Wednesday, August 24, 2011

C's 17th Birthday

For birthdays we have the tradition that we get to to whatever (with limits) the birthday person wants to do.  C chose to go see Captain America.  She is kind of obsessed with this movie but it was a good movie!  C is an amazing person! We love having her in our family.  She keeps us on our toes!
 We celebrated her birthday on the actual day with just our the family.  Her big present was a new orange camera.
 K made C a dress!!! It is so pretty.  And she made it without even a pattern.

 This is just a little cake for the night.  Cause we have to have cake for dessert!
This is her special cake that we used to celebrate on Sunday with the extended family.
The beautiful birthday girl.
 More presents.
 Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday to you... Happy birthday dear C... Happy birthday to you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to School

C starting her Senior year!

 S starting her sophomore year.
 CR starting 7th grade in junior high.
 G starting Pre-K class.
 and G starting her modeling career.
 I like school because it gets us back into a routine but I don't like it cause it means the kids are getting one year closer to leaving home. 

NTP -- Day 3 The Savior is Crucified

(This is an actual picture of the location where we filmed the crucifixion.  I found this picture in a news article.)
Day 3 -- TUESDAY AUGUST 23, 2011
MATTHEW, chapter 28; MARK, chapter 15; JOHN, chapter 19

 I was asked if I would be available August 23th when they would be filming the crucifixion and also on September 26th when they would film the Savior being scourged through the streets of Jerusalem.  I was happy to do both because that would mean I would that even if I didn’t get another chance to go in between, I at least would have another chance towards the end.
Call time for the crucifixion scene was 6:15AM.  The casting office organized a carpool board so that we could carpool if we were interested.  I put my name down and a lady from the Salt Lake area contacted me and I picked her up along the way.  That made my trip much nicer because I had someone to talk to.  It was nice to get to know her.  She has Armenian descent.   By now I knew a few of the women and we all spent a lot of time together talking and getting to know each other. 
They drove us to the set in a van again but this time it was a short drive over.  It was only on the other side of the “New Jerusalem” set.  We could have walked.  When we got there they had us sit and wait while they got ready.  They took us to the bottom of a hill where the procession following Jesus would take place.  The procession included Jesus, Peter, James, John, and the 3 Marys and then it was the crowd which is where I was.  I don’t think I will be recognizable in this scene.  We were to follow them up the hill while they filmed us from the top.  This was a very somber scene.  This did not take very long and then they took us back to the tent. 
We waited in the tent for a long time while they filmed close ups of Jesus and the thieves on the crosses.  We had lunch and then they took us back to the set.  This time they placed us on the ground next to the crosses.  We were followers that had just witnessed the crucifixion.  This was hard to see.  They placed Jesus on a high cross, his makeup looked so real.  He had the crown of thorns on his head and blood on his face.  They also made him look as if he had been scourged as he had the marks on his back.  It was amazing how they made  it look as if he really had nails coming out of his hands, wrists, and feet.  We stood there and had to look up at him.  It was sunny and bright but it was extremely hard to look at him in that situation.  The tears came as I know they would have had I been there that day.  Jesus is my Savior! He sacrificed his life for me. He makes up the difference where I am weak.  Thank you for this touching experience.  To understand better what happened that day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

August (End of Summer)

 The month started with a celebration of KC's birthday!  We love this man so much!  He takes such good care of us and he makes us laugh.  I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful person to share eternity with.  I love you!
 G started taking ballet.  This is her new tutu.  She love ballet already!
 Pre-school graduation.
 She is moving up to the Pre-K class.  Such a big girl!

 Cherry Hill fun! 
 At the open house of Centennial.  Brand new Junior High that CR will attend.  Very high tech.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NTP -- Day 2 Jesus Blesses the Children

(I saw this picture by Liz Swindle at Education Week and I just had to buy it because it reminds me of the day we filmed this scene with CR.  I like how Jesus is smiling and enjoying the children's company.)
Day 2 -- TUESDAY AUGUST 16, 2011
CR and I left the house at 4:15am.  It was great to have someone else in the car with me for that long drive.  We got there and there were a few other children.  They scattered the times of arrival and I think we were some of the first to arrive.  CR and I went through the same process of dressing, makeup, hair, etc.  We had breakfast and then they took us to the set.  Close to the same location as the previous day so we had to ride the van. 
The placed us all on this narrow dirt pathway.  We were to play the parts of mothers with children waiting for this Jesus that we had heard about to come by.  We were hoping to have our children healed.  We were given a few props to use this time.  CR and I were placed towards the front.  The apostles Peter, James, and John came first, as we saw them coming we were to stand up and reach out to them, the apostles would push us out of the way as if saying that they had an important person coming through and he had no time for us.  Jesus was behind them but instead of pushing us out of the way he said "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.   Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."
Because we were towards the front of the crowd Jesus came straight to CR and touched him, CR being a good actor pretended to be sick and then to be healed.  We did this same scene a few times and then we filmed it from different angles. 
This was a different day than Monday because of the children.  We took a lot of breaks and we were all treated very nicely.  In between takes the actor Jesus would talk to the children and make them feel loved and cared for.  This was such a special scene for me because the actor Jesus portrayed the part very well. He treated everyone with such kindness which is the way that I imagine Jesus being.  He even had a mint brought to him so he could share with a little girl that was not having a good day.
We met a nice family from Washington State that drove down so that they could participate in the filming.  I loved meeting all these people from all over the country and even the world.  She made an impact on my life from the very beginning.  I could tell that she has a strong testimony of the gospel by the way that she talked to her children.  They made the trip so that she and her children could have this experience.  My travels at this point did not seem hard.
We completed the filming at about 1:00pm.  We changed and then they said we could have lunch before leaving so we did.  It was a short day and definitely one of my favorite.  I was very tired driving home but we made it home at about 4:30pm.

CR and I

Monday, August 15, 2011

NTP -- Day 1 John the Baptist

 (This is just a picture I found on the internet that reminds me of the actual day when we filmed this scene.)

Day 1 -- MONDAY AUGUST 15, 2011
JOHN THE BAPTIST (Mathew 3:13-17)
I left our house at about 4:45am.  I could hardly sleep the night before cause I was worried that I would miss my alarm and not wake up on time.  They told us to eat before getting there so I stopped along the way to get some food because I was not hungry at 4:30am.  It was a long drive that early in the morning.  Goshen is in the middle of no-where.  We had to drive up this dirt road though a gate where everyone checks in and security makes sure your name is on the list because only those participating are allowed on the set.  I parked and then had to walk to a big white tent.

 At the tent there was a line of people waiting to check in and fill out some paper work.  Then they had us go to wardrobe to get our clothes.  I changed in the dressing room (a big open tent) and then to hair and make-up.   They left my hair down but most of it was covered.  They didn't put too much make up on me but they did get my feet and arms look dirty.  They we had to go "get dirtied" which meant they put make up on our clothes to make them look dirty.  After that they took us to eat breakfast?  Well I had two breakfasts that day I guess.  Little did I know that I would need them...

We waited in the "holding tent" for about an hour.  This gave a bunch of us a chance to get to know each other and take some pictures.  We took a group picture and we decided to start a Facebook group page so we could share the pictures with everyone.  There was about 40 "background players" (extras) this day.  
They came to get us and they drove us in a van to the set.  It took about 20 minutes to get there on the bumpy dirt roads.  There is a river that runs through the land and that is where we would be filming.  I had never done this before and I was in awe at everything.  Because I was being baptized they told me take my things with me because I would need a change of clothes.
It was going to be about 95 degrees that day and we were out in the dessert so they were constantly encouraging us to drink water.  

When we got to the set they asked us what part we were playing.  Most of us were either "baptizees" or "gawkers".  They took me to the side of the river and gave me a place to stand.  We stood there for a long time while they figured out lighting and other technical issues.

We began filming and John the Baptist was in the water and he baptized a few people.  The people that got baptized said the water was dirty.  It was amazing to see this take place before my own eyes.  It seemed so real.  I was playing the part of a believer just waiting on the side to have my turn and be baptized.  I think I would have been there and ready to be baptized had I lived in that time period.

After a few takes we were driven back up to the tent and we went to lunch.  We had to wait for the "main people" to eat first.  By this time it was close to 2pm so I was hungry and getting tired.  But, when we finally got to eat it was very good.  They had many options for us.

After lunch they drove us back to the set and we got ready to film again.  This time we were filming Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.  I could hear John the Baptist say very softly and humbly "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And then Jesus answered "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." We filmed it once and it was great but once is not enough in filming so we tried to get a few more shots but it was hard because the sun kept going behind the clouds.  The other problem was that if Jesus got partly wet we had to wait for him to get changed and dried.  This was a very special experience as there were only a few of us next to the river everyone else was just back waiting for us to be done filming this scene.  I was able to see Jesus be baptized a few times.  What a special feeling, I almost felt as if I were there.  I got a chance to meet the actor John Foss who was playing the part of Jesus. 

We were supposed to film John the Baptist preaching but we were not able to because the last scene took so long to film.  We were sent home at about 7:00pm.  We returned all of our costumes and then I drove back home.  I was exhausted but so grateful for this opportunity.  I asked “Mandi” from casting if she knew call times for Tuesday and she said I would receive an email later that night.  I got home at about 9:15pm, checked my email and our (CR and me) call time was 5:45am!!!  Aghhhhh.  I would not be getting much sleep I guess….

This is a picture of the group of extras for the John the Baptist scene.  I love looking at this picture it just brings back so many good memories. I have become friends with many of these people on set and through Facebook.  We have a special connection.  (Disclaimer:  I went back and looked at the set guidelines given to us before filming and it says that no pictures taken on set can be posted anywhere on the internet but it defines "on-set" as the location where the filming is taking place.  So the only pictures that are mine are the ones that I took around the tent and where the set is cannot be seen.  All the other pictures that are posted are found in news articles by the church and are available to the public on the internet.  I mainly write this because there has been all kinds of concerns about this on Facebook.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Testament Video Project Pre-Production

This might be a long post but it well overdue.  (I have actually broken it down into the pre-production and each day on set so that the post wasn't so long.)  I wanted to finish the project and catch up with the other posts before writing about this.  I have been involved with this project for  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church is putting together many short vignettes portraying important scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

A set was built for the filming of this project.  It is in Goshen, UT (it's about 20 miles south of Provo and then about 10 miles west in the middle of no-where).  The set cannot be seen from any roads.  You have to drive on a dirt road, enter through a gate and pass security to be able to get in close enough to see the set.  Once there it is an amazing site.  It is hard to describe because I have never been to Jerusalem but as far as I can tell it looks really close to the real thing.

Here are a few links if you are interested in learning more information about this project.

Here are a few pictures of the set that I gathered from the internet.  We are not allowed to post pictures taken on set anywhere.

Sometime around October 2010, I saw a poster posted in the church that was encouraging people to sign up to participate in this project.  I thought it might be fun and I seem to have the look that they were seeking, so I signed up myself, CR and S.  I also found out that C had also signed up previously.  I thought G was too young.  KC would have liked to sign up (since he is really the actor in the family) but he didn't want to grow a beard.  It didn't even cross my mind to tell K to sign up cause of her busy schedule.  In January they had auditions for speaking parts.  C went and auditioned.  I had never done this before so I didn't want to audition (that's scary to me).  I just wanted to be an extra.  I had forgotten all about this when I received this email in March:

Dear L,
Thank you for applying for the “New Testament” film production!  Over the last few months, we have received over 10,000 applications from around the world.  We are grateful for the tremendous response we've had from so many people willing to participate.  As you know, the film set and schedule can only accommodate a small percentage of this vast outpouring and you are among those chosen few! 
This e-mail is to let you know you have made the FIRST-CUT and are currently being considered as an EXTRA or Featured Extra for the “New Testament” film project. 

If you are still interested and able to participate, please allow your hair (and beard, if male) to grow.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in such a big project.  I was still not guaranteed to participate but I was getting closer.

At the end of April I received an email requesting my availability dates.  They said that a filming day is typically 12-14 hours.
 In June I received this email:
 If you are receiving this email it means you made it past nearly 11,000 applicants to get through the first cut, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. However, as we near shooting time (estimated for early August), it is time to make second cuts. Thank you to those of you who have already submitted your availability dates. This will be very helpful as we make final  decisions.
Once again they asked for updated pictures.
At the end of July I received this email:
 Dear Applicant,Thank you for your patience! We understand that it has been a very long process. We have been delayed because we received an updated script and schedule just this week. We are working diligently to assess our needs so that we may schedule as many of you as we can, as quickly as possible. Regarding the second cut mentioned in previous emails, this email is to inform you that instead of multiple cuts, the next cut made will be final. We know many of you are anxious to receive the results of this cut as well as shooting schedules and we will get those out as soon as possible. You will be notified either way as to whether you will be needed or not.
They also requested my clothing and shoe sizes at this time.
I was getting anxious at this point and I wanted to know one way or the other.  I was really hoping to participate!!!
 But I hadn't heard anything so I made plans to attend Education Week with the girls.  We were planning on going on Monday August 15th.  But since we all know that many times things don't go as planned...
Finally on Thursday, August 11th I received this email:
 Hello!Thank you for your patience! Congratulations, this is your official acceptance letter for the New Testament production! We would like you to participate as a background player on Monday, August 15th, 2011.
So much for Education Week.  But I felt that this filming was once in a lifetime experience and I was not going to miss it.  I did call BYU and they allowed me to trade for a different day.  At least I had already arranged to be gone from work for the day.
Saturday nigh on August 13th I received this email:
Hello! This email is to apprise you that you will be part of a special group of background players that will be in the scene with John the Baptist, and you will be getting baptized. As such, you will be getting wet.
When I got this email I was out shopping.  I got this amazing feeling of joy. Tears swelled up in my eyes.  I knew this would be one of those experiences in my life that would be very meaningful.
Late Saturday I received my call time:
PROJECT:  New Testament film
RE:  Call Time, Monday, August 15, 2011 -- 6:30 AM 
 Dear Background Actor, 
Thank you for confirming that you will be on set this Monday!  We will be shooting 2 scenes and will need you in both:
EXT. JORDAN RIVER -- John the Baptist baptizes Jesus
EXT. JORDAN RIVER -- John the Baptist preaches
This will require a full day.  Please plan to be on set as long as necessary to finish the scenes and until you are released. As you have been made aware, you will be one of those either (1) in the river; (2) at the edge of the river; or (3) wet, having been in the river (having been baptized).  After this scene, you will then change your wardrobe (into something dry) and participate as “Followers” listening to John the Baptist preach.  What a GREAT day to be on set!
Wow. 6:30 am in Goshen.  That would be an 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive from home!  I would have to leave early to say the least.  But it didn't matter!  I was filming this very special scene!!!
When I woke up Sunday morning I had another email from Casting:
Hello! Thank you for your patience! Congratulations, this is your official acceptance letter for the New Testament production! We would like you and your child to participate as background players on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011.  You will be in a scene where Christ is blessing the little children. We would like to use CR as well as L who will be playing a mother in the scene. We would like to issue a gentle reminder that it is imperative that your children be well behaved while on set. Please explain to them as best as you can the nature of the scene so that they can be prepared. 

Two days in a row?  But I had to do it.  CR would get the opportunity to participate!  What a special experience for both of us!

The following posts will give more details on each of the days on the set.