Friday, July 29, 2011

Rock Of Ages! Exclusive report! Danny Shamon (C) 2011 Part 7

For my final report on Rock of Ages I will point out some of the good and bad parts of being on the movie set for nearly 11 hours. This was a long shoot, and originally called for a 1pm to 8pm call, by 10pm the crowds were dwindling and not as enthusiastic as earlier in the day. For organizational purposes the day should have began earlier say 10 or 11 am, this would have allowed for over runs in time. I did later find out that the were shooting non audience segments earlier, so possibly this was the time they had. During the explosive segment that misfired, being that I was in the top area of the arena, my group and I were lead down the fire escape and out the back. I applauded their safety, however, there should have been some chairs or something makeshift set up outside in case this did happen. It was hot, humid very uncomfortable, and there was no where to site except on pallets, forklifts etc. Small stuff, but I had to point these things out.

Those minor negatives aside this was an amazing experience. An eye-popping jaw- dropping spectacle of 80s hard rock! The production used probably a dozen cameras and a massive street sized boom camera situated right in the center floor of the arena sweeping the crowd and stage. Since we all had wristbands we were free to move about the arena and the entire hard rock area, though it seems like few people took this initiative. The freedom allowed me to write about all aspects of the production and for that I am grateful. I have a new appreciation for the hard work and effort it takes to put on a huge movie like this. Finally the friendliness of the cast and crew was refreshing and fun and made the time go by much faster. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch a behind the scenes private shoot of a movie, and the memories and images will last in my mind forever.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rock Of Ages! Exclusive report! Danny Shamon (C) 2011 Part 6

After nearly 10 hours at the Hard Rock live, the crowd had dwindled a bit, but were still enthusiastic. The director yelled thats a wrap but Tom Cruise was still standing on stage with a beer in his hand talking to some folks.

I was about ready to walk out the door and wait for the buses home when someone on the mike announced that MR. Cruise would like to thank you all for coming out, by turning off the cameras and singing a live performance of Def Leopard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" especially for the fans who stayed through the night. To bad this was not for the camera, as he put out maximum effort and the band sounded great. He was moving on stage like a natural. Cannot believe he had this much energy after a long day of shooting At the end of his performance he tossed his glass beer in the crowd old school style and the guy next to me caught it! A true memory of the 80s!

Throughout the day the production staff were giving away ipods, ipads, itouchs and Rock of Ages t-shirts, but at the end of the night after Tom's final performance, the big payof an entire cast autographed guitar, actually two were given away! Tom was still onstage smiling when perhaps the oldest rocker guy in the room won it and came up the stage to claim his prize. Memorable night all the way around, thanks to the entire cast and crew.

UP next final thoughts and observations...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rock Of Ages! Exclusive report! Danny Shamon (C) 2011 Part 5

Nearing 50 Tom Cruise seems to be fitter than ever. He had to film a difficult sequence of jumping off the drum riser and landing on a particular spot for the camera to film. Seems easy but with a rather high riser, and the accuracy, needless to see he had to do it several times. Also saw that this was a safe shoot with medics at the ready in case the shirtless Cruise crash landed.

Once he fell really hard on his butt, but he popped right back up and said "I am going to do this again, hopefully I won't fall on my ass this time!" The crowd was cheering and he jumped off a couple of more times just for good measure.

My musician friend Javi had an interesting observation, that many movie stars desired the rock star life, or were musicians who were unsuccessful. I agree with him. The live performer gets the immediate gratification, groupies, tours etc... Tom Cruise fell hard but just kept smiling. At 49 he was living the music of his youth.

Up Next Tom Cruise special fan performance and final thoughts on the 11 hour Rock of Ages Set.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rock Of Ages! Exclusive report! Danny Shamon (C) 2011 Part 4

In addition to the camera shots, for added reality the audience was asked to sing parts of the songs for the movie. I thought this was a nice touch rather than can in some recording. Wanted dead or Alive was recorded near the end of the shoot and some of the close-ups of Tom Cruise were filmed, as they brought the dolly cam at an angle that knifed through the crowd, although there were no crowd shots.

I was standing outside the taped area (area of camera path), but they moved (the camera) in even closer and was polity asked to move in towards the center, unfortunately behind the one guy in the crowd taller than me, no matter this was about the audio! The upfront crowd sang the lyrics, and did some screaming. I enjoyed this aspect of the production! A live taping of vocals, now that was cool! Tom Cruise was smiling throughout. He was basking in the glow of being a rock star!

Up next: Tom Cruise jumps! Off the drum riser that is...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rock Of Ages! Exclusive report! Danny Shamon (C) 2011 Part 3

The massive stage had so many lights, all were original from the 80s. I spoke with lighting director Robert Piecuch and asked him how many. He was like "I have no idea but it took us 18 hours to set up!" His crew deserve credit for this difficult sequence, as this was an epic event. The stage was a bit like the stage from the David Lee Roth Eat Em and Smile tour with the lights rows upon rows. With four huge lighting pods that spelled out the letters Rock of Ages.

The back line of amps were of course a massive wall double stacked of Marshall Amplifiers and cabinets . Everything was original 80s. There was even old school fog machines simulating smoke in the arena.

The crew filmed huge explosions, loud booming noises, smoke, and raining fire from the top of the lighting rig. The explosive aspect slightly misfired first time around. While I was watching the second unit filming (outside the main arena) a I heard a thunderous boom and the doors opened and people poured out while a billowing cloud of smoke arose from the now I felt I was transported back to the 80s where I went to see concerts back at a place called the Hollywood Sportatorium. During the whole shoot smoke detectors in the arena were turned off, the fire engines were ready and we had to exit using the fire doors for safety during the explosive sequence!

Extras were given lighters for some scenes, beer cups with for others. This was 80s rock all the way! This enhanced the shoot, even fog machines in the stands to simulate smoke, as in the 80s you could smoke in all arenas. This was well planned out concert event and I cannot wait to see how it shows on film!

Up Next. Wanted Dead or Alive audience audio shoot, and Tom Cruise Special Performance!

All text copyright 2011 Danny Shamon