Friday, July 28, 2006

Day Ten: Bucharest Is Burning

Okay, Bucharest isn’t burning. But it is sweltering.

Quick note: I originally referred to Bucharest as the Paris of Eastern Europe. Than a few of you mentioned that it is Budapest, not Bucharest, which is the Paris of Eastern Europe. But according to my free copy of “Bucharest Guide”, Bucharest has been named “the small Paris of the Eastern Europe” since the ‘20s. Basically, who cares? In the end, I can’t make heads or tails out of either currency.

A couple of days ago, I saw some guy working on the set. He was wearing a tight tank top and a tight pair of shorts. They matched perfectly. I mean he looked like the picture of Eastern European physical dominance. Then I saw him yesterday doing some other stuff. He’s a regular Jack LaLanne of all trades. Tight shirt, tight shorts. Perfectly color coordinated. Something about him made us thing about Chariots of Fire so every time he walks by, we start humming the hit Vangelis tune from 1981. He was spotted again today, again wearing a red “outfit” (for lack of a better term). But this time, he was overheard referring to Sarah as “very very beautiful.” And who could blame him? I mean, look at Sarah: her hair is up, she’s wearing a faded red sweatshirt, cropped army pants. She’s a looker in these parts. He was in the middle of moving this huge tent when he had to stop because we were shooting sound. But he couldn’t just stop. No, he stopped and basically started making workout sounds.

I’ve been told that the tall, Mick Fleetwood caveman teaches acting. I find this really hard to believe. I mean I’ve been watching this guy all morning. He really believes he’s a caveman. And I’m pretty sure he’s totally typecast. Remember I mentioned seeing him on a billboard? What does he teach? Shakespeare? I’m picturing an infomercial where he’s on set grunting like a caveman. Then we hear “cut” and he faces camera to deliver his info. “Hi, I’m Stash Ionescu. Do you want to be a famous actor like me?” Then you would see supers like “grunting, scratching, eating bugs…” Ahh, I’m always thinking.

We got to take pictures with the cavemen. And Mick Fleetwood lifts his skins to reveal his striped jockey underwear. What is with this guy? I’d post pictures but no one has sent them to me yet.

11:35. Robert saw Bob Hoskins. I never see anyone,

Okay, we’re shooting the Twister Moves scene where a school principal is sort of dancing. And Robert has a crush on her. Paging Doctor Freud…

Christy brought a game called Tie One On. It’s not out yet. So we played and it’s a really great game. Getting your partner to guess words on a card. But they’re in different categories. It’s like Taboo meets Scattergories or something. Very easy to get and a lot of fun to play. So we keep changing the rules a bit just to make things interesting. At one point, we designed a relay game where one person gives to the next and then passes it along. It’s great. Team play, some competition. But every team has a weak link. We happen to have a few. James is only a few moments out of Australia so there are a bunch of cultural things he doesn’t get. Plus he’s not the most excitable person. And Kelly? Please. So we’re all playing, including Liz. Liz has hit the wall. She is exhausted. But still playing! The card is coming around to Liz. But Stephanie is holding it up. Liz, who has lost her patience at this point, grabs the card and yells, “daddy long legs!! Let’s go!!!!”

Lunch. Awful. The chicken was okay but these people have a lot to learn about Craft Services. After this is over, Topher may be lined up to do a Pantene shoot in either Argentina or back here in Romania. We agreed that shooting here is okay, but they need about 3 years or so to get their acts together. It’s little things that sound ridiculous but you don’t realize how much you miss things until you don’t have them. Internet access. Ice. English speaking people. Air conditioning.

Hey! I just saw Bob Hoskins!

3:52: We’re shooting Electronic Battleship game play. Benita the Super AD has a rule: no cell phones ringing while we’re shooting. $50 fine for the first offense. Sure enough, a cell phone rings. The guy actually paid $50 to Benita. Does she actually keep the money? Return it after kicking the ass of the offender? We may never know.

Kelly thinks she yelled at me. She’s so dead.

Any lawyers out there? You suck. Well, you don’t suck. Unless you’re one of the lawyers who make up the rules for toy and game advertising. The rules aren’t really written down anywhere official. There’s no government organization spelling out the restrictions. No, it’s basically a bunch of yentas who think kids are stupid. And there’s no arguing with them. There’s no pushing back. It’s totally random and subjective. And stupid. What’s really frustrating is there’s no consistency. What’s fine today is bad tomorrow and, strangely enough, vice versa. And the really aggravating thing is that the rules only apply to toy and game advertising. I see things in food advertising I could never do in a game spot. Also, no one seems to be in charge. In pharmaceutical ads, the FDA is the boss. In kid ads, it’s random. Grey legal can say yes, the networks can say yes but Hasbro legal can say no. Or Hasbro legal can say yes, Grey can say yes and the networks can say no. Any one can override the others. Grey will never override anyone so that scenario will never happen.

The latest piece of meshugas deals with the Cosmic Catch island shot (full disclosure shot at the end of the commercial). We want to show one full package and one out of the package. Fine. And we want to show two different colors. There are 6 different colors and in showing 2, we want to imply that there are different colors. Kelly informed me that Grey’s legal counsel Leah said we couldn’t do that. Both Cosmic Catch balls have to be the same color. Why? According to Leah, showing only two different colors misrepresents the line. There are 6 and we’re only showing 2. But isn’t showing two of the same color also misrepresenting the line? We’re showing one color when there are six! Kelly either agrees or just doesn’t want to talk about it. But she says that Leah won’t go to the networks to ask. She wants her ruling to be law. Our old legal counsel, Joan, was great. She’d say no a lot but she’d help us get it fixed or she would be more than willing to check with the networks. I never thought I’d say that I miss Joan.

8:50. We’re having dinner at a Lebanese restaurant in the hotel. Kelly tells us they saw some pretty creepy stuff on the way back. Well, Christy did. Kelly was asleep. According to Christy, two drug-crazed teens approached the van and looked like they were going to try to get in. Then a 5 year old with a toy gun ran up and started “shooting” at the van. And the gun looked real. After that, the dead stray dogs were a breeze.

Okay, we’ve been compiling some lists here for the last few days. One of them deals with Producer Topher and the ways we’ve played with his name.
1. Christopher (his real name)
2. Tofu
3. Tophster Oven
4. Officer T. Lorette
5. Lorette’s Syndrome (a malady where you’re inappropriately mellow)
6. Gopher
7. Every team needs a Topher (paid for by T. Lorette for Mayor)

More lists in the days to come.

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