Saturday, January 31, 2009

DAY NINE: “Fire In The Hole!,” or “Who You Callin’ a Mook?”

While yesterday was very dialogue-intensive, today is action action action. We begin with the "other side" of the big fight between the Electric Club and Percepto's giant robut. We shot Percepto's side last week, so today I get to read the alliterative antagonist's lines off-camera as the heroes talk tough and brandish their weapons (or in Penny's case, her purse). Since Jack uses old flint-lock pirate pistols and Buddy carries a Tommy Gun, the firing effects of their weapons will be added in post-production, so Jeff and Joel only pretend to be shooting. It actually becomes a bit of a chore to get Jeff to stop making "Tchoo! Tchoo!" sounds with his mouth whenever he fires his guns.

There is one bit of dialogue that trips things up for a minute. As Penny, Nayli is supposed to utter the following line to a cowering Bigsby: "Scurry on back to daddy, you no good mook!" Of course, in her Venezuelan accent, the line comes off as particularly hilarious, hardly the threat it was intended to be. Furthermore, our heroine has no idea what a "mook" is. No worries, Nayli. De Niro's character in "Mean Streets" didn't know what it was, either.

Nayli explains that she looked the word up online, and the definition she found was "a worthless, insignificant person." Jeff excitedly instructs her to substitute that definition for the word itself, and so Penny ends up exclaiming into the camera, "Scurry on back to daddy, you no good worthless insignificant person!"

Since David Santiago is not with us today, Steve Tolin fills in as Percepto in a shot where Buddy pulls the evil genius out of the rubble after the battle. Just how is Steve able to take the place of Percepto, you ask? Well, he suits up in his form-fitting green jumpsuit, which matches the color of the green screen we are shooting against, and thus will allow Jeff to replace Steve with David in post-production, just as he'll replace the green background with the walls of Percepto's lair. Well, theoretically.

In the afternoon we do a scene in which Flyboy does some shooting. Since Flyboy carries a standard-issue military pistol, Andy Blood is the only actor who actually gets to fire blanks on the set. Before firing each volley, Andy is instructed by Steve to shout "Fire in the hole." I've always wondered about this odd expression. The fire is evident enough, but why a hole? Why not fire in the field? Or fire in the sky? Fire on the mountain?

So I took a cue from Nayli and looked it up online. In case any of you are as curious as me, here's what that hub of knowledge known as Wikipedia has to say about Andy's favorite new idiom: "The first cannons were discharged, shot or exploded by placing a flaming torch to a small hole packed with gunpowder and leading to the main powder charge. This caused the main charge to explode, propelling the cannon ball to the enemy, or sometimes, blowing up the cannon and all standing nearby. Hence, 'fire in the hole' was both a command to the torch man, and a warning to all around. Over time cannons improved; they became safer, with no hole or fire needed. The command was reduced to 'fire,' while the term 'fire in the hole' became a general warning for the use of explosive weapons."

Andy invited some relatives to the set today to witness his gun-wielding heroics. Later on, he tells me that his guests enjoyed themselves and thought that everyone on the crew was very nice, "except for that one guy who was always shouting orders and telling people to hurry up." Um, well, I guess that means I'm doing my job okay...

1. Jeff strikes his best Han Solo pose
2. Jack's automated pistol reloaders, a Steve Tolin gizmo
3. The heroes, ready for less talk and more action
4. An "invisible man" crouches beside Buddy
5. Joel/Buddy has Green Jumpsuit Man collared

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