Waking up on a Saturday to find that your director has messaged you the night before while you were out, stating that he needs you to call him immediately is never a good feeling. There’s always a sinking feeling of ‘Did he uncast me?!’ or something that lingers in the background. So when I called him and the first words out of his mouth were ‘So how much did you have your heart set on being the hooker in this movie?’ I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. I told him whatever’s best for the production and if someone else is better for it– then he informed me that the girl playing one of the leads dropped out, so he bumped Renee up to that role and wanted me to take on Renee’s role. I told him it was fine, I’m not picky. Sure, the hooker role actually had more acting involved in it, but secretly I’m just giddy to be playing a part in the Firefly universe. I’m that big of a nerd sometimes.
Then as if to salve my poor battered soul at having a short but interesting part, he informed me that THIS role is in the sequel. Which is great, even though that’s not really a make-it-or-break-it thing for me. Still, it’s good to know he’ll want me back!
So I arrived to set with my hair and makeup mostly done. I went into the dressing room looking pretty normal and I came out wearing a yoga top, a pair of black knee-length stretch pants, a sheer dance skirt and a veil over my hair. I had on waist-wraps with the coins that dangle off and jingle with every movement, stuff on my hands and all sorts of other little accessories that made me look very bellydancer-ish. Plus I had done the rest of my makeup. I had a rainbow over my eyes. Very Bollywood inspired! I was indeed quite obviously a bellydancer at this point!
Filming went great. It ran a little longer than we’d planned, but that’s pretty par for the course in filmmaking.
People who have never been involved in the behind-the-scenes of film really don’t have a concept of how long it takes to do even the briefest shot. You have to set up the lighting and camera, block the actions, rehearse the lines, run the whole thing a couple of times with minor tweaks to everything, THEN finally you’re ready to shoot the ten seconds of film and it’s only taken you two and a half hours to set it all up. Plus you have to count the location scouting, the driving to the location, the hair/makeup, the wardrobe, etc. For what is a very brief moment of me dancing on stage, then coaxing a friend to go dance, it took us all day.
Oh, and the choreography for the dances took a bit of time. Renee and I practiced our shimmying and our shaking and then it was time to film our big dances! It was fun, if tiring. Once we were done with all that, we all had to get up on the stage and dance around to Ministry. It was so much fun. It amazes me how much that couple minutes of blowing off steam and just letting loose really re-energizes you after a long shoot. Once that was over, most of the cast was wrapped except for a few of us. Renee and I had one last shot of going to pick a song from the greenscreen display and there were some walk-by things to be shot and then BAM! DONE! And I was on my way home to make dinner.
It was a fun day, though long and full of shaking my groove thang. I can’t wait to see how it looks on film!