Entry #90
2:18 PM, Saturday, November 4th, 2000:
I can't even begin this entry. The irony is so thick, and the news is so big, I have been sitting at my keyboard for 15 minutes trying to think of a freakin' way to start. Uhm....
First of all, check out the last entry. I started off by saying that usually big stuff happens on the round numbers, and I was bummed because it was happening on #89, and that #90 would be boring. Yeah, well I was mistaken. I'll start from the beginning...
So right after I finished the last entry I got a call from Paddy a neighbor of mine. The guy who got me into the magic castle. He asks if I'd like to do some PA work on Thursday and Friday for "The Tick". Seems they're making the cartoon into a live action TV show for fox in January 2001. Well as you all know, I haven't been doing shit lately, and was more than happy to jump on board. PA stands for Production Assistant, which stands for helping the production staff with anything you possibly can. The gopher job. Fine with me. I like the role. I've always felt you need to see every aspect of a project before you can truly be good at the upper positions. Understanding the process makes you a better actor/director/producer....and DUDE I'm gonna be on a FOX television set. Are you kidding?
I jump online to read up on the tick. Seems "Puddy" from Seinfeld (Elayne's boyfriend) was in the lead role! Hell yes. I'm gonna meet a character on Seinfeld. As most people in this country were...I was a HUGE Seinfeld fan, and puddy always made me laugh. The whole "going to hell" scene is one of my favorites in TV history. Also part of the cast is the hot latino guy from Suddenly Susan. Now I may not be gay, but this guy is hot. No use denying that. The kind of guy you watch around other chicks and you just kind of shake your head as if to say: "Asshole..." The final 2 main characters have both been in movies and TV, but haven't broke out in anything. You see their face and you're just like....yeah....I know you. So I read as much as I humanly could to prepare for the day, and got to sleep...barely.
Paddy stops by the next morning to talk about the day. Just filling me in on what I'm gonna need to do. Basically said: "Work hard and be nice." Well I'm good at both of those. He also mentions that Dave Foley will be on set because he has a guest role in this episode. That made me immediately turn into a moron. I love Dave Foley. He's the "Kids In The Hall" and "Newsradio" guy. The voice of "Flik" in A Bug's Life...also in "From The Earth To The Moon" on HBO and various other parts in both TV and film. I say moron, because I just sat there with my mouth open. I was ready to go.
Got to the set and soon Paddy and I were split up and off doing whatever needed to be done. The entire crew has walkie-talkies, and an overwhleming amount of organization. The amount of work it takes to pull off a show is insane. As well, this was an on-location shoot with film. So it was basically like a movie set. Not like a studio built sitcom set. Now I was aware of the amount of people you need to pull of a production, and I understand all the roles to be played...what I did not even fathom was how organized it had to be...and yet Friday was an 18 hour day. Go figure. 150 people on set, all with a job, all filling an incredibly important role. Not one role could be taken away, without a major setback on set. Like the puppeteer was stuck in traffic and it brought the entire shoot to a hault for a few minutes. Every variable is so important, that it's AMAZING there's ever ON-LOCATION shoots. I now completely understand how millions of dollars go into these productions. You look at the credits after a movie or TV show and think: "How the HELL can it take that many people for a half-hour show" - well it does. And though I knew all of that ahead of time, nothing prepares you for the true scope once you jump on set.
First person I ran into was Liz the Captain Liberty character. And good GOD was I not ready for this outfit. She might as well have been naked from the bottom down. Her fishnet hose leads up to...and well just keeps going. You gotta do a double take to realize that she actually has more on. On top of that a big STAR on the front of her costume showing her cleavage. Now, I cetainly don't remember THIS character on the tick, but I'm all for her. She's actually a morphed version of the chick on the tick. Whew. Very nice though. Talked a bit with her.
Running from one part of the set to another - POW - Vera from "Alice" is standing there. Beth Howland for those who actually remember the waitress from Mel's Diner. I'm dumbfounded. Ya see, you can throw the big stars in front of me...but nothing comes close to seeing a childhood celebrity. Anyone who was famous from 1978-1986 for me are still on that pedastool. As you get older, you realize they're just like you and me, and it loses it's luster. Like if I met Carrie Fisher, Suzanne Sommers and Joyce Dewitt (Chrissie and Janet), Marie Osmond, Shirley from Laverne & Shirley, or Dana Plato (that'd be a little difficult), I'd be all tingly inside. Back then I really wanted them to be my MOM. So seeing Vera (my favorite waitress on Alice) was just too cool. And even stranger was talking to her. Her voice registers as "Vera", but she's standing right there. And she has such a memorable voice. I wonder why she didn't get into doing cartoons.
Then of course Patrick Warburton (Puddy) jumped on set. The thrill of seeing him soon gave way to utter empathy for what this guy has to wear. I truly don't see how he'll continue the role until they redesign his costume. They made his top half ALL ONE PIECE. So his head, arms and torsoe have to fit in this MORE than skin tight latex body suit. It takes him 45 minutes to get in it. And though it takes only a few minutes to get out of it...the sight is just grimacing. They basically get his fingers loosened a bit and pull his chin part over his face. Then while he holds his breath 3-4 people just pull up as fast as they can. Well, it inevitably gets stuck on his mouth and he's in danger of passing out. The site is just horrific. I told a few people that they could easily make 2 tops, one with a zipper in front, and a zipper in back and switch per angle. You could easily edit around showing the zipper, and it would probably keep Warburton from quiting. He joked about it on the set a few times. He said there's a runnin bet on how long he'll make it. Then during the shoot, they have to put an air compressor under the top half to cool him down, and hold a huge AC tube on him. The entire time on set, I'm amazed he can even allow people to talk to him. He's miserable. He sits on this set-up that allows him to kind of sit/stand on a board with a bicycle seat. Amazingly he was still incredibly nice. I basically only talked to him about what I could do to make him feel better. He was talking about Seinfeld a few times, that was cool. He sat next to me at lunch, and again...you just have to feel sorry for him. Lunch is only 30 minutes, so of course he has to eat in the suit, and you have to stare. The suit kind of makes him hunched over too, so he's just a wreck. If I was in his position, I'd be ready to kill someone. He joked that if the show does well... "Some things are gonna CHAAAANGE" - which was quite funny. He's right...there is no way he can handle that year after year if this takes off. That has to be redesigned.
Then Foley arrived on the set the first day around 9 PM. By the way, these are some nice long hours. 14 hours on Thursday and 18 hours on Friday. For a guy who's been sitting in front of his computer for 3 months, I am befuddled at how I made it. My feet hurt to the point of tears by the time I got home. LOL. But I shant bitch as I described in the paragraph above. Well, Foley broke his arm a few weeks back and had was in a good deal of pain. He had to keep his right arm held up while he walked. On top of that, with the long hours, his pain pills would start wearing off and you could just see how much pain he was in. The first day I talked to him a few times, got him coffee. Talked to him about Kids In The Hall (forget about ever seeing THAT series come back, though there will probably be another movie and/or tour), it was just so cool to ask the questions I had always wondered. And he too has such a unique voice that you instantly recognize, but it's so hard to believe he's in front of you. There wasn't a whole lot of time to become annoying, and I was always aware of where I was. I wanted to make an impression on my bosses and show them how hard I was working.
After the first day, I was told to be ready for a hellish one on Friday. After the first night I was thinking...man I could do this for awhile. I know its only 2 days now, but I'm all about doing this again. Of course by the middle of day 2 - I realized how you can burn out on it. I only make $5.75 an hour.....I get overtime, but added all up it's still not even close to what I make video editing. So it would get extremely old after awhile. Now once your pay rate goes up you can realize that the long hours and great overtime (as well as great food) makes it all worthwhile. What does get me however, is how any of the actors can maintain consistency throughout their performance. I think it's why early episodes of a series are a little unsure...and the timing's off a bit - you need a few shows just to get a feel for your character. You probably finish 30-45 seconds an hour. But that's a location shoot too. On a normal set you can pull quite a bit of it off like a play.
Now when Paddy first asked me about doing this, my first instinct was to bring the video camera to the set so I could show you guys! But I wasn't about to risk losing my job. So I checked everything out the first day, and then since the episode was a wrap on Friday, i figured I'd bring it just in case everyone was taking pictures or something at the end. I mean how cool would it be to get video of Dave Foley saying: "Hey, I'm Adam's friend Dave..." Or something campy like that. It'd be really funny. Well, the more we talked, the more I thought he'd probably have fun doing it. So as he was going back to his trailer during our second meal break I asked if he could make a video for my friends and family. He said "sure!" (seemed to even get excited about it) - So I run in and get my backpack and go into his trailer - he's all ready to go. I told him I had just moved out here, and he could assure my friends and family back home that I was doing alright. He just ad-libbed the rest. It was freakin' hilarious.
(UPDATE 3.13.01: When this entry was first posted, I did not post the video. I did not want to betray Dave by posting something on the site that I said was just for friends. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that this is my journal - it's not an e-commerce site. I'm not selling anything, Dave isn't endorsing anything, the video only shows that Dave is an INCREDIBLY generous guy who has a great sense of humor. I cannot imagine anyone connected with him would find me posting this to be inappropriate. So here is Dave Foley's video for my friends and family...)
At 4 AM, shooting finally wrapped on the 18 hour day, and a crew member was cool enough to snap this polaroid of "Me & Dave Foley". You know, I'm gnna be that guy who wants to take my handicam to the Oscars when I get famous aren't I...
YouTube link added 12.20.07


So that was my last 2 days. I realize that getting that excited about celebrities is seen as highly uprofessional, but I have to disagree. I never disrespected him, or overstepped my bounds. I truly respect the work he's done and made sure to do my job first, and anything else later. Dave is someone I inspire to be like, and was excited that he was as laid back as I was. I was incredibly impressed with his dealing with pain and the difficult environment, yet play his part on set as if there wasn't a thing wrong. I wish him all the luck in the future.
So what happens to me? Well they resume shooting after Thanksgiving, and there's a good chance I may be back. Paddy gets first call, and if they need a 2nd PA it'll probably be me. I'm hoping I worked hard enough to get that opportunity. As you all know, hard work has never been a problem for me...I just hope I'm in better shape in 3 weeks, because whew was I wiped out. An incredible experience though. It'd be great if I can continue with the series and actually have some stable work. Who'd have thought I could have a stable job from a TV series? LOL. Just keep your fingers crossed for me.
original video file