Lipstick Lovebite… I Mean Lipstick Jungle

On Monday, November 19 I was on set for the new NBC Universal television show “Lipstick Jungle” (not to be confused with the Atomic Brother song “Lipstick Lovebite”) featuring Steve’s girlfriend from Beverly Hills 90210, some girl from 24 and Brooke Shields. This came out of the blue, since the last audition I went on was back in September for the role of a musician in the Sex in the City movie. Go figure, I didn’t get the part. I must not look enough like a musician. Of course, I wasn’t told I didn’t get the part, that’s just how things work. I have been seeing them film the movie all over the city since October.

After forgetting that I even went in for that, I got a call from the casting agency that did Sex in the City to play the part of “East Village punk rocker-type” for the new show on Friday afternoon. I figured I could do East Village punk rock-type easy, better than musician apparently, so why not. It took all of 2 minutes for them to convince me and 3 days to clear my calendar and I was in.

Call times were 5:30, 6 and 6:30 AM on Monday morning at the Ace of Clubs in New York City. I had the 6:30 call. There was about 20 people there when I showed up around 6:15, but there was about 50 called for the production, half SAG, half non-union. To my surprise there were a lot of late arrivals, and a lot of whiners and down right angry people. The better part of the morning I spent listening to people fighting over seats, “That’s my seat! I was sitting there a half hour ago. I’m back now, so get up,” complaining that the catering was too far away, complaining that there wasn’t enough choices for breakfast, complaining that the wardrobe supervisor didn’t like their outfit, complaining about just about everything. I was also surprised that so many people showed up late. And these were people who do this regularly. What the hell?

I was told to bring 3 costumes, so, of course, I brought 5 or 6. Gotta make sure I’m on camera, right? After I got approved for 2 looks it was hurry up and wait. The first scene started shooting around 7, with Timothy Busfield (of Revenge of the Nerds and 30 Something fame) directing. That called for the “featured” extras, a couple and some facy dressed diners, and the principles. I had to hang out and wait. The wait was boring for a while, then some more fights broke out over chairs and moved bags, and then I met some of the other extras. Around 8:30 they put us in action… but not me. I was too East Village for the scene. We were filming at 4th Street and Bowery, how out of place could I possibly look? After a while they said, “Screw it” bring everyone up, we need more people. Turns out they were filming from inside a restaurant and we had to be people out on the street seen outside the window. Definitely not going to be seen in that!

After a half hour of walking in circles we were back down in holding for another half hour. Once inside we were told that the producers were going to have a meeting and we had to be quiet and give up more seats to them. This was a major pain in the ass for everyone. The PAs had to try to keep 35-30 people quiet and the producers kept shushing us. One stormed out, then another. The PAs let them know that we were going out again and it would quiet, but it was too late. Meeting adjourned. We shot the scene again, so more walking in circles and then on to the next holding location, the Catholic School on 7th street and Avenue B. We changed into the “funky” East Village look and headed over to set, 7th between 1st and A, for more on the street action. They had me walking across the street constantly, which should be pretty funny I you can see me. I think at the most I crossed 3 times. Got me again. Then it was time for lunch.

Back at the school TomKat Catering had an excellent spread of grilled Salmon with a Dijon mustard sauce, stuffed shells, a corn bread tofu casserole that was amazing, roast beef carving station, some kind of baked chicken, a dessert table and salad table, frsh squeezed lemonade and homemade iced tea. Very cool.

After lunch we moved down the block and this time I had to follow Steve’s girlfriend (Lindsay Price) and a transvestite. Definitely on screen for that one. They came and got my details and picture for a possible re-shoot. Then we switched camera angles and this time I was walking towards them, with my hood up so I “looked like someone else.” Then we moved down to Thompkins Square Park and I was in the background again. I didn’t think they’d get me, but they came over got my details and picture again for a possible re-shoot. The day ended around 4:45 for me.

I haven’t done much in the way of movies and TV, but this was the quickest and most organized shoot. Busfield knew what he wanted and got it in 2-3 takes at the most. He had 2 cameras going at all times, so no need for picking up shots for new angles., except in some rare instances. He got a lot of scenes done that day.

The show airs in January, and if you like this sort of show about women who buy expensive clothes, you can see me in epsiode 2. I’m the bald guy (sometimes with the hood) in the black leather motorcycle jacket. Look for me walking behind Lindsay and the Transvestite in one scene, and walking towards her, almost bumping her in the same scene. Then crossing the street behind her 3-4 times in another scene and walking in the background at Thompson Square park in another scene.