Going for a "Laura Croft" look... lets make a commercial!
I'm at the gym, as usual, and I get a message from Danielle. She texts me that I need to send my contact info and a few photos to Becky Switzer ASAP(!!!). Becky runs a local talent agency and I know her very casually. So, I'm immediately excited, curious, a little flustered as I'm sending the message to Becky from my phone. I don't ever want to lose an opportunity because I hesitated!
So, I send a few photos that I have in my phone and wait. Okay, I don't do waiting very well and I want to know what Danielle knows. The thing is, she just left the eye doctor and her eyes are dilated so she's having a really difficult, nearly impossible time reading and sending text messages! :) So, she calls me to give me some info. She says, "I think it said something like ... but I can't read it right now"... poor thing. And then she forwards messages from Becky shortly after.
They have a client who is looking for someone with a Laura Croft (you know, Tomb Raider -Angelina Jolie) look. Someone athletic and in good shape but not too built, definitely has toned arms. It's for a nutrition company. How is this not completely and utterly perfect for me?! Of course, I'm thinking, YES YES! ME ME! I'M perfect! Pick ME! Except this description applies to almost all my athletic friends, so I know it's not that hard to find. I tried not to get my hopes too high. On the other hand, I was getting the impression that they'd been looking for someone for a while. I have no idea why they were having a hard time casting... I never asked.
Well, I didn't have to wait long :) The next day, I'm at a photo shoot with Tara McKinney (wow!) and get the call from Becky that they want to book me - I'm available for whenever they need me the next week (I can make myself available!) It was time to start working on wardrobe. First day of filming was (less than) 4 days away.
I don't know about you, but I don't really own any Laura Croft style clothes. That tomb raider, adventurer, female Indiana Jones look. Not really. Combat boots? Fitted cargo pants? Hmm. So, I'm asking around, looking online, begging friends for help :)
My sweet friend, Lindsay Newton graciously lent me her beige (steel toed) military boots. Those looked great with my outfit for the Sahara Scene in the desert with a white tank, belted khaki pants, scarf and aviator glasses. However- they were a size too small and walking in the sand in steel toed boots was especially taxing! The other outfits were put together with things I owned and things Sean, the director was able to get a hold of. Anyway, I looked amazing, I looked and felt the part. It was great. I was ready to go on a quest searching for this nutrition product. ;)
So, we shot for 3 days in 5 locations. It was Sunday, Tuesday, Friday of the first week in June. Each location was quite a drive for me, but made for some really great scenic views! The first day we did these "woods" with a bunch of skinny trees. It was a little creepy and it made me feel very serious. After completing the shot list for that location we drove to a waterfall that it seems 90% of Oklahomans don't know exists. Which is great, because that makes it really unrecognizable and pretty special :)
It was gorgeous. It was... exciting, to say the least. There were a couple of hiccups. The first being a terrible, horrible migraine that attacked my head and nearly made me vomit multiple times. Yay. I almost never get headaches like that and here I am, trying to put all my energy into being the very best adventurer I can be, and I can hardly open my eyes. Hopefully I just looked focused and intent! The crew tried to help, each offering water, food, rubbing my neck, temples, pulling on my head- all that stuff. It was so terrible and I felt like such a dramatic little diva. Poor me, I have a headache on set. This is so not me! I love to make jokes that I am so high maintenance, but I'm really not! Well, we worked through the shot list, I scrounged up every bit of energy I could. Taking advantage of every break I could by lying down and trying to recover from how physically demanding the shots were.
Meanwhile, we were getting the police called on us.
After the last shot and we're ready to head out, it turns out, the police are waiting for us in the parking lot. Really. The park ranger had been called because we were going off the marked trails and breaking the rules about staying on the observation deck near the waterfall, among other- somewhat illegal equipment usage that we had with us. I'm leaving that vague. So, she calls the cops because our crew wasn't taking her seriously and disrespecting her authority. In the end, we all apologized, but after giving all our information over to the police so they could file their report. Not the best way to end the day. Funny thing about that was, I didn't have my ID on me. I didn't, because I was the actress. I was in my "costume" not hanging out like a regular tourist. The officer questioned my sincerity, and told me to write down my name, address etc. He made sure to emphasize that it would be very unwise of me to put down false information. I didn't. Of course.
I get home, exhausted, recovering from the massive headache, and excited about the next day of filming because I know, at full health, I'm going to be so much better!
Couple days later, we are shooting the cave scenes and more hiking. It's a beautiful sunny day. It's hot. I'm in fake combat boots that aren't actually meant for anything physical. Roxy made them for fashion, not for climbing on rocks and navigating through caves.
I worked my tail off for this job. I wanted it to look amazing. Every scene we shot, everything I did for the camera I put energy into. I wanted it to look like a real adventure- not that it wasn't! I loved the areas where we were and the beauty I got to see.
But, I did have to make it look harder than it was. When I climbed I flexed my arms and pulled harder, I pushed on the cave walls as I passed them, I grabbed trees to "steady myself" ...I thought it looked good :)
The caves were so pretty and the crew was great to work with (again). Sean said the client decided the night before that they wanted a little more humor so he had added some ideas to the shot list. His ideas were based off things he'd already seen me do, but would have been considered outtakes. Jumping when I see a dead crawdad, shuddering when I touch a slimy cave wall, squealing and running when I see a spider. Things like that. I'm a girl, what can I say?
Sean seemed happy, but I like to make sure he's getting exactly what he wants. I don't mind doing it again - I want it to be perfect.
On this day, we shot me finding the product in a cave. Sean had a sequence planned out so we would film each part in different spots so it would create the look he was going for. I slid down a steep rock, but then landed in a cave where a stream of light was shining down on the product and I, finding it at last, happily retrieve it. I knew all along that's where it was, I just had to get there ;)
The third and final day was primarily shot in the desert. Another long drive and another place I've never been. Sean rented ATVs and we went out to the sand dunes to play. I mean work. Work.
It was hot. I'm telling you. Hot. This was probably my favorite tho. I was tentative on the 4wheeler because, I haven't driven one before and well, I'm not that great of a driver in the first place.
There were a few shots he wanted of me zooming around on the ATV, so he'd be camped out in the sand and I'd go zooming by, or I'd be coming straight at him and then turn and throw sand at him. - that one took a few tries ;) Others, he rode with someone and filmed me riding next to them, but my personal favorite is the one he did with the GO- Cam. Sean tried attaching it to the front of my 4 wheeler but the surface was too rugged for the suction thing to stick. So I said, go ahead and ride on the front and then you can still run the camera and get whatever angles you want! He was pretty tentative and continued in vain to work on getting that suction to hold.
Eventually he climbed on. He wanted the action shot of me driving, wind in my hair, scenery flying by at high speeds, and he got it! It was so fun, I was laughing and having a blast. I'm so glad he didn't fall off. Since he was sitting backwards, he couldn't see where we were going which made balancing difficult for him. At one point the wind took his hat and when I turned around to get it. I thought I could ride get close, do a drive by, and he could lean over to pick it up, but I ran it over. Flat as a pancake.
I also did a lot of walking in the sand and climbing up the sand dunes. In steel toed boots that were a size too small. It was tough, I have to admit. But, I felt like a super star- I was enjoying every minute.
We had a new guy on the crew that day. Peter Bedgood. Most likely the funniest guy I've ever met. He's the kind of funny guy that every thing that came out of his mouth was making me laugh. He'd randomly go into voices and say things that would start to snow ball until I was laughing so hard, I quite seriously was afraid I'd pee my pants. Not kidding. I couldn't help it. He wasn't just saying funny things, he was killing it on the delivery and it made me feel bad that he was wasting all this hilarity on me. It should have been filmed! I can't even start, I can't try to tell you the things he was saying because it wouldn't come across right. Just trust me here. His wardrobe choices were funny enough, and each passing moment it was evolving until I wasn't sure if he was going to be wearing anything at all by the end of the day. So funny.
After the desert scenes were wrapped, we returned the ATVs to the rental place and then I had to get into my truck and drive it back into town and wait at the rental place for Sean to finish his business with them. On my way out of the park, I drove pretty fast apparently, because I almost slid around a turn where there was sand across the road. I pulled into the parking lot at the rental place with my heart beating pretty hard. I was trying to still myself, there was plenty of adrenaline rushing through me from racing around on the 4 wheeler.
At that moment, I'm sitting in my truck eating carrots and I see the park ranger walk up to my window. He asks me "what's the hurry?" and I'm embarrassed to tell him, I'm not in a hurry at all- I just had my adrenaline going... he asks me to step out of the vehicle and come "have a seat" with him. What? Have a seat? Where? It's 100 degrees out here! He said, "in my truck". I wasn't comfortable with it but I didn't argue because I'm pretty compliant like that. So, I sat in his truck while he wrote me a ticket for driving 61 in a 35. Really killed my mood.
So we are up in Waynoka Oklahoma and there's a famous German restaurant there- which was closed because the owner went to Germany for a funeral. The only other place to eat, evidently, is this Mexican restaurant. Sounds pretty good, so we drive over there. I'm dreaming of margaritas to quench my parched tongue. But, no. They don't serve margaritas. What!? We were all surprised, Peter had a wonderful time teasing and charming our teenage waitress who was pretty good at holding her own no matter how rough he was on her. Lots of jokes and lots of giving her a hard time. Like I said, she was tough tho.
After our less than impressive meal, we head over to the final location. I nice sunset shoot at Gloss Mountain. Yes, more climbing! :) So we are working through the shot list, I'm tell Sean, I must be convinced that this product is on the edge of a cliff somewhere because I tend to stand near a lot of cliffs :)
I got along with Sean really well. He was a great director to work with. I felt a compatibility with his personality that made shooting easy. I wanted to make sure he was happy before we moved on and his feedback was always productive and also encouraging. He wasn't too much of anything. He wasn't too talkative, he wasn't too arrogant, he wasn't too serious, or too silly - he wasn't too weird in any kind of way. Which, I assume makes him really good at his job because it allows him to work with people who do have more extreme personalities. But, I have worked with a lot of photographers, and some people are hard to be around after a few hours - you're ready to be done. But, this was 3 very FULL days. It was enjoyable. We communicated well, and I appreciated that because it made the job so much easier.
Goodbyes were hard. I'm so sentimental. I wasn't ready for the project to be finished. I worked with these guys 3 long days and felt like we were friends. But, you just have to know what a relationships boundaries are and know the future of it. We're not going to get together to hang out or anything, but I'd love for Sean to call me again and cast me in another project :)
So, I'm exhausted and headed home to my family. I have a nearly 3 hour drive ahead of me so I stop in Enid and grab an ice cream cone from Braums. I'm eating it as I leave town, when across the median I see a police car pull through to turn around and on come the lights, and here he comes, right up behind me. ME!! Really?! Really. I was so surprised that I even told him I was surprised and he said, "I'm not." and I said, "really? you're not surprised? Why not?" He said, "because you're from Oklahoma City, you people drive fast. And you're eating ice cream and not paying attention." Up to that point, he was being pretty mean but that's when he started to soften up. I did not want to tell him that I had already received a speeding ticket that day. I didn't want to tell him that this was my 3rd run in with the law that week. I gave him the most innocent face I could and apologized deeply, saying I was just wanting to get home to my family. He came back with just a warning printed out and asked me to slow down.
I got home to my super envious husband who is now trying to plan a trip to the Little Sahara so he can rent 4 wheelers, too :)