Thursday, July 5, 2012

After Thoughts

Seven, Riley, and I have been back to real life for nearly a month now.  The movie shoot was a lot of fun, but it was a very tiring few months.  I did not take any days off for the shoot since we had just gone to Hawaii, so I worked weekends, evenings, and in hotel rooms.

The movie shoot was fun, but I would not want to do it full time.  Phil, the animal talent agent, is somewhat of an unsung hero.  At least on this set, he was completely unappreciated, yelled at, and eventually asked to stay away from the set since Michael Bay cannot stand him.  The crew, the producers, and the directors will never know how lucky they were to have Seven and I.  There are so few greyhounds available with enough training to have pulled off those scenes, but Michael Bay will never know that.  The idea to use a greyhound was dreamed up and Phil delivered, but few will know how hard that was.  I hope he gets more respect on other movie sets.

The scheduling was especially tough and the timing could not have been worse for my employer.  Thankfully, the boss was a good sport about it.  Dates would be suggested, but were confirmed only a few days before. And  even then things could change.  Once, my sister and I left for Miami on a Tuesday.  Several hours into the drive and we receive calls from Phil and one of the assistant directors.  "Stop! The shoot was moved from Wednesday to Friday."  Well, I could not do Friday.  My boss and I had not been in the office at the same time for weeks and he had made it clear that he wanted me there that day.  I was not about to tell him I was not going to be there.  The assistant director asked if there was a price that could get me down to Miami on Friday and I said "well, yes".  I called a friend of mine who has done movies with her dog and asked what she thought would be reasonable.  We came up with a price and I informed the assistant director... they decided to just add the scene to another shoot.

A huge thank you to Stefanie Wurzinger, Denise Lawson, and hubby, Stephen for helping me with these trips. Stefanie, Denise, and Stephen helped me drive, took care of Riley on set, carried "the dog's kit", and brought me food.  Stefanie made me get out and see more of Miami than I would have on my own. We even made it to South Beach.  Denise was extremely flexible about her schedule and got jacked around several times, but was always a good sport about it.  Stephen brought the van and the hounds down to my office twice so I could leave without spending an hour going home first.

I also need to thank Lisa Stine for creating 24 CDs of music to help keep us awake on the long drives!

Those who know Seven and I in real life know that I frequently joke about how much I do not like Seven.  It is true, the dog drives me crazy with her emotional outbursts, screaming and crying, getting into everything, and her overall unsatisfied nature.  Just the other day, she faked a broken leg and screamed for at least a minute.... at 6:30 AM on a Saturday morning!  I am sure the neighbors appreciated that.  She did not even limp once she shut up and put her leg down.  She is a royal pain in the butt!  But she was terrific for the movie.  I have had several super awesome, well trained greyhounds, but I think, by far, Seven was the best pick for this role.  She was so incredibly heat tolerant, responsive to the actors, and simply great on the fly with whatever we threw at her.  She is also fantastic in many other ways (hard worker, high drive, great agility dog, extremely smart, etc.)... but that does not mean I have to always enjoy living with her.

All in all, I feel extremely lucky that Seven landed this role.  She filmed a total of nine scenes and all but two are crucial to the story line.  She has a name and will hopefully get a credit (she is listed on the final crew sheet... and me too!).  If I only get to do this once, I sure took home a lot of great memories.  It was so great to work with a well known director and actors.  Even though Mark could have been more outgoing, he is still one of my favorites and still my teenage heart throb (way too late to change that).  Of course, initially, I had hoped that many of our scenes were going to be with Mark or The Rock, but I am so glad we got to meet and work with Anthony instead.  I am pretty sure none of the other actors would have taken us out to dinner or hung out until 2 AM.  I am definitely a huge fan of his and will watch all of his movies now.

Now for the questions....

Why did you choose Seven over Riley?... At the time, Riley was still recovering from her P1/metatarsal puncture.  I simply did not want Riley off leash just yet and definitely did not want to use her for running down the street (which Seven never ended up doing because they scratched the scene).

Does Seven respond to "Reuben"?...  Probably not.  I honestly have not tested it and she has not been reinforced for the name since we shot that very first scene at the end of March.  In other scenes, Anthony actually calls her "Tasty".  And, no, she does not respond to "Tasty".

Is there a greyhound in the real story?...  There is not.  Recall, that this is a dark, Rated R comedy based on a true story.  It is not for the easily offended.  In the true story, a dog of someone that is murdered is found home alone by the house cleaner.  Obviously in distress and left for several days, the house cleaner determines that something is very wrong.  To add some interest and humor to the story, I think they changed it to a racing greyhound... but then she is not owned by the guy that gets murdered in the movie.... so that is just my guess.

If you would like to read the true story, click here - Pain and Gain. It is very LONG, three part story that reads like a novel.  I thought I would read it to Stefanie as she drove, but it was simply too long.  Mark plays Daniel Lugo.  Anthony plays Adrian Doorbal.  The Rock is another main bad guy character, but his character name is made up or has been changed from the actual.  Ed Harris is the private investigator.

Will we attend a premiere?... I Googled that and found that premieres are often not well advertised and are usually reserved for the actors and the friends and families they invite.  I do not think we will be invited as I think Seven would still be considered just an extra (maybe a step above).

Would I do it again?...  Yes, but would not be able to do something this in depth, demanding, and far away anytime soon.

Was I paid?...  Yes.  It was not life changing money, but it was a nice bonus.  They covered expenses and we earned a few hundred dollars a day depending on whether we were traveling, filming, or sitting in a hotel room.  No, we will not receive royalties.

When does it come out?...  "Pain and Gain" will probably be out April 2013.  Don't worry, I will remind you!