"My work as an actor on location/set
is to have the Producer's vision
up on the screen…!"

- - Badger

Badger working on The Animal

Wednesday December 13, 2000

After missing a day's work going to a commercial audition, I received a call from Joni Tackette at Cast of 1000s for a next-day interview for the new in-production Rob Schieder film Animal. I would be a hick of some kind in a scene with Adam Sandler (who is the executive producer and this is a cameo appearance.

Thursday December 14, 2000

As the interview was in 10am, and in Culver City, I had to take buses from 7am to get there on time. Initially I merely wanted to be early. Thank goodness for that: my transfer bus never showed up. I caught another bus that went Close Enough and walked the rest of the way. The "interview" comprised filling out paperwork (with which to get paid for showing up) and a poloroid of me in the outfit.

When Joni called later to confirmed I was booked, when she learned I had no car, she was quite helpful in trying to find me a ride. I had already found the bus route, despite requiring quite a hike (6.5 miles) to the crew parking lot from which shuttle would take me to set. Joni gave me the name and number of someone "nearby," but apart from his being farther west for it to be conventient, he was extremely uncomfortable meeting someone new or being helpful to someone with whom he'd soon be working.

Friday December 15, 2000

With the theft of my bicycle a few days earlier, once the bus route gets me as close as possible (the 6.5 miles away), the rest of the way to the crew shuttle would be on foot. I had to leave on a 5am bus and get to Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland at about 6:30am and then begin my hike to get there by 9am.
The bus got me to Sherman Way and Topanga Canyon Boulevard at 5:30am; the temperature was 39°. When a different bus came first that would take me at least to Ventura Boulevard, I took it, arriving at Ventura at 5:53am and I began my hike the 6.5 miles to crew parking (relatively close to the Will Geer Botanical Gardens). The bus in the cold for which I could have waited another 25 minutes did pass me just as I neared Mulholland.

Around 7:45am a nameless Good Samaritan pulled over and gave me a lift. I was not even hitch-hiking (although the thought had begun to cross my mind). The fellow was talking a lot (being a step or two from being an actual Bible Thumper, talking at least about the fascinating Fortean-esque phenominon in Florida [of which I was unaware], in huge front glass panels of a building of which has appeared a hologram-like colourful sillouette of the Christian goddess the Virgin Mary). His talking has us actually miss into the crew lot, and he was still nice enough to turn around and drive me back the half or so mile, despite my being even way earlier. I was shuttled to the main lot and arrived for my 9:00am call at 7:00am. I was able to get a substantial and hot breakfast at least, considering in the mountains the temperature had to be 33°.

Fortean phenominon in a former Florida bank [click for larger view]: the image is visible even at night with seeming self illumination
Fortean phenominon in a former Florida bank
[click for larger view]

Geoffrey Gould theatrical 8x10 [click photo for better view]

When it comes to working on movies, I'd rather be to call two hours early than be two minutes late.

The shoot for Animal was brief (as least my part). Apparently their schedule was all day and would go well into that night. This li'l scene turned out to be "only" Adam Sandler's cameo in the Rob Schneider film. Sandler pops up in a lynch mob (Norm McDonald has a similar cameo in another couple of scenes with either the same mob or a different aspect of the mob). Two of our mob guys were used in that scene.

We were shuttled to the set around 11:15am or so. At any rate, I was placed right next to Sandler at his right so being a shot wide enough to encompass Sandler centered and the two guys to my right, there'll be no missing me. They let me wear mine own green NATO jacket and green flannel shirt. Wardrobe loved my badger hat, but before camera rolled it got vetoed and so (as I retained my glasses) I'm even more recognizable, and as a weapon I was given a (rubber-ended) pick-axe.

It turns out Rob Schneider is co-writer as well as the lead. Ad the shot was being set up, he brought over to me a make-up girl so as to have covered the shine on my forehead. btw, Adam Sandler's friendly dog "Meatball" was at location (not used in the scene) and is the same British Bulldog they used in his Little Nicky on which I also worked.

Wrapping at 1:00pm, I got a ride (all the way) home from the same fellow who was too uncomfortable giving me a ride there.

With the rest of the day available to me, and it being opening day, I was able to see and "review" the new comedy Dude, Where's My Car? this past summer on which I worked (and in which I am quite visible)

Thursday December 28, 2000

Joni called December 20th or so to inform me I would in fact be needed December 28th. Fortunately I was nearing the end of my three house-sitting stint for some friends, each such during which I have access to their conveyance. The call-time was 6:18am at the Country Club off Route 2 north heading up into the Angeles Mountains. As my friends live at the Burbank/Glendale border, I awoke early and walked the dog, then headed up. Twice a year I go camping in the Angeles Mountains so I knew easily how to get there, but forgot "how close" us that early area of the "highway." I got there over an hour early.
There were shuttle buses to bring us to set/location. I snoozed aboard the one scheduled for the 6:18am departure, but at the last minute as there was Still A Seat Left on the shuttle leaving previously, I volunteered for it. Again snoozing the hour it took us to arrive (left at 6:55am), we arrived at Chalton campsite at 7:05am). It was utterly freezing, but knowing the area I was already wearing thermal underwear. It didn't help much. Tall propane heat-blasters were used and as though a campfire each one had several people hanging about them.

After the good hot breakfast (for myself as always, scrambled eggs, bacon and always the powerful USANA nutritionals I faithfully take), we were shuttled to the location (turning out to be so close to the base-camp area that it was walkable). From props I retrieved the same rubber pick-axe I had carried at the previous shoot. We then hung around for some time, munching from the craft services table (and often standing around the desperately needed heaters). The first scene shot was of blood-hounds and their handlers seeking Rob Schneider's character. It took numerous takes as they were directed to be "chaotic," but this was too vague a description without actual direction. The sheer "ramdomness" of it was too chaotic and as even chaos has to have a pattern with which to be best "viewed" on screen, it wasn't quite working. The "motivation" for the scene was the that dogs were coming across as uncooperative and just running from tree to tree.

'The Animal' poster

On set, Rob Schneider comes across as giving no indication of being a friendly individual, but I felt this mostly likely was due to his very professional attitude. Based on what I observed, he was far more interested in Getting The Film Made and Getting It Made Right than in having fun with or doing it.

Eventually some of the mob was used with which to run about searching Schneider. Then Schnedier was filmed in the same area (in clearly what wpi;d be the sequence before the dogs), running from tree to tree and urinating on each (a small bladder was under his shirt; after each take they had people literally signified as "tree dryers").

Then shot was the scene of the arrival of the mob with the blood hounds in pick-up trucks. I was placed in the passenger cab of the 1961 Cheverolet green pick-up truck. I am wearing the same green NATO jacket I wore for the previous shoot, with my pick-axe. I neglected to ask, as I'd forgotten (at that time) whether I'd worn my glasses for the Adam Sandler scene. Either way, on this day I did wear my glasses, and as later in the day would prove, good thing too

We broke for lunch "on time," although they almost neglected to tell us we'd been broken for lunch. Whilst waiting for the lunch, I fell in with a pleasant fellow named George Janek (who, it also later turned out, owns and runs the calling service Rapid Casting). George and I spent much of the day finding out we had startlingly similar tastes and interests in cinema (knowing esoteric "little known" films [Strange Brew, et al], as well as using the same catch-phrases from them that I use!), comedy (Monty Python, even the Goodies, etc.), politics, income tax, (he was aware of the voluntary nature thereof but seemed thrilled to know mine own seemingly substantial amount of knowledge on the subject), the distinction between rules and laws, etc. Now why can't I find a female like this?
Our ongoing conversations, particularly about the distinctions between "United States" laws and their Rights Infringements compared to the freedoms within the sovereign several states, began to draw other mob'sters into listening and learning. Over the next day or so, my web site counter indicated a great number of hits to my Good Information Page(s).

Eventually after lunch, we were brought Near where we'd be filming next, although not used for some time. Finally we were to run through a tree filled area between the roads (more like a peninsula as the road actually curved around the little area). One shot was done with a steadi-cam on an ATV, then a later shot with a static on-a-tripod camera around which we were to run, seeking Schneider('s character). As the day wore on, the sun bgean to go and while there was "ample" light, it made the run more difficult as there were li'l stiff tree roots sticking up over which one could easily trip. Thaankfully with my glasses I had a better chance of missing them.
As we were off to the side later (and George and my conversation continued and we began to draw the interest of others of the mob), they filmed Schneider running the same route "before us," and shots of the local police in the film also searching for him.

We broke and were signed out at 6:18pm. Receiving no second meal, we ponder getting a meal penalty bump. As it was, we had some good overtime and a mileage bump. We actually arrived back at the country club and our conveyances by 6:05pm. I even made it back to Burbank in time to walk the dog and catch the 7:00pm airing of Babylon 5.

Saturday June 02, 2001 Disappointment

I saw The Animal.
While the feature was very amusing and entertaining and even funnier than I anticipated, I found they'd omitted me completely.
The pick-up truck arrivals were omitted, as was our running through the woods (although the shot of Rob Schneider running the same route remained). With Adam Sandler's cameo, it was a straight-on close up only of him: but of no one around him. I cannot even fathom why they had the single shot filmed in the middle of nowhere (the Topanga Canyon day) when all one sees in the shot is Adam Sandler's face and a blurry unfocused background.
Oh well, at least people who've seen the week-previously released Pearl Harbor (who didn't blink), released the week before, were able to spot the momentary glimpse of me

Tuesday March 01, 2004 "Unrelated" Update

I just learned that the bank window phenominon mentioned earlier, has been destroyed through a wanton act of violence.

Related information: the film's Official Site is gone as of who knows when. Also, a "Special [Uncut] Edition" of the movie is available on DVD.
Uncut "but" with deleted scenes....?

Fortean phenominon image after destruction
Fortean phenominon image after recent destruction
[click for larger view]
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