The Total Man Package: On the Set of Vince Del Rio
by Dan Murphy
Okay, for all you non-Spanish speakers, El Coolo means cool in English. I already knew this because I am El Smarto. Anyhow, I'm going to start this piece out sucking up pretty hard because the crew of VINCE DEL RIO, an independent film shot in Del Rio and Austin, Texas and directed by L. Jay Duplass, deserves it. Then I'll start self aggrandizing about my role as a Race Track Official.
Yeah, I may be somewhat biased because I have a small part in the movie, but I can honestly say the whole experience was fun, informative and positive. In addition, no one in the production knew I was going to write this piece on my experience until I told them the last night I was there. So they weren't predetermined to kiss up to me.
Here is a brief synopsis of the movie from the website http://www.vincedelrio.com/:
"The eighteen-year-old Vince Del Rio was a track star of mythic proportion, the kid hero meant to put Del Rio on the map. But terrible failure in his final race disenchanted the legend, and Vince decreed an end to his running.
"A decade later, Vince appears to be a popular garbage man with nothing more than a dirty joke and a scheme up his sleeve."
No, damn it! It's not based on my true-life story! The synopsis concludes with:
"Vince rides shotgun on his buddy Carlos' quest to be the Second Coming of Donald Trump. But, when his regressive cowboy father lands in jail, Vince's present and past collide. In a far away road race, Vince runs to win his father's bail bond case and illegitimately qualifies for the Olympic trials. With Vince in the spotlight, an ex-girlfriend back in town, and the Olympic spirit ignited, the glory days return for everyone in Del Rio except for the man who started it all.
"Vince Del Rio shoulders the hopes and dreams of the tiny Texas town that bears his name. But in the end, he must choose between his singular vision of redemption and the truth about himself."
I really can't say enough good things about the crew and cast of VINCE DEL RIO. Although my movie experience is limited, the entire production was very professional and organized. The crew was nice to everyone and knew people's names on the first night, answered questions, stayed on schedule, provided excellent food, gave timely breaks and had raffles. A lot of this was made possible by the hard work of Cecilia Manzolillo, the Production Manager, and the Production Coordinator, Heather Hall. They had a lot of behind-the-scenes things to do and really handled it well. There were no prima donnas on this production. The star of the movie, Mark Duplass, was very friendly and readily struck up conversations with lots of people.
Vince Del Rio was an excellent learning experience. The director, Jay Duplass, and Assistant Director, Chris Ohlson, didn't mind if we hung around close by while scenes were filmed. It was fun for me to see some of the process on how they set up and shoot scenes. I also got to speak with the Producer, John Bryant, a couple of times and asked him lots of questions about his film and writing experience. Furthermore, I made some friends and good networking contacts with the other people playing officials in the movie. Those of us with roles as officials even got to keep our official costume shirts and hats - which I'll be auctioning off on Ebay for thousands of dollars when I become a big star.
The Duplass brothers and their crew are definitely going places if they continue to run productions like this in the future. Others and myself would gladly work with them again in the future. So, make a mental note and jump on board with their next production if you get the chance.
Now, let's move on to the single most important part of the Vince Del Rio movie: MY pivotal role as a Race Official. I learned about the part on AustinActors.net. The Vince Del Rio production was looking for reliable people 35 years of age or older to commit to the staged Olympic Trial scenes for three weekends. So, I sent them an email and let them know I was interested in the part. I did mention that I was only 33 1/2 years old, though. I knew it would be a real stretch for me to play a 35-year-old geezer with my Adonis-like 33 1/2-year-old-body. But being the consummate professional that I am, I also knew I could play a 35-year-old geezer if I had to. It turned out it wasn't a problem at all. They just emailed me back of where (UT Mike Myers Stadium) and when to show up (three late night weekends). Most of my scenes involved me standing or walking around the track with a clipboard trying, you know, to look like an official as the track actors ran or walked by.
By the way, playing someone older than yourself can have a positive influence on your daily life. It's an excellent excuse for premature aging. For example, now when one of my friends says, "Hey Dan, it looks like you've gained some extra weight and you look like your hair is receding more," I can say, "Yeah, I know what you're talking about, but you see it's just for this role I've got in a movie playing this 35-year-old decrepit race official. You know me. I'm like De Niro when it comes to acting. I'm really into that whole method thing." Of course, my smart alec friends say, "Are you sure you're not playing a forty-year-old?" Anyhow, after all the bigwigs in the movie industry get a look at my Shakespearian Performance I'm sure my phone will be ringing off the hook with offers to play the super-stud leading man roles.
In addition, when I do become famous, don't be dropping by unexpectedly to see me about anything. You're going to have to talk my people. (God, it would be great to have people called my people working for me). If my people aren't busy with one of my outrageous demands, like making sure all the M&M's in my dressing room are all green, I might make a few seconds to see you. Then again, there is a better chance I'll say something like, "I never heard of the loser. Rough him up and toss him out."
Then, when I get bored being a big star, I'll just start a band like Dennis Quaid and Russell Crowe did and play in Austin like them. When the fans start cheering for an encore, I'll do like Russell Crowe supposedly did at his first show in Austin at Stubbs with his band "The Odd 30 Foot" and come out waving my Oscar. Of course, I'll be waving a couple of Oscars around, not just one like him. What a Total Man Package Wannabe!!
Here are some ancillary things that happened on the set. The production used cardboard people extras for the Olympic crowd scenes as well as real extras. I've worked on a couple of other movies where they did the same thing. You really can't tell the difference from a distance and when you mix in some real people moving among the fake ones it looks pretty genuine. One cardboard extra looked just like Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead.
Finally, I know you are all wondering, "Where's Waldo?" I think I found him! I swear I saw him in the crowd of extras around the 50 yard line. I'm not sure if he was real or cardboard, though. That's all for now. See ya next month. Thanks for your time!
The Total Man Package!! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!