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Over this past summer, my friend Wes filmed his senior thesis for SCAD.   As I have mentioned before, I met Wes during my first SCAD film “Sharp”.  He had asked during a project in between if I would like to be in his film.  Without hesitation, I said yes!  He told me it was a film noir-esque with some comedy.  I thought it was a great idea.  I asked him if I would be the private eye and he said no.  He wanted me as one of the thugs working for “the Boss”.  I didn’t really care what he wanted me to do, I was just happy to be a part of his film.

We went over the script and I had brought up a line that I thought fit in with my character and he loved it.  I asked him if we could put it in there and he had to check with the script writer.  He did, and she said it would be fine.  I can’t say the whole line, but I can tell you I mention that “there are two types of people in this world…..” it gets a little profane after that.  Anyway. filming took place over 4 days.

Even though I was not a lead, I was on set for most of the filming, as I love being on the set and watching the behind the scenes.  Wes’ parents catered the set and they did an amazing  job!  For the budget they were on, it was amazing.  At the same time I was an extra on CBGB and I said this then, and I’ll say it now- in direct proportion to the size of the 2 sets, Doug and Marianne did as awesome as major film caterer.  I couldn’t stop going on about how great the food they made was.  It was certainly one of, if not, the best catered sets I have been on yet.

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Most of the filming was done in a warehouse where it was over 100 degrees.  Thankfully, as on any set, there was plenty of water for everyone.  I have to say the crew Wes put together was nothing other than patient and professional.  Wes as a director, was very organized and knew what he wanted. He was very patient in working with the actors, especially in that heat.  It didn’t really bother me, I like the heat.  But then again, I wasn’t in a suit ;)  The chemistry between the actors was also excellent.  I hadn’t met anyone of the actors before this and again, I have maintained a friendship with some of them.

There was a joke one of the guys wanted me to play on the 1st Assistant Director.  We checked with Wes and he said it was cool.  I pretended to flip out and ask why everything was taking so long and could we please just finish up!  I got into it with Wes and then he couldn’t hold back laughing and I laughed and look over at the 1st AD.  He didn’t like it.  He told me sit down and get back to work. I got a little nervous about that and later I went to apologize and he was cool.  He was definitely a great sport about the whole thing.  He never saw it coming and the crew members who didn’t know about it, thought it was real.  The looks on some of their faces were awesome.

“Ace in the Hole”  is about a private detective who is kind of not all there.  He has trouble solving cases and when an old flame hires him to find her cat, he witnesses a crime.  He got on the case instantly and finds their hideout.  In doing so he solves the greatest case of his career.  Their is some humor, their is some drama and there is some fun.  As I mentioned earlier I was not a lead in this film, but I am very involved.  I got to do some voice over work for the trailer which is posted below and you can watch.  I also get to play on the soundtrack which we are recording this week.  I am very proud of this film and proud of my friend for pulling off this great film.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to have such a big part on this film.   If you live in the Savannah area, “Ace in the Hole”  will be premiering at the SCAD showcase on November 15th 2012, at the Trustees Theater on Broughton St.   See you there!

http://vimeo.com/52043103?action=share

I answered a post on facebook to be an extra for a day, it was actually a few hours.  It was a very simple shot where myself and two others were looking at a paper and being shocked at the headlines.  While we were doing it, a man came over to tell us what to do and he had a cigarette in one hand and a lighter in the other.  I asked him if that was for me, since I was just leaning up against the machine on a corner.  He gave it to me and lighted it and we did two takes and that was over.  Not knowing who he was, I went over to thank him for the smoke.  We started talking for a couple of seconds and he told extras casting director to bring me back the next day for a birthday party scene.  We talked for a few minutes and found we had a few things in common and clicked instantly.

Still not knowing who he was when I showed the next day on set, I walked right up to him and started talking to him saying thank you for bringing me back.  We talked for a few minutes, then it was time to get busy.  I found out a little later on, he was Rutiger Von Spies, the Director.  The scene was for an Ambassador’s birthday party so we were all dressed to the nines.  The other extras, who came on for the day were really wonderful people.  When we all showed up at basecamp that morning, we all got to know each other a little bit.  This is one of my favorite parts of doing these.  Whether they be SCAD films or being an extra in a feature film, you always get to meet all kinds of interesting and wonderful people.  With any luck, you also get to maintain friendships with them.  I have been fortunate enough to have been able to do that with several of the people I have met.

We were in the backyard of this beautiful house filming nice party scene and Rusty Joiner was going around greeting everyone. One of the extras, Abbie, and I were “just married” and I was introducing her to Rusty’s character.  Between shots, he was just a cool guy talking with everyone on a one on one basis.  He told me his favorite quote for my next project I am doing- “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”  He didn’t know who said it, but with a little help from Dorothy(another extra) we discovered it was Zig Ziglar.  In fact, I got a lot of quotes from my new  friends,  and I am looking forward to making that next project.  I am grateful for all of the quotes I got that day! But that is another story.  When we moved out to the front porch of the house, Pete Kasper was there as well as Patrick Bauchau and some actors from Savannah who are doing quite well- Jackson Morgan and Anthony Paderewski.  All of them were just super cool!  Pete Kasper’s first words to me were “I love that suit!” Then he introduced himself.  Later on he was telling me and Pepi (another extra) jokes and stories.  He also walked around greeted and talk to everyone else. Patrick Bauchau introduced himself and we talked for a few minutes.  He also commented on my suit and while we were talking he mentioned Sonny Rollins.  I told him how I met Sonny Rollins in that suit.  During the shooting of this front porch scene Rusty is bringing his girlfriend to meet his father, Patrick.  I am talking to (I think, one of his ex-girlfriends) played by Lidia Pearl, and then she goes over to talk to Rusty.  There is a little confrontation between Pete and some other guests and he asked to leave.  I don’t want to give too much away so I will stop there.

During lunch, I was getting coffee at the same time Rutiger was and we went back to his table.  He started talking about the day before to the other two ladies at the table. He is quite an interesting gentleman.  His German accent is very thick, so one really has to pay attention when he is talking.  He, like everyone else in the cast that I met, had no problem taking pictures and just sitting back talking with everyone. He brought up learning Italian, (because of my last name) and later on the set, came over and gave me advice on how to learn it.  It sounds daunting, but I would like to give it a try.

The atmosphere on this entire set was so laid back.  I must say the actors and actresses (at least the one I met) were all very cool and sweet, as were the crew.  It was really cool to see my friend Nikita on the crew.  He was DP on the first SCAD film I did, where I met him.  They weren’t all about them, they wanted to know about you and what you do.  There were a few of them that went to a play Pepi, was talking about.  Pete and Patrick told me they heard me playing in the Square a few nights before.  I saw Pete several days later on the town.  He remembered who I was and after a few minutes of conversation,  said “I don’t have a quote yet, but I will.”  This experience was just awesome all the way around.   I want to say a huge thank you to Rebecca, the extras casting agent, for bringing me in on this project.  I met some awesome people and had a wonderful time!

 

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I posted in my previous entry, that I was making a music video.  The crew behind the camera was almost the same crew as the first SCAD film I did (“Sharp”).  As I mentioned also, I have worked with these guys several times and I knew what I was getting into.  This is a special group of people, not only are they my friends, but they are professional and very meticulous.  I knew when I asked them to help me, that the end product was going to be great, but I also knew it was going to be hard work. That is an understatement!

I don’t really know where to begin.  We filmed over the course of 4 days, and before that there was a lot of planning.  Since it was my project, and these guys were helping me out, I scouted the key locations and found people appear as the younger version of myself and the other people who are part of the flashback scenes.  Joseph, the director, was also on the lookout for those people too, but with a job and schoolwork and directing this video, his plate was pretty full.  I also, with the help of Alex, catered most of the food.  Colleen, Joseph’s girlfriend, cooked for the first day of shooting. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, a lot of planning, cooking, rehearsing, editing and the list goes on.  I would love to make more music videos, as much work as it was, it was a blast!

There were trials and tribulations throughout the filming of  “Streetlamp”  When we were going to film the “Future” scene, our man showed up an hour and a half  late.  When we were down on River St. on a Monday night when it was  very slow, however, several times when Joseph said “Action!” someone would crawl out of the woodwork and walk through the scene.  Or he would be just about to call “Action!” and something else would happen and then we would have to reset.  The toughest night, was the last day.

I walked around for a couple of hours trying to find a girl who would play in one of  the flashback scenes. I ended up talking with a friend of mine and he called his friend, Jessie.  Though I talked to her on the phone, I didn’t meet her until two hours later, when we shot those scenes.  She and Franklin(who played the younger me) I think, did a great job.  At Forsyth we had everything set up, but had to move on account of pee wee football practice, so we got started a little later than expected.  After those scenes, we ate dinner and went over to Oglethorpe Square.

We got started there, much later than expected, and there were a lot of shots to shoot and a couple of wardrobe changes.  It was going really smooth until the sprinklers came on at 3am.  Thanks to how fast everyone moved, we were able to get everything out of the way before it got hit with water.  We figured out what the sequence of  the sprinklers and adjusted the shooting schedule as we went.  The day started on Wednesday at 5:30pm it did not end until 5:00am Thursday morning.  Joseph bought food for as at an all night place and Alex and Jen went to pick it up for us- thank heavens.  It had been over eight hours since we ate, sprinklers were messing up the shooting, and everyone was getting tired.  With all of that, I have to say, these guys always maintained professionalism and a great attitude.  It looked as if we weren’t going to be able to get the final shot we needed to get, but just as a lot of the stuff was packed up and almost ready to go, the final sprinkler shut off.  I don’t think anyone wanted to stay any later, (myself included) but to everyone’s credit, they did.  I can say thank you a million times and express my gratitude a million different ways and I don’t think it would ever be enough.

I also need to say thank you to Brian, for letting us use his restaurant, and Jefferson for staying at the job an extra 5 hours!  Jeff for letting us use his bar.  Franklin, for playing the younger me and Jessie, for playing the girlfriend.

Monday, Ben- who was the Director of Photography, showed me the first rough cut.  I thought it looked great.  There are all kinds of little nuances with the use of traffic lights and other colors.  What he discovered and what I saw was, we had too much video for the tune.  What he did was use the second half of what we filmed and put it to the song I recorded.  It looked very good.   I was quite pleased with what he did.  I had about three and a half minutes of music and the video turned out to be seven minutes.  So what we are going to do is, put up what we have as my video and then I am going to re-record the music to make and extended version.  You can hear the version I recorded, just click below–

http://www.reverbnation.com/jamesrinalduccijazz

As I also mentioned in my previous blog, we will be launching a kickstarter campaign to recover the costs of producing this video.  Also, to help with finishing the extended version.  We were on a shoestring budget, no, a thread budget.   Any help that can be offered  with those recovery costs, would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much for you continued love and support!

Below are some photos that I took during the shooting on the last day.  Just a little fun :)

Many of you may know about the  project I did this past February during The RPM Challenge.  If not, you can read about it here,  http://jamesrinalduccijazz.com/2012/04/18/haiku-jazz-album/  I made a cd of – what I call Haiku Jazz.  All of those songs on them need to be re-recorded and I am starting with “Streetlamp”  I have some studio time and I am going to have recorded professionally and I will be making a music video for it.  I will be working with many of the people from SCAD that I have mentioned in my previous few blogs.

A recording of “Streetlamp” can be heard here  http://www.reverbnation.com/jamesrinalduccijazz  and downloaded for free. This is the recording I did in February, it is a raw recording done in a parking garage to get the reverb/echo effect I like. Sure, there are a few minor mistakes, but that is why I am redoing it.  In this video you will see me as a man who is down on his luck, not making any money, not in love and walking around trying to figure it out.  I walk past another musician making money, a couple that is in love and then I stop in a park. It will show me looking back on my life in a montage showing good times and bad times.  It just seems I keep walking around in circles throughout my life.  As I stand and look a little longer, there will be me “in the future” playing on a stage in the spotlight.  The “future me” looks at the “now me” with a nod, signifying – life is good.

Basically, everyone has ups and downs and we come to point in life where we wonder about everything.  Some people get there before others and that is why we have “late bloomers”, like myself.  You may find yourself doing something you love for 25 years, but there is an itch that just will not go away.  Perhaps you think it is out of reach or unrealistic, at least I did.  I have always loved music and wanted to play it as long as I can remember.  I just started doing it for a living just two and a half years ago.  I also believe, if you do what you love, your dreams will definitely come true.  Just like anything else though, it takes time and a whole lot of effort.  I know that is cliche’ but it is true.  A lot of you know my story, but if you don’t, I encourage you to look back on my earlier blogs, if you would like to get to me a little better.

As with many artists and projects that they do, I will be launching a fundraiser online in the next couple of weeks to help cover the costs of making this video.  Any support will be greatly appreciated and there will be prizes for donations.  For now, feel free to download any or all of the first three songs on my reverbnation page, I posted above.

Thank you for reading this post :)

 

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“Soul of Music” is the second SCAD  short film I did with mostly people from the “Sharp” crew.  My friend Ben called me up and asked if I could do him a favor, and I was all too happy to say “Yes”.  Jordan, the director, was making a film based on three paintings.  The three paintings were of  jazz musicians, a saxophonist, a trumpeteer, and a pianist.  Jordan also assigned a certain character to each of us.  I was a musician past his heyday, but still plays even though he is not making any money.  He plays because he just loves music, it is part of him.  The other two, I won’t say what they were, try to guess.

There is no talking in this, instead, there is a John Coltrane tune “Lazybird” being played.  The film starts with the three of  us playing in a club, as if it was the first time we have played together in years.  It was good to be playing together again, if even for a short time.  Unfortunately, when we were filming this portion, none of us are actually playing.  We were filming in a dining room (from 10pm-2am) that had an Inn upstairs  and we found out all too quickly we were disturbing the guests.  We had “Lazybird being played softly on the computer.  So with that, it doesn’t really sync up too well.

During the solo sections is where the “paintings’ come in.  The solo sections were filmed separately at a different time.  While setting up for the shots, I was listening to and trying to learn how to play “Lazybird” as best as I could.  I am actually playing in this part.  Though, what I am playing is not what is being heard.  I was trying to do the best I could to match what was being played.   I am no John Coltrane. I think I did a good job keeping the character Jordan wanted though.  I was not there for the filming of the trumpet player, but I stuck around for the piano player’s shoot.  As that was after the group shot was done.  When the solo sections are done it goes back to “club” scene and we finish and say goodbye and leave.  During the credits is when the paintings are shown, to show what he was going for.  I think he did a great job and had an amazing idea.   I like how he put it together.

Of course, it was great to work with Wes, Ben and Jordan again.  Plus I met a few others on this set that I still work with, from time to time.  These people I meet on these sets are wonderful to work with and very professional.  I may have said this before, but I hope I get to work with them as much as possible before they graduate and leave.   I feel fortunate to have got to know these people and become friends with them.

To see “Soul of Music” please click the link below, thank you!

http://vimeo.com/39218029

This was the first SCAD film I was in.  I was working in Johnson Square, when a young man named Joseph, came up to me and said ‘You have the look I want for my film. Have you ever acted before?”  I said, “No, but I am willing to give it a try.”  So, we exchanged information and he called me a couple of days later.

I was pretty excited about doing this, I was playing a mobster  named Micheal, who slapped everyone around.  I really had no idea what to expect but I didn’t care.  It was the first time I was going to act in a film.  It was for Joseph’s Senior Thesis for SCAD.  It was here, that I discovered there is a lot of waiting around.  It took a lot of time to set up the shots and several takes from different angles.  (As a side note, with the SCAD films I have done, and most recently being on the set of CBGB, what these students do is every bit as impressive as the pros.  That is just my opinion.)  Of course, mistakes were made and there had to be retakes for that as well.  Being that this was my first time, I really paid attention to everything that was going on. I did what Joseph directed me to do, and everything seemed to go pretty good. I had a lot of questions, most had nothing to do with what I was doing, but about the process.  These students answered every one of them.  Egos are pretty low and I thought that was cool.  I can, however, see how professional actors can get an ego.  Even on these short films, “the talent” eats first at every meal, they are tended to, and not supposed to help with moving any equipment.  If one isn’t careful, one can find him/herself spoiled quickly.

We shot this film over the period of two weekends and it went very smooth. (Again, this is my opinion).   It is about a woman, played by Amanda Woods, who is the daughter of the Mob Boss and plays her boyfriend, played by Daniel Hamer,  against me to kill me.  Yes, I die on the film but I will not give the spoiler alert.  When it is posted on Vimeo, I will put a link to it here.  Since February, when we did this film, I have had the pleasure and the privilege to work with these students on several projects.  Joesph Raines directed this film and he and the crew really had their act together.  Wes Nelson was the camera man, Nikita Carpenter Jr. was the Director of Photography and Ben Muratet was the 1st Assistant Director.  We became fast friends during this production, which is why I get to work with them often. Melissa Martinez did the make up on my neck, and did an incredible job!  Most of these guys will be helping me with my first music video later on this summer.  A project I am really looking forward to.  All of them are very professional on set and stand up guys off set.  Of course, there are a lot of other people who were involved and props go to all of them. Soon they will be gone and off chasing their dreams and I wish them all the best.  It is my hope that we will stay in touch and keep up with the goings on and continue to inspire and be there for each other.

 

 

I live in Savannah, where they come to film a few movies a year.  I know some people who have been “extras” in some of these films and wondered how they got to do it.  It turns out, it is pretty easy.  I have done a few films for students who go to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) this year, I will be posting about those experiences too.  I just thought I would start with the most recent and go backwards.

Anyway, my friend Amanda, who I worked with on my first SCAD film sent me a casting call notice about a certain type CBGB was looking for.  I sent in all the info they wanted as well as a couple of photos.  Unfortunately, they wanted to cast me as a “thirsty fellow”.  It didn’t matter to me though, I was just hoping to be part of the experience.  I got called in a total of 3 times.  I was a “thirsty fellow” for two and for one I was a “Bowery Bum”.  For the “Bowery Bum’ day,(my second day)  although I was on the set and got to see what was going on, they didn’t use me.

On the first day though, when I got to the set, it was like old home week.  I saw a lot of people I knew and it was pretty exciting.   It was a hot day and about 150 or so people were standing/sitting under a tent.  There is a lot of waiting around but it didn’t matter to me.  It was a paying “extras”  job plus there was a chance to be seen in the film,  plus we got to see the actors while they worked and see how everything goes “behind the scenes”, it was just amazing.  Alan Rickman, who I didn’t actually get to talk to, was amazing on set. Of course, he will always be Hans Gruber to me!  He (well, they all were from what I could see) was the consummate professional.  Estelle Harris was just a blast to watch while she was working.  She is funny, flirtatious and a spitfire.  It was such a joy to watch her interact with the cast and crew.  I didn’t recognize Donal Logue until someone told me it was him.  Earlier in the day, I had asked him for prop cigarettes thinking he was on the crew.  He didn’t have them, but he was super cool in his response. I was a little embarrassed when I found that out.   He actually talked to the “extras” in between shoots and kinda mentored them though the whole thing.  I ended up at his table for lunch.  He is an intelligent man and just an all around good guy to talk to.    That was very cool!  Shortly after lunch, I was cut for that day.

On the third day, I only saw a couple people I knew, but made several new acqauintences.  It was the longest of all the days too, over 13 hours.  It was by far though, the most fun.  Again Alan Rickman, Donal Logue and this time Johnny Galecki were there and they were great.  There were a lot of scenes we got to be in that day.  Whether on not we make it to the screen all depends on the angle.  I can tell you I know I will see a lot of familiar faces on the screen when the movie is released.  I also think when the movie ends,  I will be one of the two “thirsty fellows” shown closing the bar at the end of the night when the credits start.  Again, it all depends on the camera angle.

Also, at the end of the third day, when I saw Johnny Galecki, I said “Now that we are no longer working, I want to say hello” and I introduced myself.  As he was going to the cooler for a water, he said to me “Don’t be ridiculous, you could have talked to me anytime you wanted”  He was so sincere when he said that.  I just told I didn’t want to disturb him while he was working.  I found him and Donal Logue to be really sweet and genuine.  I know they are people just like us, but I also know, sometimes ego takes hold.  It was really cool to see that hadn’t happened here.

Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed to be taken on set so this is all I have from the entire three days.  The overall experience of being an “extra” in a feature film, to me, was just amazing.   I found only one minor thing that bothered me and it was just a communication problem during chow time on the last day.  Aside from that, I had the best time.  Watching the process of how they do things, the attention to the smallest detail and how everyone interacts with everyone else is simply amazing.  It is wild to be sitting there in a room filled with people pretending to be talking and listening to punk rock,  while the actors are the only ones doing the talking.

A big thank you to the people who called me in to be a part of that!  I hope to be an “extra” in other films.

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