Monday, July 12, 2010

Hey, guys! Well, it's official: 'Virgin Alexander' is finished filming and will soon be entering the editing process! I'm sorry I haven't blogged until now, but the last few days on the set were pretty busy and I flew right back to Vegas the day after we finished filming.

I have to say, it was pretty sad, doing the last day of shooting for the film. We were at this beautiful bank on Broadway Avenue (the same Broadway that runs through NYC). As each scene was finished, another character was 'wrapped' from filming: My friend in the movie 'Clif', played by Patrick Zeller, my nemesis 'Bim', played by Bronson Pinchot and of course my co-star 'Ruby' played by Paige Howard. It was pretty emotional, as each of us knew that we had no more scenes to film together and this great experience was coming to an end.
Eventually, I was the last one left. My last shot was that of me running down the street and into the bank, trying to get to an appointment on time. On the very last take, I knew, right after I had finished, that we would not be doing another one. As I entered the bank, I knew that I had just completed my first lead role in a feature film. It was sad and joyful at the same time. When I came back outside, our co-director, Sean Fallon, announced that that was a wrap for Rick Faugno and a wrap for 'Virgin Alexander.' Everyone began to applaud and hugs and pictures happened all around. It was really a great feeling; especially, to be on a busy street where all kinds of strangers were sharing in this moment that we had been working towards for three weeks.

That night (this past Saturday) we all went to a bar and celebrated. I realized that I had developed some wonderful friendships that I hope will last for a long time to come. I know three weeks doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're doing 12 hour days with the same people, day after day, you inevitably establish bonds. In this particular case, we were all lucky enough to have fabulous people in every respect. I think that we all knew that we were a part of something special and that we were all just along for the ride. There was a sense of team spirit that you don't always encounter in this business. No one was out for themselves. We were dedicated to making this a great movie; and I would like to think that we have succeeded in doing so.

Returning to Jersey Boys last night was quite a transition. I finished the film on Saturday evening, celebrated with our cast and crew and then Joyce and I got on a 7AM flight from Albany to Newark. From there, we took a 9 o'clock flight to Vegas and arrived at 11:30. We got back home around 1, unpacked, rested a bit and then I started my warm up for the show. It was a 24 hour turn-around unlike any other I have experienced. To go from the introverted kind of character I was playing for three weeks and to go from the stillness and quietness of film, back to Frankie Valli and the loudness and broadness of live theatre, is a trip that no drug can give you. I had to remind myself that I wasn't on a movie set where no one would be calling 'Action!' or 'Cut!'. It made me realize how much I love both mediums, stage and film and that I want to continue doing both for as long as I can. You get something from one that you can't get from the other. Perhaps that was the reason I was back in Jersey Boys so quickly. It made me appreciate how much I enjoy performing on any level and in any element.

Ok, well, now that I'm back home, I have to actually go out and get things done, again, so that's what I'm gonna do right now! Thanks for reading my blog, the past three weeks and I will continue to update it when newsworthy things happen here, too!

Talk soon,


P.S. The pics on top are of me and PJ in our infamous scrap hauling uniforms. I will post more pictures from the film when I get them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hello, folks! Well, we're in the home stretch, here in Saratoga. We have three more days of filming and then the editing process begins. I won't be editing anything, of course, but our directors, Charlotte and Sean, will be. Writing, directing and editing....I think that deserves an award in itself!

Bronson Pinchot arrived on July 4th, as I mentioned and he has been a lot of fun to have around. From the little that I've seen him do, I think you're really going to enjoy his performance. He's taking his character to a place that's just right for this movie. I can't wait to see people's reactions when they see him in this light! Also, he has some great show biz stories. It's fun to just sit around and listen to him talk about the people he's worked with. It's quite amazing.

The location this week has been primarily at a Mexican restaurant, just down the street from Alexander's house. It's a quaint little place, owned by a former jockey and his wife. Bronson's character, Bim, has recently changed the Mexican restaurant into a pizza place, which is a front for his prostitution ring. Need I really say more? Well, I could, but it's too good to give any more away.

Today, I was again wielding a baseball bat, only this time, I was running down the street with a whole group of people behind me. It's been around 100 degrees here, as of late and I was soaked instantly. It was really fun, though, to be running after the woman my character loves and to get to be the hero. It's a nice feeling.

On a side note: I had the day off from filming, yesterday and our host, Jim Doyle, took myself and Joyce and some other cast members to Stewart's Pond to go swimming. It's a tributary that flows into the Hudson River. It was absolutely spectacular. It was the most beautiful lake I've ever swam in. We swam maybe a quarter of a mile, from one side to the other, to do some rope swinging off of a huge platform. We then swam back to the side we started from and saw a bald eagle standing above its nest. Luckily, we got to see it through a telephoto lens that a photographer had, who just happened to be there at the same time we were. It was a really outstanding afternoon!

Alright, well, I'm off to bed for another big day of filming. I will keep you guys updated as we wrap things up.

Talk to you all soon!


P.S. The two shots above are of PJ in the interrogation room and me in the auditorium, getting ready to perform my piano piece. Ha! I can't believe I actually said "my piano piece."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hello, there, everyone! Happy 4th of July! Well, I'm going into my last week of filming, here in Saratoga Springs. It's been a fantastic two weeks and I can't wait to see how the third week will unfold.

Today, we had a really wonderful cookout, hosted by the inimitable Jim Doyle. He and his guys cooked an entire pig on a huge outdoor wood smoker. It was excellent. Joyce and I ate more than our share of food for the holiday. There was food coming from every angle and it was all so good that it was hard to stop eating. Everyone just chilled out on the big backyard lawn and tossed around frisbees and footballs, a little guitar strummin', and accordian playing, plus a little water fun with the slip and slide! We sure are enjoying the company and beautiful weather we're having in Saratoga. It's such a great place that we don't want to leave!

The last two days of filming have been very busy. It's amazing how fast this movie is coming together. Since I last wrote, we have been on location in many different places; Including: Alexander's house, as usual, an alley way outside a bar, inside a bar, a trolley stop, inside a trolley, a restaurant and of course, inside the good ol' dump truck (and on the outside, too, with me hanging off the side). The shots that we did with the truck on Saturday were done with a mounted camera. They attached it to the driver side door and we did the scenes as we drove. PJ did a great job driving. It's an old truck with a difficult stick, but he manages it really well. He was nervous about something happening to the camera and so was I, but the guys who hooked it up know what they're doing. I had the best time when I was hanging off of the passenger side door, staring in at the girls inside the cab. I don't think it gets much cooler than that!

Also, on Friday, I got to wield a bat around and cause some destruction. In addition to having an emotional scene, I was on top of a junk pile, while hitting and kicking the junk that I was walking on. In a way, I felt like a kid again, except that I was beating up my toys. I also got to hit a porch fence with the bat and kick it until it broke. God, life is good! I won't give anything away, but this point in the story is very critical for my character and he is at his lowest point before he decides to make a decision to act. It was a pretty satisfying moment, as an actor.

This week, we start filming with Bronson Pinchot. He arrived today and couldn't be nicer. I'm looking forward to working with him, this week. He's a very talented actor and I'm interested to see what he brings to his character. I know it will be good, whatever it is.

Alright, well, it's time for me to call it a day. I hope you all had a great 4th. Talk to you later!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's been a busy few days here on the set of 'Virgin Alexander.' Yesterday was a full day. Most of which was spent at Saratoga Springs high school. The very high school that our director, Sean Fallon, spent his formative years! I've never seen a high school theater as spectacular as this one! It's even better than some Broadway theaters I've worked in. It has an incredibly large stage, and a house that even has a little mezzanine. How lucky the kids of this high school are to have such a great facility. After a few days of late night rehearsals (at Alexander's house), I finally shot a couple scenes that required me to 'tap' into my musical abilities. Don't want to give it away, but I even surprised my fiancee, Joyce, with my music skills. Some piano lessons came in handy. Thanks, Mom!

Speaking of Joyce, she made her debut in the film today as a no nonsense professor. She had 3 scenes that took her an average of 2 takes! She's trying to show me up!
Today, we started off at Mugsy's Bar, which was a very cool, local joint (Paige is shown above, behind the bar). Then, we visited the scrap yard (where I'm shown sitting on the tires). Don't I look right at home? After that, it was back to Alexander's house for more shooting (the first picture above). It's really beginning to feel like home, that crazy little house! Just another full day around town, filming "Virgin Alexander" and I'm having a blast! The whole cast and crew are all a bunch of pros.

Okay, I'm off to bed for another long day. I'll be talking to you soon!


P.S. Third photo down: One of our producers, Houston, is trying to get the garbage truck to start as our directors Charlotte and Sean anxiously await!