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Guns Ain’t Toys

February 10, 2012

I learned this when I was a kid. Back in the 80’s, toy guns looked real, as opposed to the orange or neon blue that today’s toy guns have to be by law. Back then it was a different story. My parents always told me and my brother about the kid who pointed a fake gun at a cop through the back of the car and the cop shot him. Whether this was true or not didn’t matter, it got the point across; guns aren’t toys.

About 3 years ago I was shooting a student film. I had worked with some students from the school the previous  Fall and they were great. They were organized, on top of the ball, and actor friendly. I was doing a thesis film for the guy who was the AD on the previous film and the story was about a desperate father struggling in tough economic times resorts to robbing a bank to provide for his family. (Something I haven’t not considered). Anyway, the scene was to be shot inside one of the administrative buildings after hours.  I don’t know if it was because I put my trust in the director and his crew, or that I was just too far removed from my childhood, but there I am, wearing a ski mask and holding  a prop gun in the Admissions Building at 530 PM on a friday practicing my lines. Next thing I know two campus police enter the building, guns drawn. (This was not too far after the Virginia Tech shooting). Long story short, I wasn’t shot or in any trouble, however the director was, (in trouble). For he neglected to mention he was shooting a scene involving a gun and little did he realize, the building was still open for business. A few frightened, crying secretaries gained my sincerest apologies, I honestly never saw someone so scared in my life until then.

Just the other day I went to an audition for an indie film of some type being shot here in NY.  As I am sitting outside the room (in a karate school-which should’ve been a hint to begin with), I hear the director say to the reader “at the end, hold up your shirt cause the character has a gun.”  Well the reader, who was also the producer and writer (another sign to  probably stay far away),  says “Oh right! Hold on a minute.”  He runs into an office and  comes out with, you guessed it, a gun!

I don’t know for sure if it was real or not, but it wasn’t painted orange. Regardless,  it didn’t matter, this was an AUDITION! There was no need to actually have  a gun. I knew that if this is how these guys think an audition needs to go, what will they do on set? I simply crossed my name off the sign in sheet, put my headshot back in my bag ($1 saved!) and walked out of the creepy smoky martial arts  “school.” Acting is play, guns are not.

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