|AIR DATE 2011.08.27|
|Synopsis: It starts with a fight and goes downhill from there.|
|YOUR OTHER LEFT|
Soundstage 4 — a large, hulking warehouse designed to house its ever-changing interiors; its insides a cornucopia of fictional destinations. Today, and for what's been most of shooting, this soundstage has held the entirety of White Heights boarding school, reconstructed from its summer hiatus as a bunch of wooden blocks roped together and labeled with a post-it in the corner with the other fall shows. It's since been expanded as well, with its status as renewed secure, the set designers have taken some liberties to make the location even more elaborate — believable. Whatever. It looks vaguely gutted now, ripped apart at the hinges to allow cameras into angles that real locations would not have allowed.
People huddled behind these cameras en masse. More people than the average Joe would even guess was required to pull off such a shindig, all standing there in poses of alternating adrenaline and boredom. It's take 4. Quiet on set.
"I don't care what it takes— " snaps the viciously, perfectly, lovably haughty voice of the local HBIC, Henrietta Sands, as she looms above her target in only the way a Mean Girl wearing a private school uniform can. "— I'll find out who you are."
Standing at the bottom of the stairs, Rachel Harding meets the glare of her raised opponent a couple steps up. The way she has to jut her chin up to meet that height adds to her endearing defiance. Her lips split with argument: "Not if I— prove you're a murderer first." It comes out bitter, like a person who's realized halfway through a sandwich that they hate sandwiches. Still, it stands and, as if it were the most terrible utterance that could ever have been uttered, Henrietta raises a hand to strike— and waits. Her fingers splay uncomfortably in the air as her foe hovers, her defiance fading with every second into something distinctly more cowed, sheepish.
"Duck," Henrietta hisses, but it's inaudible to the frantically concentrating mind of — not Rachel, but her wayward actress Katie, who barks too loudly, "What?"
"I— " Wavering on modest school-girl girls, Katie tests one direction, then the other, without really committing. Her lips roll back to reveal her teeth in an embarrassed grimace. "I… I'm sorry— " the apology is suddenly shot at the director, breaking the wall of the camera, and basically opening everyone up to chatter, move about their business between the ruined shot. "I forgot which way I was supposed to go…"
"CUT!" A buzzer strikes off— The camera stops rolling, releasing everyone into a sputter of general duties, and ushering in a couple of make-up artists to check their work while they can. Squeezing her eyes shut, Katie hurls herself off the set in a clatter of Mary-Janes towards some exclusive set piece that will put some kind of physical barrier between her and the general staring.
And it does, once she gets there… but not before she's narrowly missed bumping into a couple people along the way, Jake among them, who almost weren't quick enough to get out of her way.
"Well, that was fun," he mutters under his breath, walking forward once the path is clear again and reaching up to adjust a light here, a partition there. "Somebody move that cord down there before omebody trips over it!" It's not his usual gig here, but when they need extra hands and they tell the interns to switch things up, then the interns switch things up— or get fired, and risk a black mark by their names forevermore in the industry. Easy decision, that one.
"Ah, God— Jesus!" complains the escaping actress when she's almost beaned by a portion of Bedroom 1. But it isn't the assistants that Katie lashes verbally at, but an undertone of just pure surprise shocking her from the sheepishness. Ducking better than she did on set, she gets behind all the hub-bub long enough to thump her back on something not about to fall over, or be carried off. An agitated sigh gets her hands into her hair, running through blonde locks that fall around her face and turn her scalp into— uggh— the same hands tear into the wig as they realize what they're doing, yanking all the fake blondeness off with a hard movement. At the same time, she's sliding from set piece to being supported by the set piece as she sits on the floor.
She's barely managed to get her bum down to real floor when a general call and murmur starts around the set. "Where's Katie?" She knows that 'Cut' doesn't mean 'We're done for the day', right? "Does anyone see Katie?"" But rather than angry, the director only sounds perturbed to not be able to see her, like he's lost his favorite puppy, instead.
A chorus of voices promptly goes up in response. "Don't know, sorry." "Not ducking, that's where!" "I'll check the exits!" Some are calm, taking the director's tone of voice at face value; some are nervous, quickness betraying a fear that it's merely the calm before the storm.
Climbing down again and checking his balance, Jake takes another look around. He doesn't see her either, but he knows the layout, knows which spots are just the right size to make for a good hiding place. And she seemed to want one, earlier. "Over there, I think." No point tacking on 'give her a minute' - the director's either in a rush or he isn't - but he does point a little ways off to the side, not quite directly at where he guesed she'd be.
Over there. Threatening whiplash, Katie's head shoots up from where it'd started falling into her lap. They're onto her! Gathering up the dead hair of her wig in one hand reflexively, the conspicuously hunted actress presses the other palm behind her to help her scramble up the set piece. On her feet, she turns towards the set's direction, staring at that corner edge in expectation of the cavalry about to tear around it and bring her, screaming and struggling, back in front of that stupid, stupid, stupid camera…
Back, back— the Mary Janes of her costume shuffle backwards as she retreats, an inconsequential noise amongst so many others on the set. Even so, she rises a bit onto her toes in that position of cliched sneaking. Her left hand eventually juts out to her side, tracing along the set she's retreating parallel to, waiting for it to end, or keeping her balance.
And then she backs right into Austin. He's wearing a rather period costume piece, looking like something out of Arthurian legend, regal but not too much so, his long hair flowing around his face in that dirty, sexy way they set it for actors in midivil garb. He saw her a moment before she backed into him, so he lays his hands on her hips as she presses back into him, and he laughs, "Well hello there, princess." He smiles, leaning a little over her shoulder so she can see him.
This is a tricky spot that Jake is in. On the one hand, he's worried about getting canned on a random whim. On the other, Katie clearly did need a minute to recover her bearings. And on the gripping hand, there's Austin walking into and out of line of sight and… has he spotted her, too? Well, that should be enough confusion to wash his hands of the matter. "No, no, over that way!" he calls out— and points to the other side of the passageway. There's a side corridor just around the corner there; it'd be a logical choice if it wasn't so well-lit.
Austin is felt dramatically before he's heard; it's like a delay in Katie's braincells where she realizes there's a hand on her, takes a second to process that, then moves onto that her back is against someone, then— "A— whoa whoa whoa… whoooaa…" Eyes dropping to where she can clearly see fingers on her school-girl dressed hips, Katie's rerouted back to the touching issue. The last exclamation is a low, drawled warning: whoa, buddy! which just makes her sound even more like her Southern self. "Take a break, Lancelot," she suggests in a low tone that isn't quite as threatening as she'd surely like. The fact that he's leaning into her with that dirty, scoundrel hair doesn't improve things and she tries to maneuver her face further from his to keep her furtive glances from making things worse.
Worse like Jake has it, now that production has effectively all shut down behind that set piece in which boarding school girl and Arthurian knight are engaging in their illicit rendezvous. There's no more extra make-up to apply to Henrietta, and her hair is settled just right. Cameras hang in their position, stalled. Money is trickling away with the time. A couple of hands jog off in various directions — several of them just wanting to be not right there, by the director pacing unhappily across the set. "Will someone please find her?" he begs off the closest face, winding not up to anger but a kind of attached desperation.
Austin smiles, and he lifts his hands from her, innocently. "No harm no foul, yo." He laughs, "You look like you're in the middle of trying to make sure production runs behind schedule and over budget, so I should probably go ahead and get out of your way." He steps aside. "My bad." He smiles widely, amused.
Closest Face yelps, not sticking around to figure out whether it's anger or desperaion or something else. "Working on it!" he calls out, turning so quickly that he trips over his own shoelaces, wincing as he pushes up from the floor.
The jig's about to be up. For Katie, for the stagehands— everyone. Jake shakes his head, then takes off at a light jog. Peeking his head around the barrier, he offers Katie - and Austin (hello, Austin!) - a helpless shrug: it's not me, it's the dude with the megaphone.
"What does that even— " disengaging herself from Austin, even as he does the same, Katie's round face becomes a mash of skepticism when her wrinkled nose attempts to meet her furrowed eyebrows. "Are you gangster knight, now? Is that how far we've lowered ourselves creatively?" But a possible rant is averted when he reminds her of her current stunt. An embarrassed hand — the hand holding the wig — dashes up to brush her own hair — victim to terrible bed-head thanks to said wig — but when she bumps fake hair into her cheek, instead, she just flings the hand aside irritably. "I am not even." Even as she shuffles towards the path he cleared.
Shuffles— and is, damn her luck! Discovered. Frozen standing face to face with the aside Austin, she attempts to communicate her own wildly animate facial excuses back to the nameless PA. A helpless look shoots up to Austin, back to Jake. All around the set, her eyes search, then suddenly, they land on the knightly mark of Austin's clothes. She suddenly raises a finger to jab at him in the chest, "Hey," she announces, too clever to be coy, "You're a knight. Aren't knights supposed to help the helpless? Get me out of here right now and I'll, I don't know, be in your debt or something, and you— !" The finger flings through the air towards Jake. Falters. "I don't know you!"
Austin looks down at her finger in his chest, then up at her face. He smiles, "If I help you, you could get fired, and I'd prolly face union fees." He shrugs, "I just GOT this gig. I can't blow it. I'm sorry." He looks at Jake, a bit of a 'help' look on his face, then back at Katie. "Sorry?"
Of course she doesn't know him. Jake is one among many, nameless, off-camera: easily expendable. Katie and Austin could get fired, but it would take more doing. "Okay, I, um—" He turns, pokes his head back around the set piece, and exercises one of the more obscure skills in his repertoire. He lies. "We got a wardrobe malfunction over here! Everybody take five, or go to another scene or something, okay?" A quick look around, as the crew collectively pauses to take this in and start switching gears. "It wasn't her fault!" he adds, belatedly.
"I— oh…" Like a glimmering angelic light has just appeared around Jake's head, Katie detaches from the side of her demoted knight to eye this unexpected hero. Oh, nameless, faceless one. A statue shall be erected in your honor… hold on. "Ohhh…" Despairing realization echoes in this one; perhaps she's considering the ramifications of being forever labeled 'girl who had a supposed wardrobe malfunction between the park and classroom sets with two strange men'. "Thanks… I think," is given to Jake before, gaze swiveling to Austin — no thanks, Lancelot — she hits a different skeptical note, "Hold up. If you just got your gig, what are you doing," she swings her arms towards him expressively, "wandering off in daywear I, let's be honest, would love, but don't, in more honesty, believe belongs to you so must be wardrobe's, on what is clearly the wrong se-e-e-ttttttttohgod, please don't say this is the angle we're taking. Please please please tell me you're just wandering irresponsibly— in which case— shame on you! … for not helping me run away. Bad knight."
Austin tilts his head at her ramblings, "You're… an odd one." he says, amused. He smiles, "I'm Austin. I'm the new addition on Nightlife." He shrugs, and looks at his outfit. "Sir Balin le Savage, cursed night of Arthurian legend." He laughs, a sort of proud, cocky laugh, "My character trains Van Dallas' character in some martial skills," he explains. "And yeah. I'm rather between takes, so I thought I'd check out the set of the show with all the hot chicks."
The idea that Katie - that any of them, all of them - could be indulging in a little something-something just out of sight? Did not occur to Jake. And still does not occur to him; there wasn't enough time for anything like that, was there? Only Al Bundy is that quick.
Oblivious, he glances back toward the director's seat instead, then back toward Austin. Oh, great, another guy who butters up every woman in sight. He and Van will either become BFFs, or they'll kill each other. Shaking his head, he gestures once again to Katie, a typical c'mon-let's-get-moving-already motion.
"Says the guy in the inaccurate Arthurian costume," snaps off Katie before any social embarrassment can stop her. When he smiles, she gives a half one of her own that sours very quickly. "Le Savage? Martial skills? You've got to be fuckin— Nightlife, why." Hands in front of her in a brief attempt to strangle the entity she curses, she's distracted, also, from that to shoot Austin an as if look for his attempted buttering. "Save it for the actual, you know. Hot chicks." At which point Jake in her periphery cannot be ignored any longer and, with a withering sigh, she swings her head, then her body, his way. Each step shows her growing more and more dejected, and more and more nervous. The wig becomes a ratted nest in her unhappily kneading hands. Hands that are growing covered with something other than sweat. Other than— anything normal people secrete.
Ignorant to what her nervous behavior is causing, Katie shoots Jake a pitiful look. "I know your job sucks," she declares, "But treasure it— … do you think they hate me out there right now?"
Austin looks at Jake, then back at Katie. "Le Savage was a real Arthurian knight," he offers, "Look, don't criticize my show when you're on a cheap Gilmore knock off, lady. I'm at least TRYING to be nice to you." He sighs, shaking his head, "I wasn't flirting with you. Get over yourself." He looks at Jake, "She's all yours, bro."
In that moment when Austin's back is turned, Jake rolls his eyes. At least Van is irrepressibly cheerful all the damn time. "I don't know," he says to Katie, shaking his head and turning to head off toward Wardrobe, the better to keep buying her some time— or, more to the point, the better to maintain his own appearance of truthfulness. "And you, Savage, watch out with the swords, okay? They're not razor sharp, but you can still break a nail on them if you're not careful."
"H— huh, what?" Stumbling in her Mary Janes, Katie ends up trying to walk sideways briefly in order to look over at Austin being left behind. "Le Savage…" she repeats, a hand drifting in the air, "Ill-fated Knight with the Two Swords, who had his life cockblocked by destiny, like so many of the best. The best, according to Merlin… Therefore, I will curse Nightlife to the end of my days because I'm on a cheap— actually, it's Gossip Girls knock-off. Gilmore was actually rather clever at times, or, at least, had characters with functioning brains who didn't say things like 'not if I don't catch you a mur— no…" Her face falls, "Call you a murderer… goddammit, I forgot the line." Wait, PA! What was the line!
Hurrying a few steps as if to go after her still nameless lie-maker, Katie hesitates a second time with another finger wagged at Austin. This one is instructional. "Thank you for not flirting with me! Although— you did call me princess… which was weird. I meant it about the actual hot chicks. But, between us, you can do better. Hmm--" Wait; she's going to think about it a second, then speedily amends, "Andrea's kind of hot? Just store the defensiveness a bit. She's— ehhhh…" Her hand wavering indecisively is the last action of Katie before she hobbles back towards the edge of the set piece, steeling herself to make her appearance known. Oh God, the wig is still off…
Austin lifts his brow, just watching Katie ramble. He slowly smirks, amused. When she's finished, he laughs a little, "I wasn't going going to hit on ANYONE here, frankly." He sighs, "I don't date. It's too inconvenient. And the last thing I want is a reputation like Van's, so…" He shrugs, "You're safe. And so is your friend Andrea." He grins once more, "Good luck with your murder." He gives a little nod in the direction of Jake, and then turns to head back the way he slipped in.