"My work as an actor on location/set
is to have the Producer's and Director's visions
up on the screen...!"

- - Badger

Badger Makes History...
Statue of Liberty: Building of a Colossus

Thursday February 8th, 2001

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

I received a call from Christopher Grey Casting for an audition for [what I thought was] a film titled Statue of Liberty. I was auditioning for the role of "Laboulaye" for Morningstar Entertainment. I went to their Burbank offices where I learned it was to be a documentary, and that I was auditioning for Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye - the actual historical figure who initially conceived the idea of the Statute of Liberty.

Morningstar Entertainment

The audition was different than most: a bit of an outline of What Could Be Indicated was provided but did not have to be memorized. Jeremy, with whom I auditioned, who resembled Noah Wylie, and when we toasted during one take, his glass broke. The AD went to pick up the pieces and it shattered more. Jeremy and I were quite abashed and apologetic, and we were assured they were major cheapo glasses (four for a buck) from Ikea
I was not sure what to make of the audition, but I was praised for what I did. "Just in case," I gave to assistant Derrick McDaniel my headshot with my contact number at the top of the resume.
[Related Update - December 03, 2004:
Jeremy and I actually did end of working together on an episode of a new TV series Head To Toe.]

Thursday February 22nd, 2001

On the bus on my way to a friend's house for a previously rescheduled meeting, I got paged. At first I suspected it was another postponement when I was about ten minutes from my destination. Once there I checked my five new messages (five?! it'd only beeped once!). Three were from an intern, Tony at Christopher Grey Casting asking me to call back regarding the project (I figured it might be for a callback). One of the messages Tony realized he didn't know the number for me with which to call back, so he ended up saying lamely, "Well, I'm only an intern here, I'm sure you have the number"

As Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye in the dinner scene

Another Tony message gave the number and it was either wrong or my hasty scribbling I got it wrong (as it was wrong). The other two messages were from Derrick McDaniel who I met at the audition, thankfully to whom I'd given a headshot with my contact (pager) number. Each of his two messages had a different number, one of which was a machine at which I left a message, the other through which I got to him. He told me I was chosen and it was shooting Saturday the 24th ("Everyone who saw the tape said, 'Yep, that's our Laboulaye'"), a 1:00pm calltime, as well as indicating it's for The History Channel.

The History Channel

Understandably excited (and trying to "play it down" on the phone), I neglected to clarify with him specifically if this was something like an A role or if it is day player or principal or what, most of which I'd normally think for which I'd need an agent.
He was able to give me the location and to our mutual surprise, it was within a healthy hiking distance from my dwelling! It was to be on Allott, which up by my domicile is a mere two li'l streets away (east) from Woodman. Allott does not go all the way through, but I could take the Woodman bus down to Hatteras, directly between Oxnard and Burbank; from there it is (at that point actually) three li'l blocks over, a three to five minute walk, at the corner of Hattaras and Allott.

As Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye in the dinner scene

As the baker in the Roman Coppola directed 'Botulism!' Game Show Network promo spot
Botulism! spot
viewable online

On an unrelated note (other than it took place that self same day) at my rental box I found a check from my commercial agent for another "Botulism!" session fee: the Roman Coppola directed Game Show Network Promo spot (with me as the baker) was renewed again and remains re-airing.
[Related Update - July 25, 2002:
(You can still) keep an eye out for it; it has been airing since March 30, 2000 and consistantly renewing, currently to air until no earlier than September 26, 2002.]

Thanks to Michael Beardsley for the frame grab

Saturday February 24th, 2001

Behind the scenes: as Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye at the initial banquet time period [click image to enlarge]

The entire weekend was cold and raining. I left earlier and got to Hattaras at about 12:20pm. A few moments from my destination my pager went off. Once there I asked for a phone and was told it was them, wondering where I was as my calltime turned out to be 11am. I apologized that I never received word to that effect. (I would learn later that while messages were left for me on Friday: my pager simply never went off for any of them.)

As Laboulaye years later [click image to enlarge]

I was costumed and although I gave most of my sizes to Derrick on the phone Thursday night, the crew procured medium to large clothing, all of which were too large for my relatively slight size. One of them was "close enough," and I met our affable director Len Talen, who through the day's work, reminded me of actor Bruce McGill (whose name at the time I could not recall, and Len never watched MacGyver in which he played Jack Dalton, or Quantum Leap, in the series finale in which McGill played Al, the bartender in an enigmatic god-like role).

As Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye listening to Bartholdi in the dinner scene

As I suspected, they were using a private domicile for the shoot. Scheduled was the dinner scene (a combination of two historical dinners actually, according to Len's Statue of Liberty Encyclopedia book through which I skimmed) at which visionary Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye propulgated the concept of a gift to America to commemorate France's 100 year history of good will. The fellow with whom I'd initially auditioned was there as an extra at the table. The role of scultor Bartholdi was played by an actor named Morgan Davidson, who we'd later learn was from Norway.

TLC: The Learning Channel

The documentary would be an hour long (meaning approximately 45 minutes without commercials) and would actually air not on The History Channel, but on TLC: The Learning Channel, with currently no tentative airing date. I was also informed I would also receive a copy of the finished project. They referred to the others at the table as Extras but it was clarified to me that (as with Morgan Davidson as Bartholdi) I was in fact a principal as well in the production, and that I could put it as such on my resume.

Our segments (dinner and art studio) were each taped MOS (Without Sound [aka Mit Out Sound: "Mit" being the German word for "with"] and no audio-taped dialogue; Voice Over narration would be added later).

As there was no taped words, we literally could say as we liked, reminding me of a documentary I once saw on the silent film Wings (the first movie to win an Academy Award), in which lip-readers in audiences complained as to the Utter Filth being spoken, I too began to "go off script" a bit. Len did not seem to mind, and while I did not "go nuts," lip readers could start to notice peculiar references, such as at one point I said, "This will a day long remembered" to which I could not resist adding, "it has seen the end of Kenobi it will soon see the end of the rebellion."

As Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye in the dinner scene

How could I resist making such an obvious pop culture reference...?

Another take had me indicating the Statue would last for thousands of years and even up to its neck in sand with a lone horseman crying on his knees (etc., etc.). Now of course these comical lines of mine were done all passionately and Straight-Faced, no "actual" "clowning around" on my part.

Another slightly wider take, to encompass the group, had us mostly Just Talking Amongst Ourselves: during this sequence I was speaking with interested actor Robert Gersicoff (seated at my right) about the benefits of the industry-standard USANA nutritional supplements that I use, and our arranging my getting to him hardcopy information on the powerful health related products.

When Norway-born actor Morgan Davidson (as Bartholdi) rose to describe his idea, that of a colossus, he did all of his lines at the dinner table in Swedish. With his gesticulations, his fluency of the language had a certain musical quality to it that was nearly hypnotic. As with mine own improvising, Morgan doing such his own Way (his lines in Swedish, not even done in Norwegian) was just as accepted.
When the dinner shots were done (the dinner party "extras" had been released), we had a shot of my commending Morgan and shaking his hand (Laboulaye accepting Bartholdi to be the scultor for the project). For this brief sequence I said along the lines of, "I'm proud of you, my boy. Your eloquent words were quite moving and I didn't understand a bloody word you were saying"

'I couldn't understand a bloody word you were saying....'

As Laboulaye years later [click image to enlarge]

For our next scene, set some ten years later, Morgan and I were slightly "aged." In a small ajoining room off the front door (which in the dinner scene is directly behind me) the art studio was set up. A miniature in clay of the statue was on a stool. I was re-dressed into more formal clothes: ascot, top hat, cane and grey gloves. I enter to view and I admire the work and commend him.
Len had us do it a few different ways and again did not care what we were saying. The most I say "correctly" is "Bon jour" as I enter. From there apart from proper praise of "Magnifique" and "Fantastique," I smilingly began to add things such as, "Now I notice you still have her wearing clothes"
Eventually, after a few takes, Morgan began to start asking me interesting things, such as, if I felt the breasts were large enough

With documentary director Len Talen [click image to enlarge]

I was released at 8:30pm or such: I know I left the dwelling at 8:43pm (missing the last northbound Woodman bus by an hour or so). They gave me paperwork that I "could not fill out" as they had a W9 that referenced my being able to use a W8 (which I use whenever I can, due to my American National [that is, my non-US Citizen"new"] status).

As Laboulaye with Morgan Davidson (as Auguste Bartholdi) in his studio

Their release/contract impressively declared me correctly as being an Independent Contractor, and clarifying it as a "buy out" (no residuals).
One commendable Contract stipulation states: "As a free-lance businessperson, I do not authorize the Producer to withhold any taxes from my earnings. I affirm that I am the only person [sic] to be held responsible for paying the required Federal and State taxes, disability and Social Withholdings"

I found this clause way cool, considering that as an American National and not being a US Citizen, I am not liable for taxation under IRS Codes, Regulations and Definitions.
Strangely then, with the release they added a thereby non-applicable W9 form This was a wholly unnecessary oxymoron if the Contract already clearly stipulates no withholding anyway.

As I had only brought with me my passport and did not expect to need a copy of my W8 (which I would have had with me had it not been raining), I mentioned this and was told I could bring home the paperwork and send it in.

The walk home in the rain took me 45 minutes.

Friday March 2nd, 2001

As my printer does not work, I have to rely on Other Means with which to print out important paperwork. Needing a copy of my W8 Form, along with corresponding information with which to explain most of it (with which in order to avoid the willful theft that company Select Comfort Mattress is doing back east to a close one of mine), I stopped at the library. To my horror of the two discs I needed, the one with the W8 and its corresponding information was not in my pocket: d'oh!
I stopped at home for it, then had to pay for the same service at the Burbank Kinko's. At the library the same service would cost me less than a dollar. At Kinko's it nearly hit five.

As Laboulaye when documentary mentions his death

At any rate, the "exchange" was without incident, even with my lawful omission from all forms of my Social Security Number (pursuant to Title 42 4"new"08(a)(8) of the US Code). I gave the hefty stack o'paper to Derrick, who gave me another form that apparently they should have had on set and didn't. Betty came out and after taking the secondary sheet, went to get my check cut. Meanwhile, off to the side in another office I could see someone (with Derrick over her[?] shoulder) reading through the corresponding paperwork With Apparent Great Interest.
Finally I gave to Betty a copy of my headshot and resume so they would know how properly to spell my name (as well as with which contact me for any future projects for which they might want me), plus supplying the URL to this page.

Wednesday June 20th, 2001

At my rental box was a postcard notice from Morningstar of the upcoming dates for the airing of Statue of Liberty: BUILDING A COLOSSUS (and two other projects on which they worked ). The scheduled air date is July 4th, 2001 at 7:00pm, and "immediately" re-airing that same evening (actually July 5th, 2001) at 2:00am.

Wednesday July 4th, 2001

House sitting for friends in Glendale, I set up my home VCR to video the 7pm airing as well as the subsequent 2am airing, both at two hour speed.
Normally I'd sleep over, walk their dog Yeller, go to my day job after which spend a few hours at my own place not merely to check my email, but so my cats would not think they'd been abandoned. From there I'd head down to Glendale and spend the evening and sleep there. So on Independence Day, with my day job closed, I spent much of the day online and such at the Glendale apartment. Late in the afternoon I walked Yeller, and scooted back to mine own place to watch the 7pm airing and take out a commercial break or two, so the 2am airing would not run out of tape.

The Len Talen directed Morningstar Production was quite well assembled and compelling without being dry or boring. It was almost creepy to watch myself on television, in a truly featured and credited role. To my pleasure, the sequences in which I was used were broken up into numerous spots throughout the first half, so I kept popping in here and there. I accurately predicted being shown again in its summary towards the end, and was pleasantly surprised with another shot of me when it indicated Laboulaye dying a year before the statue's completion.

As Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye in the dinner scene

Having not yet received the promised copy of a video of the completed documentary, I do not know how the "actual" ending credits look. But one thing was horrifyingly certain as far as the broadcast TLC version of the program's end credits.
In the side-bar that they used (so over the credits TLC could promote a three-part documentary on the genocidal Conquistadors) I found that to my horror my name had been misspelled in the closing credits!

Instead of "Geoffrey Gould" they'd spelled it "GEOFFERY GOULD."

Now I expected and can deal with the "common" (theatrical) misspelling of my given and surname (i.e., my name is not spelled in ALL CAPS ), but here some data-entry doof entering the title graphics had transposed two of the letters in my given name, also creating in effect a non-existant third syllable!

Thursday July 12th, 2001

I dropped by the production offices of Morningstar Entertainment and was greeted by Derrick. I inquired as to the status of the promised copy of the video. Derrick seemed a little surprised and after thanking me for a print-out of this page (as current as it was up to that time), he requested my mailing location to which to send a request form for the video copy.
Now I do wonder why I would have to "request" something that was promised me, and was a stipulation of my work, but as I do want it, I now patiently await the form with which to retrieve the promised copy of the video version of the documentary.

Saturday August 11th, 2001

So far still no video copy received, nor has any "request form" been sent/received.

Credit and substantial Thanks and Appreciation
to my friend Michael Beardsley
for the frame-grabs [used on this page]
from the show's initial airing.

Visit Mike's Web site.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Previously, the website for Morningstar Entertainment was at http://morningstarweb.com but this site shortly vanished without notice. All away with which I came was their logo up at the top of this page.
Recently I found out that there is a new website for the elusive Morningstar Entertainment at http://morningstarentertainment.com.

Based on results, it's a very unstable site, but they do have a dedicated "page" regarding the Statue of Liberty documentary along with the following blurb:

.... Morningstar was further honored when their "Statue of Liberty Building A Colossus" was nominated for the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. Called the "definitive program on the Statue of Liberty" by no less than the former curator of the great monument, this television program is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Broadcasting.

Also on which (apparently) is a QuickTime clip from the documentary! The unstable site page does not come up well on my roommate's computer, and my new computer system does not yet have QuickTime installed, so I do not yet know which clip(s?) or how long is the selection. You'd think they'd have made it at least available for purchase as with some of their other projects.

And I still do not have my promised copy of the finished product! D'oh!

More as it progresses
Tape copy receipt (if ever), further information,
emailed reviews"new" received, et al

Statue of Liberty links:

Background information:
This 302-foot tall copper statue, formally called Liberty Enlightening the World, stands on Liberty Island in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor. The statue, which represents a woman raising her torch to proclaim liberty, was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States<"new"/A>, [sic]"new" in honor of the U.S."new" centennial in 1876.
French historian Edouard de Laboulaye first proposed the gift, and the French people raised money so that, in 1875, sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi's team could began work on the colossal statue. The statue is constructed of hand-hammered copper sheets assembled over a framework of steel supports, designed by Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel.

The National Park Service site

Liberty Island

At a dinner party in 1865, Bartholdi and his host, historian Edouard-Ren de Laboulaye, had conceived the idea of France giving the US a monument for its Centennial of 1876.

Varied other Statue of Liberty Links here

NYCtourist.com's Statue of Liberty Photo Tour

Statue of Liberty National Monument

National Park Service: Statue Of Liberty National Monument

Statue Of Liberty Facts, News and Information

The Statue of Liberty Collectors' Club

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

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