Day Seven

You’d think that, after working as an actor for 23 years with some pretty impressive people, I’d just stop feeling star struck, just take it in stride when I have a scene with someone who I really admire.
Of course, you’d be wrong.
Each time I have a scene with Isaac Hayes, I get this flutter in my belly, the same way I did when I had scenes with Patrick on TNG or Robin Williams in Flubber, or Ron Jeremy in Mr. Stitch. I catch myself between takes, mind wandering, thinking, “Oh man! This is so cool!”
We had a scene this morning, and this other actor, a brilliant man called John Reilly, is in the scene with us. John turns to Isaac, and says, “ I saw you on this awards show, and you were covered with FX smoke…what show was that?”
Isaac looks at him, and smiles, and replies, “You mean the Academy Awards?”
Maureen and I explode into laughter, and I say, “Oh, yeah. that awards show. Did anybody see it?”
John laughs too, and explains that Isaac is one of his idols, so he has seen most of his performances, and they’ve sort of blurred together across the years.
They talk about the performance, about how hard it was to see Isaac, and Isaac says, “Man, Billy spent the rest of the night talking about that!”
“Billy” is, of course, Billy Crystal.
When Isaac speaks of these hugely famous people he knows, he always refers to them by their first name, only, and he speaks of them the way you’d speak of Dan from Accounting, or Jenny the girl from upstairs. It’s very surreal.
The rest of the day is spent filming scenes with just me and Maureen. It’s long and at times it’s a bit arduous, but very satisfying.
There’s a scene which really needs some help from us, because in the rewrites, it’s drifted from its original meaning, and has gotten sort of muddled and a bit confused. So maureen and I spend a lot of time just improvising, staying true to our characters and keeping things simple, and we ultimately discover several very wonderful moments which add great depth and meaning to the story and our characters. We are very fortunate to have a director who trusts us, and to trust each other, so we can follow the little inspirations which occasionally pop up during a take, knowing that we’ll create something interesting and maybe even moving in the process.
I’m happy when the day is done. I feel very satisfied with what we’ve done, and proud of the work we’ve turned in.
We also got the word from the Big Tough Executive Producer Guy Man Dude, and the word was that he loves the work he is seeing, and that this is his favorite of all the productions he’s done for PAX.
Yesterday, I spoke of that seemingly endless waiting period when we don’t know if what we’ve done will translate to the screen, and today I had a thought: the wonderful sense of satisfaction I enjoyed today can’t ever be taken away from me, regardless of what happens with the final cut of the film. It is that feeling which compels me to create, whether it be as an actor, writer, or street-performing mime who is trapped in an ever-shrinking box.
That feeling is Mine(tm), and if the audience likes what we did, if everything comes together in just the right way and we end up with something memorable, well, that’s just a bonus.

59 thoughts on “Day Seven”

  1. Guy Mann-Dude? Or Guy Man Dude? Or is that just some generic name I don’t get the meaning of?
    I have this old KNAC CD (Son of Pure Rock) that has a track from Guy Mann-Dude and I was wondering if it’s the same guy/man/dude.

  2. way to go wil. art for art’s sake is what it’s all about. do what you think is right and let the rest follow. kewl. (btw, it bitchin’ to be first!)
    dj

  3. I can’t help but envy anyone who can get paid to do what he loves most and walk away from it at the end of the day with such a strong sence of satisfaction that nothing else, even the possibility of an editing hack job, really matters. Lucky, lucky you, Will.

  4. Wil, I love your honesty in this stuff. Nice to know that what you do is just like what we do-only with cameras!And you’re right-the purest essence of success and satisfaction in what one does is most relevant in the moment that it is done. Peace

  5. So Wil, what happens when someone points Chef over to your little blog here?
    I’m sort of intrigued as to what his reaction would be. *wink*
    In other words, point him this way and tell us damnit!

  6. Thank you for the virus detection warning…I bet it is exciting to be doing a movie.I will be sure to watch as a devoted fan..Thank goodness you arent doing any thing like Porn-n-chicken on the Comedy channel. :)

  7. Now I know what to call that feeling I get after my string orchestra performances. Mine(tm). I come here for entertainment, I leave with a new glossary term. I love this site.

  8. I wish I didn’t have to give up acting when I was younger ~ I really miss the after-performance feeling. Even though I was just a kid, I still felt it. I’m glad you get to feel that. :o) Keep rockin’.

  9. Wil,
    I was lucky enough to work with some really famous people before. One has her own talk show and one will be most remembered for a multi-sequel
    comedy,action movie. The latter spoke to me in the morning with a “good morning”. I looked to my back right hand side of me and then my back left hand side of me only to discover that no body was there. I then tried to act like this happens to me everyday and muttered “good muuuning”. This response comes after his second greeting. He smiles and waves and I felt like I was dreaming. I
    wasn’t, but I was up since 3am. Anyway, the next day we spoke like we knew each other a long time. I even got to shoot a scene with him. The director did a great job even though it ended up on the cutting room floor. I do not think you will ever get used to it and I do not think it matters who it is. It is just a really strange feeling to see and talk to a person who seems to have walked off of the movie screen. I still know that you will get the job done because you always have.
    F.G.

  10. I’m glad you’re having such a great time, you certainly deserve it, that’s for sure (not sucking up, genuine feeling, I promise!).
    I love Isaac Hayes even more now, knowing he refers to famous people he’s met by their first names, that is really cool I think. It gives the impression that it’s not just name dropping but that he genuinely has a connection with those people. Very cool.

  11. I guess even other stars get star struck- maybe it’s easier for them when they do the calling you by your first name to just keep everything even- know what I mean?– As much of a Geek that I am the few times when I have met some famous people I try to treat them like they are everyone else-
    -It is said most famous people would prefer when they are treated like equals,
    The few that have had attitudes toward me when i have met, obviously want the extra the diva treatment.
    Stay cool Dude-

  12. I’m loving this running commentary on the movie making. It’s a perspective that I don’t think many of us “normal” people get to see, and I for one am thoroughly enjoying it.
    And just for the record, most of us would have that “This is so cool!” feeling if we got to work with YOU!

  13. Sunidesus seems to think that you’re abnormal Wil… want me to beat him &/or her up?
    While I’m doing that you could sign the guestbook on my fun website about me.
    -Jeffery

  14. there’s something to say for meeting someone you admire, and them turning out to be as cool or cooler than you expected…
    i was fortunate enough to meet two of mine..
    Bob Mould of Husker Du / Sugar and
    Orson Scott Card author of Ender’s Game..
    both were more than cordial..they were downright cool…nice, personable and actually pretty funny..(in orson scott cards case, he was actually hysterical..cracking lots of jokes)..
    anyhow, i’m glad you’re having such a fun and rewarding experience working with these folks…
    and rest assured..we all would definitely be geeking out if we were suddenly working with you..
    cheers wil

  15. Please don’t ever tell that story of your role as the street-performing mime who is trapped in an ever-shrinking box again.
    Really. Keep that one for you.

  16. Funny you should mention the Mine feeling. Check out Pearl Jam’s new single, I am Mine. It’s on the new album, and on the radio right now. It’s got one of my favorite PJ lines ever: “I know I was born, and I know that I’ll die. The in between is mine, I am Mine.”

  17. “Starstruck” by Rainbow would apply here, except that you are not a woman, you are not in love with Isaac Hayes, and you are not stalking Isaac Hayes.

  18. Just got done watching another episode of South Park with Isaac Hayes singing a crazy song about being sexy and dead. He’s got a great, unique voice! Damn, I love South Park!
    I’m looking forward to seeing the documentary, “Baadasssss Cinema” which I believe talks a little about his early career. It would be great to see him in person/watch an interview about the many roles he’s played throughout his career. Maybe he’d do an interview for your website? Just a thought.
    The other woman I hope you get to work with/would love to meet myself would be Pam Grier.
    Anyway, I’m glad the movie thing is going well for you. It’ll be interesting if they ever turn your soon to be released book into a movie. Hopefully, you’ll get to play yourself in that film adaptation.

  19. It is nice to hear the movie is going great for you. Can’t wait to see it! Hope you have a great Halloween!

  20. The only good thing about mimes in ever shrinking boxes is, that it doesn’t give them an opportunity to harass their audience and spread their evil.
    But it’s great that you’re getting That Feeling. It will likely show in the end product. Too bad PAX Movies of the Week hardly ever get across the Atlantic.

  21. glad to hear all is going well with the film, but gutted cos i didn’t know you were in flubber and i missed an opportunity to watch it recently – d’oh! it’s good to know that even celebrities are excited about meeting other celebrities. i am now less embarrassed at my idiotic nervousness when i met michael palin! hope you and the kids have a happy hallowe’en!

  22. BOOOOOOOOOOOO…HELLA ..WE don’t need candy.
    WE HAVE WIL..and he is sooooo sweeeeeet!!!!
    Great blog entry Weaton..sir.

  23. Ok, it’s ok to be a little star-struck, but for crying out loud, move on!
    I was an extra on Wonderboys with Michael Douglas (Oh boy, right? an extra!)
    But there was one scene where I had to walk behind him down a flight of stairs at the college (rent it, I’m there).
    Well, that little scene took 2 FULL days to shoot! I talked endlessly to Michael Douglas for 2 days and by the end of the first day I was like ‘ok, thrill is gone’
    By the end of the second day I was like “Hey Michael, “Jewel of the Nile?” What were you thinking THERE buddy!”
    My point being, you’re becoming a tad too much the fan boy. Why not ask him for an autograph?
    See? All in perspective now, huh

  24. Wow, man, this movie is going to be great to the fans of WWDN regardless of how it’s accepted by the rest of the public. I know what you’re saying, Wil, when you talk about preparing for something big, and the little joys you get out of the preparation is worth it even if the overall performance doesn’t live up to what you expect. It was that way for me a few years ago when the concert band I was a part of received an invite to play in a “national” music festival at Carnegie Hall. (I say “national” because we were the only band there not from the US – we were from a little town called Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and it was our high school band that played too =) ). I’m sure that it will surpass what you expect Wil.

  25. Haven’t read the whole thing yet, but wait a sec. You were in Flubber? My kids watch that all the time, but I never pay attention! Gonna have to actually LOOK at the TV next time. :-)

  26. Wil,
    Just wanted to thank you for taking the time out of your obviously crazy schedule to share your thoughts and experiences about your life and career. It’s good to know that a Famous Actor(TM) can also be a Real Person(also TM).
    Thanks for allowing us all to experience the life of an actor vicariously through you.
    Brent

  27. Ok, finished reading.
    Someone wrote:
    “This is exactly what my musician friends used to talk about. Doing the piece over and over and over, not until “you get it right”, but until it all just happens right.”
    I’m a music teacher, and I get to experience this every day with my little ones. We talk about that “magic moment” at the beginning and end of a song. First – “what are they going to do with all those instruments?” and then when it is done – “WOW, that was coooool!”
    Boy, when it all just happens right, they just freeze and get this LOOK on their faces. They KNOW they’ve done something amazing, even at 5, 6, 7, etc., years old.
    Anyway, thanks, Wil, for sharing your movie-making with us. I agree that it is neat to see it from the actor’s perspective on a day-to-day basis.
    Ok, time to get to school!

  28. Your feeling about being in a movie reminds me of when I work in a lab – just that sense of awe of creating something wonderful. I hope that you always get that feeling – because it is wonderful to be doing something that you love that much.
    Good luck with the movie!

  29. I know what you mean about “that feeling”. Every time I’ve ever been on a set, I come away knowing that nobody can EVER take those wonderful feelings and memories away from me. It’s how you know you’re taking the rihgt path in life. It also helps you get through the rough times…COUGHrutgerhauerCOUGH!
    Kevin

  30. Wow. It must be so cool working with Chef. You seem to have reached a point in your life and work that not many people ever reach concerning how you deal with what happens to the final product when it is out of your hands, and that is really cool. You are absolutely right they can’t take anything away from you that you don’t want them to take.

  31. You’re working with John C. Reilly? John “Boogie Nights” Reilly? John “Magnolia” Reilly? That’s so fucking cool that I can’t even comprehend it. I love the guys work – his whole “how much you lift?” intro in Boogie Nights is still one of the collest intros to a character ever.

  32. Im really enjoying this diary about the movie. I will also now have an excuse to watch that PAX channel which I generally just ignore. I think I was mad at it because they put it in in place of some other channel that I liked.
    David

  33. “We also got the word from the Big Tough Executive Producer Guy Man Dude, and the word was that he loves the work he is seeing, and that this is his favorite of all the productions he’s done for PAX.”
    Not to rain on your parade, Wil, honey, but isn’t that he’s paid to say?
    I mean, when they made Howard the Duck, I’m sure everyone was saying that this was going to be great (okay, bad example, but I think you’ll get my point).
    EM

  34. Hey buntz, who cast you in that gig? (I buy ramen noodles at the market that Wonderboys visited on “hangover day”)
    Wil, how else is Issac Hayes going to refer to Billy Crystal? “Mr. Crystal?” Probably only Billy’s paid staff call him that.
    Later.

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