Been a little quiet here on the JW front due to things beyond the music. Hey Jody, where you been? That’s a possible question you could be asking yourself. A valid question it is. Normally I’m posting all kinds of stuff.
Beyond The Music
As it turns out a couple of months ago I was sent a curious email. In it there was a description asking for someone of a certain height and build. I thought to myself, what’s this about? I thought that especially because I fit the description of the type of height and build they were looking for. It was from a friend who got a forwarded email from a casting agent.
I responded to the email.
The casting people wrote back asking for a headshot. I responded with sending a recent pic as I haven’t really taken a professional headshot for a while. I didn’t think much of it and forgot all about it.
A couple of days later I got a call asking if I had been contacted about the email. I said no. They proceeded to tell me – they’d like to meet you in person, can you meet with them today?
I had friends in town that I needed to get to the airport. I asked them if it was cool for us to make a stop on the way to the airport. They were agreeable and thus we left a tad earlier so I could make it to the address I was given.
I found the location. Parked. Went inside and was told to wait.
It was a type of audition for a movie called 6 Below. They were looking for a photo double and a stand in. This is what I was told as I sat down to wait with a few others in a hallway. While sitting there I saw the actor, Josh Hartnett, walk thru the door. First thing that ran thru my head is – I don’t really look like him.
All the guys were chatting a bit about parts they were doing, or recently had. A couple of them looked a whole lot like Josh. Then we were called out to the parking lot to take pictures while standing next to Josh.
I stood in line. Got called over. Took a pic with Josh. Answered a quick question. Then was sent on my merry way.
I went back to my friends who started peppering me with questions. What movie? Who’s in it? What’s it about? Etc…
Didn’t think much of it. Felt, I wouldn’t get called.
Later That Night
I get a call. The voice on the other end of the call asks: Is this Jody?
I say yes.
He asks: Would you be willing to be a stand in for the next 6 weeks. I say yes. He then says he needs to check on what it pays and he’ll get back to me. Now, I had gotten an email from the casting people telling me what I should get offered. Thus when he called back to say what it would be, I had to say – no, it was a different amount that I was told. When I gave them the amount, they agreed. Then told me, you will get an email with the directions and call time.
No longer just a musician. Immediately I had to start making calls to co-writers that I’ve been working with to create a bunch of new music. Had to let them know my schedule was going to be out of whack for 6 weeks. Of course they all wanted to know why. When I explained it, everyone was like – that’s so cool!
New Temporary Job
Thus for the last couple of months, I was rearranging my schedule from normal being up to all hours of the morning, to now going to bed early and waking up before the sun comes up.
The first 3 weeks we were filming in the mountains beyond 9,000 feet. It took a shuttle from the parking lot, to a drop-off point. From there it took another ride up a separate shuttle to another drop-off point where we would get picked up via snowmobile to base camp for the film crew. Roughly a 45 minute affair every morning and at the end of the day wrap. Of course in reverse to get back down the mountain.
I was amazed at the family vibe of the production. On the first day, pretty much everyone knew my name and called me by my first name whenever they saw me, including the director. There I was attempting to learn 40 new names. Took me a week to get everyone’s name’s straight.
The Stand In
What was my temporary job beyond the music? It was being the stand in for Josh Hartnett. What the hell does a stand in do Jody? Well, the stand in is the person used to help the camera & lighting crew set up a shot for the director and actor.
We were out filming in snow storms and snow. So standing in for some shots got to be real tricky. Tricky because we couldn’t mess up fresh untracked snow.
For 3 weeks whenever they needed the stand in, I’d hear “Jody! We need you!” At which point I had to jump up and be ready to do whatever they were asking.
Beyond Week 3
In week 4 of shooting, the location changed and there were now sometimes two or three actors involved with shots. Both Sarah Dumont and Mira Sorvino who also had stand ins. I was briefly introduced to Sarah’s stand in McKenzie as they were setting up a shot. I sat down to wait. Then a shout out came from the assistant director “2nd Unit!”.
I just sat there.
A minute later I hear “Jody, that means you too!”
Beyond the first name basis. Since there were more stand ins involved, we were now called 2nd unit. New territory for me. Mostly because for half of the shooting schedule it was just my name being called. That took a little getting used to. Especially since no one actually told me that the stand in was 2nd unit.
Beyond The Superficial
One thing about being on set is that you get to know people extremely well. How could you not? You’re in close proximity with people for at least 12 hours most days. So as you’re sitting there, you start talking to the people near you. Questions of what you like? What you’re gonna do next? What do you do outside of filming? Etc… It didn’t take long for the crew to know that I was actually a musician and was only doing this for fun. That struck quite a few of the crew as strange, but it didn’t really bother them.
I learned that this particular crew of people were not the norm for film production. What do I mean? Apparently on most film crews there are personality problems, spats, some in-fighting, and generally roughness around the edges. This crew was different in that everyone was extremely friendly and no real fights happened. There was a lot of joking around and things ran very smoothly for the most part.
I also learned that many of them approach what they do with the same attention to detail that I apply to making music. Which I absolutely love.
The incredible thing was how cooperative the weather was for what the director needed. Snow when it was needed and a lot of it.
As the production wound down, I did get a couple of chances to chat with Josh. Who coincidentally also was calling me by name from Day 1. Which was extremely cool of him. Very down to earth dude. Actually everyone I met in conjunction to the movie was very down to earth. Marty McSorley, Mira, Sarah (who sent me video, she shot, of a scene I was in with Mira), as well as the person the movie was about, Eric LeMarque.
Yes, I did have a moment where I was no longer the stand in for Josh. They gave me a bit part. A non speaking part as a ski patrol. Wonder how much of what was shot will be in the movie. I’m excited to find out.
Beyond The Wrap
At the end of filming, I finally got a chance to get a picture with Josh. Odd to be working on a production for so long and not really get a side by side shot with the person you’re so tied into the production for. Though I’m sure there are quite a few official production photos where we’re in the same shot, just not like this:
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There was an unofficial wrap party a couple of nights prior to the last day. Then there was a more official wrap party immediately after the martini shot on the final day.
For all the stories you might hear with actors or movie crew saying that it was a pleasure working with great people, or that it was like a family… I always thought it was a bit of lip service to help sell the movie. Now I’m about to type the following words: When it ended it was like seeing your new family just disappear. Its a real journey and these people come to be like family. There is no question about it. What made it even more difficult was having a bunch of the crew come tell me how awesome of a stand in I was. I was told most aren’t very attentive or responsive. Two crew members went so far as to call me the best stand in they’ve ever worked with.
The other night I went to see Captain America: Civil War. I knew that a crew member from 6 Below had worked on it. Sure enough I spotted her name in the credits. What did I do, I sent her a text immediately after seeing it, letting her know I saw her name and the movie. She texted back saying how cool that was and that she was planning on seeing Captain America the following day.
Despite the sense of wanting to go hang with the cast and crew, its now back to the making of more music. Actually, I was making some music during the shooting of the film. I did some music for a commercial during week two of shooting. Getting all my co-writers back on a schedule has been pretty easy. Next up is releasing the single for Thump Thump Thump. There’s been a recent increase streams of Touch on Spotify due some marketing that I’m working on. I plan on applying it to Thump Thump Thump as well.
Plus, I now have a bunch of film crew that I wish to call upon to help film the video for Thump Thump Thump.
I’ve been asked if I’d ever be a stand in again. I can say. Beyond making music, if I’m going to work on a production, I think I’d rather be in front of the camera or on stage. But if it were for a crew like those on 6 Below, I would definitely give it some serious consideration – I love those people.