Playing near you (maybe)!

The first regular movie in a regular theater I worked on
What We Do Is Secret

What you’re looking at over there is for me a very historic ticket stub! Today was the first time I saw my name in the credits of a movie that I had worked on, playing on a regular day, in a regular theater, to a regular audience. Not a one-time festival date full of people who worked on the film. Not some made-for-publicity theatrical premiere for a direct-to-DVD release, but just a plain old regular movie in its second week of play! And I have to say that it feels pretty good. I finally feel like I have worked on a “real” movie.

I wasn’t even sure that I would be credited at all as I had only worked on it for a few days on what I was told were re-shoots, but when I got to the credits roll at the end, I found myself credited as grip under the “Additional Photography” section.

The movie itself, I am actually proud to say, was pretty mediocre. And actually it was a lot better than I was expecting. At any rate, having been paid to work on even a mediocre movie playing in theaters in multiple cities is an achievement that 10 years ago would have seemed like an impossible fantasy to my college-aged self.

What We Do Is Secret is a biopic in the form of a fake documentary… sort of… about the what I am told was groundbreaking late-1970’s Los Angeles punk band The Germs and their lead singer, Darby Crash. Having grown up in the suburbs, I had never heard of The Germs until I was working on the movie, and I didn’t know who Pat Smear was until someone leaned over and said, “Dude, you’re standing next to Pat Smear,” and I was like, “Who the hell is Pap Smear?”

When I found out that he was that mysterious fourth guy that appeared playing guitar with Nirvana on MTV’s Unplugged, then I was like, woah, that’s kinda cool. Me and Dwight and Rob, the other two guys in the grip crew, I think were the only people working on this movie that were not punk fans, haha. So yeah, I basically went into the movie as a complete punk music/scene/history layman. And so to me, like I said, it was pretty mediocre. It just seemed like a very generic drugs and rock and roll and drugs and sex movie, with all the expected elements.

I worked on the Darby-as-child flashback scenes, and on the recreation of the show at the Roosevelt Hotel with the band’s performance, the broken glass, and the crowd. I also worked on a little second unit thing where we shot all the crowd shots to match the previously shot band performances, changing the backgrounds and lighting to match. In the scene where the crowd is all in red light and the riot happens and there’s a white light moving back and forth hitting the backs of the audience’s heads… that’s me moving that light around, haha. Oh and the extreme closups of the heroin spoon action with the rippling swimming pool water effect in the background. Oh, and the “interview” with “Pat Smear” with the car in the background.

All that stuff actually ended up being a pretty big chunk of the whole movie, so I’m feeling pretty damned proud of myself this evening. What We Do Is Secret is currently playing in Los Angeles; Irvine; Philly; D.C.; N.Y.C.; Columbus, OH; S.F.; Berkeley, and other places I’ve forgotten. Check out their calendar to see if and when it’s coming to a theater near you. If you want to go to a theater and sit through the credits and say “hey I know that guy”, well this could be your chance, haha. It’s opening in San Diego on September 5 at the Ken!


P.S. Hey what the heck, WordPress? Why does your spell check say “Philly” is ok but “Los Angeles” gets red underlines? FUNK DAT!


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