Freudian Slips: In the Loop

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

November 12, 2006

In the Loop

-Joe Tornatore, far right, smiles for the camera.

There is no greater cause that symbolizes and unifies both my career in social work and my interest in acting than my selection to participate in a World AIDS Day commercial. A background actor of my lowly stature rarely gets a chance to speak on film and today my pantomime on B roll film for this worthwhile cause proved to be no exception. After being afloat on a cruise liner in the Gulf of Mexico only twenty-four hours earlier, the acting role called for standing in place for hours on a mark outlined by a cobalt blue piece of tape. As I tried to execute conversational pantomime to complete strangers at a standstill on cue, my body rocked in a boat's perpetual sway.

Shooting for the commercial occurred at Hill Studios in Paulsboro, New Jersey. Upon arrival, I admired the bevy of autographed show biz memorabilia gracing the walls. I learned that Hill Studios provided the backdrop for many commercial, television, and movie projects. The likes of Frank Sinatra to Allen Iverson have graced the premises so what was acting novice Joe Tornatore doing in a place like this? I am not really sure how my life works other than to describe it as ironic. Truth be told, a middle-aged man with a receding hairline stood against all odds front and center in a closed set commercial spotlighting spry thirty something year olds.

After actors muddled through wardrobe and makeup, the crew fashioned each of us with a tiny red ribbon, the symbol of awareness to commemorate the World AIDS movement. As wranglers marched us to the staging area, the smell of white paint fumigated nostrils. Instruction focused on the micromanagement of positioning. Sixty extras from a parade of nations formed a human red ribbon loop on a freshly whitewashed studio set. With my fortuitous position marked in the center of the contiguous loop, I considered myself the slipknot delicately holding the human ribbon together. I joked aloud about this and many other whimsical puns to lubricate the assembly. I also laughed at myself for if a camera lens adds ten pounds, a week long cruise adds another dozen pounds.

Two trigger-happy photographers took literally hundreds of digital still shots of the actors, photos promptly loaded into laptop computers to start production before the day’s wrap. Throughout the shoot, three hard working makeup artists ran around the set dotting beads of trickling sweat, wiping facial sheen, and powdering faces. My face looked like aged crumpled cheese next to the fresh porcelain faces so the makeup department quite literally had their hands full with me. When the camera lifted 25 feet atop a hydraulic platform scaffold to shoot aerial footage of our loopy formation, things started to look up for all of the actors. Hours later, the unfailing camera lowered back to ground cover tripod action for dolly track pans, soft focus shots, and prizewinning close-ups.

I shared a sit down catered lunch and conversation with two beautiful women. After they fell asleep on the table with their heads down, I started to rethink the notion of my stage presence over chicken salad at nausea. Then another extra saved me from despair when she told me I might not be Chicken Little. Production canonized a touching close-up of me extending my arm to an infant, who held by her mother, grasped hold of my finger with her fist to symbolize the circle of life. There is a bigger picture here. Word passed on the set attached notable actors Will Smith and Kevin Bacon to this commercial. The director also informed us that music will be composed for the commercial and a pre-screening party is being teased to launch airing. This may turn out to be something grand. If nothing else, it proves that no matter where you stand in life, it is always good to be in the loop. So act now for a cause.

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15 Comments:

Blogger ell said...

congrats on the commercial! sounds like you had a blast.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Ell,
I never had so much fun standing in one place in all of my life.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, you are pursuing your "other dream" job of acting then?

I never did go to see "Invisible" but I do plan on renting it or watching it on cable when it becomes available. Needless to say, I'll be scanning the audience on the field for you.

Can I get an autograph? :)

Steph

8:38 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Steph,
Don't rent it on my account. Now if you like Bollywood may I direct you to the movie KANK in which you can clearly see me...for four seconds in one scene.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Loved your blog Joe. By the way, you were not the only forty year old in line that day. Me too. Isn't middle age wonderful. It was truly a pleasure standing next to you in line.

2:43 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

kim,
Maybe so but I looked it.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your my star, di

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Marcus said...

I already got my autograph, and we all know how THAT deteriorates over time, so I am glad I got mine early.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

marcus, you still had to go to the mailbox for it. lol

11:03 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

Now that Phillyfuture.org has announced that you're in the commercial, I guess the director has no choice.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Karl,
My sediments exactly. lol

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting experience. Cool Joe.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

jessica,
just need to make the final cut.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article about the HIV Awareness Commercial, got to respect something like that. Nothing wrong with doing something positive. We need more things like that. I also heard that new up and coming Italian actor Damien Colletti was in this commercial, do you know anything about that or did you meet him?

12:25 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Anonymous,
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Damien Colletti was in the commercial. I am prous to say that he is a friend of mine. You can checkout his my space here: www.myspace.com/ItalianIce03

9:19 PM  

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