Leftovers: Day Ten — Order-Up Hatch

One of the things I wanted to add in yesterday's entry was the people pushing their way on to set. The house in Seguin is on an out-of-the-way road running along the river. Not a lot of traffic. And you can only gain entrance into the property through an automatic gate. Early on during the day, an SUV followed in one of our actors. Two women bounced out of the vehicle, asking where the garage sale was. We had to chase out these interlopers. And sometime around noon, I was walking around the front of the house, with the electric gate clicker in my pocket. When a car pulled up to the gate, I naturally let it in, assuming it was an actor. The car didn't hesitate to enter. It snugged up against another parked car. Engine was turned off. A young professional-looking woman in a rather long skirt got out of the drivers side of the car. It was a very recent black Cadillac. The passenger door opened. An old man in an immaculate Brooks Brother suit stepped out. He walked with a pronounced stoop. I was fascinated. Was there a change to the script? Could this be the old family doctor come to, I don't know, provided some door-to-door estrogen replacement therapy to the women in this film? The stove up old man limped right up to me and pulled from a folder, a flyer whose art work shouted (from forty paces, at least) “religious nut.” Turns out they were Jehovah's Witnesses. And I gave them the boot. But it occurred to me that the Witnesses have been doing pretty well if they are driving luxury cars and wearing expensive suits. Most likely set crashers hot to get in front of the camera, no matter that it takes.

Today we shot some of the restaurant scenes at Shilos downtown. This is a German place famous for its split pea soup and homemade root beer.

The place is a San Antonio institution. We were able to get it because Sherrie's sister manages the place.

We got there at nine. We shot five or six scenes, with loads of extras. What fun. I love working with this unwieldy number of people. They were all damn professional. Even the older tourist couple we met on the sidewalk while shooting an establishing shot. We promised them a free meal. They came on in and spent the whole day with us.

Young Matt Hensarling arrived to play the nerdy restaurant manager. He's fucking amazing. Each take he added some new improv line. Each time fascinating and very funny in its own way.

Everyone was in top form. Sherrie and Andrea gave us a cozy and flawless scene, with every take perfection. Andrea and Anne were wonderfully natural together. And Martha Prentiss nailed it as the disgruntled customer with a poorly cooked steak.

Robin kept the energy going, and we were able to get some great work done and get our last shot off by the deadline, eight pm on the dot.

The final scene was a last minute idea by Robin. It was a two page scene where Andrea, Rick, and Matt are interacting in the kitchen of the restaurant. Robin pointed to the hatchway where food is passed from the kitchen into the waitress station. “Why don't we shoot through this opening?” she asked. Russ was intrigued. He found the perfect composition. I tossed in some light. And he shot the scene. The first take was ruined when a noisy ice maker kicked in. The controls were out of reach, so we waited for its compressor to cycle off. As we waited, I decided we needed to see a plate of food placed into the extreme foreground on the shelf of the order-up hatch. It was a lovely shot. The actors were spot on.

A damn fun day, well-orchestrated and very productive. Congratulations Robin, Kevin, Sherrie, and Russ.


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