Monday, February 20, 2012

The Morning After

IT WAS ON THE SET OF THE MOVIE "SCREAM", back in the Spring of 1996, that I learned to drink coffee.  During that two-month shoot, we had been working 12 hour days, with one month of those "days" being all-night shoots starting at 6pm and ending at 6am.  Those chilly evenings in Tomales Bay, California, sent me straight to the craft service truck in search of a hot beverage, and in my desperation to stay awake around three o'clock in the morning, I found myself attempting coffee for the first time, mixed with a little half and half and hot cocoa powder.  In these pre-Starbucks-monopolized times, we deemed it the "white trash mocha".

After two months straight of that vigorous filming schedule, which included the hour commute from my parents' sunny house in Martinez to the windy shores of Sonoma County, we finally wrapped principal photography in mid-June of that year.  On my last day on set, after many hugs and goodbyes, I did my final drive home for the last time from Santa Rosa back to Martinez and crashed heavily.

The next morning I threw up.

For the first time in my life, I had experienced what I call, "Movie Hangover".  After one works so many insane hours on a movie set, at a break-neck pace, the body adapts to high levels of adrenaline and stress.  Once this insanity is over, the body goes into a deep relaxation mode and must re-learn normacy.  For me, it would be a little while before I could adjust back to the typical, day to day civilization, and after this stormy, but exciting movie experience, I wasn't sure if I wanted to.

My whole life I had always found myself being chronically bored with the conventional 9 to 5 mundane work week and school schedule.  I found "regular hours" depressing and predictable.   I learned that only when thrown into fast paced situations, did I feel alive.  I did not grow up in chaos at all, so it wasn't an "addicted to dysfunctional drama" type of thing. If anything, I felt as though I grew up with very little drama, and the actress in me was craving a more creative and colorful life.   And when I took a "PersonalityTest", and scored high in the "Phlegmatic" tempermant, my results read: "Strengths: Works well under pressureNegatives: Only works under pressure."   It hit the nail on the head.  Had I finally found my calling in the insanely paced entertainment industry? Finally?

And the movie hangover would continue.  After coming off of film sets such as "Bicentennial Man", (which answered the question, "what does the 16 hour work day look like?")  and the movie set of "RENT", (which religiously stuck to its 6:30am call times, a first in my 15 years in this business), I would find myself doing the zombie walk for about two weeks.  Sure, I had made a decent amount of money in a short period of time, but I was too tired to spend it all and my apartment looked like a tornado had hit it.   I couldn't think past the moment, let alone the day.  My brain would become tapioca pudding. It was mush.

And yet, like a little addict, I recently found myself doing it again, but this time, in a much shorter time frame. 

I just finished working a three day shoot on the set of the indie film, "Roman's Way" this past Saturday.  When I finally got home, I closed my front door, shut my blinds, fell into my bed, curled up in the fetal position, and turned off the world. I would do the zombie walk for the next 24 hours before returning back to the reality and am grateful that I had today, Presidents' Day, to just veg out and catch up on my thoughts.

A three day shoot may not seem like much compared to a two month shoot, but believe me, the post-creative-stress-syndrome symptoms are the same:

Our Director, Kerwin, after initial filming had wrapped.

Someone please help Tony, our leading man:

Before I step in and take over, because this movie had no parts for females:
(Can I pass for a boy?)

And now our editing crew has stepped in to finish up our film, and as I type this, we are still at least $3,000 shy of our fund-raising goal to compete this movie! Please, if you can contribute anything to this project and support creativity, even if it's just a dollar, it would be much appreciated! Our deadline is in three days! Yikes! 

Donate Here

If online donations make you uncomfortable, just email me the amount at, and I will contribute on your behalf and collect from you later.

For a complete set of pictures from the set of Roman's Way, you can check out these facebook links:

Filming may be over for now, but...
The show must go on.
Me, on stage, in my natural habitat.

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