I had a bizarre request from some folks to appear in a locally produced movie, and the shooting was scheduled for Tuesday night after my radio show on DIY. Taylor Purdee is a recent graduate of the LV Charter Arts School and is writing and producing an original film. It’s about a recent college graduate whose plans to go on a music tour fall apart, leaving him trapped at home. He soon meets other similarly educated, similarly unemployed young people and turns disappointment into hope by forming a new band. Yup. Been there, done that.
I finished up my radio show at 9 pm and headed towards Easton, and, as I drove the back roads, it started to rain unexpectedly. I wondered if the campfire scene would go one. I arrived in the rain and, after a short spell, (and after I got makeup on), we headed down to the site. There were lots of extras on hand, including some youngsters (one of whom knew me from Calypso School), and some other familiar folky faces. They ran at least ten takes of a general campfire scene that didn’t involve me, so I parked myself in the damp to watch. Lots of support to make this happen.
I was cast as the elder of a local folk music scene. (hmmph…) I had two scenes to deal with. The first was a campfire scene with a bunch of folks sitting ’round, starting with my duet with a woman singing Satisfied Mind and morphing into Taylor leading This Train is Bound for Glory. We ran it many times while I was still trying to figure out what Taylor wanted. Seat of Pants Production. It eventually congealed, with several good moments that I hope they will use. I was good at working the crowd to sing along and react. It will be authentic, I think. We finally got what they wanted about 1 pm, past my bedtime.
The toughest scene was a one-on-one with Taylor. He had asked me to learn The Death of Queen Jane, a traditional tune that was featured in the Coen brothers’ folk music movie Inside Llewyn Davis. That’s where Taylor probably found it. I looked it up on YouTube, and worked it out on the mandolin as an instrumental. I spent a lot of time working on it and came up with a loose variation. The scene involved me playing an obscure tune and Taylor’s character figuring it out, thus giving him some folk bonafides. We did many takes, all the while I was trying to remember the tune on the mandolin, my relationship with Taylor’s character and my acting skills. We finished up around 2:30 am. We’ll see.
Luckily, it was great weather for a September evening, warm with lots of crickets in the background. We were among lots of local folks, a few professional movie techs, and whole lot of energy to make this project happen for Taylor and his community. I was proud to have been asked to participate and glad to watch it all happen in my backyard.
I made several comments about snipes in the nearby fields which several folks got, but many did not. That was cool. I went on a snipe hunt in Boy Scouts. Yes, I did. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snipe_hunt
I made it home by 3 am.