“Three Rivers”

Thanks to the guys who contributed to this. I couldn’t mash their responses into a post, so I’m going to let their words speak for themselves… I asked them to tell me what the taping was like, how the actual rugby skills were portrayed, to explain the wardrobe & a few random stories I had heard about. These are their replies. I’ve done no editing to these… Only names have been changed to protect the (most likely) non-innocent.

Oh, and for reference, the Bleeder & Buckeye picture again:

Photo courtesy of the Post-Gazette

Photo courtesy of the Post-Gazette

1: Buckeye

The scene was set up as a pick-up rugby game (7s style), where the lead character played the scrum half. He has the put-in on a 3man scrum, wins the ball out of the back, jukes out Dick’s, completely OWNS the College Kid with a wicked stiff arm, gets down field and scores a try by diving in. Then, another character comes in with a late hit and knees him in the back, and there is a bit of a scuffle between the actors, while we are in the back ground under-reacting/over-reacting.  The scene was actually pretty realistic I thought, however Dick’s NEVER gets juked, and the College Kid is way too explosive to be owned like that.

The funniest story I can think of was that they wanted him to wear bball shorts at first, and we all immediately made the black joke. we made up a fake scene they were going to include: Bleeder is shooting hoops at a nearby court, and we all call him out to come play rugby with us, and he’s like “alright”.

all of my clothes were rejected because they had specific color schema to work with. The funniest part of the wardrobe was when they handed Hollywood a shirt with fake sweat stains, and he just looked at them, then looked at us, and we all laughed. We all had our shirts soaked in sweat within the first hour or so.

Breakfast was just normal breakfast buffet things, but there was a little kitchen truck with a grill where the guy offered to make us breakfast burritos, which were all awesome.

Based on the action sequence and where they were located, i would say the following people will definitely be on camera in the final cut: Dick’s, Hollywood, PghRugbyRef, College Kid. The rest will just depend on which takes they use and who happens to be in the back ground. I would say whoeever else was in the scrum will be in… Bleeder, Dennis, Giggles….

This is probably in a bout hour #4… my shirt is obviously by this time completely soaking wet, no surprise. I make the comment in between takes that I need to get shirt #2, because I’m often known for calling out which shirt i’m on at practice. Bleeder walks over, says “just ring it out, man”, and he just starts grabbing some cloth. Then he actually starts to ring out a substantial amount of sweat. I don’t think a whole lot of people actually saw this take place, but they definitely have record of it now. As FF puts it…”the most ambiguously gay duo on the team”.

2: Bleeder

They actually did a good job portraying rugby correctly (for the small part we did anyway) with a few exceptions due to a need for good camera angles. For example, Dick’s had to run around his side of a scrum to try to tackle a scrum half rather than just following him…

I tore a pocket on FF’s t-shirt and the wardrobe guy was kind of irritated. It belonged to them not FF… Oops!

We had to bring our own stuff, but it could not have any logos besides Pittsburgh rugby or Gilbert so some guys had to get other clothes. Plus apparently their was a color palate that they had in mind, so they wanted us wearing certain colors. They had grss stains and sweat stains in strategic places. They also occassionally sprayed us with mist to make us look sweaty after long periods of standing around. It was actually really hot and we played touch when they let us which made many of us sweaty anyway, but I guess not sweaty enough

Was great for breakfast. Lots of fruit, pastries, juices, cereal, etc. Plus grits, ham, and home fries.  They would even make you a sandwich or breakfast burrito if you asked the guys in the catering truck. We got jipped out of lunch though because we finished early.

The main characters were involved in some dirty play and we were asked to pretend like we took exception. So as they yelled at each other, we were asked to “scuffle.” We weren’t allowed to punch or anything though.

Funny part occured when Hollywood didn’t stop the lead actor from trying to fight. He asked Hollywood if he would really just let a team mate fight like that. Hollywood mentioned that not only would he let him fight, but would encourage it and probably jump in. Typical rugby attitudes!
Show is supposed to air October 4th.
Hollywood had to have fake blood in his mouth. He asked the wardrobe lady if he could spit it out. She said that he needed to keep it in his mouth until he was told otherwise. Dick’s says, in front of 50 something wardrobe woman “That’s what she said.” Very funny.
I was making fun of how much Buckeye sweats by wringing out his shirt… Instead it looks like I was undressing him or tying the shirt in a knot so he could show his belly. Taken out of context it looks pretty bad!

3: Giggles

Overall I  believe the experience was a positive one. It gives the club some exposure and its actual portrayal of a pick up rugby game was not that bad. I mean come on!,.. it is made for tv…right. Not exactly sure what the humorous stories about Bleeder are, but would have to say are whole group was entertaining in its own right.

Seriously. How could you put that many good looking guys on the same pitch  and not have the Hollywood types not love us!….

The food was phenomenal a breakfast buffet with made to order burritos, I honestly believe if everyone could have one of those burritos there might even be world peace . The only down side was the lack of lunch, especially when we saw them preparing the grills for corn and chicken….I think FF and I were drooling.

The wardrobe they had was supposed to mimic a  bad , but trendy 80’s look with the fake sweat and dirt for all the non gettin dirty types….Hell I dont think I even own clothes that dont have holes, tar, paint, or some kind of debris on them……but I do not have any cut off sweats.

I really hope that we all make the final cut, it was alot of fun……oh yeah the one story we have is with Bus Driver telling the lead actor(Alex) after saying ” sorry fellas I have to go”(after his confrontation with the other actor) Bus Driver’s response” that’s alright man, it’s ok  that stuff happens”this is all during the seen….couple more are..the camera man was about as coordinated as FF and I are, we watched him bumble his way around the set and prayed to God he would not drop that camera!

Oh and by the way Bleeder was wringing out Buckeye’s sweaty shirt after them main actors had to be sprayed down with “fake sweat”, which turned out to be Evian mist….yes Evian as in the pure water from France…..we asked if he wantend some real Man Sweat….

4: Field Mouse

we lined up one 7’s scrum, wth the actor playing our scrumhalf. he picked up the ball and jukes Dick’s, stiff arms College Kid and goes for the try. then an actor on the other team gives him a cheap shot, and the fake fight ensues. the dialogue between the actors was hilarious, with the bad guy reminding the doctor that he came from the bad side of the river. As for the rugby, the director wanted Dick’s to run around the wrong side of the scrum to be in position to get juked out. as for Bleeder, the only thing i can think of was when he was wringing sweat out of Buckeye’s shirt and got in that picture in the post gazette. the wardrobe was funny, they gave people prestained clothes, that were stained much worse before we even began rehearsing. the food was ok, we didnt get much time to eat, but the cook guy made us some awesome breakfast burritos. other than that they had a buffet style setup with ham, potatoes. oatmeal, fruits and breads. I think most everyone will at least have a bit in the final tape, the field was pretty small and everyone was running everywhere when the fake fight broke out. They did a pretty cool shot where the cameraman was walking backwards shooting the cityview with the scrum framing the shot, then as soon as he was past the prop, we hit and had a live scrum. i hope they use that shot, it seemed like it would be pretty badass. also when the cameraman was running along filming the action, he ran straight into a garbage can that we were using to mark the try line, and bit it pretty hard which was hilarious. also, they decided that hollywood was going to have a mouth full of blood for the scene, at first this seemed cool, but then he had to gurgle calfs blood before every take, which was at least 25 times.

5: Dennis

ou i am sure you will see Dick’s, as he is getting juked, and College Kis, as he takes a stiff-arm.  but you will probably see the guys in the scrum as well (FF, Giggles, myself, Field Mouse, Hollywood, and i forget the 6th person.

If they use the shot of the scrum where they had the camera pull through, then you may see an interesting scrum because they wanted us to cometogether as soon as the camera passed the last guy, which was interesting beacuse we were not able to get into position until the camera passed the last man.  it was almost one motion in stepping into position and comming together, not really proper, but should make for a good shot.

the wardrobe wa interesting especially given that they gave Hollywood a shirt that was preswetstained around the collar.  by the time that the camera was even setup, i believe that the shirt was saoked through.  some of the shirts that people were given also had some grassstains, but in places where it would be difficult to get without a lot of other staining on the shirts.

Other than that i thing between PghRugbyRef and Giggles they said everything that i wanted to say.  if you have any specific questiosn please let me know.

6: HIMYR aka Fashion Forward

There were random bouts of ad libbing (Bus Driver’s response to the Doc Leaving (from way in the back off camera…) “Thats ok.  It’s all right man.  It happens.  No big deal.” (Allegedly his final ad lib was “Can I catch a ride?” but we can’t verify this on tape yet.) The actors occaisionally engaged in some outtake reel tomfoolery with the use of fuck you, asshole, and the ubiquitous fuckwad (“What a fuckwad!”  “I am not a fuck wad”).

The actors were cool guys.  The lead (Alex O’Laughlin) came from Australia and obviously grew up around rugby. He’s been in a few things, the most notable being August Rush and his own character arc in season 6 of “The Shield“. The director (Daniel Attias) of the show has worked on a ton of shows ranging from way back (21 Jump Street, Miami Vice, Beverly Hills 90210, Northern Exposure) to current ones (Hung, Entourage, Six Feet Under, The WIre, The Sopranos). He was not the director on site, it didn’t seem, and I can’t find out who that was.  The director onsite seemed to have a little bit of a scottish/irish/english thing going for him which may have explained his like for rugby.

The rugby was basic 7s rugby.  The field was exceptionally small, but since we were just filming one phase of play it worked.

Some clothing was pre-stained (both grass and sweat), painstakingly, in “realistic” patterns. This was outdone in 5 minutes with real sweat in the sweltering heat and humidity. For the rest of the day every 30 minutes one of the wardrobe coordinators was taking “sweat photos” of groups of ruggers, having them line up (front and back), apparently to have a reference of what real sweat from rugby/sports looks like for their portfolio.  Or just some really creepy photos.

The other wardrobe (“blood”) lady came around and would put suntan lotion on everybody (evian mist if you wanted it too… the developmental side will have evian mist this fall…to be honest the stuff sucks and doesn’t really do much at all, it seemed to have 0 effect, but hey, its not everyday people walk around spraying you with evian).

The food was as expected.  Craft services did it right.  A food truck for all your egg and meat needs (eggs and cheese sandwiches, etc…) which ended up becoming a burrito cart once someone overheard them say they dould do a breakfast burrito and the team put in a standing order for 12…those guys were pros, 3-4 min later they started flying out… plus a full buffet spread,  pan fried roasted potatoes, grits, steel cut oats, pinapple glazed ham, some other vegetable I cant remember, OJ, cranberry juice, apple juice, gatorade, danish, muffins, bagels, crossaints….you name it it was there.  And we ate like kings…

As for that photo, its Bleeder and Buckeye trying to put the gayness back into rugby. Buckeye, not thinking says, I should wring this shirt out, its soaked and heavy as shit… So Bleeder, longing to caress Buckeye’s stunning form, goes over and proceeds to take the shirt and in one quick twist dispatches what must have been a pint of sweat. After Dick’s started to vomit at that site, they quickly stopped but not before disgusting anyone in sight.

There was a “fight” taped, however to call it that, given the rules, wasn’t really fair. The play ends with a cheap shot, guys step in to break it up, a “fight” ensues. The only problem is the rules were, we want you guys to go in there, kind of break it up and then just fight amongst yourselves, quietly, and don’t throw any punches or kick anybody.  Quiet? No punches? No booting? Doesn’t sound like a fight to me but we made it look good. Guys were gripped up.  “Punches” were landed with no force.  Men were slammed to the ground…in the show this will probably last half a second? maybe a whole one?? At least we had fun doing it.

It starts out with a view of the city skyline and the camera panning back through the middle of the scrum as it comes together. Scrum was Bleeder, Giggles, Hollywood being opposed by Buckeye, Dennis, FF (from far from camera to close to camera) so you should at least see Hollywood and FF, and likely all the guys in the scrum, slamming together.  Hollywood’s side wins the ball and Andy (the lead) picks it up and dekes Dick’s then stiff arms College Kid. Those are the definites you should see. As for others, Bus Driver and Dreads seem to appear in a lot of the “running in the try shots” so they are a safe bet. Travis also pulls him back during the “confrontation” so he’ll be in again.  Also he walks of the field through the crowd of rugby guys so…

As for the Three Rivers Red Carpet Ruggers Premiere and Autograph signing, details will follow. As for now any leads on red carpets, velvet ropes and limosines are appreciated.  The show is scheduled to premiere Oct 4th (a sunday)

7: PghRugbyRef

I went out Saturday night and had a few beers with an old roommate, but mindful that the alarm clock was going off before dawn. The clock struck five o five and I was up. I stopped at 7-11 for a cup of coffee and proceeded to the Shiloh Parking Lot. I arrived a little after 06:00 with our French friend pulling in next. The rest of the boys started falling in (in various states of hangoverness) and the studio vans showed to take us to location.  I still wasn’t sure if I was going to get on.

We went upstairs to get checked in. She (Lissa?) asked us for our names and handed us forms to fill out. When it came to me, I told her I wasn’t on the list, but was told that a couple had canceled and I was there to fill in. She didn’t seem too pleased and told me to wait. Oh well. The first of us got started, but she only had two pens (and was using one), luckily Dreads found two more in his kit bag but it was still slow going, especially with the rest of us recanting stories of the night before.

While the others were filling out the paperwork she came back in and tossed me a packet. Alright, I’m in!

The paperwork involved the I-9 tax form which requires a Social Security number and driver’s license number. They also had questions about aliases (I don’t think that Giggles put down “Captain Clydesdale”, but he should have) and agents (FF mentioned Cannonball Productions, but I think that he left that off too). Field Mouse had left his driver’s license in the car (a mile away) and our French friend has no Social Security number. When the papers were done, she called us to wardrobe. They wanted to see what we had brought to wear. They checked for logos and bright colors, if they didn’t like what you had, it was off to their wardrobe of scrubby pre stained clothes. (Later I learned that they were going for the scheme of a hospital, dull grays, blues, greens…). They gave Bleeder a basketball get-up but he convinced them that he had to wear his rugby shorts (kept the tank top). When it was my turn, I pulled out all my classic Pittsburgh Rugby stuff…the black jersey got quickly looked over (I heard the statement from wardrobe that they could only have one “Old School striped” shirt), the thin gold (which would have been perfect on the hot sticky day) was too bright as was my mostly white 40th Anniversary jersey.  The wardrobe guy really liked the mustard Pittsburgh Rugby Club t-shirt but wasn’t too sure, he said that they were trying to avoid that color, but he liked the design well enough to make “an executive decision” to let me wear it. He felt that we had too many black Pgh Rugby shorts so I believe I got the basketball shorts that originally went to Bleeder (must have really wanted those in the show). Field Mouse wasn’t happy with the shirt they gave him and grabbed the black jersey I brought.

By the time we were all dressed in approved clothes, we were sent downstairs and outside to the filming location, Bigbee Park. We tried to get our French friend to come along but he was told he’s not allowed, so he headed home.

This field (I’m calling it a field because it isn’t worth the designation of ‘pitch’) is very, very narrow (maybe 22 meters wide) and short (50 meters). I’m not sure how we’re going to play here.

We drop our kit bags and toss the ball around a little bit and run a little touch, then the director’s assistant comes out and shows us how he wants the scene to go; Start with a scrum (Hollywood got to make the “touch, pause, engage” call, his first duty), the main character (Andy, an Aussie) is the offensive scrum half, he picks up the ball, side steps the opposition scrum half (Dick’s), stiff arms the opposing fly half (College Kid) and scores a diving try, an actor (Mac) slides in late with a knee to the ribs, he is pulled off by another actor, us ruggers skirmish and then the dialog. Jester  was the stand in for the main actor and I was the stand in for the guy who throws the knee. After we had the first part worked out, they tell us we can go get something to eat from the caterer.

There is a nice spread of breakfast foods (bagels, muffins, and fruit) and a meal truck that offered to cook up breakfast food. Some elected for a breakfast burrito (and gave it rave reviews). I wasn’t hungry and opted for a banana and some juice. After our break, we walked back down to the field.

This time the actors showed up and we explained to them what they were to do. We took a couple of takes, adjusting each time to make it look more realistic (teaching them to stand in an open body position) and having Andy change the ball to the other hand to make the stiff arm move. We were told to make the try score exciting so I gave a sharp “YEA!” as he dove the ball in. This time we got to hear the dialog: “I’m going to pretend the knee in the back was an accident, but next time I won’t” … “You may work across the river now, but I know where you came from”…  “Um, Andy , your blackberry is going crazy”…”Sorry boys, I’ve got to go, see you next weekend”…

Hollywood played a lose head prop and they wanted some blood, he got a mouthful from the makeup lady before every take, you’ll have to ask him how it tasted (there were some complaining and he had asked one of us to punch him so he didn’t need the fake blood again). During the fight scene, Andy was pushed by Mac and turned to retaliate and needed a player to slow him down, guess who was in the right place again, Hollywood. Because of his three different responsibilities, he has been bestowed the nickname “Hollywood”.  The makeup crew kept coming around and adding “sweat” to the actors. The sweat was Evian water that was in a spray bottle, not a pump spray bottle, but a compressed can. I think she said they were seven bucks each! Buckeye and Hollywood offered to ring their shirts out onto the actors since they were drenched (and had been all day).

We had a hard time with the fake fighting, there was often “giggling like little schoolgirls”.

The camera film crew moved off the hill and down to the field for more takes from other angles. The stiff arms got better (or maybe it was College Kid’s reaction) and our pushing and shoving looked more realistic. Then another crew move to focus on the kneeing part. The dialog often changed as the actors were going “…you fuck head” “{whining} I am not a fuck head”. We knew that one wouldn’t be in the final.

They wanted to film the impact of the scrum and the pack was to come together with no cadence. They couldn’t get a good hit that way, so I was called upon to make the call. Andy asked the director if he wanted someone on camera to do it, and was told yes; damn, there goes my other speaking part and who doesn’t call an engage better than a ref?

They set up for a close up of our reaction to the knee and the fake fighting. I was pretty wrapped up with Dreads so I didn’t see how others were doing.

They finally got all they wanted and said that’s a wrap. We headed back up to return the loaned clothes. Lissa looked through the paperwork and gave us our receipts. I’d guess that seventy five percent failed the paperwork (forgetting to fill out the number of dependants). Hollywood changed his AKA from Wolfy to Hollywood, accepting his new nickname.

The caterers were setting up lunch, but we were done before noon and had to head out hungry. It was decided to make a trip to the Pub for a few pints and some buy one get one wings. At Ruggers we talked about having a premier party with red carpet, black tie, and a stretch limo.

The shoot was a blast. It did involve a lot of “hurry up and wait”. It was hot, but all were in great spirits, laughing and carrying on. We received an email from Lissa that said we did a wonderful job and she’d let us know if there was any future work for extras in Pittsburgh.

Faithfully Submitted,
Douglas C. Neidermeyer
Sergeant at Arms

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One response

6 09 2009
PghRugbyRef

Got a check for this. One hundred fifty dollars before taxes.

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