CASTING WEEKEND Part II: NYC

On April 5, 2011 by admin

TGIFNYCMF Casting,

On the L train into the city from Grand and Bushwick in Brooklyn, we knew our NYC Casting session was going to be rocky. We had scheduled a ridiculous amount of actors because given the time frame of this production we don’t really have the time and luxury for callbacks. We need to see as much as we can of each actor, in the least amount of time possible.

The weather was harsh with something coming down that couldn’t make up it’s mind if it was rain, sleet or snow. Ah, springtime in NYC!

After some coffee we all settled in room B at 36th Street Studios http://www.36streetstudio.com/ in Midtown. We didn’t know what to expect. We had booked this place over other audition/rehearsal room rental joints because they had free WiFi and coffee (priorities people!) and they were cheap (YES! $10 an hour) but we were ultimately extremely impressed with the attention and incredible service from Michael and his crew (Frank and everybody else). We went over our 6:00PM out time and Michael was really cool about it. We’ll go back to 36th Street Studios in a heartbeat – for the next movie (shooting this summer…kidding…not…maybe).

At 9:00AM we were let into our room and it was time to see some actorin’.

A few cancellations came early but most of these folks came through anyway. Close to 100 people came by to audition – some scheduled/some walk ins – and the majority very, very good. The selection process will not be easy. This day itself wasn’t either but we had fun. It was so busy I got up from my seat 3 times between 9:00AM and 6:30PM. 3 times all day. And it took me 4 hours to finish my lunch. But no complaints. We saw a lot of “Producers”, “Juanitas”, “Dr. Barbs”, “Cheches”, “Hectors” and “Jupiters”. A little low on the “Mariselas”, “Tia Fefas” and “Abuelas”, though. Damn, where are my 36&up latina actresses at? We had people coming in and out with a quickness that was nausea inducing but we kept it together. Besides myself, Raf, Daniel and Gabi we had extra help from Gissel Dominguez Belliard, a filmmaker in her own right who provided some much needed humor with her take on things. Gissel is also Amaury Dominguez Beliard’s little sister. Amauri is my brother in law (and Raf’s too) and one of our strongest supporters through his own website http://www.aquitosesabe.com, the place to be if you need to be in on all things Dominican.

BoomboxRepairKit

Speaking of all things Dominican, the night before we managed to sneak in on NY band “Boom Box Repair Kit” while they were rehearsing. Before walking into room # 1 we could hear the crazy african/dominicanyork fusion rhythms through the supposedly sound proof door. Walking in on a new jam from the fellas (some infectious lil’ ditty ’bout all the bodegas in NY) we couldn’t help but move in place (we didn’t want to lose it before we even started talking – gotta keep cool). Lael, Even, Arturo and hilarious new drummer “El Toro” ended their song, greeted us kindly and gave us the time for me to rant about THE LAST INTERVENTION and why I wanted them to be in the movie. A little over a year ago I had such a blast filming a music video for “I Rather Dance With A Stranger” off their “My Dear Antagonist”album that I couldn’t resist going for the repeat. Great guys, easy to work with and really talented…pretty much all you ask for when considering folks to work with, right? We shot their video in about an hour and a half in a crowded bodega in Brooklyn with a crew of one (ME!) and it was one of my favorite shoots ever. After the spiel I gave them about the movie they agreed to be down so we’ll be filming a scene with them playing (live this time) with pretty much the same crew and time constraints we had with the music video. If it ain’t broke…

On Friday night, the last actor said the last lines of the side and the clock read 6:25PM. We gathered our junk and our rickety selves and headed out into 36th street knowing that we probably found most of our cast. Not bad, at all. Still another day of casting and potential thespians ahead of us in our old stomping grounds, Hartford. But right now that seemed light years away. We still had to catch the train back to Brooklyn to get the car and hit Friday night traffic on the way to CT. The sun finally showed it’s face and everyone on the street looked beautiful (I feel like that sometimes in La Gran Manzana). Daniel made another suggestion (smart guy, that Daniel) and we walked all the way to 14th street. It was good walk, not long…just felt really good to be out. Besides walking by “Roller Girl” Heather Graham (damn, she’s tall) we walked by one of my favorite eateries in Manhattan, “La Taza de Oro”.

My stomach growled a bit and I remembered fatefully running into my old friend Darren Lolk at La Taza more than a few years back. Darren and I had formed a band out of high school in Jersey called the G-Men and went our separate ways after a few live shows (even though we had written enough funk/rock tunes to fill up a Living Colour or Fishbone E.P. or two). We kept in touch and always caught each others shows, whenever Liquid Circus, my CT band played the city – he was there and I caught him in the city (the last time with the band VINNY at the Lion’s Den, I think). Darren even wore a Liquid Circus T-shirt when he first appeared on MTV with Smokin’ Suckas Wit Logic (SSL for the non-smokers). Well, the years passed and and bands came and went until one day in the early 2000′s I walked into La Taza de Oro (with fellow Viva Malpache conutryman Leo Machado) and we bumped into Darren. Some mofongo and a few Amigos Invisibles shows later (they played 3 or 4 shows in one night at the first LAMC in NY) and we pretty much convinced Darren to come to LA and be Viva Malpache’s lead guitarist.

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Like most things that ended too (not without recording and releasing “La Venganza de Rock and Roll” Malpache’s last album) with Darren moving back to Brooklyn and becoming an EMT. Standing at the entrance of La Taza de Oro I could smell las habichelas colora’ as I peeked inside hoping to see my boy D, chillin with a cafe con leche but D-Lolk is in Brooklyn savin’ lives. Next time, bro. Next time.

TIP OF THE DAY: Whenever you buy any piece of equipment, test it out at the store. After Daniel went to B&H to get a new Flash Card reader (the one I bought was too slow) he picked up a battery for his Canon 7D that wouldn’t charge. Imagine the time saved if hadn’t bought that defective reader and Daniel had tested the battery. Who says we ain’t looking out for you people…soak the knowledge up. We like making mistakes fas long as somebody learns from it. Class dismissed.

NEXT UP – CASTING WEEKEND Part III:


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