On Friday October 2nd 2015, I spent six hours in a fake drug lab playing the part of Lazar’s inattentive Lab Assistant in the web series, PETROL. I think I was offered the role because the Director and Producer could see on my blog that I look good in my underwear, which is the required wardrobe of this particular character, and drug lab assistants in general, apparently. As you can see in the clips, I appear in a white lab coat, and my black bra and panties. I wore black nylon stockings which would not stay up during the shoot and required tape (which repeatedly failed). The lab coat was also too big – I found out later it belonged to the man who owned the actual laboratory that the production rented (borrowed?) for the shoot. On my feet I wore heels which were too loud and probably killed the sound guy. He would, using only his eyes, remind me to stop walking right after I delivered my lines, as soon as I was off camera, so the other actors could speak and be heard.
PETROL is an action drama series following five ‘reckless drivers’ who run errands for a mysterious employer. It’s Son of Anarchy with the adrenaline of The Fast & The Furious. The show is a complex character driven drama littered with fast cars and fight scenes.
In total, I will appear in three different scenes in Lazer’s Drug Lab sequence. Here in the lab, my character assists in the production and packaging of illegal drugs. There were some super realistic set dressing, and great props including fake ecstasy pills, Saran wrapped blocks of heroin, and cocaine and bags of crystal meth were strewn about various tables in both rooms. In one shot, the camera catches me doing a line of cocaine (not really) before Lab Assistant #2, my coworker played by fellow actor Lisa M.. tells me to ‘cut that sh&% out and answer the door’. Hah ha, then in her action she turns down the stereo which becomes my excuse to Lazar, the Russian mobster character (and my boss) when he asks, ‘what took you so long? [to answer the door]. “The music was on’ I say.. I was pretty sassy, and gave lots of attitude on camera. On the real life set however I was as nice as pie and very respectful of these guys and their creative process.
The cast and crew of Petrol the Series are real nice people with grand ambitions. Ant and Reza run a real tight ship by which I mean they don’t pussy foot around with director’s chairs or craft service, excess hair / makeup. They each have two or three assistants which become their arms and legs from shot to shot, setup to setup. They run one light, one ‘Red’ camera on a doorway dolly or tripod, and a boom operator (sound).
Ant Horasanli the guy in the red shirt you can see behind the camera in the pictures is the writer, director, producer and cameraman or rather , Director of Photography (DOP) on Petrol. He calls the shots, literally. Ant is a take charge director which is very refreshing – if you watch the clips you can hear him dispensing orders for the next setup just as soon as his movie camera ‘cuts’. He doesn’t mess around because he knows time is precious. His career began shooting TV commercials and music videos and already he’s produced, directed, and edited over 200 of spots and videos for artists and clients worldwide. Ant’s first film was the award-winning documentary Redline which won Best Documentary Feature in 2003 at the Long Island, New York Film Festival. In 2008, Ant Horasanli wrote, produced, directed, and edited his feature film entitled Lost Journey. The film garnered support from Telefilm Canada and was picked up by distributor Mongrel Media and released theatrically in multiplex’s throughout Toronto and Los Angeles. Currently Ant runs the production company N5 Pictures and you can visit his website at AntHorasnli.com
Reza Sholeh whom you can see crouched down holding the slate in the photo below, is the other dynamic force on set. He was doing four jobs that day. He was 1st AD, props, continuity, and the film clapper. He called out the scene number and take number for every shot (so the two could be matched perfectly later in post production), and when he got it wrong once Ant scolded him, as nobody else noticed his error.
My other two ‘co stars’ who played Alexei and Lazar were hilarious; both are Russian speaking Toronto based performers and so they ‘acted’ natural to play their parts as Russian mobsters, and they invoked great style and swagger in their performances. Both work full time in the performing arts.
The sound guy was real quiet. Hah. he was though. I think maybe this is a job for quiet people.
Here’s the call sheet for the day, I got this via email the day before – it has been edited to remove any sensitive information, but now I can honestly say ‘ you know as much as I do’ when it comes to the production. It will be released in Jan 2015 is all they told me.
“PETROL DAY 4” – SHOOTING SCHEDULE: FRIDAY OCTOBER 2, 2015
CALL TIME: 4:30PM Location 1: Lazar’s Drug Lab
Address: MARKHAM – &^%$% Markham ON L3R 4H9
Needed: Lazar / Alexei / Lab Assistant 1 / Lab Assistant 2 / Crew
Props: Stereo / Drugs / Ecstasy pills / Cocaine /
5:00PM CU – Garage Door Opens
Lab Assistant 1 lets in Lazar and Alexei they talk about the roadster.
6:00PM Traveling Shot – From Lab Assistant 2 turning off stereo to walking to garage door.
7:00PM CU Lab Assistant 1 doing a line. INSERTS with Lab Assistants.
7:30PM Walk and Talk dolly shot
Lazar shows Alexei the lab and asks lab assistant 2 about Theo.
8:00PM Actors except Wrapped. B-ROLL and INSERTS of drugs and pills.
And that’s a wrap! Tune in next week when I report from Sign Source Solution, vehicle wrapping in Toronto on the project they’re doing with Petrol The Series for cars that will appear in the show.