Throwback Thursday! Freddy’s Dead, the Final Nightmare

Throwback Thursday! Freddy’s Dead, the Final Nightmare

Freddy's Dead Screen Shot

Yes, those are my feet! That’s me wearing the Freddy Krueger costume and “playing with power!” in “Freddy’s Dead, the Final Nightmare – Nightmare on Elm Street, part 6”.

I graduated from UCSC with a degree in Theatre Arts in June, 1987. I moved to Marin county and lived in Novato before moving back to Los Angeles in 1988. I began my Hollywood career working as a P.A. (Production Assistant) at Highlight Commercials. Their office was on the Hollywood Center Studio lot and the first job I worked for them was the original “Rock the Vote” PSAs shoot on the Chaplin Stage at A&M Studios (you can read about that shoot in a previous blog).

Working freelance production for film, television, video, commercials, theater and live events in Hollywood is real hustle! You have to find the jobs and then you have to do the work while trying to find the next job. I worked film, video and commercial jobs for Highlight, the Oil Factory, O Pictures, The End Productions, Gun-For-Hire, Crystal Sky (Preferred Productions), ITC, AIP, Touring Video, Arnold Shapiro Productions, MPCA (Motion Picture Corporation of America), Concorde-New Horizon Productions, Stargate Films, Alive Enterprises, Nightmare Inc. and many other companies during my production days.

fred-dead-poster

I got a call one day from a friend I had met on another job. She was working for Patty Whitcher and New Line Cinema and they were hiring a Third Unit for pickup shots because they were behind schedule on “Nightmare on Elm Street, part 6”. They offered me a week of work as a Production Assistant which I happily accepted, and they let me bill them under my company name at the time Pro and Con Productions Entertainment Production.

There were two units night shooting in and around a warehouse stage in Van Nuys/North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley and they hired me for the small third unit and the pickup shots. It was a big “Low-Budget” shoot and they were working on a lot of the special effects segments with fire, smoke and practical prostethics while I was on set that week. The third unit shots were pretty simple: lighting effects simulating a helicopter over the truck cab, close-ups on hands and specific items, and then insert shots of Freddy playing a video game. Third unit was very small, just the essential crew: director/dp, cameraman & assistant, 2 grip/electricians and me. Since they hadn’t hired a double for Freddy, they sent me to wardrobe, and they dressed me in the Freddy Krueger costume! And this wasn’t the first time I had been called from behind the camera to fill an acting role (I was previously “instant cast” as a Crew Member on “Eternity” and as a double for Chris Lemmon in “Firehead” while working on the crew, as well as performing the role of The Emerson Penguin Team Mascot in “Zapped Again”).

When Third Unit was lighting or wasn’t shooting, I was often called to assist First and Second Unit, so I got to meet some of the cast and crew. If you look at the credits, you might be surprised by the strength of the talent, both in front and behind the camera. It was the first film written and directed by Rachel Talalay (a woman director), written and executive produced by Michael De Luca, and produced by Aron Warner, all of whom went on to bigger things. Aron won a Best Animated Feature Academy Award and a BAFTA Best Feature Film Children’s Award for “Shrek” in 2002. Rachel has 54 IMDB director credits and is currently directing “The Flash”. Michael is the former President of Production for New Line Cinema and Dreamworks with Academy Award nominations for “The Social Network”, “Moneyball” and “Captain Phillips” who recently moved his producer’s deal from Sony to Universal. Patricia Whitcher is the executive producer and unit production manager of “Avengers, Age of Ultron” and currently executive producing “Captain America, Civil War” for Marvel. Check out their IMDB pages for other credits and awards.

Video_Game_Freddy

My featured scene, which was shot on set by the Third Unit, features Johnny Depp and Breckin Meyer in addition to Robert Englund as Freddy, and plays out on screen to the tune of the Iron Butterfly’s “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida”. Weird coincidence, because my father was the Iron Butterfly’s Manager. I had met the guys in Iron Butterfly and grew up with the gold and platinum records for their albums on the wall in my house. Other weird coincidences: Breckin Meyer and I went to the same private high school, and I would later work for Alice Cooper who was shooting a cameo for the film with another actor who would later become my client when I became a talent manager years later. Also, Iggy Pop won a 1992 Razzie Award for Worst Original Song “Why Was I Born (Freddy’s Dead)” and I worked with Iggy on my first “Hollywood” job the first series of “Rock The Vote” PSAs.

I didn’t think very much about doubling for Freddy at the time. Just some insert shots, I thought, not knowing that they would be part of a key scene in the film resulting in the death of a main character. I sat in the chair, put my booted feet up and followed direction. Afterwards, I returned the costume to wardrobe without even taking a polaroid (no cell phones in 1991) for myself and went back to work. It wasn’t until I saw the film later that I realized how lucky I was to be part of the franchise (even though I’m uncredited and totally anonymous in the film). And I don’t even have a P.A. production credit because I was Third Unit (probably paid off the books) and I billed them as my company and not in my own name.

Watch the video clip: (RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW”)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeJnuP2_yb8

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“Now we’re playin’ with power!”

READ THE BLOG> “Rock the Vote”

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And a very young Johnny Depp (aka Oprah Noodlemantra) as The TV Guy

TAGLINES:

Born November 2nd 1984…Dies September 1991
They saved the best for last.
Evil has finally met its match.
Take him home in a box.
You think you know about dreams…You know nothing!

“One, Two, Freddy’s Coming For You!”

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My Crew T-Shirt from “Freddy’s Dead, The Final Nightmare”

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Some Music Videos I Worked On:

FLASHBACK FRIDAY!

Let’s tale a little trip down memory lane…if I can remember.

mtvmoon

Music! Video! Combine the two and you have MTV when it was Music Television.

I used to work Freelance Production for film, television, video, commercials, theater and live events. Here are some of the Music Videos I worked on in the early 90s:

RIGHT CLICK ON LINK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO VIEW VIDEO

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Why Do I Keep F*ckin’ Up?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKaDCP-wKr8

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Mansion On The Hill”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1WpgTzf8nk

Oil Factory Inc. Directed by Billy Poveda and Bernard Shakey Set PA, Runner, Driver, Grip and Art Department Shot both videos in a week at the Troubadour, a house on West Adams and in, around and under Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles.

Day 1: We set up at the Troubadour for the live performance shots. We had a small hiccup in production when Neil showed up. Billy the director thought that Neil would just lip-sync to audio playback but Neil wanted to perform it live, so we had to get a big P.A. system ASAP because Neil also wanted it LOUD. Once the speakers arrived, they played both songs live a bunch of times and shot a ton of film. It was pretty cool because Neil wanted to play to an audience, so I got to be as close as the cameraman is in the video to the live performance. And you have to hand to Crazy Horse (Ralphie, Poncho and Billy) because they rock hard and they were great guys to hang with! I also got to meet Larry, Neil’s Guitar Tech (who plays banjo in the “Heart of Gold” concert video directed by Jonathan Demme).

Days 2, 3 and 4: We shot in, around and under Queen of Angel’s Hospital. The hospital and chapel scenes were shot there. The gas station scenes (and a funeral procession that was cut) were shot around the neighborhood. Neil’s wife Pegi is the beautiful woman sitting with him in the limosine. And the steam tunnel shots were shot under the hospital and we had to get some serious air conditioning units because the lights and crew added to the already high temperature underground.

On Day 4 we went to prep the house for the next day. Day 5: We shot at a rundown house on West Adams hill. We had to clean it before we could dress it for shooting. I had to clean 10 years of dirt and grime off every windowpane in the house and the glass doors that Neil enters through. I couldn’t say, “I don’t do windows”. And then they wanted us to cover them with gauze! The shoot went late and the strike went into early morning before we wrapped. One of the most surreal moments of my life was sitting with Neil Young in his dressing room as his trainer worked him out and listening to him curse MTV for censoring his work. Later he would win an MTV Award for best video for his anti-sponsorship song “This Note’s For You!” Bernard Shakey is Neil Young, and he had a big hand in directing and editing the project. I think the video came out pretty good. But you decide for yourself.

Alice Cooper – ABC’s “In Concert ’91” (magic screen and title animation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyh82mIwT6U 

Television series Directed by Marty Callner Stargate Films Inc. visual and optical Effects, main title graphics and promos Asst Production Coordinator, PA/Runner/Driver, Craft Service & Catering Special Effects Assistant

Alice Cooper – “Hey Stoopid!”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcAl93uEYUA

Alice Cooper – “Hey Stoopid!” Tour (stage production & L.A. rehearsals) “Feed My Frankenstein” from “Wayne’s World”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO2cHJmDkBg

“Hey Stoopid!” music video and Magic Screen effect at Stargate Films Inc. and L.A. Tour Production and Rehearsals for Nightmare Inc. (as seen on ABC’s “In Concert ’91”, music videos, and “Wayne’s World”)

Alice Cooper “Hey Stoopid!” scene with Pauly Shore from MTV’s “Totally Pauly”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjCybElolYk (a funny interstitial skit from MTV that they shot with Alice torturing Pauly Shore on stage)

Poison – “So Tell Me Why” (cool pyrotechnics by Academy Award winner Joe Viskocil): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1NkhR5hFZE  

Stargate Films Inc. visual, practical, pyrotechnic and optical effects Asst Production Coordinator, PA/Runner/Driver, Craft Service & Catering Special Effects Assistant (worked with pyrotechnican Joe Viskocil – Oscar winner for “Independence Day” on this, “Highlander II”, and HBO’s “Afterburn”) Oh yeah, it blew up real good!

NOTE: Leon, the gray haired gentleman was an award winning cinematographer and Jerry, the African-american gentleman was a production coordinator at Stargate Films.

Ozzy Osbourne – “Mama I’m Coming Home”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRCSxArdOtw

Ozzy Osbourne – “No More Tears” (there was a PCB fire emergency on set!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykA0dAr6ASQ

Stargate Films Inc. visual and optical effects Asst Production Coordinator, PA/Runner/Driver, Craft Service & Catering Special Effects Assistant

Cameo – “Emotional Violence” (had to listen to this playback all night long!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzjAvNjbJXw

The End Productions Set PA Shot at Lacy Street Studios in downtown Los Angeles

Alice in Chains – “Sea of Sorrow” (original video in color): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxZv3LDNFrw

The Oil Factory, Inc. directed by Billy Poveda Set PA, Runner, Driver, Grip and Art Department Shot at the Chaplin Stage at A&M Records (now the Jim Henson Studios) RIP Layne Staley and Mike Starr (I met them both, and they were cool guys.)

Lavar – “Vanilla Melt” (with a FUCKIN’ TIGER on set!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgufrn8FXmQ

Oil Factory Inc. Directed by Billy Poveda PLEASE NOTE: I don’t work with F*CKING TIGERS!!!!! (or any other large animals that might kill me and eat me, thank you very much) They had the tiger doped up and overfed, but at one point it decided it wanted to go “over there” and so the 800 pound tiger pulled it’s handler across the stage. Beautiful animal and the footage was cool, but I’ve always been against the exploitation of wild animals. Today they’d probably just CGI it in. “Never get out of the boat….a f*ckin’ tiger man!”

Animal Logic – “Rose Coloured Glasses”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXKpxEDVzJY

Oil Factory Inc. directed by Billy Poveda and Dave Stewart Deborah Holland, Stewart Copeland, Stanley Jordan Set PA, Runner, Driver, Grip and Art Department

RIGHT CLICK ON LINK AND OPEN IN NEW WINDOW TO VIEW VIDEO

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE:

http://www.joshwilltravel.wordpress.com

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UPDATE: Here’s the “Rock the Vote” PSA‘s from 1991 we worked on>

Read the Blog! “Censorship is UnAmerican!”http://wp.me/p3dhVM-175

Iggy Pop reads the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. He is gradually having tape wrapped around his body. At the end, the tape covers his mouth. “Express yourself. Vote.” (I was the guy wrapping him in cellophane tape!)

RIGHT CLICK AND “OPEN IN NEW WINDOW” TO VIEW THE VIDEO!

I finally found the Iggy Pop PSA! The page has links to all the spots I worked on!
WATCH THE CLIP!> http://mediaburn.org/video/rock-the-vote-33-spots/?t=3:49

1990 ROCK THE VOTE ANTHONY KIEDIS RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS PSA!
Watch the clip!>
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUu-lzVWuhE

VIEW MY IMDB.COM PAGE & CREDITS> http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0918756/

UPDATE! 11-28-16 I just discovered that they shot this too while I was off set on runs! After almost 30 years… Neil Young “Farmer John” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXOeNLs0EBY