Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Behind the Green Screen - Addendum

I have added a few things on the bottom of the blog.

I've been asked a number of times in the last month "What is a blog".

The short answer is that a blog is short for Web Log. This brings chuckles because all that is done is to take off two letters which is making the total letter count 33% less. But in reality you are making one word out of two words.

But after getting vacant stares I confess that a blog is just a public online diary in which people can write about their normally dull and dreary lives and try to make it sound exciting. Typically it is a self gratification thing and peoples lives are actually dull and dreary and who wants to read about other peoples dull and dreary life.

The problem is that many people need not have a dull and dreary life if they just open their eyes and enjoy the moment. It doesn't take an adventure, all it takes is reflection. There are stories of trips to the dentist of you pay attention.

ANYWAY - I digress, I'm stalling.

I have been invited back for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as part of the Picture Car Department and I feel that if I write about yesterdays adventure (if you can call it that) I will squander my chances for 40 more hours of mind numbing yet very entertaining boredom. Universal is not to fond of having people on the set that write about . . . being on the set.

I hope they will take pity and not worry. I feel I have done more good then bad and maybe raise the excitement level a tad greater then what most movies have after a month of filming. If I get to the set tomorrow and they say they don't need me? Well . . . THAT is a story in itself so it's a no lose situation.

I was invited by Scott from Minnesota to be the passenger on his 1933 Graham. There are only three 1933 Graham's in existence in the world and Michael Mann really loves this car. It's beat up and not one of the shiny cars but it is a beauty. It was owned by Scott's father and there is a amazing story behind him finding it, but that is a different blog (and not mine).

The story begins when I arrive in Oshkosh Sunday night. I meet Scott and his parents and two other Picture Car people. We decide to walk to the downtown to see the set. I have never been to downtown Oshkosh so this was a treat. The places looked GREAT.

We walk around and Scott and I are wearing our hats (I really like my hat and might wear it a lot) and asking people where a place to eat is. Sunday night in Oshkosh is like a Sunday night in Columbus - not many places open. People start asking if we in the movie and we say yes we're Car people. All of a sudden we're being asked to stand here and there and people are snapping photos of us and pointing in our direction.

Our group decided to head back towards the hotel and there is a Pizza place. As we're outside discussing the situation there is a big window and I can see people turning their heads and pointing but I assume IT'S THE HATS . . . or something.

Entering the place all is normal until I hear a little girly squeal and a woman jumps out of her seat , looks at ME and says "ARE YOU ROD?" and reaches for my hand.

Not knowing who this was I immediately liked her (note to other people, little girly squeals and hugs are always appreciated . . . .unless you are a guy where a simple bow will suffice).

"I'm Pam" she blurts out and I know who she is from a few emails. Then others at the table stand up and shake my hand and customers in the restaurant are now staring my direction. I'm having my five minutes of fame moment.

We talk a while and then excuse myself to go to my table. We eat great Pizza and Pam and others come to say goodbye and little Emma shakes my hand with a shy grin. I find out this morning that Emma will probably not remember ME because later the next day she got a hug from Johnny Depp who has a slightly elevated wow factor then some dude with a blog.

Back at the hotel it's about 11:30 and it's lights out for a 4:30 wake up call. We get the the picture car garage about 5:30.

There it starts getting exciting as I see 40-50 old cars getting inspected and so forth. The dirtying process is talked about but since Scott's car is still dirty from the Columbus shoot they want us up the Main Street first.

There is a green sticky on the window which means Mann likes the car so much it will be one of the main cars for the three day one scene shoot later in the week. There are five of us driving to town and people turn and take photos.

A little out of order here but there is a Picture Car Meeting but first breakfast. I have always heard the food is amazing and as I stand in line, outside, in 29 degree weather, with no chairs I say, "This truly IS amazing". Then it even gets more amazinger as our plates are piled high with growing cold eggs and other pretty darn good getting cold food, we have to walk a few blocks, while eating to wardrobe and paper filling out and instructions.

Then our little group with cars already in the parking lot are told to go and be with our cars. In fact that is the one major instruction. Be with your car.

It is getting warmer, the crowds are growing a little, it's 7ish and we stand around. Howard (baseball cap) is the guy in charge of us and is a great person. He is looking at cars and taking things off hear and putting them there and like being picked for a team in gym class, he says "that one" and the driver is told to drive to the set to be placed.

Every 15 or 20 minutes they come over and are looking at cars. Meanwhile, I'm over talking the the crowd who seem bored and just filling in gaps on what they happening (like I have a clue LOL).

After about an hour our car is the last one, we're all alone and left out. About ten more cars are driving up and they park surrounding us.

Then once again they are looking at cars and they point to us. A guy jumps on the running board and we drive a few blocks to the set. Howard tells us to turn around and back up towards the green screen.

We back and back and back and are told to stop, front and center in the middle of the green screen right across from the "bank". WOW!! Not really out of the way at all.

Not being told exactly what to do we just sit there and watched what is going on. Pretty soon th real talent starts to arrive, Stephan Dorff, Christian Stolte, that Australian dude Viola wanted to see and of course Johnny Depp and Michael Mann walk right past us over and over.

They start setting up for a shot and Scott and I just sit in the car being invisible. People look at us and say nothing.

They rehearse a hostage scene over and over and over and then do a final run threw before a real take. A funny thing happens. They have these cop that runs up, gets smacked beside the head with the rifle and twirls around be bends the rifle barrel. Every body laughs.

Since they are still rehearsing I take a few photos. and we just watch the action. In front of us they are wiring a car with little explosives.

Then they are getting ready for a real shoot. That cop has now been strangled about about 30 times and he is getting better and better.

I thought THAT would be the hard part.

A guy who has been taking care of the rubber guns now comes up with a gun that looks way way more dangerous. People are putting in ear plugs and cameraman have darth vader shields on. The gun guy hands the BIG gun to Dorff, barrel down, the same exact way EVERY TIME the entire day. Stephan takes it, holds it, the gun dude reaches over and takes off the safety.

About 20 people now scream "ROLLING, FIRE IN THE HOLE . . . . . . .ACTION"

The cop runs up, gets smacked, falls, Dorff grabs him by the neck, a cop car in front of us fires there little pop guns and Dorff fires BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD that is loud. A cop car cop gets killed and falls .


This goes goes on for over two hours and that poor cop is getting smacked every time AND that gun is going off next to his ear OVER and OVER and OVER.

That is a photo has the guy that got killed and that is Scott talking to him. The thing is that THAT police guy was the one getting chocked but I guess Dorff smacked him pretty hard once with the rifle so they decided to just kill him and get a new cop to smack.

They are setting up for a new scene and we're still sitting there when Bob Wagner who is everywhere yelling instructions see's us and screams "HEY, YOU TWO GET OUT OF THAT CAR YOU WOULDN'T BE THERE DURING A BANK ROBBERY"

We get out of the car sheepishly and Howard yells at us "He meant to say please" and smiles. Howard is on our side.

AND - the rest of the day was spend behind the green screen. We could see a lot of action and they kept yelling "Picture car drivers, please move over here" and please move over their and then over hear again. We had to stay close but . . not too close.

Meanwhile the real Extras are just getting beat up running their scenes over and over and over and over again. I wonder if any of them will ever do it again.

Late in the day I spot five guys taking a break and with my tiny camera and knowing I could get busted by hanging out with the Extras I snap of a shot.

That is Scott, Dan, Michall, Andy and Michael.
There were SO many photo ops I wish I could have gotten.

One was when all the Extras and Picture Car people walked to lunch. Seeing 200 full wardrobe people walking down the street was really a great sight!

At lunch I mention the blog and a few people perked up and said "That's you?"

And lunch was amazing. They really DO eat well. There were perhaps 10 main courses and all the trimmings.

I sat at a table with three extras and we were talking. They were on the other side of the street and were suppose to run into a building when the firing started, to bad the building was locked, so they just cowered behind rails.

I did not have a chance to get a photo but later after we were done they posed.

Of course since they were now official actors they could not just stand there so they pretended a guy had just pulled up with a gun.

Obviously lady #2 on the left likes the "bad boys".

if anyone knows these people - a lot of people really love this photo - contact me.

So we just sort of stood around for the final five hours until shooting was over, about 7:30.

We head back to the hotel after parking the car in a special garage and I'm packing up to drive back to Columbus. I'm at the elevator and it opens and a woman walks out. We make eye contact and she says "HEY, your the guy this morning that we talked to". We make a little small talk about Johnny and somehow I mention the blog and the story of "lucky duck'. All of a sudden she gets a look in her eyes and ask's.


"I'm from Arizona and I have a friend that flew in from Kentucky and two more from California ALL BECAUSE OF YOU!" (actually the blog but I'll take any credit I can get). She gives me a big hug and we talk more about how they all met in Chicago and drove to Oshkosh. They met Johnny and yada yada yada.

And I then drive home and collapse.

and that is my story.

I guess I'm going back tonight for another 40 hours of tedium but I think this time there are driving scenes and a huge robbery. It's really is fun in a boring do it over and over and over way.

SO - I hope I see all of you and I honestly do not know about the content in the coming days. I feel guilty actually.

Here are some shots captured from the far side of the green screen. I was NEXT to the green screen.

Every photo has a story.

The blond being held by JD was, I believe a double. She was there early in the morning and went through some practice runs. Then went to wardrobe, got all dressed up, and sat inside for the next 10 hours never to be called. She looked very very very sad when it was all over.

One of the perks of being in a movie is you get free STAR WATER. Obviously it is cranked up with caffeine as Stephan Dorff was drinking a lot of it.

I never saw this - sometimes your TOO close to see things.



Michelle said...

Rod, phenomenal. I'd like to say you are the luckiest guy around but you have worked so hard and for this to happen to YOU is amazing. I am realy happy for you. Just remember all of us lowly people, ok? Ha.

Heather said...

Michelle - I think it was your photos I just looked at and I love the one titled johnnyjerry16.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod.....YOU ARE THE BOMB!!!! Thanks for the great reenactment of your day...How Fun!!!!


shakenbsis said...

Rod, thanks for taking the risk to keep us in the loop. (I've been sitting on the edge of my chair!!) If they can you for it, it will be their loss = )

Christine - the Historian said...


You are the GREATEST!! Thanks so much for sharing this piece of your life with us and THANK YOU for starting this web log(blog), because if you hadn't, those of us who can't be in WI would have NO idea as to what a wonderful place your corner of the world is.

Hope you have a good rest of the week with your adventure.

C :)

Billie said...

Thank you so much Rod for all the inside information very enjoyable.
Cant get over those shoes those women are wearing something my granny would have worn, I don't think young women wore them. Billie

Tami said...

What a great blog today Rod! I was in Columbus the Thursday they were there and got pretty close to JD a couple of times. I so wish I could be in Oshkosh too, but don't know my way around there at all and don't have vacation time I can use for it anyway. I'm living through you now. LOL!

wlkingbluepirate said...

Awesome Rod!!!! You da man! I hope they have you back Thursday. You deserve to be in this movie. Thanks for all the pics and details.

Paul Bain Jr said...

Hey Rod nice to hear you had a good time up here. What a great opportunity you have. I want to thank you for this blog your my number one info source.
Did you ever wonder if Jerry has built in recognition software in his brain? That guy is good at guiding Johnny around! Have fun this week it's creating a lifetime of memories for you.

M said...

Rod! This couldn't have happened to a better dude! You're so entertaining and upbeat, the studio should pay you for the inside scoop, although we'll settle for them just leaving you to do your thing! What a richly-deserved experience. Enjoy, especially now that the God of Mann has brought good weather just for the days you are scheduled for (an odd coincidence-- care to explain?!)


Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

Rod! You rock!! Thanks for telling us as much as you felt comfortable sharing! Aren't blogs and websites amazing??!!!

Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

A piece of info about Jerry that y'all may not know, Jerry owns a very successful international entertainment security company. He's very good at what he does... he's as nice as he can be and very serious when he has to be. ;)

Osh said...

so much awesome!
FYI...Farm Boy On Bike From Racine said he would never ever ever do it again.

Kat said...

WOW, how cool is all that?! I can't believe you still posted all you did when you must be drained. And, yes, your blog definately raises the excitement level for this movie. I can hardly contain my frenzy...thanks a ton. Thanks to you I drove 2 hours up to Columbus (loved it), & will now drive another 2 hours to Oshkosh tomorrow (hope the wind doesn't delay filming). Oh, and I see you posted last week in April for Milwaukee filming. Could you possibly let me know how you came across this info. I am from Racine & this destination is much closer. Also I dressed up & stood in the sub-zero weather for a couple hours for the casting call & would do anything to get that call to be an extra. I'm still clinging to a small chance. Thanks again for this blog, much enjoyed & checked several times a day.

Krystal said...

Hey guys and gals..I was just wondering if the crowds are pushy? I plan on going Friday but I will be 1 day post Lasik (hopefully I will be able to see), so I don't want to get hit in the peepers by accident.

Grinder said...

Added a couple photos in an addendum.

`` said...

Oh wow, Rod - you made it onto the set! I've been lurking from day one and never posted, but this is too exciting! BTW - you are quite an international star: I'm writing from Macedonia, via the JDZone and just thought I'd say thanks to you and all the others that made this blog a candle for us PE moths with your reports and photos. Again, congrats on getting on the set - have fun!

Tami said...

Love the shot with the bent gun barrel. Think that part will make it to the movie? LOL!

sandsitive said...

Rod! You lucky dog!! I think it's great that people know who you are. You deserve the recognition for the amazing job you do here and your great attitude. Good luck on the 'shoot', will be anxiously awaiting...

pssst... I think 'lady #2 from the left' was a moll in a former life.

Kat said...

Oh the bent gun is too hillarious. Your photos just get better. And sorry if this sounds critical, but how could that girl be so very very very sad? 10 hours for the opportunity to be held hostage by Johnny even for a minute...I could definately die happy if it were me! Plus getting all dolled up for free (I love playing dress-up tee-hee! And your wonderful photo to have as a memory for the rest of your life...sign me up! But it was nice of you to feel for her! You're a good guy.

Grinder said...

Kat - I think sitting in a large empty room for 10 hours while everyone ELSE can go play in their clothes might have something to do with it.

The bottom photos were not mine but TJ with his huge white lens.

wlkingbluepirate said...

Huge zoom lenses are where it's at, man. Thanks for those TJ! And Stephen's gun looks a little...deflated. It kinda reminds me of Looney Tunes. It would've been hard for me to keep a straight face in that shot.

debsmad said...

So it *WAS* you, Rod! One of the very first things I saw when hubby and I got there was a guy that I thought 'oh my god, that's Rod!' I can't remember at the moment if I took a pic of you...that would be on my other camera, and I need to get the film developed.

That is so cool that you got to be an extra. Congratulations!

Stampin' Colleen said...

Oh my goodness... you are a real life celebrity!!!!! What an awesome day! Awesome memories to tell your grandchildren about!! Keep up the good work. FABULOUS photos to keep me anxiously anticipating the Madison shoots!

deppfan said...

AWESOME DUDE!!! Great that you got to be so close and good luck on the upcoming days of shooting that is so cool and no one else is so deserving.

Thanks for the pics (you and TJ that big lens is fantastic) and the inside scoop.

Anonymous said...

Today as a BORING day in Oshkosh! Not acting at all! :(

Anonymous said...

Hi guys! Word on the IMDB boards is that Emilie de Ravin (Claire from Lost) is playing a bank teller taken hostage by Dillinger. I could be mistaken, but I'm almost positive that she's the "sad girl" in the photo with JD. Congrats on your big day on set!

Sue said...

Rod, I'll bet when you started this blog you never expected your life would be changed in so many ways! From weekly stops at Kurth's, to being recognized on the street, to being published in a Japanese magazine and now being in the movie! It couldn't happen to a more deserving guy! I hope to meet you in person too some day; but in case I don't, I'd like to thank you for all that you've done!

Grinder said...

sue - yea - I'm turning into an alcoholic and am always sleepy.


toadlessgirl said...

Wow. I am insanely jealous, but it couldn't have happened to anyone more deserving.

I'll have to see if I can find you when I'm up there tomorrow. It would be great to finally meet :D


Lotus said...

Yea, Rod, drink some more beer & get some sleep! And start all over tomorrow with a whole new blog day! Thanks. (I can't post a comment from work on your blog anymore, so I emailed my congratulations earlier. I hope that was OK?) I hope I don't lose my job because your blog is sooooo much fun!!!

Lynn said...

Michele and TJ, you have put me to shame with your pics...Excellent job! Keep it up!

debsmad said...

I'm wondering why Emilie de Ravin would be here in lil ol' Oshkosh when Lost is busy finishing up their own work? Unless 'Claire' has been.... *gulp* ....killed.

Got my film developed just a bit ago. Will be uploading pics this evening, and will share a link soon.

Anonymous said...

Rod, Do you know for sure that they will be filming again in Columbus on the 29th? Do you think JD will be back then or was it just for follow up shooting on other scenes? Thanks for any info you have


Grinder said...

Anonymous - I'm pretty sure. it's sort of common knowledge the 29th and then again later in May.

I'm not sure WHO will be here.

MaggieP said...

Im thinking about taking the drive again to Oshkosh tomorrow evening. I'm still waiting for my chance to see Johnny (just like every other girl)! Is filming going to be downtown? Hopefully he will walk out by the crowd!

Grinder said...

to the other Anonymous. There are way way better photos appearing on this blog when were taken 50 yards behind me.

I think many extras with cameras tend to be "star" driven and can get in the way.

Plus - we get instructions to MAKE SURE no flashes. So I have to think that they know there are cameras on the set.

I think they are more worried about people selling photos.

Jenny said...

That girl does look just like Claire from Lost!!! If you look on her imdb page, she has been working on some movies while still being on Lost, so I wouldn't be suprised if its her.

Rod, if you see her in Oshkosh you have to get me her autograph and take lots of pictures.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rod, I'm sure you are getting a bit tired of everyone hanging on every word you say. I asked about Columbus cause it's about a 2 hour run for me. I was there on that Thursday in March and I had a ball!


Anonymous said...

Congrats! you have made Columbus proud! You deserve it!

Hey, did everyone see in the Daily Citizen they are looking for Cowboy types as extras for shooting around the 29th? Get out you Stetson's! Details on page 3. One needs to e-mail a recent photograph in western wear to: PEEXTRAS@gmail.com List your height, age, cloths size and phone numbers and type "western type" in the subject line. It said they are looking especially for older age extras. Good luck partners!

I can't wait for tomorrow's blog!

publicenemies-on-facebook said...

Holy moly, this is incredible! Mark my words, Rod, in a year or so, you'll be a guest reporter for Entertainment Tonight. At the very least, Universal should get you VIP status for the premier. Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone make it to the any of the chase scenes today? Those were kind of exciting and "on the fly".... and the locations were pretty "hush hush"...but I suppose the few dozen people who were around will spill the beans shortly. My cell phone didn't even have a signal out there!

DeppAddicted said...

Great job Rod! I am so happy I found this blog!

I am flying to WI in the morning and will be in Oshkosh Thursday. Any comments on how the weather may effect the filming? I read storms,rain predicted for Thur and Fri. Now I am sad to think my trip will be in vane. Any thoughts?

Rachel said...


It looks like rain the next couple of days but I'm not sure how that will affect filming. They did film in the rain on Friday.

I am going to keep my fingers crossed that the weather report is wrong and that you have a wonderful experience in Oshkosh!

Have a safe trip!

DeppAddicted said...

Thanks Rachel! I really appreciate it.

debsmad said...

Those who use Flickr...is there a way to rearrange pics after they're uploaded, to put them in the order you want???

I have mine uploaded but they're all mixed up. I'd like to get them more organized.

Mine are here:

They are nothing to brag about like others I've seen here...lol I had to do some major cropping on some cuz I just was not in good spots. But ya never know, there might be something interesting. Enjoy.

shakenbsis said...

debsmad - I appreciate that you posted your unedited stuff anyhow. It is always very interesting to see things from another perspective. I like the raw, chaotic feel of the meet and greet shots, and especially the death stare! = )

Anonymous said...

I'm on my way to Oshkosh later in the day, does anybody know where filming will be taking place on the 16/17?

Sue said...

I saw the post in the Daily Citizen too and am wondering what they would need cowboy types for?? Can anyone that has already read the book fill me in on that? Mine was just shipped, so it will be a while before I get to read it.
My husband and I are going on a little get-away; leaving Thursday morning and getting back Sunday. I'd like to stop in Oshkosh for a couple of hours. Can anyone give me some hints on the best way to come in (coming from Beaver Dam) and where to go to possible see
SOMETHING??? Time will be limited.

Michelle said...

Debsmad -- are your pictures in a set? I haven't looked at them yet. If not, put them in a set. Then from your photostream page, click on "edit" next to your set icon. It will take you to a page where you can rearrange the photos in the set. You can't rearrage the actual photostream, because that updates in the order you upload. Once you have arranaged the set, give out the address to your set, not your photostream. Hope that helps, I'm off too look at your pics!

RGrantham said...

wow I love this!
and that you got a picture of my friend who is Lady No.2 in the april 14th post!

How fun!! I love it!

Leah said...

In the picture of the 4 ladies, the one on the right is my step-mom! I loved being able to see her all dolled up in period clothing.

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