|Austin-Bergstrom International Airport|
by Dan Eggleston
I met Craig Knapp after an audition for "Close to Normal" at Martini Shot Productions studio in June, 2001. I saw him three months later at a scene for "Diamondella." He asked to speak to me later that evening but didn't have a chance. I later learned that he wanted to speak to me about a film he was preparing, "Making the Porn,"; he was co-directing with Blayne Gorum. The film was described in its casting call as a parody of both the porn industry and ABC's equally pornographic "Making the Band."
Two weeks later I was invited (and posted the info on my casting list) to work as an extra on a Sunday morning in late September. I learned from my friend Beth (whom I'd invited as an extra) that the scene was scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to noon.
Call time was 9:15; when I arrived, the crew was unloading equipment and setting up in the Butch Cassidy room at the Red Lion Hotel. About six actors were waiting, including Beth. I'd first met Beth (who had a speaking role in the film) while working on "The Late Show" and also got her a gig on "Behind Closed Doors." She was busy preparing for her part, studying her lines. (see the photos for the day)
While waiting, I read James Bamford's amazing "Body of Secrets, Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency;" which was particularly fascinating in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack. It's an excellent book and highly recommended.
Among those waiting was Kerrie; I thought she was another woman, (Mindy from "The Late Show") and even asked if she'd moved back from Dallas. Kerrie was one of about two dozen from "Xtracurricular" whose email address I'd taken. She'd worked crew on that shoot. She planned to work on the crew for that company's "Good Time Boys" next year. Kerrie had also worked as an extra on that film and got to drive a car in one scene. She will be working crew for that company's next production, "Good Time Boys" and hope to work as an extra also.
Bob looked familiar and was one of the few from "The Late Show" whose email I had somehow not gotten. He was later advised by Tracy to register his Harley with the Texas Film Commission. Another friend worked as an extra the following week because his cycle was registered with Third Coast.
Bagels arrived at 9:45 just as a small group left for an expedition to MacDonald's. Tracy arrived and began putting makeup on the leads. A table was set up near the window.
At 10:50 the first scene was shot. Beth, Sean, and Ana were greeting auditioners for a porn film. Sean had emailed me several months ago to post a fund-raising appeal for a project which is now complete, but I'd not met him previously. Ana worked for an investment firm.
The first auditioner was Doug (who had introduced himself to me as the gaffer, and "not an actor".) Doug walked up to the table, dropped his trousers to display his penis (the camera was at his back, and Doug was not actually displaying anything but his brightly colored underpants). The panel of three reacted to his miniscule display. After three quick takes, we moved on to the next shot.
Kimber walked up to the table and, at first ignored by the panel, started making sexual moans which got their attention. She nailed the shot in one take and got applause (as had Doug) from the actors and crew watching. Kimber is a model; her first film was as an extra in "Dazed and Confused" when she was 16. She's worked on ten films, including, recently, "The Rookie." I later discovered that she had emailed me her resume six months earlier, but we had never met.
Next, came Emily's scene (at 11:10). She also moaned, but her moan will be dubbed in with a combination of a sheep and a dolphin sound.
Close-ups of the panel's reactions were shot next. During the previous shots, the air conditioner had been turned off in order to avoid its noise. The room had warmed up and it was most welcome to have it back on.
As Tracy made up one of the actors she advised Jackie to include as much as possible on her resume, including the fact that she had been the captain of both the volleyball and basketball teams at Travis High School (she graduated from there earlier this year). Jackie worked as a cheerleader in "Varsity Blues," but had not worked on many films. She was currently taking classes at ACC and spent time studying for a history exam the next day. She worked on a vampire short this summer and was currently working on "Shadow of Evil." She told us of her current job (which she quit the next day) at a Sonic's Restaurant where her boss disliked her and frequently hassled her. She found a new job a week later.
When I met Dan, his last name sounded familiar, and I discovered that his cousin Jimmy is one of my computer students (one of my best ones). As I left, Dan wrote a note to his cousin that I delivered the next day. Dan was joined by his girlfriend Alexis, who ended up working as an extra for the audition line scene.
During the closeups, Akie was rigged for his shot. He entered with a 20" long back scratcher protruding from his pants. When he approached the table, the panel reacted with astonished looks. When he turned toward the camera, revealing his implement, his fork knocked over a Coke can, to which Akie commented "I hate it when that happens." It took about four takes to get this shot.
The next hour was spent waiting while the equipment was moved into the hallway for the next shot. Craig had a very inexpensive tracking setup: two long rubber tubes and a wooden platform mounted on the tubes. At 12:30 all of the extras and all spare crew members were lined up in the hall when a fire alarm went off. After we were informed that it was not a drill, we all gathered our personal things and waited outside the main entrance for about five minutes. As we returned, some of the crew were leaving with the equipment. It took another fifteen minutes to re-set all the equipment and finally the scene was shot. The camera moved along the track as about twenty of us stand in line waiting for our audition.
The scene was completed about 1:15 p.m. I had been told that morning that I would be used in another scene, but had to leave and thus it didn't happen. They continued work until 10:00 p.m. that evening. The film was scheduled to be completed by late October.
In December Craig e-mailed invitations for a screening, which was held at Martini Shot Production's new offices on MLK. The film was twelve minutes long and very well done; there were about 30 people crammed into the tiny screening room and we all enjoyed the film. The profanity was bleeped out making it a G-Rated "porn." Craig had completed it (and two other shorts) just in time to submit it for South by SouthWest. The back of my head is visible briefly in one scene. I was thanked in the end credits.