Monday, August 02, 2010

Biker Ambiance and Upaya

Here is a comedic bit of upaya (expedient means) from the set of Folklore, currently filming in Las Cruces and Luna County. We claim no credit for it, however. It was our wardrobe that did the talking.

In full costume, we bikers look rather intimidating. Especially if you don't know us.

The four actors that comprise the biker gang are local radio personality Jack Lutz, a dad who brings his wise-cracking 11-year old son on set, a local auto mechanic, and whatever I am.

Then they apply makeup to sunburn us and make our skin look leathery. They dirty our fingernails and apply tattoos. We are in layers of denim and leather, a la mode 1974. Dark glasses, bandannas. Heavy boots. In addition, I wear several rings on tattooed fingers.

We recently spent two days filming at a rest stop on the I-25 north of Radium Springs, about 25 miles north of Las Cruces. Although DOT gave us permission to close the rest area, motorists often steered around our signs and barriers to use the bathroom. As a compromise, the crew roped off certain areas, making pathways to the bathrooms that steered people away from where we were shooting, and they explained to our visitors that we were filming a movie. In particular, they needed to preserve quiet on the set while cameras were rolling. For the most part, people were very cooperative and understanding.

On Sunday, we met an exception. A gentleman traveling with his wife stopped and watched from the parking lot, perhaps trying to discern any celebrities in our midst. He continued to converse in full voice while cameras were rolling, and when a crew member asked him to be quiet, the motorist became angry. He raised his voice and began arguing with the crew member. When our producer attempted to explain the situation to the motorist once more, the man became angrier still and launched into an outraged tirade, now yelling loud enough to interfere with the shoot.

Jack Lutz and I looked at one another, nodded, and proceeded to walk towards the scene. We never said a word. We just tromped over there in our boots, denim and leather, tattoos, and dark glasses. We then approached the producer, who at this point was in despair of getting this fellow to calm down. Softly, not looking at the guy, I said, "Tony, what's going on here?"

With a twinkle in his eye, Tony whispered to us, "Let's just have a hushed conversation right here for a minute."

As we had our hushed conversation, we could see the angry motorist step back slowly to the other side of his car, checking us out. In the car, his wife said something to him about "getting us killed" and after taking another minute or so to keep face, he was driving off.

At which point the filming continued with no harm done.


Barry said...

This seems to say something about the power of a uniform to change behavior.

Probably why Zen masters wear such bright gold kasas...

Kelly said...

Great story!

I'm still wondering why the man behaved the way he did, though. How rude!!

(my word verification is 'cacti'- seldom do I receive a real word)