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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lights, Camera, Stupidity

I worked on a movie set in New Orleans a few years back and the more I think about the experience, the more I realize just how many mentally deprived people I came across. In case you are interested, the small independent film is called "Flakes." I have a strong feeling it will quickly go to DVD, but non-the-less, I enjoyed my non-paying job as a production assistant.

Brief Synopsis taken from

Aspiring roc
k musician Neal Downs (Stanford) manages a cereal bar. Stylish Miss Pussy Katz (Deschanel) is the creator of radically-themed art clothing. When the cereal bar, brings in an offbeat crew of locals, who debate the arcana of cereal history and ideal milk/flake ratios, an aspiring capitalist rips off their concept.

This film was shot on the streets of New Orleans and two buildings, catercorner to each other, were the sets of the two competing cereal bars. Parked along the street were several trucks along with lighting, audio, and film equipment along the side walks. One of the sets was built in a building which many people recognize as a popular place, unfortunately the name and purpose of the establishment is eluding me at the moment. Google, the local news archives, and the local paper's site were of no help in my search either. Apparently this film is so under the radar, even local news agencies didn't see much use in reporting much on it. The business was closed for renovations and decided to rent it out for the 28 days it took to make this film.

The question I was asked most often, despite the obvious answer, was... are you ready for this?
"What are y'all doing?" Granted this question came in several variations, sometimes it was phrased as, "What's going on here?" But despite minor word variations, this question was nearly always accompanied by a very confused expression. Keep in mind, there is lighting equipment, cameras, and many other signs which would indicate, to any mildly intelligent person, something is being filmed. Even if they knew this and simply wanted to talk about it, a much better approach would have been to ask whats being filmed. Instead they piss me off instantly with one of the dumbest question a person could ask in that situation.

At one point, while they were filming down the road, I was given the task of guarding the equipment and vacant set's. While exquisitely preforming my noble duty, a couple walked by and looked through the window of one of the sets, which had a sign hanging over head which read, "Flakes Cereal Bar." The man immediately exclaims to his companion, "their opening a cereal bar here, what a stupid fucking idea...!" "And why the fuck are they opening two of them right across the street from each other?"All I could seem to do was look at him like he was the dumbest man on earth.

I felt it was important to let him continue in his rant before I informed him of what was actually going on. I have to admit, he was a great source of entertainment at that moment. Despite noticing all the film making equipment all around him, when I informed the dolt (with a very mocking voice) it was a movie set, he replied, "How the hell was I supposed to know that?" Surprisingly he didn't seem at all embarrassed. He seemingly saw no reason he should have been able to deduce something close to that answer.

In summation, pay attention to your surroundings, it may keep you from asking stupid questions... I know momma likely told you there are no stupid questions, but she was wrong. Or perhaps she was right, because as the other saying goes, "there are no stupid questions, only stupid people." Yup, maybe momma was right after all.

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