The Drex Files - A Video Addendum #2

By Doug Drexler - October 29, 2010

 

"...All the stuff that you do... the hundreds and hundreds of hours, and the hundreds and hundreds of things, and then there's a few oddball items that you end up being remembered the most for..."

In my career working in Hollywood, I've known many actors. I've worked with them as closely as anyone can during my makeup days. The truth is that most of them are crazy. I think you have to be a little crazy. In The Producers, when Leo Bloom says actors are human beings, Max Bialystock looks at him incredulously and shouts, "Have you ever eaten lunch with one?!" I've seen them at their worst... throwing the lunch tray against the wall of the Winnebago, ripping off their prosthetics and wrecking the makeup room. I remember on Dick Tracy when John Caglione asked Bill Forsythe (Flattop) to cut his shoulder length hair. After all, Bill would have endured having it stuffed under a bald cap 56 times. He looked up at us with puppy dog eyes and asked if it would make things easier for us. Yes, we said, absolutely! "Well then *uck you!" he snarled. Don't judge Bill harshly. It was hilarious... in retrospect.

Let's just say that actors can oft times be challenging. That's why, when you are fortunate to know and be friends with an actor like Mike Forest, you keep him... and I've have had lunch with him. We've flown B-17s together (The Drex Files). He even gave in to my childish begging and watched my favorite Outer Limits episode with me, "It Crawled Out Of The Woodwork" (That was the Twilight Zone for me, and Luna was there, too. How do you beat that?) By the way, here is that quintessential OL moment I can't forget - watch it on YouTube. Meet Mike Forest, a one in a million guy. A terrific actor, artist and wonderful friend.

I also always liked that Gary Hutzel guy. Not an actor, I should add. From the first moment I met him on stage while shooting TNG, I knew he was special. Not only is he a genius visual effects supervisor, but he is FUNNY, and there is nothing better than that. One day during a grueling Galactica work marathon, Gary brought in a dusty box of old video tapes from early TNG. It was like having a time machine and peering back through the mists of science fiction history. I was blown away. I'd heard the stories of the Thanksgiving battle for the four-footer at Greg Jein's place, and now I was there. Now you will be, too. Thank you, Gary Hutzel. How do I know all the one-in-a-million guys?

Every day, we would get Enterprise dailies in the art department. Every day there was something funny. One day, I realized I was letting some classic stuff evaporate. I decided to put an end to that sort of wastefulness and began saving them. Cutting them together a la Bob Justman was yet another dream come true for me. I wish we could have injected Enterprise with just 10 percent of the fun I see here. Have a couple of my favorites, including an alien football game where Trip gets more than his fair share. Good stuff.

I had the strangest thing happen to me when I was cutting together this shuttle pod footage. I got all emotional. No kidding. I never expected that. We were shooting the Enterprise pilot on the "Planet Hell" stage. It was that enormous Rigel spaceport set. There was pyro, and environmental effects, and the excitement of a new project. Mike Okuda and I were on stage to give the shuttle pod the once over on its maiden voyage and I just happened to bring the video cam along. I'm a very bad citizen, bringing a video cam on stage and all. Bad Doug! So I came across the footage of that day, and thought it might make a nice peek behind the curtains, if I could cut it together in a way that told a story... except that I couldn't. Try as I might, it was just a string of not-so-amazing GNDN moments that came to no culmination. As I struggled to make something of it, I kept having to put aside emo rushes while watching in order to concentrate. Hey, waitaminit! It doesn't need to go anywhere; it's there! If I'm getting choked up, stick a fork in it! It's done! I love this piece because of the sensation of being on stage... the sounds, the activity, the voices of a busy crew, the sound of the bell. The images are reference shots of the pod for our records, but the neighboring environment of distinctly Hollywood sounds and activity make it a moment trapped in amber.

Ships Of The Line: Active Duty! - More of what was a hit last time. You can't have too many images of starships. Thanks deg, Richter, Rem, Probert, and Boardman. Guys who still play with spaceships. deg is crazy, and works for bananas. Rivard is passionate... rein that in a little, buddy! Richter makes the new Enterprise look like a goddess. Probert is a freaking genius. Rem lives in a bunker under the Hollywood sign, and Boardman is out of control. Let's hope that whatever sickness they have never gets better. By the way, word has it that there are Romulan spies everywhere. I suggest you put on a tie.

- Doug

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