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Archive for the ‘John Starr’ tag

Secret Agent Man

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john starr secret agent

DAY #1 THE AUDITION
I have a Paid Audition (thank you Unions!) with a Hit TV Comedy Director who used to be on a 90s Sci-Fi Show. He is famous if you watched that show, but I didn’t & never heard of him. He is open and friendly. Yay. There are 9 guys auditioning for 3 roles and whoever is picked plays opposite Secret Agent Man Lead Star who is Charmingly Adorable (evidently a Spying Prerequisite). I like the odds…particularly since 5 of the guys are 15-20 minutes late, drenched in sweat & panting when they arrive in a frantic panic. Too bad boys. The 2nd AD says “Better Late Than Never” and makes those guys go first. Ha ha. Feel free to quote me…Karma’s a Bitch, ain’t it fellows? They immediately go down in flames and are dismissed. 4 auditions left & Baby needs milk.

My turn. Mr Nice Director talks me through the scene (“Subtle” was not in his vocabulary). It is a silent bit where Cute Secret Agent goes on many job interviews to get “real” work. All the Personnel Guys he meets realize too late they are in danger & get killed by Chaos Bad Agents (including Poison Blow Darts to our Necks…tell me you love this).  My Big Death Scene is rather broad (unless you consider me falling off a staircase delightful French Farce). I get a big laugh and am told “John they loved it you’re Hired! You other guys go home.”

DAY #2 THE SHOOT
Wardrobe Team compliments this Classic Grey Pinstripe Suit my Mom bought me years ago. The 2 other guys hired seem fine. One looks like John Candy and the other is an Asian American I will call “Baxter”. He is mid-30s totally Nerded out & says he is a “New York Actor”. Yesterday Baxter ended his audition fawning over the Director’s former Sci-Fi Series. That is a No No Baxter (& is considered rather unsophisticated). He knew it too & said “It just slipped out” & I replied “I hate when that happens.” It didn’t matter because he got the job, right? Today he will break several more Background Performer Cardinal Rules. Immediately after “CUT” he asks the Director for a picture taken of them together…and is turned down. No No Baxter.

Both these guys turn out to be brilliantly funny during their shoots. Mine goes very well too but I am only pretty funny (hey…pretty funny is still pretty funny, right?). I said “Right?” Fortunately they hired me for my dying shtick and I manage to kick over everything on the desk and fall out of my chair when the dart hits me. Stuff flew up and people behind the camera were surprised & laughed during the film roll. I literally fell on my ass. “CUT!” I got applause from the crew and The Director slapped me on the back and said “Thanks for taking one for the Team!”  I gave them the big finish I was hired for. Let’s pray the Editor uses my desk finale stuff and doesn’t include any of my 3 Takes pretending to throw up. Please please please let them include the other 2 guys vomiting before they keel over from their dart seizures & not me! Yes I had to do it because of my deep artistic integrity (also I do what I am told). They say “Barf” & I say “How high?”

Later, signing our Contract Vouchers, we were happily surprised to find we got an “ADJ” (‘Adjusted Featured Bump’ = more cash). Well earned I assure you. While changing out of our suits, the John Candy type said he’d seen me arrange all the stuff on the Desk before my Shoot and wondered what was going on. I had set it up while the Camera Crew was working because I knew I’d kick everything over and needed things to be near the edge so it would all fly around.  Nice to have my prep noticed. We all ran into the Star again on our way out. He shook our hands and said “You Dudes were really funny! Nice working with you.” He was a real Gent…who runs outside to smoke like a stack after almost every scene (sorry truth hurts).

We finally get driven in Golf Carts to parking across the Studio Lot and Baxter screams at a Talk Show Host passing by “I follow you on Twitter!”  No No Baxter…

Watch my Dad…Ben Starr’s Emmy Television Legend interview:
http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/ben-starr

john starr stage 10
Stuff Shot here: GOLDDIGGERS OF 1935, ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, NOW VOYAGER,  MILDRED PIERCE, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY, CASABLANCA, FANTASY ISLAND & POLICE WOMAN

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August 6th, 2010 at 1:20 am

Full Bonanza

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Well that Sexy Male Young Movie Starr is pestering me yet again. Call-In Service text-confirms booking for 2 more days on His Latest Comedy Opus. Rumor around set is his other Major Co-Stars cannot live without me either. Cue Bars to sing “Popular”.  A guy can dream can’t he? What?

I am yet again playing a Trendy Gay Costumer (per Cousin Andy…”Quite a Stretch”….he also suggests I “complain to the guild”).  Here are 2 of my Background Performer Outfits for 2 different scenes (my Own Approved Clothes + their Oscar Winning Head of Wardrobe Team’s Colorful Tie Selections).

john starr extra

Latest Fashion Tip…unbutton the top button on your vests & button up the rest. You’ll see this all over the Fall. Trust me. And stop tucking your Tee Shirts just into the front of your jeans. So 8 months ago. Wake up.

john starr extra

Full Circle…I am working on the same Sound Stage that in 1966 my Dear Old Dad arranged for a Private Family Tour of TV’s Long Running Western Smash BONANZA (thank you Studio Ops for the ‘Films Shot on this Stage’ Plaques). These signs are right by each Giant Elephant Door …all over this Historic Lot (opened 1922). Pop was writing 2 movies for Sid Caesar back then and pulled strings (Dad still lunches with Sid, Carl Reiner, Monty Hall, LAUGH-IN’s Gary Owen and other Show Biz Buds).  After we walked down Fake Virginia City Western Street with Huge Paper Mache Mountain behind it we walked On-Stage. I remember at 11 years old asking why “Hop Sing” (the Cook on the show) had a bedroom door that opened onto a blank wall, not the Cartwright’s actual Ponderosa Ranch Kitchen Set, like on TV. After watching several takes, it all was explained & I learned how scenes are shot out-of-order and later glued together to make sense. My 1st Ahh-Haa-Haa Hollywood Moment. Who knew?

The movie I’m in features a Spoof High School Musical Motif. I am told to pretend I am in this Movie-within-a Movie’s Production Crew Wardrobe Department. And the real Production Team is directing all us Extras to play them as they really are…sort of. I meet the Real Wardrobe Guy that they hired me to look like. He was not wearing upscale jeans, a tie, shirt & vest.  He is dressed comfy cozy. Evidentally I am the Hipper Dressier Version of him and he knows it and loves it. Every time I’ve worked with this Crew people mistake me for him. We get paid to watch an actual full blown All Singing All Dancing All Playback Lip-Syncing Number with the Hottest of the Hot Young So-You-Think-You-Can-Dancer Types (many of these Talented Kids are recognizable). That’s me way over there dragging the Clothes-Rack filled with Short Short Cheerleader Uniforms after the Director yells “Background ACTION!” Really. What a total blast. And in the same Sound Stage I walked onto over 40 years ago as a child. Color me wowed.

I know many of the folks from previous jobs and we are in “Holding” on another Sound Stage. The same Stage my Dad worked on when he wrote for THE BRADY BUNCH (and no they didn’t serve us Pork Chops & Applesauce so don’t ask). Talk about coming Full Circle. As Babs’ Fanny Brice would say “Vat a day I had today.”

Check out my Dad Ben Starr’s amazing Producer/Writer Career on IMDb:

If you can see, here’s the stage 411!

1941 stage

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July 3rd, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Closed Set

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It’s busy Pilot Season and I’m fortunately turning down work (one can be so busy, can’t one?). The dream is to shoot a Pilot that sells & be asked back to be a Regular Union Stand-In (Jackpot!) and/or Steady Extra (also a potential long term Jackpot). You annually work 6-9 months with the same Cast and Crew & are treated “Special” (and who doesn’t like that?). This particular Pilot I’m Standing In for a Guest Star, not a Regular. Waaaah. But there’s a Big But…”Utility Stand-In” is the next best thing. You’re the Go To Guy for multiple Actors (however some Stand-Ins are Executives’ relatives and they steal jobs!  I was on Rock Hudson’s Hit TV Show McMILLAN & WIFE in ’74 & the Camera Team aimed their Lights at the Producer’s 72 year old 5’1″ Mother who Stood In for Rock…and he was 6’4!”).  These days you need to look like the real Actor to get hired, just like a Stunt Double. Please feel free to cross fingers that Johnny Extra books a long term Regular hire in the near future. Excuse me while I light a candle in my own honor…

I’m shooting in Malibu matching a Star who you know! He plays the Hubby in a smash sex comedy movie franchise (hint…I look like him but without my goatee & glasses). Arriving on set, a Stand In goes to Wardrobe to get “Color Coverage” (as close as possible to whatever the Actor is wearing that you are covering that day). Best compliment of the day?  Cameraman: “John move to your right. And you look like Ben Kingsley.”  Note to Producers, I would LOVE to Stand In for Ben Kingsley! Working without glasses on Set & I am close to blind faking my way through the “Marking Rehearsal” watching the Stars with my fellow Stand Ins (a cute Parisian Gal married to a Big Shot and a nice guy I worked with many times before). They help me cheat my way through the blocking. This show worked on Passover but my Dad said “Take the job and skip Seder!” Now if I can just manage not to be smited by lightning all is swell. The Director of Photography and his team light this small Hotel Room overlooking the gorgeous bay as Romance Central. It is a “Closed Set” which means Johnny is around Naked Actors! Hoo yah! No one is allowed inside except 40 horny Teamsters. Some Closed Set. The Hot Young Blond Guest Star Actress (who was murdered by a Vampire last season on a Hit Show) keeps getting into the bed sans robe just as every Grip in town happens to have something urgent that must be plugged in right by her side. Subtle this ain’t. My Actor is in briefs and could have done a few more Sit Ups this morning (not that I’d judge, and he is charming and friendly).  Side note: When I was John Travolta’s Stand In on WELCOME BACK KOTTER he was a Gent who knew everyone’s name and a pleasure to work with. I once ran into him at Twin Dragons while dining with a pal in Medical School. She hadn’t watched TV in years and had no idea who Travolta was. Imagine how disappointed I was when he said “Hi John” and introduced me to his girlfriend Diana Hyland. My friend said “Who was that?” Oh just a guy who had a couple of films called SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER & GREASE. John Travolta knew my name. I’m special.

Today everyone knows my name on Set possibly due to me wearing a large Orange Masking Tape Name Tag. Here’s a secret. Every single Stand In who is not a blood relative has done plenty of Extra work, but they always deny it. Yes, you heard it here first. Stand Ins often don’t acknowledge Extras (I call them Stuck Ups). I however hang with anyone who smiles at me (I’m an easy lunch date on shoots). The challenge is that with over 100 new people on every show remembering names is almost impossible. Which is a nice way of saying that  sometimes I am Mr. Stuck Up Stand In with Extras. “Hi John, we worked together last year on that show with 150 Extras in the rain, remember me?” Ahhhhhh…no. Excuse me while I get back to the room with the Naked people.

Written by jstarr

April 9th, 2010 at 11:38 am

4 Days 4 Jobs

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THURSDAY – 7:30am Set Call Time at yet another abandoned Hospital now being used exclusively as a Movie Set. They shot SCRUBS here for 9 seasons. Our Key Electrical Grip was born here & now has an office in a former patients room. Twilight Zone much? Hollywood Hospital Secret – Wardrobe Supplied Scrubs don’t have real pockets so we wear our jeans underneath (otherwise no place for iPhone and our world ends).I’ve worked 4 episodes on this Hit Show and know lots of folks. But this is my first time playing a Chemo Patient.

Having a Shaved Head got me the job (who knew my 15 year look would pay off…literally?). When I walk on set the 1st AD says “Didn’t you die the last 2 times you were here?” I answer “Yes, and the time before that I was a Pedestrian when your AD paid $10,000 to the Little Tokyo Dance Club to shut their music off.”  So he says “take your glasses off and you’ll be someone else today.” Voila I’m completely different. Now the fight starts…AD: “John take your Beanie Hat off.” Head of Wardrobe: “I think he should keep it on.” Gal #2: “Me too”. Johnny Extra wisely keeps his cake hole shut. Discussion ensues over private crew intercom system. Then Female Director: “I agree with Wardrobe” Case closed. My buddy the 2nd AD quietly tells me to take my Hat off. Director: “Action.” Guest Actor Doctor: “We’ll know more in a few weeks but hey, you’re lucky the Chemo didn’t make you lose your hair.” Sexy Male Young Lead Detective: “Thanks Doc.” Camera pulls back revealing ICU with me stuck with tubes everywhere in recline chair. The back of my head featured in Close Up with no face coverage. I am a Sight Gag! At lunch I submit for a possible Clown job from the Union Availability Line (I remind the Casting Director he received my hand-delivered New Clown Photo last week). 12 minutes later I book the Job! This new shot was taken by my talented in-house photog who doubles as My Boyfriend.

FRIDAY – 2:00pm Call Time. Great to have morning to Exercise and Do Stuff! For the 2nd day in a row I am a Chemo Patient (hello trend starting?) on one of the Grand Daddies of all Soaps at a TV Studio that I’ve worked on since the mid-70s. Got this job Old School by mailing in 8×10 (it still works!). As requested stop by to meet the Casting Director (she’d called asking “Is your head still shaved? Good, you’re booked”). She’s a theater pro who asked me to bring my original Ethel Merman GYPSY Program to look at (she had friend in that cast & was impressed it was my 1st Broadway Show seen as a kid). She ends with “Maybe after Chemo you’ll get better on this show and I’ll bring you back in a Restaurant Scene!” I tell her about my booking Clown gig and give her revised shot featuring new Multi-Colored Wig. Then in Make Up run into A Major Early 1970s TV Star who I worked with before Retro was Vintage. She kindly approaches and we remember great times. Her Show is a Beloved Classic (think LITTLE HOUSE but not). Today is her 1st Day being introduced as a 3-Month Guest Star dying of cancer (or will she live? just maybe if ratings improve?). The charming Make Up Lady worked on me years ago next door to the AMERICAN BANDSTAND Set (I often snuck over but was never on camera…too old at 19!). She expertly makes me look pale and ill. Only a 4 hour day and everyone has worked on this show forever and is a total pleasure. And the same fight about my Beanie Hat happens for the same reason! Wardrobe and the Female Producer go over the Director’s head after joking behind his back that they’d get their way. It was very funny and everyone (including the Booth Team) was in on it except the Director. My brand newly met best buddy the 2nd AD tells me to take my Hat off and the case is closed again.

MONDAY – 7:30am Call Time. Shooting a Low Budget Movie at an Animal Shelter in the Valley playing a Veterinarian. The Female Director is also the Star and Writer. She’s already won a Major French Film Award. The Male Star is from a TV Show I don’t watch. The Extras look him up on imdB and then say “Oh yeah. Him.” Nice calm fun set and only 4 other Union Extras. A “Small Call.” Last night the cool Casting Director who uses me a lot left on her Show Instructions Voice Mail “And John and Gary…sorry guys but Wardrobe only has Female Medium Sized Vet Scrubs for you …so you’ll have to Suck It Up Fellas! HA!” I’m in the 1st Shot walking by the Stars and into a room. I don’t know it but I am now done for the day and will spend the next 11 hours having a blast with rescue dogs and a wonderful film crew. Lunch is delicious and I get 3 hours Overtime! Receive Text that Call Time on Tuesday is 6am in Full Clown Make Up & Costume. Drive home and spend 2 hours prepping. Before early bed contact Change Line and hear Call pushed to 6:30. Hurray!

TUESDAY – 6:30am Call Time. Johnny the Clown is working on the Back Lot of Big Time Movie Studio Opened 85 Years Ago. The Leading Man discovers the Murderer was dressed like a Clown. This Killer places on-line audition notice and 40 Clowns show up just as the Police arrive! Bad Guy escapes and all Clowns interviewed. Cut. Print. When the 2nd AD first explains this set-up I raise my hand and ask in front of all Clowns “You’re saying we’re a Sight Gag?” Big laugh.  During shooting I start a fake mini-riot by silently mouthing “HE DID IT!” and pointing to Bozo on my left. “NO HE DID IT” and so on for multiple takes.  It is an amazing experience that many (but not all) relish. “It’s like the old days!” says Lighting Guy. I mumble “Send in the Clowns” and ask Male Police Extras could we all pretty please get into their car trunk? Two Midgets are Oompa Loompa Clowns (Green Wigs and all!). We share great stories and bits. I teach a Young Beautiful Hopeful Actress Extra how to Juggle Scarves then do Scarf Jump Rope tricks in Slow Motion (step don’t jump).  Half the guys (and only 1 gal) have Tons of Experience. The rest are rag-tagged pulled-Clown-gear-together-in-the-last-minute types. But they’re willing and often eager to learn (and I also got lots still to learn, trust me). Unfortunately some of the Older Clowns are (as rumored) vicious, homophobic and a tiny bit racist. They are also talented funny Real Circus Clowns (in a mean a-holely way) and are angry that anyone can buy a great Circus Costume on-line and get film work now-a-days. I am proud to have Clowned for 35 years, designed my look & sewn my own costume (which was immediately approved by Wardrobe this morning thank you very much). They loved my Hand-Made Red Spotted Balloon Bag filled with a Rainbow of Latex Selections. Make Up Gal says “Love your Geometric Face Style.” Followed by yummy breakfast that smears all our mouths. We are inside a massive Barn that fronts Fake City Streets in Any Town USA Set. Uh oh. Ten other guys are wearing my same Multi-Colored Wig (immediately to be replaced be assured). Walking back to my car tired but happy, I pass hundreds of audience members waiting in-line for a Live Talk Show Taping. They spot me and start to giggle. Mid-way past I HONK HONK my Harpo Horn and get a blast laugh and smattered applause. Lastly I do a single HONK to a Security Guard asking “Was that me or you?

Bloody Mama!

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Johnny Extra here on a 2 day Science Fiction ‘End of the World’ shoot.

I am an Electro-Mechanical Engineer (am too!). The 2nd AD said our motivation is “Problems on the Motherboard Eleven!” Yes Ma’m! I am supposed to silently mouth “Are you on Switch Nineteen?” to my Lovely Young Female Scientist Co-Worker. Then the World Ends and most everybody dies.  The Lead British Scientist Who May or May Not Be The Bad Guy shakes it off and orders survivors to “Tally the dead!”  We keep keeling over for 17 takes. Carpet Face Burn Central.

My Gal Pal for the day had a pad mattress for most but not all her falls and was a real trouper. Take after take our papers and files and pencils and people fly everywhere. Of the 45 Extras only one complains and she quickly (and correctly) is labeled “Pain in Neck”.  I pegged her earlier when she was whining that the Breakfast Omelet Bar only had 9 choices of cheeses! Boo f’ing Hoo! Sorry M’ Lady. Dost thou wantest for not? By lunch time the crew was buzzing and the mocking behind her back commenced, Luckily the majority of the Extras were all pros and made it a fun day while Ms. Pain became Prima Diva de Day.

Back to the Blood…did I mention the Puddles of Blood by the Young Hot Black Female Scientist Guest Star? Three different people played her. 1st the Actress hired for the meaty role. 2nd the Stand-In for lighting and blocking. 3rd the Stunt Double who takes the hit to the head on the Main Deck Control Room Console and BLEEDS EVERYWHERE before she dies. Next to me. Right at my feet.  All TV Monitors in the World have Ceased to Broadcast…again? The Electro De-Fragmatizer** has malfunctioned (I repeat…again!?!)  I’m out like a light with my head on my Console (good news…I lived!). And I get Special Make Up with a Bloody Rip on my forehead surrounded by a Major Purple Bruise!! Yippee! I was the Talk of the Town at meal break (at least at the Extra’s Table).  An 18 year old said “You hurt your head dude.” A Pro replied “That’s Make-Up Bro.” But after 12 hours they were handing out Ibuprofen and ice bags.

News Flash: Puddles of Blood are really Rubbery Plastic Things that are Pre-Made by the Special Effects Team and they peel right up without leaving marks on studio carpet (like a Black Cherry Fruit Roll). EFX folks Windex the puddles before takes so the Blood looks shiny & pretty! The dead Guest Star has amazing Make Up where the rest of her face used to be. Graphic open wounds. She, her Stand In & her Stunt Double are all identical in body and weight, same light grey suit jackets with matching well tailored tight pencil skirts and insanely high sexy heels. Same gorgeous long wavy chestnut colored wigs for all three Ladies. Two other Stunt Doubles fall down flights of stairs repeatedly without complaint. They get a well earned standing ovation by cast and crew. It is amazing to see and I love getting to work with them (the Stunt Coordinator is terrific, kind and she helped us all).

A Female Director too! Yay! The 2nd AD and I have worked together before and she makes the day fly. Her Coordinator (let’s call him “Todd”) was funny and cool but had to warn us all “under no circumstances bring any food or drink onto the Sound Stage”.  Four minutes later I run into Todd on set and he’s carrying a steaming hot cheese and mushroom omelet with a toasted bagel & schmear in his mouth. I say “Don’t let Todd catch you” and continue walking past Futuristic Main Deck Blinking Green and Red Lights embedded in the Huge Scientific Metal Equipment (“It’s Alive!”).
About this massive Sound Stage… I worked here before in one of their two standing Courtroom Sets. There’s also a Jail Cell Block and we are so Wi-Fi Sci-Fi on their 2-Story International Corporate Headquarters Anywhere in The Future set which goes on for corridors and offices and hallway after fake long hallway. Get this…they shot “Murphy Brown” here!

Back in my 8th Grade 1969 Junior High School days (yes kids pre-“Middle School”) I had a Speech Class with the wonderful and delightful Julie Nimoy. One day her Dad came in. You know him as Leonard. He was doing a little show at the time called “Star Trek.” Ring a bell? Anywhoo…Julie once brought Dr. Spock’s Pointed Ears into class (they were made out of wax and melted after a couple of days shooting under hot lights so needed constant replacement).  Mr. Famous Cool Father of My Friend is right this second in the front of my Speech Class asking if anyone would please join him in an Improv Comedy Sketch.  I raise my hand so fast my arm flies out of the socket! I wish I could regale you with what we did but all I remember was it being fabulous fun and Mr. Nimoy kindly said to my class afterwards that “Someday this boy is going to be a Star!” Hello Leonard? I’m on Line One and have been holding for 40 years!

**This bit I stole from my terrific Dad’s great OUR MAN FLINT script (check my Pop out …Ben Starr on IMDb).

Plenty of Bupkis!

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“Bupkis” is Yiddish for “nothing.”   As in my Dad asking “What’s going on career wise?” and me replying “Plenty of Bupkis!”

Luckily work has been non-stop for months (touch wood). Then due to Valentine’s/President’s 3-Day weekend most filming ground to a halt. Thanks for bupkis Abe Lincoln. Ever the romantic, I had pre-paid for a fabulous French din-din with the boyfriend and decided to turn down a last minute Saturday/Sunday film job offer (what would Cupid do?)   Suddenly a week passes with no bookings. Thankfully I am not obsessing that because I turned down work, everyone in the entire business has black listed me (why? what have you heard?).

On Wednesday I planned to print out my new 8×10 glossy with Lucky the wonder dog to give to casting agents (let him earn the kibble for once). By Friday I finally got dressed and made it out of the house (when did I become that guy in sweatpants?).  The casting gals loved the photo and were positive that Lucky and I will be rolling in Pedigree soon. Excuse me as I light a candle and chant “Come on Pilot Season!”

Friends keep asking me when I will be on TV. Years ago I shot a WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY film where a stunt driver in a Police Car accidentally smashed into me while I was driving my own car in a scene.  As my radiator literally fell to the pavement the Director (the late Vic Morrow who was very kind) shouted “Go with it kid!” Having tons of improv training I leapt onto the car hood and started yelling shtick at the fake Officer that he gave “Coppers” a bad name. Vic said “Cut!” and the crew applauded (and then arranged for my car to be towed back to the studio).  This was back in the TV Guide days (yes children there was no internet search in the dark ages of the 1970s). Finally the episode was scheduled and I mailed out 80 fliers.  My scene ended up on the cutting room floor except a 2 second wide shot of the Police Car hitting me. After the show aired everyone in the Western World called to say they saw bupkis. I learned the hard way to watch first and then tell people afterwards what thrilling moments they missed. Imagine my surprise when last night I accidentally found out my recent Circus Clown shoot was about to air! Who knew? 57 minutes into the episode 4 Clowns ran past the camera (shown from the neck down!)  I played it back twice with freeze frame for the boyfriend to recognize me. Raise your hand if you’re glad I didn’t alert you to miss it too. Of course it would have been fun to receive your text response “Hello bupkis, hello?”

Written by jstarr

February 22nd, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Pasture Bedtime

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Let’s get the corny joke out of the way…I’ve been doing overnight Stand In work on location at a 400 acre Horse Ranch in Hidden Valley (50 miles North West of Hollywood). Hidden Valley Ranch. There, are you happy?

Standing In for Actors pays more than being an Extra (the camera guys aim their lights at us). In 1975 I stood in for John Travolta on WELCOME BACK KOTTER (he was simultaneously shooting SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER in NY and KOTTER in LA). Feel free to watch all those 2nd season episodes on HULU (my boyfriend finds them amusing). I’m the guy in the back row with the huge natural who occasionally slaps Travolta on the back and says “Yeah Barbarino!”.

This Ranch has been used since the 1920s for movies (mostly Westerns). Today we are filming in their backwoods doubling for the Kentucky Hills. Picture DELIVERANCE and you get the idea.

There is a run-down Trailer set and instead of making Moonshine the Hillbillies are cooking up Meth. I’m Standing In for Poor White Trash! Granny eat your heart out. There are gun battles and the Trailer gets blown up real good! Watching the pyrotechnics is not only exciting but the fires keep us warm (did I mention it has been pouring non-stop and we are knee deep in mud?). The special effects guys have made Molotov cocktails and have set a Fire Pipe that shoot flames 20 feet high on cue. Fun!

I’m cold and wet and happy because you get more money working in water (a “Wet Bump”). The Teamsters are attempting to pull a stuck Star Waggon Dressing Room across a huge muddied corral pasture via iron cable with a tractor rig (someone yelled “Everybody stand back the Cable’s gonna snap!”).  A 3 time Emmy Award winning 50 year old actress who you love is sitting in an open air tent heated by butane during the storm (we love our “Mr. Heater”s!). She’s sat 10 hours without being used and is pissed off. She has not stopped smoking and after a thunder clap she exhales and croaks “The Glamour of Show Biz!”

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February 17th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

John Starr

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iGet2Work introduces John Starr, his adorable rescue terrier Lucky, and his exciting Life-As-a-Hollywood-Extra blog ~ JOHN STARR EXTRA!

A teen Actor and Extra in the mid-1970’s (he tap danced on M*A*S*H and sat next to Travolta on “Welcome Back Kotter”) John is back doing on-camera work for the first time in 30 years! He’s also a professional Clown Magician and blows up a mean balloon animal.

john starr extra

He hopes his chronicle John Starr Extra and his cutest-dog-ever, Lucky, is a ticket to more SAG and AFTRA work.

Please check out my sister Carol Starr Schneider’s Show Biz Blog at: http://shortjewishgal.blogspot.com/

And then come back here are re-read JOHN STARR EXTRA!