Well it has been an exciting couple of months for me!
I appeared in Homeland (Showtime) Season 7, Episode 5 a handful of times. Briefly in the street protest scene outside of City Hall in the first couple minutes of the episode and then several more times in a memorial scene set in St. Paul's Church in Richmond. More on that later.
I got the best exposure ever during the church scene. Apparently my character belonged to a white supremacist group out in the country in a fortified compound. The FBI rolled in, there was a gunfight and casualties on both sides. I wasn't present for that but I did make it to the memorial service and at one point my head was front and center. I was that close to the camera. I know it's a little blurry but do you see me?! I'm the guy in profile with the stunning blonde hair.
That scene was crazy to film for a couple of reasons, first of all it took two days two months apart to shoot it. The first time they were only planning on it being a television news update that the President was watching. At some point during post-production they decided that they wanted to show interior footage as well so they called everyone back who was involved in the first shoot. It was very bizarre, the second time they floated a blimp inside the church and reflected light off of it. I had never seen anything like it before.
I earned some grudging respect for the first shoot. I live very, very close to where they were filming so I rode my bike in that day. In a blizzard. Yes, it was snowing like a SOB and I rode my 12 speed down there and back. Actually enjoyed the heck out of it! I told Kendall (casting director) how committed I was and she was quite impressed. Probably got me more work.
Back in April I got a message from the casting company asking me if I was available the next day for an independent film. The answer is always "Yes" so less than 24 hours I was on set. It was for a film called "Slave Cry" directed by Richmond native Jai Jamison who I just learned also worked on Turn: Washington's Spies. They are taking it on the Festival Tour and possibly pitching a TV show based on it. More work for me!
It was a fun experience even though it paid less than usual. I really did it more as a favor for Kendall hoping that I could get some of those proverbial "Brownie Points". Seems to have worked because I have been getting a lot of opportunities lately, hopefully some of them will pan out.
Anyway, today I went to a private screening of the film at Bowtie Cinema's Criterion Theater here in town. It was invitation only for friends, family, crew and actors. Turned out it was shorter than I expected, only about 20 minutes. It was pretty good. Funny at times and emotional as well. The best part (for me anyways) was when the credits rolled and there it was in black and white - my name.
The first time I saw my face on a television show I was pretty excited. The most recent time I saw my face on TV I was also pretty excited. Seeing my name in the credits right there in black and white -indescribable.
I have a few more things I'm auditioning for right now so wish me luck.
I had tried to get into Wonder Woman 2 filming in Northern Virginia but looks like I may have missed out on that. Wow, that would have been epic!
Side note: The food on Homeland was sub par at best. The best time was when they had 300 Domino's Pizzas delivered for about 500 people. At least I ate something that time. Another time we went through the buffet line and out of the 12 chafing dishes only 5 or 6 of them had anything in them. Although there was one filled to the very top with canned peas and carrots. At least there was always a snack table with crackers, pretzels and cheeze puffs.
The fiasco happened when we filmed the City Hall riot scene that I told you about earlier. First of all, it was cold. Freezing temperatures and a brisk wind so it felt colder than it actually was. They served us dinner at the Observation Deck on top of the building 19 stories tall. Do you remember me mentioning the wind? Actual temps were in the 20's but with that wind whipping through it felt like the teens. All of the sternos that were supposed to be heating our food up could not stay lit. Paper plates were flying around like frisbees. A gust would hit the stack of napkins and turn it into a whirling dervish of paper products. There is no lighting up there so we couldn't even see into the chafing dishes to see what the food was. Then, we had to also sit and eat up there in the arctic conditions. I saw people, myself included, who were shivering so much that it was difficult to convey food from plate to mouth via fork.
I have been to City Hall about a thousand times in the 20 years I have lived here and I know for a fact that they have a diner (inside) and also a cafeteria that could have been used instead. Very poor planning by the production company.
Interesting historical note about St. Pauls Episcopal Church and the scene filmed there. During the Civil War it became known as the "Church of the Confederacy" because it was right next to the Capitol and many prominent Confederates attended including President Jefferson Davis. After the war, Robert E. Lee remained a member and performed a memorable act of reconciliation there.
During church services a black man got up and went forward for communion. Blacks had never been allowed in the church before so the white parishioners were aghast that this was happening. Lee however was of a different mind and he also went forward for communion and knelt down right next to the guy. People were shocked, it made the news, opinions gradually began to change.
The Homeland scene is eerily similar and I can't verify it but I'm pretty sure the showrunners knew what they were doing. The previous episodes had shown the FBI agents tracking and then engaging in combat with the confederate, neo-nazis. People on both sides were killed. The memorial scene showed the militia mourning their dead when the widows of the FBI agents showed up. They were a white girl, an African-Americam and and Asian-American. At first the congregants shout and curse at them but eventually a widow of one of the white supremacists gets up and goes over to the women and brings them up to the front to sit with her.
It was a pretty powerful scene and I was happy to have played a part in making it.