Acting: It’s As Easy As Falling Off A Cliff In $1000 Shoes!

April 20, 2015

Humor

I managed to find the tiny gravel fire-road in the middle of the woods where we were going to be filming the first shots for a commercial I’d been cast in. How the location scouts had found these roads to begin with, I had no idea. I drove down and found the crew setting up. Pulled up, said hello to the director, and he said, “Hi. Uh, so… you afraid of heights?”

This was a concerning start to the shoot.

This commercial basically involved me walking through foggy, wet forest in a very expensive suit, and the first thing we were filming was the big final shot – originally it was going to be a shot by a sunny lake, but they decided at the last minute to have an aerial shot of me standing on the edge of a cliff. A cliff with wet rocks. With me in slick-soled dress shoes.

Crew readying the drone-copter with the camera.

Drone pilots readying the copter with the camera.

Setting up my cliff-top desk.  Why? Where do you keep your desk?

Setting up my cliff-top desk. Why? Where do you keep your desk?

The thing is, I’ve worked with this film company many times. They’re great. But they also film a lot of outdoor/extreme sport stuff, and so there’s a mentality of adventure that doesn’t usually involve dress shoes. For example, I bumped in to one of the managers recently, and she told me about how they’d just gotten back from Alaska, filming guys jumping out of helicopters in wing-suits. When someone tells you that, all you can do is dread them asking what you’ve been up to (“Oh, uh, I went to REI and thought they didn’t have the jacket I wanted, but then saw it on the clearance rack and there was only one left and it was my size. So… you know… that was pretty exciting, too…”)

Crew tent/my dressing room.  Glamorous, eh?

Crew tent/my dressing room. Glamorous, eh?

The suit I’d be wearing had been custom tailored to me, and one of the first questions I asked when I got hired was, “So, does that mean I get to keep the suit?”  They said they’d ask the client. I was told, though, that I definitely wouldn’t be allowed to keep the very expensive, hand-crafted Italian shoes.

I don't know.  The client's from Boston, and said everyone will notice if the shoes are cheap.  You East Coasters...

I don’t know. The client’s from Boston, and said everyone will notice if the shoes are cheap. You East Coasters…

Which was fine, because after two days of tromping through the wet forest, they wouldn’t be so slick looking any more. Weird, right? It’s almost like they didn’t even factor off-trail hiking in the Pacific Northwest when they made these fancy dress shoes.

For what it's worth, they're not very comfortable to hike in, either.

For what it’s worth, they’re not very comfortable to hike in, either.

We did a couple trial runs, and I didn’t fall to my death, so proceeded.  If you watch the ad at the end of the post, it really won’t look like it took hours and hours and hours to shoot the ending.  That’s the thing about film shoots, though – it generally looks like something you can crank out. It also probably doesn’t look like I’m freezing (I was trying to be a Team Player, and Tough It Out which led to me Shivering Uncontrollably later in the car).

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 6.21.35 AM

Still from the final aerial shot.  It’s a great shot, but you never really see how high the cliff is… which is really too bad for my ego.

The second day we had a larger crew, and I had a handler. Having someone who’s job it is to meet your every need, including hold your umbrella and touch up your hair every few minutes makes you simultaneously feel very important, and like a pathetic, delicate little flower.

WHY am I holding my own umbrella??!!  What am I, a RANCH-HAND?!  My, God, someone get me a Fiji water...

WHY am I holding my own umbrella??!! What am I, a RANCH-HAND?! My god, someone get me a Fiji water…

I met the clients and we all chatted for a bit. I waited at least 45 seconds before casually dropping, “So. The suit. Tailored to me. Only me. Can I keep it?” They said that seemed like a possibility. They’d have to discuss it.

So we did shot after shot after shot with me walking along, flanked by a couple burly guys blasting me with fog machines.

IMG_1161

“Is this stuff safe to breathe?” “Sure. They use it in nightclubs.” “Ah, nightclubs. Those havens of physical health. Great.”

 

IMG_1164-2

There were several locations, down tiny fire-roads – some of which were so narrow and so bumpy we went down without entirely being sure of how we’d get out.

The poster for my new movie, a mash-up of Wolf of Wall Street and The Lord of the Rings

The poster for my new movie, a mash-up of Wolf of Wall Street and The Lord of the Rings

Finally, closing in on done, we were losing daylight, and using the last fumes of power to generate fake light.

Just stand on that tree and hold that huge light on a pole!  Lean back! Further!  Nah, you'll be fine!

Just stand on that tree and hold that huge light on a pole! Lean back! Further! Nah, you’ll be fine!

We got done, shared high-fives all around, and I went to change. One of the owners came and said, “So, they’ve decided they want to keep the suit.”

“Why? For who?”

“They don’t know. They said maybe it’ll fit someone at their office.”

“Really? They have someone my exact height and proportions? Who also won’t care that I’ve been hiking in this thing for two days?”

I don’t even wear suits that often, but it’s the principle of the thing. You understand.

But for this suit, I'd find reasons.  (Also, this is just kind of a cool picture...)

But for this suit, I’d find reasons. (Also, this is just kind of a cool picture…)

So that was a downer way to end, but we got the thing shot, I didn’t fall off a cliff (sorry if the title was misleading and you were hoping for some cliff-plummeting excitement), and so far haven’t been hacking up fake fog.   A successful job.

Now I just need to learn how to fly in a wingsuit.

Here’s the ad. It’s worth getting through the financial planning stuff to get to the cool final shot.  Also, I suppose, you could do financial planning and make money. But more importantly is the cool final shot.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 6.07.58 AM

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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35 Comments on “Acting: It’s As Easy As Falling Off A Cliff In $1000 Shoes!”

  1. grannyK Says:

    Nice job! I found it very interesting how this was made and all you went through.

    Reply

  2. List of X Says:

    So I’m guessing that the ad goes something like “Financial planning company Z: we’ll help you through the thicket and the for of financial planning. But we’ll take your suit and your shoes after we’re done. “

    Reply

  3. viv45 Says:

    i would have clicked those thousand dollar shoes and escaped with the suit . it’s a really good looking suit. glad you didn’t plummet to your death

    Reply

  4. pegoleg Says:

    I got vertigo from that last shot and have to lie down so I don’t throw up. Yikes!

    But what I really want to know is, would you recommend that I buy pork belly futures or sell them at this point in the market?

    Reply

  5. Michael Says:

    Wow. I had never realized financial planning was so dramatic. For the sequel, can they do a volcano? A misty forest cliff is cool, but the sequel has to kick things up. A volcano would do that.

    Reply

  6. Nurse Kelly Says:

    Oh the perils of acting, eh? As a former model, I shot on location in some extreme locations as well – but got to keep almost everything I wore. That last shot in the ad is really cool, as well as your movie poster. You’re the best dressed Bigfoot I’ve seen in a long time

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yeah it’s always a toss up if you get to keep the clothes (I did a catalog for outdoor gear and was pretty confident I wouldn’t get to keep the $800 ski goggles), but a custom tailored suit that I wore for two full days seemed like a pretty safe bet to me. Oh well.

      Reply

  7. Outlier Babe Says:

    Interesting for a lot of reasons. The lust for the suit–basically a jacket and a pair of pants, right? But I’m not a guy. My first Hawaii visit, my first day, spotted a silk suit I couldn’t afford. Went without eating for three days, and then ate one meal only the last two so that I could buy it. Best suit I ever had. Royal blue silk with a woven weensy paisley texture. Gorgeous.

    Interesting that the marketers are appealing to office-bound screen-bound dudes who would decadently spend major bucks on extremely uncomfortable shoes by getting them to envision themselves as bold adventurers/explorers. I like it.

    The last shot IS great. Don’t worry. You can tell you’re high up.
    🙂

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’s what always amazes me about expensive shoes – I naively assumed that you bought pricey shoes because they looked great and were comfortable. My first pair of expensive dress shoes, I thought I’d been had. Why would I spend this much to hurt all day?

      Reply

  8. rambling jill Says:

    How do you find time to teach? Ah yes, teaching by example again.

    Reply

  9. Hippie Cahier Says:

    I’m trying to watch the commercial and all I get is a black screen. I hope I didn’t accidentally click the button that sent you off the cliff!

    Also, since you’re not new to this rodeo, even if they still do this you’re probably used to it: do they refer to you as “The Talent,” even in your presence? Do you want to go home and make the family refer to you as “The Talent”?

    Reply

  10. autumnashbough Says:

    Especially love the caption under the photo of the pathetic wilted flower and his handler.

    Nice that I can always count on your blog to make me laugh. Even on days the microwave dies!

    Reply

  11. Sandy Sue Says:

    I love that when (if) I ever see this ad on TV I can jump up and down and scream, “I KNOW THOSE SHOES!”

    Reply

  12. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Aw man! No “plunging to your death” ending?? Naturally I was assuming this post was written by your impeccably dressed doppelgänger. Good to know you survived. What were you thinking during that last shot? “Must resist urge to lean forward! Don’t lean! Don’t lean! DO NOT LEAN!” Also? Very cool commercial. It has a certain “Jack lost in purgatory on a deserted island” feel to it.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      What also got cut is that I didn’t just have to stand there, I had to walk up and lean against the table without – without – ever looking at my feet. And as I type this I’ve decided doing this ad was a bad idea.

      Reply

  13. Life With The Top Down Says:

    Soooo, you do your own stunts. I just hope everyone watching realizes what went into making this and they don’t think it was done in front of a green screen.

    The suit does fit like a glove and I LOVE those shoes, which I feel obligated to purchase now since you risked your life advertising their beauty.

    Reply

  14. rachelocal Says:

    No stunt double?? I guess they couldn’t afford another perfectly tailored suit.

    Reply

  15. whatasillygirl Says:

    That was some damn fine forest walking you did there, sir. You’ll definitely be on the fast track for the next hobbit-related film.

    Reply

  16. The Baddass Togekiss Says:

    Everybody wanys fancy things, even if one of those fancy things is a custom-made suit worth lots of cash that fits very specific people.

    Reply

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