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Dan Murphy

The Total Man Package: "High Tech" Bowling for Dollars
by Dan Murphy

June 2002

Yep, this time my out-of-control thespian skills had me playing an extra in some bowling scenes for a movie called "THE ARRANGEMENT." I'd like to list a link with movie details, but I don't have much info about the movie. Communication was pretty poor on the set and the website for the production company wouldn't load properly on my computer. I still had a good time, got paid, and got to do some things I hadn't done before on a film.

I was told by Deb at DMH Starcraft Talent to meet at the Westgate Bowling Alley on William Cannon at 1:00 p.m. The attire was everyday clothes. When I showed up, I asked several people where the check-in was for Starcraft and no one seemed to know anything. This really began to worry me after sitting around for a couple of hours and I still didn't know anything.

Then, a friend of mine who was working on the film mentioned they may not even film today because the bowling alley was still filled with customers and it was supposed to empty for shooting. I said to another friend of mine, Andy (who I brought along to be an extra as well), "This isn't looking or sounding good. I'll give it 30 minutes more. Then I'm splitting."

Fortunately, the crew began to show up and started to get to work. This was still a little weird to me because usually when you show up for a film (even if you're an extra) there is some general description given of what's on the agenda and what the movie's all about. There was none of this going on. I was told by some people what the movie was about, but I don't know if it's accurate or not. I forgot the details anyhow. Basically, it's about an arranged date between a couple with a comedic angle. The production company was from England, the lead actors were from New York, and they were using a production crew from Austin.

I ran into Susan, a girl who worked on the Tony Sanchez commercial with me. Susan was there for Starcraft and pointed out for me who Deb was. Tangent Time: If you see the Sanchez commercials, Susan was in a scene seated at a table next to Mr. Sanchez and there is gentleman seated on the other side of Mr. Sanchez. The scene looked like Sanchez was closing on a house because Susan and the other gentleman looked very professional, had pens and paper and I think the even had a briefcase. It also made it look like they might be giving Sanchez a briefcase loaded with money as some sort of payoff. Yeah, that's unlikely for a couple of reasons. No. 1, Sanchez is already multimillionaire. No. 2. he probably wouldn't want to promote himself like this in a statewide ad. Then again, maybe it was just a Sanchez look-a-like and Rick Perry was running an attack ad showing Sanchez taking bribes. You never know.

Bowling sure has changed since I was last in an alley. Everything is High Tech. They've got computer screens and consoles. You're supposed to use the console to program the computer screens. The consoles look like the ones used on Federation Starships. So, when I was told to stand by a console and act like I was doing something for a scene I put my time to good use and loaded a full spread of Photon Torpedo's. I still didn't get a strike. I should have used the Phasers. I don't know how the white trash bowling crowd is adjusting to technology like this.

Just to illustrate how much things have changed in the bowling world, I consulted my Uncle Dan Murphy for a 1946-47 bowling perspective. One of my uncle's first jobs was as a Pin Setter in a Cambridge, Massachusetts bowling alley. Not only was my uncle from the pre-computer bowling era, he was pre-mechanization. He was manually setting up the pins after someone bowled them down before they even had the automatic reset machines. Uncle Dan also earned a whopping 3 to 6 cents per string plus tips. I forgot to ask him if the customers just threw the change down to him or rolled it down the alley.

Hell, they didn't have all these fangled, fluorescent colored balls in my uncle's day either. They had your standard black bowling balls, bad shirts, beer guts and those crappy, traction-less, guaranteed to make you bust your ass bowling shoes. They should have forgot about the computer gizmos and upgraded the damn bowling shoes.

I was watching that Stuntman's award show the other night and all these movie stars and hotshot stuntmen were bragging about all these death-defying nerves-of-steel stunts they perform. Where were they when I was slapping on my bowling shoes? (I do all my own stunts by the way.) They were running out the door. They'd rather be set on fire and thrown from a ten-story building than throw on a pair of bowling shoes and risk immediately falling on their asses. Jackie Chan won't even wear bowling shoes. The risk is just too high and the insurance rates are outrageous. They don't have the intestinal fortitude of The Package.

Later I was used in a scene where the camera was directly behind me. I was sitting at a table with Susan and we were pretend talking then on a cue from the director. (I think it was the director. No one introduced themselves, remember.) We would turn around and greet this couple behind us. They ran through the scene three or four times and then said, "That's it. Thanks." I said, "I wasn't aware you guys were filming us." It turned out were all just being used as Stand-Ins to set up the scene for the lead actors.

So now, I can also brag that I've been a Stand-In. Besides, after they consider my Stand-In performance, they're just going to replace the star I was portraying with me anyhow. I'm just gonna sit here and wait for their phone call.

Hey, my phone is ringing and it says "UNKNOWN" on the Caller ID. I'm sure it's them. I got to go.

Talk to you next month! TAKE CARE!


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