Category Archives: ETK posts

Vancouver – The Final Week – almost

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As one stage of an actor’s world ends, the next begins. This post was written right after episode 9 was filmed, but we couldn’t share it until after episode 9 aired. So here’s a little background for you — this was written in Mid to late May.

This last week has been pretty eventful. In true Bex form, things have not gone exactly as planned. Let’s see…

  • Thursday Bex got a call from Director Jonathan Demme (of “Silence of the Lambs” fame) who was disappointed to learn that Bex would not be in the episode he was filming for The Killing (ep 9). (Here’s how it works: a “series regular” role means that the contract guarantees a minimum number of episodes – generally 7; beyond those it is discretionary.)
  • Friday night, Bex went to her last night of filming episode 8 — call was at 10 p.m., and they wrapped at 4:00 a.m. There was a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her dressing room from Veena. A fitting close to an extraordinary adventure. Or was it?
  • Tuesday, Bex went to set for the read through for the next episode. Apparently, Demme wants her in it, and there are discussions happening.
  • Wednesday, Bex spends the day on set because it’s just better than being anywhere else!
  • Thursday and Friday? I guess we’re all going to have to wait to see what kind of magic wand Demme has! Looks like it was quite a wand — Bex was fitted for “dead” contact lenses, and spent 2 hours in that trunk. In the end, they only used two scenes, but Demme did an amazing job, and it was a perfect closing experience for Bex on the set of The Killing.

Suffice it to say, life is not dull for Bex these days. May 20 is the cast and crew screening and party, and Bex will head back to LA for her graduation by May 23!

This chapter’s almost over, folk! The auditions are just beginning.

The work of acting happens between gigs — auditions, self-tapes, interviews — while the play happens when they’re on the job. At least, that’s what it seems to be like for Bex. When she’s working — on set — she’s having the time of her life. Now that things are settling down and we’re starting to think about what’s next, it’s starting to feel a little like work, again.

But not too much!

As Bex’s agent says, it seems to be “Bex Season” in audition-land. She’s already taped one audition for a pilot, and another 2 are in the works. Bex is trying to get her head back in the “comedic space,” jumping right back into audition work as if it were yesterday.

NOTE: Special Late Edition:

  • Thursday and Friday — Bex is in Episode 9! Don’t ask — Demme magic happens.
  • Thursday — Interviews begin with  a reporter from the Atlanta Journal/Constitution.
  • Thursday — network wants to tape some 1 minute promo videos, so it looks like Bex is going back to LA for her graduation, and then returning to Vancouver for a little more fun (without the) sun!

That is all for now!

Aside

Vancouver, Week 3

First, a note from your sponsor… David and I want to thank everyone for the incredible support and encouragement you’ve given Bex and all of us. I love that so many people are enjoying this blog. It’s fun to write, and I’m happy to keep it going when I can. Sometimes, life interferes – like a 10 ton tree falling onto the house 30 hours after I returned from Vancouver(!) — so please accept the gaps as part of the story, and thanks for your patience. I will try to keep up with what’s happening.

Also, many of you have asked: it’s fine for you to share this link with others who want to keep up with Bex’s adventures. It’s possible for anyone to sign up for the blog at bextk.me – just share this link.

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I believe I was writing about an average day on-set. In this post, I’m going to focus on the food and the schooling.

Every day on set is actually scaffolded by the food, which is determined by the hours of the crew. Natalie’s suggestion to arrive hungry was so true. Food service starts at the time of crew call – let’s say it’s 8 or 9 a.m. – with a hot breakfast, including made-to-order eggs or omelets, bacon, fresh fruit, etc. The regulars know exactly what they want, and the fabulous food staff anticipates the needs of the cast and crew. The chefs respond with such kindness, and provide such delicious, healthy fare, that it’s hard to believe all this fabulous food is being produced in a big blue truck!

The food starts with breakfast at crew call at The Circus, and continues on set. Craft Services (sp?) provides ongoing support throughout the day, including coffee and tea, as well as basic snacks such as a variety of nuts, fresh fruit, donuts and such. There is almost ALWAYS some food available – it does a Jewish Mother’s heart good!

Exactly 3 hours after Crew Call the word whispers through the crew, “sandwiches are out!” A spread of sandwiches, crudités, etc. is provided – truly a great spread, including “protein-cups” with hummus or sliced meat and veggies, ideal for the gluten-free folk. The first day I thought that was lunch, but it’s really just a hearty snack. Funny, though – it would seem so soon after breakfast – it’s amazing how hungry everyone is by then!

Unfortunately, the actors are often otherwise occupied rehearsing, taking direction, or being whisked away for “schooling” by the tutor. Fortunately, the tutor and some of the Hair and Make-up staff are pretty good about putting food aside for the actors. Especially Mariah – she’s gluten-free, too, and takes really good care of Bex!

So the day goes like this, a sweet, fruit and nuts buffet all day, and a ‘meal’ every 3 hours. Gotta love those unions! When there is a break from filming – to re-set the equipment for a new perspective – the younger cast members then sit down to do schoolwork. By that time, the tutor has established a make-shift “classroom” on set – sometimes easier to do than others. It’s really incredible that these kids can get ANYthing done – remember, they’ve been going non-stop, often since the wee hours of the morning – but it’s part of the expectation, and they all seem to accept it as the trade-off for doing what they love! Besides, you can’t argue with such a small ratio (no more than 3 kids, generally), and it’s easier to do when your friends are doing it, too. I suspect they’d all agree it’s still a better way to spend the day than a typical day at school!

Three hours after “sandwiches,” cast and crew are loaded up in vans and SUVs to return to The Circus, this time for a hot, catered luncheon, generally with fresh salads and vegetables, and three entrees to choose from. Everyone gets their plate and eats in a warm tent, and gets to relax for a few minutes before returning to make-up. Lunch is a total of an hour an a half, and it’s a chance to re-group, find people you’ve been wanting to talk with, and get ready to do it all again. Keep in mind, since it’s six hours after crew call, it’s often at 3:00 in the afternoon. Again, a Jewish mother’s dream – if Bex has breakfast and lunch on set, I’m just not worried about what she has for dinner!  Of course, three hours later, there’s another snack on set, but I don’t seem to remember it as much.

Bottom line: where there is a crew, there is food every 3 hours. And when kids are on set, there’s at least an hour of schooling to be done that day.

On the days when Bex is not on set, she still gets schooling – with an expectation of at least 3 hours. Julia is a local actor, so if she is filming at least 3 days in an episode, then she is required to have schooling on set – and Bex just goes there for school if Julie is on set and Bex is not. Otherwise, the tutor works with Bex in her apartment. It’s really a great arrangement!

We love the tutor who has been hired for Bex, and while we were afraid we were going to lose her to another show, it looks like Bex will get to keep working with her for a while. Natalie is great – part tutor, part advisor, part advocate, part friend. Just who Bex needs!

Status report: As of March 15, “The Killing” is currently filming it’s 3rd episode of the 2013 season.

<elaine>

Vancouver, Week 3

Vancouver, Week 2, Episode #1

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And she’s off! Wednesday, February 27, 2013. Bex’s first official day of filming for The Killing (often referred to as “TK” — no joke!)

Bullet's Trailer ...

Bullet’s Trailer

The Day Starts at The Circus

Sue picked us up at 7:15 and we drove to a large, empty gravel lot … temporarily filled by a large number of white trucks (trailers), a solitary blue truck (kitchen) and a tent (dining room). Known as the circus, this roving caravan is set up each day that filming is done on location — which is a lot, given that half the cast (or more) seem to be living on the street!

We start in the breakfast area, where a fabulous spread of eggs, bacon, potatoes, oatmeal, fruit, etc. are available, and the chefs in the truck are happy to make special orders upon request. Truly — they’re so NICE about it! Gotta love these Canadians.

Since this morning was about finalizing details about Bullet’s look, we  were taken to Bex’s trailer (!!complete with faux fireplace as a space-heater, bathroom, microwave, TV — ton of stuff we’ll never need!!), where a white smock was waiting for her. In the future, her wardrobe (neatly cleaned) will be ready, but today there were still many final decisions make.

Bex donned the heavy overcoat labeled “Bullet” (note — not a costume — this is for her to wear around the circus and while on location — coat, boots, hand-warmers, umbrellas — whatever is needed to keep the talent comfortable!), and we headed to the best trailer in the entire circus: Hair & Make-Up.

Bullet's Trailer ...click to see the full image

Hair & Make-Up

Bex starts with Julie, who does her hair while consulting on the other leads and a seemingly unending array of extras. I can’t tell you much, but it’s to become a daily routine. Then she heads down to Charles in the Make-up end of the trailer. It’s amazing how long it takes to make Bex look so… well… grungy.

Again, I won’t say much, but the level of detail is inspiring, and Charles has the patience of a saint. Every so often, Marian, the 3rd AD (Asst Director), who basically handles all the logistics around the circus and the set, pokes his head in to check the status of the actors.

At this point, Bex, Julia and Max are all in Hair & Make-up, and there’s still more to do with wardrobe before we get put into a transport to go to the set. Veena (creator of the show, the writer) comes in for a bit, as does Jori (Wardrobe) to make decisions about tattoos, jewelry, etc. Bex’s own art has been incorporated by wardrobe and props. Again — won’t spoil anything for you — but Bex is pretty psyched that her drawings are being used.

By this point, she’s been back and forth to the trailer with Drory, and fully dressed and ready, we’re transported to the nearby location for shooting. All of this has taken about 2 hours.

On Set and Ready to Shoot

Once we arrived at the set, Bex is psyched to meet her best friend on the show, who has been a last-minute cast — and who, we’re thrilled to learn, is also filming for the first time today. Bex isn’t the only newbie on the set!

They are taken into the set, staged in a community center, where the Director meets them and immediately starts blocking the scene. After they’ve gone over the scene once or twice and blocked who will be where, the cameras and sound are all set up. Meanwhile, Bex and Cate are taken in to get wired for sound, and someone else takes their stuff and puts it in the ‘green’ room. Once the equipment is all set up, the talent is brought back in for rehearsal. They run through it a few times, and then they start rolling.

Rollin’

Bex had one scene to do today. Little did I know that she’d be doing it ALL day long! They go through the scene multiple times. And when they are done, they take a brake, move the cameras, and start all over again. It’s really an extraordinary process. This one scene was shot multiple times from at least 4 or 5 different perspectives. Now, since this is the first episode, they are consciously establishing the characters, so they’re being quite deliberate and taking their time. But it’s still a rather awesome process. With something like 40 extras, and untold number of crew, it’s incredibly wild how quiet it can can when people start yelling, “quiet on the set, Rolling!”

There’s more to report, of course… I’ve not even made it to noon at this point — but it’s time to stop and post, and I’ll finish out an average day in the next post. Feel free to comment or ask questions! 🙂

<elaine>

Vancouver, Week 2 (Act 1), with Mom

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After three days of independence — where Bex missed her siblings and contemplated getting a puppy for about 15 seconds — Elaine arrived in Vancouver to be mama-on-the-ground for the first week of filming.

Sunday hosted a walk about Vancouver to discover a less pricy grocery store, where we ran into Mirelle‘s husband and daughter (hubby known to many of you as Cameron in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). Sunday afternoon and evening, a cast bonding experience during the Oscar’s set the stage for a great week! Lyric’s (Julia)’s mother, Sue, invited Max, Bex and me to dinner and an Academy Awards watching party. It was a pleasure to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal (complete with home-rolled bison and black bean enchiladas, and scrumptious GF Chocolate brownies, from scratch!) while we watched the events unfold from red-carpet to press conference. Max, Bex and Julia get along beautifully — hard to believe they only met less than a week ago!

Although the third season of The Killing began shooting at 5:30am Monday morning, Bex starts shooting Wednesday.

Here’s how it works: each episode has 7 filming-days, which usually spread out across 9 or 10 days because of weekends. Bex is in at least 7 of the 12-13 episodes, and can be called upon for between 2 and 5 of the filming days. There is a tremendous amount of variability in the schedules. The production folk have two teams, and while one is in filming, the other begins planning the next episode. So Bex will learn her schedule every 7-10 days, generally no more than one week out. BUT … last minute changes are expected to be the rule, rather than the exception.

Monday and Tuesday were spent “banking” hours with the tutor, running lines, and trying not to be too nervous. Right.

Bex’s call is at 7:30 on Wed. morning, and Sue is kind enough to drive us all to the location. I started wondering — do we need to wake up early enough to eat before we go? But Natalie assured me, we should go to the set hungry! So, I’ll leave you hungry for more with this description of an average day’s catering, and I’ll catch you again after Lyric, Twitch, Kallie and Bullet take the streets!

…an amazing catered breakfast with made to order stuff, as well; and they should be able to accommodate Bex’s gluten free needs. They serve it until crew call (which is 9 am tomorrow). Then, 3 hours after crew call, sandwiches and soup or something warm comes out; and 6 hours after crew call is lunch. A hot snack 3 hours after lunch, and some sort of take-out if crew is still there 6 hours after lunch. Not to mention the usually stocked craft service.

<elaine>

Bullet: The Back Story

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Last night, our agent, Larry Corsa, posted this announcement, which captures the significance of the last few weeks in its simplest form:

Bex Taylor-Klaus, an 18-year-old newcomer from Atlanta has come to LA and landed the very edgy role of Bullet on the new season of The Killing, the AMC hit that is returning for its third go-round.  To characterize the role as quirky is an understatement, and it will be an instant attention grabber.  Bex is repped by Thomas Richards at the Corsa Agency and Susan Curtis of Curtis Talent Management.

That’s right, folk, Bex got a gig! A really good gig! But let me back up.

The_Killing-imbd_coverIt’s definitely hard to capture, in words, the intensity of the last few weeks. I’ve always said that Bex lives fully on the edges of life – the highs are high and the lows are low. The last couple of weeks resemble that remark. Here’s how the drama played out.

A couple of weeks ago, things were a mixed bag in LA land. Life was rocky at school, the dastardly sinus infections had returned…but the auditions in 2013 were consistent, and Bex was doing great — with about 75% of her auditions leading to call-backs.

Two weeks ago, I surprised Bex on a Friday afternoon. Sometimes, David and I realized, a kid just needs her mama on the ground. I was in her apartment when she returned from her call-back audition at “The Killing.” She was pretty excited. After the first scene, someone had said, audibly, “whoa!” After the second scene, she heard it again, “Whoa!” Apparently, that’s not very common in LA casting rooms.

In less than an hour, the phone rang. Our manager, Susan, called so say, “they loved you.” Nice way to start the weekend, for sure.

The next day went as a typical LA Saturday might—Acting Class on Sat. morning with Loren Chadima, a Beach Party for Bex in Santa Monica on Sat. Night.

But Sunday morning, Jan. 27th, was the start of something special – it was the official start of Bex’s professional career as a working actor. Her first paying LA job was a table read of Larry Carpenter and Shane Alexander’s The Freedom Machine. And she absolutely LOVED it. She was comfortable, in her element, and attentive to her craft.

While it was purely coincidental that I was in town for her first gig, it was a treat to be able to be there to celebrate the milestone. Who knew that it would just be the icing on the cake that was my trip!

On Monday, things started to hop, and they’ve been jumping ever since! First, we learn that Bex is the top pick for the part of Bullet. Somewhere between medical appointments and a commercial call-back audition, Thomas and Susan tried to explain what was happening – and what the process would be from that point forward. Apparently, the studio had approved Bex for the role, and now it needed to go to the network. It wasn’t a sure thing, but she’d never gotten this close, before… and it was possible that she was the only real choice for the role. If she got the role, she’d have to live in Vancouver for the filming.  WOW!

Meanwhile, I have a meeting with the Head of School at Bridges, Carl Sabatino, to try to figure out how to help Bex finish High School successfully. With this new possibility of Vancouver on the horizon – and no permission to talk about it freely, much less count on it – it definitely required some creativity to figure out how to academically play to Bex’s strengths (Bridges’ mission)! Carl was incredibly helpful and receptive, and we set a plan for him to meet with the Academic Dean and Bex’s guidance counselor to figure out what it would take to help Bex finish school. Just 3 ½ credits shy of a diploma, its amazing what a distance that can be! But they figured it out, and Bex is excited about doing an Independent Study of “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” Now THAT’s what I call setting her up for success and making her learning applicable to her career!

Anyway, the week continued with news coming in fits and spurts. It turns out that, though the role is a series regular, she would only be guaranteed 7 of the episodes. And she’d have to find a place to live in Vancouver. And, and…

The week was spent with negotiations, and waiting, with occasional calls and check-ins along the way as Thomas and Susan busily negotiated a contract with the network. I wanted her to have a tutor so she could finish High School – not guaranteed, because she’s 18 – but we can try to work it out when she got there. What about attending her High School graduation? Will depend on filming schedule. Back and forth all week — constant state of heightened anxiety. Auditions continued.

Friday night we got a call saying the negotiations were complete. WOW. Contract arrived, but we were told to wait until Monday – there could be a few more improvements.

The contract and its addendum covers all sorts of things, like specifying her “first-class” dressing room (and its appointments), and airline tickets, and use of her image, and how her name will appear on the screen, etc. Lots of nuance.

We are Incredibly GRATEFUL for Thomas and Susan! Not only did they negotiate a great arrangement for Bex, but they did it with a clear understanding of where she is in her career (she’s new at this and needs to pay union dues and join the union!), and where she’s going (what happens now will influence what happens on the next contract).

The negotiating process is fascinating, for sure.  This was an exceptional situation – Bex is always the exception, not the rule – because it was pretty apparent that Bex was really the person they wanted for the role. But since she’s got no credits, it made for an interesting dance!

Monday we were all atwitter – should we sign what we’ve got? Should we wait?

We finally got a contract for Bex to sign (remember, she’s 18, so it’s hers to sign, not ours!), and she got it scanned and sent in on Monday night (which, for those of you superstitious Eastern European Jews out there, we decided would be acceptable because it was already Tuesday in Israel! If this makes no sense to you, just ignore our strange cultural idiosyncrasies and read on.)  🙂

THEN, we find out that the next step is NOT to announce it to the world and dance on the roof-tops (much to our surprise!). Now, we have to wait for the network to accept the contract.

Meanwhile, Bex started to get upset that they skipped the screen test. She was having a hard time believing that they would skip that process, so she didn’t think it was really real.

I sent Thomas an email for explanation, and this was his reply:

YES! She was “the one” the minute she was done reading for the part. There was no more to be said.   If it was questionable, they would have had her test against others. EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE it happens like this, usually when one sets themselves sooo far apart, and they are spot on for what they are looking for.

Behind all the hard work that she did on the scene, it was also, simply put, a blessing and some luck !!!! this was “OUR BREAK” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND THEN, he sent this email:

PLEASE GET HER TO FOCUS ON OTHER AUDITIONS!

We got the call on Thursday evening that said, simply, “It’s Official!!

The rest you’ve probably seen on facebook (here, herehere, & here), and so its time to bring this part of the story to a close. There’s only one thing left to say:

If you know anyone in Vancouver, PLEASE let us know!

Bex is going to need a (Canadian) village, as the filming starts Feb. 25!

<elaine>