Leftovers — Day 4: Not the Boss of My Panties

After maybe three and a half hours of sleep, I found myself rolling into the Seguin city limits.  I thought I'd call Russ and tell him I was only a couple minutes out from the neighborhood recreation area the crew had been shuttling back and forth from, so that our cars won't clog the driveway of our location house.  Over the phone he sounded a bit groggy.  And when he hit me with the prefaced salvo of: “oh, I guess we forgot to call you,” I was pretty sure he wasn't joking.  It seems the call time had been pushed back to 7am.  Only no one had thought to call me.

Note to Ford Motors, Pickup Truck division: “Dear sirs and madams, your clever ergonomic design has resulted in a truck seat so firm and exquisitely molded to my posterior and lower back, that I can drive, without the slightest fatigue, for over ten hours with respite only for refueling (body and vehicle); however, I feel I should draw your attention to the most egregious design flaw, resultant in a seat so ill-fitted for napping, that a mere ten minutes in a recumbent posturer leaves one feeling not so much refreshed, but as though half a hundred morbidly obese tabby cats have scampered all over ones body.”

As I waited for dawn to break over my parking-lot in Seguin, Texas, I thought back to my 1969 Couple de Ville, a car in which I often napped, front seat and rear seat.  Oh, for a return to the era where cars were designed for comfort not safety.  Don't worry, Detroit, I'll have plenty of time to be safe when I'm dead.  Just give me a broad spring bench-seat I can curl up on.

Day 4 on the set of Leftovers was a simple affair.  We were working with only three actors.  One room.  And almost all the action took place while the actors were seated.  We shot over ten pages in under eight hours.  And we wrapped and packed and were on the road by six this afternoon.

Me and Russ lit the room dim and warm.  The scene called for a therapist's consulting room which she maintains in her home.  Erin dressed the set with loads of photographs of the protagonist's family.  We had two overly-stuffed armchairs which the therapist and her clients sit.  One of the clients is played by Tracie Hunter, who was in Water's Edge.  Tracie is graduating from high-school this year.  She's a beautiful young woman, and quite a strong actor.  She's always on script, gives wonderful facial reactions, and conveys a graceful combination of confidence and vulnerability.  And the other client is the costar, played by Anne Gerber.  I'm sure I'll later devote more space to Anne.  But she has quickly become the most sought-after young leading women in San Antonio films, theater, and musical theater.  I can't think of anyone more deserving of such attention.  But as a musical theater bigot, I just wish Anne would do more challenging roles on stage — performances I'm be more likely to see.

And of course, we have the star of Leftovers.  The woman sitting in the therapist's chair.  Sherri Small Truitt.  When I'm functioning on more than three hours of sleep, I'll give my impressions on Sherri — her depth of performance, and her playful nature which makes the long hours of shooting quite enjoyable.


There was a moment when our director, Robin, decided to switch around the camera positions to better display certain elements of the set dressing — mostly, so that the audience could see the photos of the characters on some bookshelves in the background.  Russ was grumbling about this last minute change.  I shared Russ sentiments, but, still, I understood WHY Robin wanted this camera set-ups.  Most everyone was taking a lunch break.  So I moved in some lights and offered a quick and dirty, and possibly workable solution.  As I'm aiming a Lowell Pro-Light through this two-sided glass enclosed fireplace, so that the light will wash across Sherri's face, Russ comes back in and says that we're going back to the original plan.

Now I'm getting pissed.  Actually, I'm okay with last minute changes.  I like a challenge.  You work through to a solution, and make it happen.  But my solution wasn't going to be given a chnace.  I tried to fight for the changes, but Russ wouldn't have it.  He was trying to keep us on a sane schedule.

“But we can do it.  We've set the lights.  And it won't take that much more time–”

“Don't get your panties in a wad,” Russ said good-naturedly.

And as I'm breaking down the lights I had set up, I fire back in pretend petulance:  “Don't be so presumptuous.  You're not the boss of my panties.”

And at that moment cast and crew enter, refreshed from lunch, curious about all this panty stuff.

The theme was pulled in later when I'm sitting on the floor and watching the  field monitor.  The camera aims at Tracie seated across from Sherri.  Half of the back of Sherri's head is in the extreme foreground — a sort of over-the-shoulder shot.  There's a moment when Sherri stands and crosses the room.  And I think I see … something ….  I'm almost but not certain I see some underwear peeking between her white skirt and white jacket.

After she runs through the scene and returns to her seat, Robin gets poised for a second take.  I clear my throat and ask if Sherri can stand up so I can check to see if she's showing, um, something she isn't supposed to be showing.

“What do you mean?” Sherri asks.

“Well it happened so fast.  I have this fleeting image of a … thong?”

She stands, but I don't see anything this time.

“I'm sorry, guys.  I must have been mistaken,” I say, feeling a bit embarrassed.  Some of the crew joke about me placing so much attention upon Sherri's rear end.  But Sherri looks down over her shoulder to check herself out, and then she glances over that same shoulder at me.

“What color?  I mean, was it–”

“I saw a flash of pink.”

Sherri laughs and becomes a bit self-conscious.  She wiggles her hips and tugs some at her skirt.  We're all pretty goofy from a lack of sleep.  But Robin pushes us to do another take.  Move along, folks.  Nothing to see here.


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