Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rita Moreno

Here's my first post to get you going. It's short and so very sweet. Every week I'll add a post documenting another of my adventures in the pseudo screen trade.

After a few years of working in Connecticut and New York as a production assistant on various industrial and corporate videos, along with work as a second assistant film editor and a first assistant sound editor on a low-budget feature in Manhattan, I moved to Los Angeles. I moved out with dreams of selling my first (and, it turns out, only) completed screenplay.

The director of the low budget feature who was living in L.A. hooked me up with a steady gig as a teleprompter operator. It was semi-steady work, and the pay was decent. Plus I got to work with all kinds of Hollywood types. Big names like Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, and Charlton Heston. Along with the occasional Mary Lou Rettons and the guy who started the Vans grocery store chain.

One of my first jobs after I started teleprompting was working with Rita Moreno. I was still training, so I tagged along with another teleprompter operator who was running the show. I was just there to learn. The location was the Hollywood Bowl, a huge outdoor amphitheater very near the 101 freeway, nestled on a hillside.

I don’t remember what the video was for, but we were set up on the stage. It was the middle of the morning, so the sun was starting to blaze down. It was impressive to just see the Hollywood Bowl, but there we were right up on the huge, expansive stage. It didn’t take long. We set up, the camera crew were already there and ready to go. Shortly they brought Rita out. She seemed distracted, couldn’t focus, probably didn’t want to be there. I discovered that a lot of show people were on the minute they got to the set or location. It’s a little creepy, this turning on and off of public personality. Anyway, Rita did her lines and we got out of there. It went very quickly. It was an easy morning. It spoiled me for other shoots to come.

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