Ah Hollywood…..Land of Dreams and motion pictures….
In College my friends and I were all part of the Radio/TV/Film sequence and we were always looking to intern, crew or work on actual TV shows or movies that were filming in the LA area.
I believe that my great friend, Marci Carlin, hooked me up with this particular project, which was a feature film called Crystal Heart (Corazón de cristal) that featured Tawny Kitaen (famous by then for her role in Bachelor Party, yet “pre” David Coverdale / Whitesnake days.) Her co-star was Lee Curreri who had starred in the movie version of FAME. Lloyd Bochner and Richard Blade, (a local LA DJ) were also part of the cast, for this film.
As a Production Assistant, I got the stupendous opportunity to basically do anything on this film, that the Spanish crew needed. That meant anything from going for donuts, to helping rig lights on the beach, to hauling equipment, to doing crowd control in downtown LA, to picking up Tawny one morning, to lending them my ring, and a mirror, for a scene where Lee’s character proposes to Tawny’s character.
I did all of that for a whopping $35 per day! And those days were at least 15 hours long.
Needless to say, I was ready to quit after day one. But, apparently, I was a really good worker and when I told the Producer I wanted to quit, he negotiated a higher pay rate for me, like maybe $50 per day! Whoo Hoo!
I did have some fun on the movie – the production guys, who were all Union, took the time to tell me all about their craft, in our downtime, and I got to learn a lot about lighting and sound for movies. The Spanish crew barely spoke any English and apparently my name (Mj) was too hard for them to pronounce because they kept calling me MG! After what seemed like the hundredth time I told them that my name was “Mj” and not “MG”, I think one of the guys explained to me that the “J” in their language was pronounced as a “G”. I also learned that I could control an entire crowd, in a downtown Los Angeles park, with only a megaphone, while we were shooting a scene. Perhaps that’s why the Producer wanted to keep me on?
I also remember that Tawny had such gorgeous, red hair, that perhaps after that movie is when I decided to become a redhead myself.
It was a fun experience, but not something I wanted to do again, especially for such a low pay rate.
I remember watching the movie once, and torturing Kevin to sit through the whole thing, just so we could see my “credit”, at the end of the movie, which of course showed that they spelled my name wrong!
Ah…what do they say though? It’s the “Experience” that counts!
An amusing anecdote – I just saw that I am actually listed and have a credit in the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) for my work on this movie!