Monday, July 26, 2010

The life and times of Mr. Hoot

Many years ago, I met a very interesting man. Video is at bottom, but I suggest reading the setup.

WARNING THIS IS A TRUE STORY:
I sit waiting next to my cousin in the Muddy Cup Cafe, in Staten Island, New York. Sitting across from us is the flamboyant Ron B, a cross dresser/actor who does lip sync Whitney Houston performances during his public access talk show. Hell, he was paying us to film it and it was quite entertaining to witness.

He set up a meeting so we could meet with a director he knows, who has funding and is looking for cinematographers. Finally, fifteen long awkward minutes later he arrives. I met Mr. Hoot, who is still one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He greets us nervously and sits down, placing down his large backpack. He pulls out a DVD, along with a portable player. All as he quickly babbles on about the potential project.

Mr. Hoot tells us that what we are about to see is a piece of a show that he was pushing. The video started, I saw a bunch of people sitting in a room with a blue curtain behind them. I could hear the noise of the camera rolling, some hissing and the clear 80's VHS camcorder look. He should have just recorded it himself. The camera never moved from its spot, nor did it cut. The video consisted of Mr. Hoot rambling in front of these emotionless people. At the close I look up to see a confident Mr. Hoot, who thought we had just witnessed something amazing. He then happily tells us that he paid the cinematographer twelve-thousand dollars!

I smiled, nodded and handed him the reel that we had put together. Mind you this reel was put together mostly of "cool" looking shots of me acting random ways in random places. After all, we only had two days notice. After he saw it he was blown away. In his always passionate ways he stood up In a full cafe and said, "That was amazing!" He wanted to work with us right away.

At this moment I'm thinking this poor guy got ripped off, but at the same time I'm thinking we can make some serious money.

The next time we meet up with Mr. Hoot is when we went to film a screen test audition for him. We arrive at the address and notice it is a real estate office. Confused, I walk in and decide to ask anyway. The man at the desk confirms we are in the right place. He told me it was down stairs, as he pointed at a cellar entrance in the back of the office.

Once the actors arrived and Mr. Hoot began to direct the audition. I knew this was not going to be a normal audition, whatsoever. It did, however give me some priceless memories on film. About two weeks later he left for Texas, to get the "funding" for the film. He invited my cousin and I to come, but we declined. It turns out that desicion was a good one. I lost connection with him after a phone call from a Texas correctional facility. He said he "lost the contract", and ended up in jail for "public disturbance", or somethign like that. I can't remember clearly, but it sounded like a charge I had never heard of. Later, I spoke with the actress who tagged along with him, and she told me there was no contract. Apparently, he went unannounced to his brother home, in search of money and he wouldn't give it to him. She wasn't even allowed to disclose any information regarding his arrest, so I assume it was much more than "public disturbance". I could probably write a book on this man, so I'll cut to the chase.

SO YOU UNDERSTAND THE "FILM":
He began to make the potential actors act out bits of scenes from the film. It made for one of the funniest experiences of my life. Because of this, I edited together the footage, as if it was a comedic short. It was a challenge, but he made it a whole lot easier. Remember, the actors were totally not prepared for this. Who knows what this film would have been about if it were to actually make it past the audition. Well, here it is. You tell me what you think.



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