Places to go, people to see

It was a series of short meetings, with legwork in between. I’ve been in the car enough now that one arm is darker than the other. I headed up north, to a small town a few miles west of I-40, where I knew there was a cafe/bar but I knew nothing else about it. On the way I stopped off at Raphael’s, another potential location, but it had been closed every time I passed by. Apparently the hours posted on the door have nothing to do with the hours that they are actually open. It was still pretty early but I thought I’d drop by and see if there was some kind of license or better business bureau ID number on the door that I could use to track down the owners.

Unlike my previous visits, there was a car in the parking lot. The door wasn’t locked. I stepped in to the smell of ammonia. “We’re closed, buddy,” called out a man from across the room. There were three of them in there giving the place a good scrubbing down. I looked around a bit – the place was much more of a bar than a roadside café, but the folks there had no problem with us filming. The daughter asked to be in the movie as an extra. I had no problem with that. I checked sight lines and all that, decided it wasn’t perfect but would do in a pinch, and got contact info and called Rudy from the parking lot. “Oh, we talked to them,” he said. “The Director of Photography likes J&J’s better. It’s more like what Ruthie would have.” Here is the problem when you have a mix of very experienced industry pros and rookies. The inexperienced producer took the DP’s word as more or less gospel, without assking the people who invented Ruthie what we thought. While I’m inclined to agree in this case, a decision like that is no time to be bypassing the director or his surrogate. And at the very least, tell me about it.

Right, so, on to Peña Blanca I went. Before I even got there I knew that it was just too far from Albuquerque to be useable, unless it was absolutely perfect. It wasn’t, not even close, so I turned around and headed back into town. Next I headed out West a few miles, to the very end of Central Ave. The terrain was good, still more buildings than I would have liked, but workable. I passed a sign for Angel View Cafe. A cafe? Out here? Sounds promising! Only, I couldn’t find the cafe. Signs last a long time out here, often outlasting the buildings they mark. I’ll make one more attempt to find the place using high-tech tools like the phone book, but I suspect once again that time has overtaken the sort of place I’m looking for.

In to town, a couple more errands, a meeting with Archie about props. He had welded up an anchor from scratch the day before, and was starting fabrication on the nuclear warhead. We discussed snow globe styles and limitations, and other props. Apparently the machine gun is not a given. He can make a fake one from photographs, but we would need a belt of ammo hanging out to really sell it.

Then to callbacks. Going in I was reasonably sure who I wanted, but I wanted to see if the people who looked best for the role could iron out some of the flaws in their earlier performances. When I got there I discovered I would be looking at two more people than I thought I would. One Moab had said he was unavailable because he was going to be at a pirate party, but the role was just too juicy for him to pass up. The dude lives and breathes pirate. The other was a potential Ruthie that had not been available for the previous auditions but was well-known as an excellent actress so they tossed her into the mix.

So, things were a little more complicated than I expected. There were a couple of actors who could have made my choice easier by nailing their parts, but they didn’t. I could coach them so they would get one key phrase right, but then they would lose track of the rest. In one case it was nerves, I’m sure, but we just don’t have the time for our lead actors to get over the jitters and start performing. In the end, there was only one Moab, Izzy was a slam dunk, Kentucky Jack fell out of the mix, Miguel was decided long since, but for Ruthie there was no clear standout. The new candidate did a good job and had excellent chemistry with Moab, but just came off a little, well, lightweight. The other top Ruthie contender isn’t as experienced of an actress, which is a risk, but she projected a stronger personality, though not as much range. I had not been prepared to direct the actors myself, and in retrospect I don’t think I put the Ruthies through enough.

Now, I must decide.

12 thoughts on “Places to go, people to see

  1. Another prospect out at the west end of Central is Tumbleweeds, but over the past couple of years they’ve done much remodeling to gentrify their image, which may have gentrified it beyond what works for your movie. Before the gentrification, it might have been perfect — sort of a Texas roadhouse flavor with some New Mexico accessories. Now, the atmosphere is much more refined, although the prime rib is still excellent. They used to have a stabbing in the parking lot about once a month; now they have families coming in to dine.

  2. I like the old fashioned idea. Also, why not try a phone book? Google? There’s got to be something that’ll work..

  3. Welcome to the blogosphere, Carol Anne! I intended to put the welcome message on your site, but you have it configured right now so only other Blogger members can comment – or at least that’s the way it appears to be.

  4. Still figuring things out — I thought I had it set so outsiders could comment, but I can go back and check. Maybe there’s another step I need to take.

    I am finding that even sites that say one doesn’t need any technical knowledge are, at best, disingenuous. I wanted to add links to my blog, and I looked up Blogspot’s instructions. The instructions were to go to the HTML template and “find something like this in the sidebar section,” followed by a whole lot of incomprehensible HTMLcode. Then there was the notice that if my template didn’t contain a links list in the sidebar, I should copy the HTMLcode and paste it “into the appropriate place in the sidebar section.”

    The template had two sections that had titles that identified them as having to do with the sidebar; neither of them had anything anywhere like the text to be pasted. I finally found similar text is a totally different section. In the end, I had to piece together text from that and some other sections, and make some guesses as to what the HTML code means, as well as find a gif file that had the “links” title — although I still haven’t found the proper sizing of the gif to make it look right. But I got my links up and running.

    And this is with a site that supposedly makes it easy for people to publish blogs.

    But, hey, I’m learning.

  5. As best as I can tell, you should be able to post on my blog. There was one entry that somehow got “Don’t allow new posts” checked, but I have since unchecked it, and I can’t find anything that says anything about forbidding or allowing non-Blogspot people from posting. Try it, and if it still doesn’t work, let me know.

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