Freudian Slips: November 2008

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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 28, 2008

Kid's Kiss the Darndest Things

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November 25, 2008

Bollywood: A Shot in the Dark

Hitting the big time: Joseph Tornatore with actor Jim Mccauley
Objective: Stay awake for 25 consecutive hours working as a humane social worker then as a human shield on a Bollywood film.

6pm Wardrobe and Prop crew warn actors of loud noises, a hot gun, and blood spraying tonight on location. I scratch my head thinking that the Broad Street subway should be a closed set to curtail violence and not complicate the plot.

7pm Actors board trains and realize how little room there is to act in a wanton frenzy on a compartmental train. A few tired actors already look like they want off this red eye acting gig. Director Rensil D'Silva and his talented crew tinker with the logistics of the upcoming scenes.
8pm Actors are reminded to act how we normally would act during the terroristic events of 9/11. Accordingly, I never could get a cell phone signal in the subway to call my wife one last time and the closest thing to a cockpit to seize on the train housed only a non-chalant American born engineer talking football.

9pm Between takes of a climatic killing scene in the movie, pinched-eyebrow Bollywood actors are explained the tradition of an American Thanksgiving with the term Native American used ahead of its alternative.

10pm Bollywood crew members ask extras if anyone can professionally sing to spark downtime camaraderie between takes. An actress absentmindedly decides to give a full-bodied rendition of God Bless America. She never sang another song. I never saw her used in another scene all night.

11pm In a choreographed scene of extras trying to flee from an armed terrorist on a commuter train, 6’10” 450 pound actor muscles me into the door of a train cab. It was my third Bollywood movie but I finally hit the big time! I got some major face time pressed against the glass by this giant.

Midnight Tilapia in a white cream sauce is served in the cold subway right outside your dining car train, a la cart if you will.

1am Bollywood actor shares terrified tale watching a mountain lion wander onto a Hindi film set and slay the trained Doberman pincher lapping from a swimming pool. The doggone tale is told in Jurassic park Technicolor.

2am Principle actors laude the chai tea guru flown across continent from India to make a cauldron of his warm elixir on the set as a rare treat for the actors subjected to filming abroad. There are whispers among the American actors that the chai tea tastes like Apple Jacks cereal.

3am Conversation with famous Bollywood actor covers him agreeing to meet the Dalai Lama for lunch with the Himalayan mountains and a movie set as a grand backdrop. I never got in a word edgewise but wanted to share my having a meal on the set once with Fred Savage of the The Wonder Years.

4am Blank from gun discharges by my head after I moved late clearing out of the gunman’s path in a night scene requiring timing for cinematic effect. I thought I lost my hearing with the flash bang then realized I forgot to remove my earplugs after the scene. Afterall, non-union acting is a taking a shot in the dark.

5am An attractive female extra decides to rouse drooping eyelids by doing upside down handstand push-ups on a moving train. Red-blooded males hoped the exhibitionistic gymnast might entertain a remake of the train scene in Risky Business.

6am Six hours since the train last stopped for a R & R break, my bloated bladder screams for extra work of its own. I would have bought a colostomy bag, if anyone were selling a do-it-yourself unit.

7am After riding the subway all night in the same train as Hindi megastars Vivek Oberoi and Saif Ali Khan, I got back on that same dreaded subway to go home.


November 22, 2008

When Help Freezes Over

It was the only letter in my mailbox that afternoon late in the summer of 1994. One of my undecorated job requirements is to process cash stipends to families of disabled individuals for needy worthwhile items that will improve the quality of life. This was one of those requests from parents. The letter started with the common misspelling of my last name then got right to the point.
Dear Mr. Torntor: Need fifty bucks for ice skates for Charlie. We promised him we would flood the backyard this winter.
When help freezes over.


November 18, 2008


The recommendation to visit Argogast on Film came from a friend and fellow blogger. Just spending a few minutes on this blog convinced me that I should not be in the business of writing. I have had writer’s block ever since I visited this blog and had opportunity to read this wordsmith’s rich prose and insightful mind woven through distinct storytelling.
So if you want to checkout a great writer’s blog, enjoy your magical journey with Argobast but beware of the ramifications to your pschye, if you considered yourself a writer before your first visit. Ain't dat a shame.


November 15, 2008

Doing Disney

It looks like storybook magic but the miles on my feet added up over the course of the weeklong vacation for this old man.


November 10, 2008

World's Biggest Pinata or Bust

If you build it, they will come. Carnival Cruise Lines maintains a reputation for doing things big. This created piñata scene in an over sized parking lot could not have been a carnival by any other name. After a construction crew and structural engineers erected, adorned, and prepped a six-story 50,000 pound mock donkey, they hired professional actors to bring her down to her flippable flappable knees. That is where I came in. Enacting controlled chaos, actors and stunt men wielded everything from baseball bats to swimming pool skimmers before a giant wrecking ball staged its final destruction.

Over the course of the better part of the last two weekends, Carnival Cruise Lines filmed footage from helicopters, high-rising hydraulic cranes, and shoulder mount cameras for a nationwide television commercial to promote their grandness in piñata over achievement. After Guinness representatives measured and mulled over the donkey, the colossal piñata officially broke the World Record. The cruise line also provided live video coverage to their website and offered free cruise giveaways, a celebrated event hosted by loquacious senior cruise director, John Heald. Local television stations and newspapers rode the donkey story by inviting the public to take part in the event.

Breaking opening the belly of the beast proved to be another story. Still feeling a parade mentality from the city’s celebration of the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series a couple of days prior, several thousand people lined the perimeter fence waiting to be let in to fleece their empty shopping bags, backpacks, and suitcases with free candy. When only a few hundred spectators were permitted passage through the front gate, the denied crowd became unruly. Rattling the metal fence and shouting obscenities, spectators transformed into an angry mob largely shut out of the public event.

For the actors, it was not much better locked on the inside of the fence. The free-to-roam public surrounded the donkey like a Western horror movie and they pushed actors from their marks. Realizing the crowd's tenacity for freebies, actors began to surmise the potential for disaster. Bullhorn shouting to hungry children holding trick-or-treat bags only a week removed from Halloween that they must reset back to their first mark for another take while the helicopter shooting aerial views has time to circle the sky is never a good idea in commercial work. At this point, I wondered who the bigger donkey was me or the mock donkey impregnated with mega candy. Actors began to look for their way out of Dodge and the Hollywood term "checking the gate” held literal meaning. Police rode motorcycles into the parking lot to enforce crowd control and got actors off the set and ensure our personal safety. The police said nay to the tail end of the donkey event continuing and the entire set closed down in anti-climatic Hollywood fashion. The crowd dispersed without incident and the wounded donkey got a stay of execution.

A week later, shooting resumed on a closed set without the general public invited. Four hundred actors encircled the piñata to film the money shot and wrap up a commercial long in the making. Crew members separated actors from their coats in order to gain cinematic look and this tested an actor’s mettle to ignore the chilly temperatures and cheer on cue with glowing looks of awe and amazement.

My friend Damien Colletti and I were two of the few actors ponied aside to loot the candy after the piñata finally gave birth to the bon bons. I got stripped of my trench coat and sweatshirt, leaving me only a blue tee shirt with a big no-no of a Commerce bank logo pointing at the camera. I made short work of turning inside out my shirt and removing the tag. It was time to blaze saddles and kick some big old donkey ass. Following cues over the bullhorn, I ran ahead of the other selected looters and through the encircled crowd. Lofting myself airborne and parallel to the ground, I did a flying belly flop on 8,000 pounds of raining candy and prizes like a kid in his own candy store.
Of the hundreds of actors hired to be in this commercial scene, I landed first on top of that coveted candy pile. With cameras rolling for several minutes, people piled on and we danced in a food-frenzied giveaway orgy that left the weak of heart and brittle diabetics turning away. This may be the only time taking a flop is a good acting move but you got to pin the tale on a donkey pinata when given the schtick.


November 02, 2008

In the Meantime

This blog is on one week hiatus. Please check back in about a week. Sorry for the interruption.

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