South Hall 264 had been transformed into a set, or as close to a "set" as a sophomore dorm room could become. Then again, the set was supposed to be a college dorm room so there was a certain logic to our surroundings.
It was Valentine's Day, and Cupid's big moment was synchronous since we were filming a scene from Jules & Monty, a web "re-telling" of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet by Tufts-TV (TUTV). Imogen Browder ’16, an English major from Calabasas, California, and Edward Rossini ’16, a drama & history double from Jersey, get top billing as the series’ creators/writers/executive producers/leads. (So they’re basically Lena Dunham on Girls…)
Shooting a scene in a fully-occupied dorm during a cold spell in February isn’t without its challenges, but the technical crew was vigilant about eliminating “ambient noise.” (It’s a dorm, imagine the organic soundtrack…) The window was covered and they put signs on the hand dryers in the nearby bathrooms asking students not to use them because of sound interference… (I learned that the RA in South is a big fan of the project and very hospitable to the required technical accommodations.)
The seven members of the cast and crew—mostly sophomores majoring in drama with a couple of film or media minors—were crammed into the room when I arrived at 5 for my cameo as "Mr Caine," aka Juliet's father (or Lord Capulet, if we're following the original script). The TU-TV story is set at the University of Verona and Mr Caine has come to campus to retrieve Jules and her belongings after she decides to transfer. (I haven't seen the full script but it’s not a leap to imagine romantic tangles inform her thinking...)
Here’s Imogen’s synopsis of the plot:
“Jules and Monty is a modern day web-retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet set at the University of Verona and told through the perspectives of two communications class-assigned vlog projects. Jules Caine and her roommate Nancy Mills are using their project to highlight the beginning of their freshman year at UV, complete with a look into Jules's brother's fraternity life—because after all, he is the "lord" of Kappa Alpha Psi—and, inadvertently, her budding romance with a certain sophomore brother of Mu Tau Gamma, Romeo Montgomery, who is simply attempting to complete his project without the interference of his usually drunk and extremely persuasive best friend, Mark Matthews. Through the course of a semester the two meet, fall in love, and well, I suppose you know the rest... Perhaps.”
Imogen instructed me to dress "dad-ish" for the scene, and she left it to my sartorial improv skills to define that paternal vibe. I chose a vee-neck sweater, gray trousers (as opposed to pants: dads wear trousers, kids wear pants, right?) and brown Oxfords. Ed, her co-Lena, said I looked "perfect" but I think the laugh was one me since my "costume" was essentially what I wear to work every day... (I guess my style is officially dad-ish?)
I was getting into my character, as they say, and decided “Mr Caine” needed a first name. “He feels like a George," I suggested and Evey Reidy ‘16, the artistic director sporting bright red lipstick from behind the camera, beamed at me. "I love it!" she clapped. "You've acted before, haven't you?" she wondered. (I’m a ham.)
I had four lines to learn and perform for my cameo. The crew told me there'd be cue cards if I needed them but that seemed like cheating, so I ran my lines (drama lingo) that afternoon with my colleague Matt Alander (he needed a short break from file reading) and came prepared. I ad-libbed a little (they said it was expected) and swapped the word "matter" for "situation" in one critical exchange between Jules and her father. The crew noticed the swap: "That's a much better choice," Evey said approvingly. I thought so, too.
There was clearly much to do to meet the crew’s broadcast deadline and they were focused and impressively serious as we ran through six takes. Andy DeLeon ‘15, the cinematic director (he also plays “Tye,” aka Tybalt, but not in this scene), ran the scene like a pro. Others wanted to chat between takes but Andy was all-business as he watched and listened and studied the room. He told me to "stay on your mark until I call action." I did as I was told. (He was intimidating.)
Jules and Monty (hey, this a blog about a vlog!) premieres March 10 on You Tube (Channel JulesandMontyTUTV) and runs through May 5. (That's when my scene airs.) For more info, check out the show’s website at http://www.julesandmonty.webs.com/.
As of 11am last Monday (aka Monday, February 17th) the cast and crew of Jules and Monty (the web series I talked about all those months ago in this post)…
Hey, we have a trailer for that web series I won't shut up about. Check it out!!
Would you like to see some more?! I totally get it. Check out…
Alright, so because I am obsessive about Jules and Monty (thought, let’s be fair, wouldn’t you be obsessed if you’d been working on something for a year…