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Visiting New Mexico and Mark Medoff as an investor and classmate of 50 years ago  

Posted by:

Skeets Friedkin

,  Day 1 in Mesilla, New Mexico, July 22, 2009.

Hello all, Writing from Las Cruces and visiting with Mark Medoff and Steve Katz who has come down to also support the effort of the new movie being filmed....I will be in the film an extra. Such a special feeling to renew and feel so completely comfortable with long time friends. It is hot but the mountains and sky and people are beautiful. The major parts are played by Linda Hamilton, Chris McDonald., Chris Payne Gilbert.

Anyone else interested in investing a small amount and being a part of a "Sleeper" film should contact Mark;  the most unique investment I ever made but being here has been sooooo special.

Picked up by Ginger Perkins, the partner Producer in El Paso . Coincidently the fourth star of the film was on the same late plane from Los Angeles and she is Lena Georgas, a beautiful young vibrant actress.  We had time to acquaint each other and I got to share my relationship with Mark .
It was right to the set at an airplane hanger where the shooting scenes in the Rv were taking place.  My first taste of real movie making and meeting Linda and Chris.  How simply charming they both are, down to earth and unaffected . What could be better. I was introduced to the young and talented crew and made to feel very much at home.

Life continues with such an up beat motion...I might attempt to climb a mountain next. thinking of all of you. Namaste'.

Love to all... Skeets

skeets friedkin,  friday

The day began with waking dreams still circling my head but then sitting outside my quaint room's veranda watching humming birds and roadrunners was the first kicker for me.  I explored the area around the lovely b&b, Meson d'  Mesilla where the cast and some crew are living during their stay.
Mark lives in Mesilla which is the town where Billy the Kid was put in jail and the jail still exists. Suppose today I will get a chance to see Las Cruces which is nestled at the foot of the mountains.  This morning the sky is lightly overcast and the outlines of the Organ mountains are calling me.

Spent yesterday (Friday) afternoon on the set from 1-6:30 in 100 degree temperature. But the setting was so unique. A friend of Mark's home which includes an original looking old cowboy town filled with stores and original paraphernalia like general store objects such as old signs, scales, apothecary goods, piano rolls, saddles, rocking chairs, etc. 

The scenes were done in an old GMC trailer and I got to watch, tal , help and listen with earphones as the scenes unfolded.  Simply awesome!!!!


There was a celebrity fundraiser for Breast Cancer that evening back at the B&B with Chris McDonald so I was able to catch the last hour when I returned from the set.  Chris made me a Car Bomb to which I was introduced..dangerously delicious and .recommend someone of you should try it, ginger beer, malt liquor and bailey's Irish creme...tasted delicious after a day in the heat and the atmosphere of the evening continued with Mark's wife and daughters, cast, crew, and town folk participating...

Then it was dinner at La Posta restaurant. Think it was some of the best Mexican food I have had and the company of Stephanie, Mark, Debra, Rachel, Steve and Toni really topped off the day.


This morning I am readying myself for it is the day of the shoot in a bar, El Patio Bar, and Steve and I and his friend Toni are in the scene.  I get to dance on the set as an extra. We had a 5 piece band led by JD Hinton, who is a fabulous song writer and co-composer on the movie. The way it works I learned is that the music is later put on a track to fit the pics so we practiced dancing to the band and then, at the take, we had to trust our memories of the rhythm and just dance while the action of the actors was taking place...See what one can learn at our age!!  This took a few hours and when the scenes were finished we took a walk around the historical plaza of Mesilla finding the Double Eagle Restaurant. Quite the glamorous welcoming place with brass foot rails at the bar and gold ceilings and atriums all in one. On top of that, the food was great.

Life is too good and I want to pinch myself right now but have to get ready and I don't want to show any bruises.
The afternoon set took place at the Interstate 10 scenic overview above Las Cruces and what a view it matter where we looked, the colors, sky, mountains and the statue of the Roadrunner made out of recycled garbage stood tall along the roadside. All added to our flavor of New Mexico.

It was an hilarious filming with sheep, a sheep farmer and policewoman. I won't tell you more about the actions for you will have to see the finished product on screen to appreciate it.  The temperature was only 100 but that did not keep the tourist cars from stopping at the rest stop to do what we have all experienced..only there were crew members who performed that most important task once the filming started  -- holding it was stop and start all afternoon til 8 pm. and the weather was magnificent.

Dinner was at the Double Eagle with Mark and wife Stephanie for it was our last dinner together before Steve and Toni left for Vancouver the next afternoon.

We were all bushed but friendship prevailed and laughter filled the occasion.

To be further informed, stay tuned.

Love, skeets

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Posted by:

Mark Medoff

,  July 17, 2009.

My buddy Chris McDonald is here.  He makes me laugh; I self-started before he got off the plane in El Paso, remembering events from CHILDREN ON THEIR BIRTHDAYS.  His first day, Tuesday, July 14, he played the troubled Security Guard Jack Phillips outside Alma ‘d Arte Charter School, acting as the high school where Darryl Tripp (Chris Payne Gilbert) teaches.  I ruined two sound takes by laughing at his antics.  Like Linda Hamilton and Chris PG, there is no hold-back in McD.  The dance he did at the end of a scene where he traumatizes a female student and plays face putty with his drug dealer would have brought raves from the judges on “So You Think You Can Dance Funnily.”

Then we shot the school room scene where Darryl realizes one of his students is a better writer than he will ever be – at least until (at the end of the movie) he is inspired by Amelia Phillips to be a more honest and courageous man.  One of my favorite scenes and PG did it even better than I imagined it in my head – which is why writers of plays and movies need actors.
I love actors, though I’ve heard that a few of them are neurotic.

After lunch, the HOOPS ENCOUNTER.  A one on one game, 10 buckets, make it-take it.  The Chrises take the opportunity to play some serious roundball.  Lot of earned sweat—both could have played at the park in the old days with Steve Katz, Jules Demchick and me.  Cheerleaders in the background, coached by Camille Portillo (Marcelle Bowman), Jack’s young admirer, whose underwear Jack tears off with his teeth (Yep.) and flings out the window of Camille’s speeding car…only to be discovered minutes later by the suicidal Darryl seconds before his motorcycle runs out of gas and he sees an old RV in the distance, where unbeknownst to him, a gun has gone off and killed Jack Phillips, whom Darryl beat in that one on one game at school, so that when Jack arrives home, he takes his fury out on his wife Amelia.  Not as convoluted as it sounds.

Today’s schedule is stopped by a monsoon rain at the moment I’m writing this, with Chris McD., as Jack, mostly dead.  The rain will put us behind, just as we had caught up.

I try not to loath nature, as I’m pretty sure it has no feelings for me or regrets.

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Day 4  

Posted by:

Chris Payne Gilbert (playing Darryl Tripp)

,  Las Cruces, NM, July 14, 2009.

Days off, for me, are somewhat of a sketchy terrain.   Kind of like New Mexico, I guess.  It's wide open, but the climate is such that one Chris Payne Gilbert must be very, very careful.  I can do what I want, when I want, and how I want, left to my own devices.  And vices.

My latest?  An Xbox 360 console and this wonderfully addictive little G-rated masterpiece of a game called 'Gears of War 2'. Ok, so It's not G-rated in the least, and it's anything but peace stirring.  It's a 3rd person shooter game set post-apocalypse on the planet of Sera, and the humans are being exterminated by a band of wily and witty aliens called the Locust Horde.  It drives my brain wild, this game;  playing it online gives me the rush that only head to head combat can. I've always relished competition, and like the matrix, when you begin to see the mind of the other, it is such a rush.  Similar to my addictions past;  the torturous game of No-Limit Hold Em Poker, and online Backgammon.  Needless to say, after finishing our fourth full day of filming on Saturday night, I played Gears of War 2 until 8 am this morning.  Seriously.  And now I'm stuck with my Sunday evening feeling like my Sunday noon. 

In truth, I'm not much of a blogger, which I'm sure, by now, you can tell.  I did a lot of writing when I was in my college years, most of which are collections of poems based on sections of time in my life.  Blocks of existence that somehow seemed to relate to each other as I developed into a person on this great and mysterious earth.  The subjects ranged from heartbreak to drugs, music, vampires (which I still adore to this day), dogs, the roles of the sexes, golf clubs, fists, blood, and women.  The style was all my own.  What I tended to concentrate on was my relationship to these things, as if they were real right there on the page.  Similar to paint on a canvas- the task being not to represent, but to create something wholly its own, which you could smell, taste, see, and hear.  An article or object or item with presence and in the present.

I felt great excitement in the process.  The science of it. Testing and trying.  The investigation and the economy and the need to be EXACT.  Things that don't necessarily go together, but by placing them next to each other, a new thing is born at their edges.  It is here, in the investigation, that my desire and impulse for art rests.  And it's always magical and elusive.

I have written since those days.  Two plays and a short film, mostly concerning youth in some way and the subject of growing up.  Boys becoming men.  Always men.  Female characters never the protagonists, but for those male protagonists IN my stories, of course, the women always the goal and the guides.   Funny that I now find myself here in Las Cruces, NM... Playing 'Darryl Tripp' in Mark Medoff's film, REFUGE.  A 'manchild' learning how to shed some more of the child. 

My impetus to share these thoughts comes after having read Mr. Medoff's blogs.  In his expressions of gratitude and praise, I see the same kindness, work ethic, and brilliance I've come to know in him these past 7 days.  I'm reminded of the same in Linda Hamilton.  Two fine people and fine artists, cut from a similar cloth, searching relentlessly, both in their own ways, I think, to find the sparks that happen when the words on the page become the life on screen. In the faces of everyone on our crew, our production staff, and the Medoff family, we share this common intent.   I find it inspiring that goodness and gratefulness still exist.  And that hard work for a common goal binds us in the best of ways. 

This is my very first attempt at sharing my world over cyberspace.  I feel scared and human, afraid to put it out there.  But I'm playing Darryl Tripp and he's a budding writer.

That pretty much makes me a budding writer. 

So here we go....

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