eye's hindsight vol 9
during my junior year in high school, on into the summer that followed, a group of friends and i made a movie. it was a comedy/spoof martial arts/fake overdubbed foreign language flick. it was called the jackie chan stunt show. no, jackie chan was not in it. but we had a character named jackie chan. he wasnt asian. he was white. and he had red hair. nevertheless, his characters name was indeed jackie chan. and as for stunts, well, there really werent any. mostly just really poor quality faked martial arts fighting, often with especially fake looking weapons.
though the movie could probably be a post all to itself (in spite of the fact that it was awesome in its own fun way... hell, its entire soundtrack was ska music. whoduh thunk?), it isnt the point of this one. there was a specific encounter during the filming of this movie that i would like to explain.
yours truly, the eye, played just about every extra or small part in the film (seriously, all in all, i think i had about 16 roles, maybe more... sometimes two or three in the same scene). on this day i was to play a couple of different extras - unnamed, non-speaking parts. this included, on this day, a guy on the street who is payed cash to act as a human shield (for vision, not for bullets) for one of the bad guys, as well as a guy walking down the street who comes upon the dead body of the main bad guy, and pick-pockets him (oh man, i totally just gave the end of the movie away!!! hahahahahahahahaha im such a prick).
we (three of us. lets see... how about "poet" and... umm... "pat"... alright im just not on with the pseudonyms today. give me a break) arrived in the downtown area of a neighboring suburb where we were going to film. no... wait, let me back it up five minutes. we were driving into said suburb. we were feeling extra smarmy that day, so as we entered town, poet (sitting in the back seat) and myself (shotgun) were wearing a couple of masks - you may have seen the type before: they have a black hood with a thick black mesh covering the whole face, so that you can see out, but not in. pat was driving, and he wore a mask that was sort of like a ski mask, except it was made from thin, t-shirt like material, and had eye, mouth, and nose holes. we thought it was funny that he calmly drove like this, while poet sat in the back reading a magazine while wearing his mask, and i sat looking out the window with my chin on my hand. wearing the mask.
so we arrived near where we were going to be filming, and had to wait for the fourth and fifth cast members to arrive. we were right by the train tracks, about two blocks away from a train station. we were still wearing our masks. poet and pat thought it would be funny to do a fake fight scene right there by the tracks under a little three-walled glass shelter while wearing the ninja-like masks. as a passenger train rolled by, coming into the station. meanwhile i stood nearby, with one of our blatantly fake weapons.
i mean seriously fake. it was a broom handle with pieces of cardboard cut into battle axe blades, covered in duct tape, fixed to one end of it. a cheesy looking battle axe, huge and ridiculous. i stood with it leaning on my shoulder. as the train passed.
about two minutes later, all hell seemed to break loose.
we were very suddenly surrounded by about seven cops. gun holsters unbuttoned. i dont remember if any were pulled - probably not. but if so, i blocked it out.
oh, wait, did i forget to tell you that we were across the street from the police station? silly me.
so the cops immediately told us to freeze, told me to drop the weapon, and told us all to take off our masks. we did so as quickly as possible. lots of things were said all at once all around me, and i dont remember much of it. i was just trying not to pee myself.
poet always had a backpack with him - he usually left his house first thing in the morning, and stayed out all day. so he had everything he might need in the backpack... he was kinda like a bag lady with a home. but a guy one. one of the cops looked through his backpack, and said "do you live out of this thing or something?"
poets response was to chuckle and say "pretty much."
then two more individuals joined us - the police chief, and what appeared to be a trainee (he wore a t-shirt that said "police" on it, and stood in the background just listening and watching). the chief was in a panic. "whats going on here, whats going on here???"
one of us explained what was going on. there was a lot of bad noise, i dont really remember it all. not clearly. too many people talking at once, and i was getting the fear.
"dont you know its illegal to conceal your identity?"
i remember the chief saying "so which one of you is it that lives out of your bag?" poet explained his whole deal, how he really wasnt homeless and just kept a lot of crap in his backpack.
one of the cops radioed in (and i remember this more clearly than anything else) "uhhhh, yea, its just a bunch of kids playing medieval warrior."
half the cops left, the remaining few lectured us about how stupid we were.
i guess i also failed to mention that there was a large bank across the tracks. and that within a two block radius there were not one, not two, but three jewelry stores. thank goodness those nice officers informed us of them in the harsh tones that they used.
apparently people first called the police when they saw us driving into town. then others called from the train and train station.
they said if we wanted to continue filming our movie, we would need to make a sign and keep it visible at all times while shooting.
when they left, we promptly went to the grocery store, bought the necessary posterboard and marker, and made the sign. i was mostly cameraman that day, and we had nobody else to hold the sign, so i stuck it in the back of my pants. it went up to my shoulder. when we filmed the human shield scene, i kept it in my pants. so its in the movie, pokin up out of the back of my pants like a reverse cape. but the film was blurry, and the camera kinda far away, so you cant read the words.
"movie filming in progress"