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Shooting the First Scene:
I am sitting at counsel table in the courtroom next to Marina Sirtis. They are now rehearsing the testimony of an expert witness. I am using my laptop as a prop so I will have it throughout the shoot and can blog as long as I have battery and something to say. They have blocked the first shot and, because it's facing the witness, I am not in it. So I am free to leave for the green room (such as it is), but they asked if I wanted to stay on set to answer any technical questions. Where should the bailiff stand? What would the writ look like? I reminded Marina that there was no jury in this hearing so she should not look at the jury box. Now that the crew and principals know I am here, they are starting to ask lots of questions, some of which have no correct answer ("How would the bailiff stand?"). This is definitely more fun than watching on a video monitor in the next room, or sitting around the cafeteria. I also get to watch the direction as well as see the actors, with each run-through, start to assume their roles on this, the first day they are playing these parts. But since this is a full courtroom set, it also just feels like sitting in a courtroom during a trial.

Update:Just had the camera on Marina and me for our reactions to the testimony--and one take just on me--so this was my first time on camera. Now we're on to the next witness. They seem to be varying the shot for each witness. First close up and now a very wide courtroom shot. Maybe we were waiting for the extras to show up. Now the courtroom really feels authentic with spectators and everything and no cameras in my view.

BTW most of the actors seem to want to talk politics.

a friend (mail):
No one cares.
6.16.2007 4:09pm
Curt Fischer:

No one cares.

Au contraire.
6.16.2007 4:51pm
Stating the Obvious:
Re "Shooting the First Scene".

As a strong defender of the Second Amendment, I'm sure Randy feels strongly that the first scene had it coming...
6.16.2007 5:05pm
Lively:
a friend,
Scroll by. I like it.
6.16.2007 6:26pm
Matt Tievsky (mail):
Me too. As someone who sadly gave up theater to go to law school, it's heartening to see Professor Barnett cross the lawyer/actor divide.
6.16.2007 6:29pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
"Sirtis." "Marina Sirtis." Jeeez.
6.16.2007 6:50pm
Nathan_M (mail):
While you're there, can you figure out why movie producers worry about details like precisely how bored the bailiff should look, and then show no worry about authenticity with the actual proceedings? Do they think a realistic court reporter will disguise the leading questions being asked on direct, or the most incompetent cross examination of all time?
6.16.2007 7:08pm
L.J.:
"What would the writ look like?"

Huh? Was the judge planning on showing it to the camera?
6.16.2007 8:39pm
Stating the Obvious:
Re Nathan M: EXACTLY!

I'm a radiologist, and am always amused whenever there is a scene, both on TV and in the movies, where radiographs or CTs are seen in the background. INVARIABLY, one or more are hung upside down. They can't get the simplest things right. Yet they always have medical advisors...
6.16.2007 9:42pm
Rhymes With Right (mail) (www):
If you get to sit next to Marina Sirtis, I can only hope that she is wearing the "Conselor Troi" uniform form the first season of ST:TNG. You know, the one with the short skirt revealing long legs. :)

Heck, with a title like "InALIENable", this sounds like a great part for her.
6.16.2007 10:09pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
"a fiend friend" - You mean you don't care.

Except you do care - at least enough to comment that Randy isn't giving you your preferred flavor of free ice cream.

If it doesn't interest you, just skip it. Better yet, get your own blog and write about what interests you (even if no one else cares).

Randy - thanks for the inside "scoop" on filmmaking. Sounds like you've got a good gig there. The longest week of my life was the two days I spent as an extra when "The Jackel" was here shooting some of their action scenes. (I don't do "bored beyond tears" well.)
6.16.2007 11:50pm
Thief (mail) (www):
So that's how you tell realistic sci-fi from implausible sci-fi... the realistic kind has lawyers in it.

Oh, and seeing as we're all going hollywood sci-fi here, here's some shameless Star Trek/VC-related Self-Promotion.
6.17.2007 3:43am
CaseyL (mail):
Barbara, I've been an extra, too. Just think: for all that boredom, you get to be in a scene for, oh, about 1/100 of a second. The movie I was in (*ahem*) you could only have seen me if you had a frame-by-frame view. Ah, show biz!

Oh, and my experience was even more enlivened when my aunt (who was also an extra) kept trying, during scene set-up and rehearsals, to tell the actor that the sneakers he was wearing weren't out yet in the time period the scene was set in. The actor - a very big name - was Not Amused by the comments from the peanut gallery.
6.17.2007 3:46am
Dave N (mail):
I want to second those commentors who DO find this thread interesting. From my own experience, the best thing about being an extra is all the free food being provided.

Other than that, it is boring, boring, boring.
6.17.2007 1:01pm
eforhan (mail):
Too cool! :)
6.17.2007 2:01pm
John Fast (mail) (www):
I'm very curious about the political discussions you're having with the actors!
6.18.2007 1:28am
CWuestefeld (mail) (www):
+1 for interesting. Also, +1 for wondering about the actors' political discussion. From my POV, it seems like entertainment people frequently feel the need to be political mouthpieces, but their opinions generally seem empty. Were they able to ask intelligent questions? Maybe the apparent emptiness is just the product of digesting the point for the lowest common denominator?
6.18.2007 11:00am