power. The wind was intense but eerily serene on our penthouse balcony, just breezy really. We watched transformers explode on roof tops and just as I was recording a video message to assure my Aussie family and friends I was safe, I captured a bright blue explosion at the ConEd plant on the lower east side of Manhattan - excellent production value. The Financial District and Lower east side as well as parts of Brooklyn and New Jersey were devastated with flooding. The day after left many streets looking like a war zone. I ran to Brooklyn Bridge (which is 4miles, not kilometers...a significant difference) and saw some of the aftermath. Half the city was without power and the subway was out for days as many of the underground was completely filled with water. There were insane queues for gas stations and shuttle buses, it's amazing how dependent this city is on the subway system. I missed my daily L train commute and laid low around my apartment for the week which resulted in online shoe shopping - when the world gives you lemons. The city has rebounded quickly but there is still a lot of people left devastated in NY, CT and NJ.
I think that sums up the main events in October. November bound!