Saturday, April 06, 2013

Eliza Dushku and my swimming pool

One advantage or disadvantage of living in Los Angeles is that some production company might want to use your house for filming.   My house was almost used once.  Talk about the one that got away.  Here's the sad story:

One day five years we get a knock on our front door. My wife answers to find the location manager for a new pilot called DOLLHOUSE. It was a Joss Whedon production. She was aware of the name. He was my marching buddy one day on the strike line. Anyway, they were interested in using our pool for the pilot. They had been scanning GoogleMaps and from 300,000 miles our pool seemed to be the right shape and color.

He took pictures, said ours was one of a number they were considering, and gave her his number if we had any questions.

I came home that night and was not enthused. The thought of a film crew – sixty guys named Dave – trampling through my house and yard did not excite me. They always say they’ll leave the house exactly as they found it but do they really? What if they break my priceless bowling trophy? Plus, it’s just an invasion of privacy. I don’t want to be sunbathing nude while Dave, Dave, Dave, and Dave drag cables across the patio.

And there was a chance they’d want to film the second night of Passover, which is when we had 35 people coming to the house.

Yes, they pay you but weighing all the factors, it just didn’t seem worth it. I called the location manager, politely passed, and then, purely out of curiosity, asked what the scene was about. The conversation went something like this:

LOCATION MANAGER: Eliza Dushku would be swimming laps.

ME: Eliza Dushku?

LOCATION MANAGER: Yeah, she’s been cast as the star.

ME: Eliza Dushku? In my pool?

LOCATION MANAGER: Well, thanks for letting us take a look.

ME: Wait. Wait a minute. Eliza Dushku would be at my house? Swimming in my pool? Getting out and drying off? Maybe a few times? And you'd be paying me? Would I be allowed to be there?

LOCATION MANAGER: Of course. It’s your house. Have a good weekend.

ME: HOLD IT! Wait! I think we can do this. Yes. Definitely. I’m back in.

LOCATION MANAGER: But you said there was likely to be a conflict.

ME: What? The Jewish holidays? No, don’t worry about them. It's not like they’re carved in stone. Would I be allowed to invite my poker buddies?

LOCATION MANAGER: We found some other good pools anyway, so it’s really no big deal.

ME: Where? They can’t be as nice as mine. What if I waive the fee? The poker guys don’t have to come.

LOCATION MANAGER: Listen, I’ve got another call…

ME: Joss Whedon! He’s a very close friend of mine. I know he’s going to want to use my place.

LOCATION MANAGER: Well, you could always call him.

ME: I don’t know his number.

LOCATION MANAGER: Goodnight, sir.

ME: Tell ya what, could you have him call me? Ken Levine. We marched together at 20th. I wore the ALMOST PERFECT baseball cap. He asked “Was that a show?” Really. We got very tight.


ME: Hello…? Hello…?

They did not use my pool. Whoever’s pool they did use, they used multiple times. And the show lasted a couple of seasons so they probably used that pool multiple times. Oh, and they didn’t shoot during Passover.   You can search for my house on Google Maps by just typing in the word "schmuck."


Marc Nichol said...

tough loss ken, but i'm sure that bowling trophy still looks nice and shiny:)

Earl Anthony said...

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Powerhouse Salter said...

The New Yorker magazine, which seldom reviews network TV series, ran a piece on DOLLHOUSE and credited Eliza Dushku as an honors graduate of the Royal Academy of Cleavage.

Mark said...

Hey Ken, Friday Question here.

I was wondering when it comes to multiple-part episodes and double-length episodes, under what basis would an actor be paid?

For example, the premiere for Season Five of Mad Men was a double-length episode that aired on the same night. This ultimately made the number of weeks that the show aired as twelve, as opposed to the usual thirteen.

Then you've got Cheers and Frasier that have episodes in multiple parts over the course of however many weeks.

So does the actor get paid for each part as a separate episode, and would this be different if the episode was simply longer than usual length but the usual number of episodes did not change?

Johnny Walker said...

I'd be far more excited to have Joss Whedon in my house than Eliza Dushku. Maybe that's why I'm still single.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I've never had much luck shooting on location myself, but then again, I live in Knoxville, not Hollywood.

I needed a gym setting for a YouTube video of mine last year, and two different places gave me one thing that I needed, but they DIDN'T give me one thing that I required: they gave me permission to film in their facilities, BUT, they DIDN'T give me time. Needless to say, I was never able to finish filming that particular entry, because I practically had no time to really film anything, because the property owners wanted me to get in and get out.

ChicagoJohn said...

The #1 rule of business:
Say yes. Learn all of the details of the deal. And only then, if you don't like the details (and/or bikini clad actress) say no.

Will Fitzgerald said...

As a fellow fan of Eliza Dushku, I really feel your loss on that one Ken!

I haven't seen every episode of Tru Calling because its a great show!

Lou H. said...

What's the going rate these days? The only time I've seen an amount published was a long time ago... The house used in Scarecrow & Mrs. King was a private house; the owners got $1500 a day when the crew was there.

Carrie said...

Hahah better luck next time Ken! You live in hollywood after all, you never know ;)

Dylan Mallory said...

Pools are made for watching Eliza Dushku (or any pretty girl for that matter) come out dripping wet. If she slips, you'd be there to make the heroic save. It can also be for watching girls sunbathing. Are you kicking yourself again over that would-be scenario? That was definitely a tough deal to lose, Ken!

Tiffany Fields said...

It's too bad about that missed opportunity! Your pool area must've been beautiful though for you to be called. Maintaining it would be a swell idea just in case someone else asks about it.
Tiffany Fields @