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Playing piano on ABC-TV's "Pan-Am" this Sunday!


Ionian

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Hey all!

 

I'm on this Sunday's (October 9th) episode of "Pan-Am" on ABC TV. There's a scene where one of the stewardesses wants to sing the German national anthem and I'm her accompanist.

 

Originally I was cast because I was a musician. The director had told me that he wanted a real musician for the scene because since I do this for a living, the way I carry myself even just sitting at the piano is different then an actor. Then since I'm actually a musician, they decided to have me actually play for the scene and emailed me some music to memorize for the scene.

 

Getting casted was just luck. I'm not an actor nor try to be. The director decided to have an actual musician rather then an actor with a recording for this particular role and my name got handed off as someone good for this kind of stuff. I've never done it before.

 

It was a blast filming and I'm looking forward to see how much of me actually ends up on TV, although I'm not that optimistic since I'm just an accompanist.

 

It really was a lot of fun though doing it and much different then a typical gig! And I have to give props to the director to whom it actually mattered to have a real musician playing a piano in a scene rather then an actor miming to a recording.

 

To all German forum members - I hope I don't embarrass you too much with my performance but I really researched it, made some corrections to their sheet music they sent me and tried to get the music as accurate as possible!

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Thanks! =)

 

Very fast process...I got the call on a Monday. Tuesday I was fitted for my outfit and given the music. Wed-Friday I was on set. Saturday I was sitting home trying to wonder what just happened that week! hahaha

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Cool beans! I'd say break a leg, but it's too late already.

 

I do like it when producers use real musicians for scenes with musicians. Most actors look *so bad* when they act like they're playing an instrument. It always makes me groan.

 

Say hi to Christina for me! :-D

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Stepay - Thanks! They put glasses on me. It did make me look a bit more German, though! hahaha

 

Bridog6996 - Yeah, she was in my scene, although she's not the stewardess doing the singing. Actually the first 10 minutes I was on set I didn't recognize her and walked up to her and asked where the bathroom was. She shot me a look like, "Are you crazy? Does it look like I pee where you do?!" Then an extra took me aside and told me where the bathroom was and pointed out it was Christina. She's really tiny. I'm 5' 7", but she came up to my chest which was surprising. I finished shooting at midnight on Friday, I made a lot of small talk with the crew so they hired me the next 5 hours after I was done because they needed a stand in for Christina's male lead. So I got to run some lines and stand nose to nose with her. It was a freaky experience overall since it came and went so fast! I didn't get to talk to her, or more like I didn't make an attempt to, but the other actresses who play the stewardesses were really outgoing and any attempt they could to talk to me they would. They seemed to be really fascinated with the fact that I was a professional musician and that there was one actually on set. At one point during some down time I played some tunes while everyone was sitting around bored and they seemed to dig it.

 

MAJUSCULE - Actually the money turned out to be much better then I had anticipated. After getting my paycheck, I want to say that Local 802 (the musicians union) in NYC should be ashamed of themselves - The actors have their sh*t together! I've never done any acting but I was allowed in as AFTRA since it was my first gig, and as a musician I'm considered a specialist, not an actor. When I got my paycheck there was a breakdown of everything. My pay started an hour before my report time to account for driving to the set. My lunch was covered. Overtime started exactly after 8 hours at time and the half. And on my last day, (Friday) I was on set from 11:30 am until 5:30am the following day since they hired me as a stand in, and it was their last day on location so they had to get the filming done and on my paycheck I saw that the union has something called the "16 hour rule" which is where, if I'm on set for more then 16 hours, I get a full day's pay in addition to the overtime! All totaled, for three days of work, my pay came out to be just a hair under $2,000! Not bad for sitting around three days playing the German national anthem and standing in with Christina Ricci! Now if only I could get 40 hours a week of this! I tried to get them to spin the German piano player into his own show but they didn't buy it. :( I would love to say that I do this all the time, but this gig really just fell in my lap. This quite literally was just found money. It's obvious though that the money is in the TV/Film world and definitely not in the music world. I wish I would have learned this 20 years ago. I'm screwed now. :(

 

learjeff - I totally agree. I can't say enough about how much that bothers me as well. It's really cool that the director was into using a real musician. And as far as saying Hi to Christina- if you could see the look on her face when I asked her where the bathroom was, you'd understand why I didn't say anything to her for rest of the three days!

 

Kanker - Thanks, man!

 

I also have to say that Karine Vanasse who plays Colette in the show and was the stewardess I have my scene with was super sweet and amazingly hard working. Technically I am just a background character in her scene, but she came over to introduce herself to me as "we were going to be working together". Then while rehearsing her singing for her scene, more then once she asked my opinion and then told me to correct her if I heard a mistake, since she trusted me as a musician more then she trusted herself. And she really busted her ass relentlessly going over the lyrics in German for the national anthem and slowly practicing the pronunciation of the lyrics over and over. I'm sure as fellow musicians we all know how much work and practice we put into our playing and watching her work I could totally respect where she was coming from. As often as actresses are portrayed as spoiled divas, she was quite the opposite.

 

It was a really fun and positive experience for me, especially since it's so different from any work I usually do.

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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I do like it when producers use real musicians for scenes with musicians.
You mean like this?

 

(That's The Factory, a band Lowell George and Richie Hayward were in before they formed Little Feat.)

 

Congrats Frank! I'll DVR it and look for you. Though I always expect to hear the Italian anthem after the German one...

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Joe - that was a great clip! I used to watch F-Troop but I never saw that one. I did dig that smokin' 60s bassline on camptown races.

 

Hey, as a fellow Ginny, I'm playing the Italian anthem for you right now at home! :)

www.frankperri.com
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Hey, as a fellow Ginny, I'm playing the Italian anthem for you right now at home! :)

 

<--- disputes your authenticity as a "Guinea" being you can't even SPELL it properly! :taz:

 

;)

 

(edit)

 

BTW - with those of Italian descent now affectionately referring to each other as "Guineas", has that word ascended within displaced Italians to the level the "n" word has among displaced Africans? :freak:

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Congrats, Ionian. Every now and then something really cool comes along. Hope you get many more. Pan Am is my wife's favorite new show. I'll definitely get to see you.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Hey, as a fellow Ginny, I'm playing the Italian anthem for you right now at home! :)

 

<--- disputes your authenticity as a "Guinea" being you can't even SPELL it properly! :taz:

 

;)

 

(edit)

 

BTW - with those of Italian descent now affectionately referring to each other as "Guineas", has that word ascended within displaced Italians to the level the "n" word has among displaced Africans? :freak:

 

Naaa...I know how to spell it. But when I spell it that way I find it offensive! When I spell it ginny it doesn't bother me! ;)

 

I don't know about being displaced or not but I think we've been calling each other that since I was a kid! Then again I'm in Queens, NY and it's a little rough around the edges here!

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Congrats, Ionian. Every now and then something really cool comes along. Hope you get many more. Pan Am is my wife's favorite new show. I'll definitely get to see you.

 

Hey Ksoper!

 

Thanks for the nice words! Yeah, this is just one of those things that come along when you do this long enough! Too bad we can't find a week's worth of this kind of stuff - then I can call it a career! hahahaha

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Naaa...I don't know about being displaced or not but I think we've been calling each other that since I was a kid! Then again I'm in Queens, NY and it's a little rough around the edges here!
Ha! My dad used to say that when I was a kid, too, but I can't recall if he ever meant it in a good way. (Most of my family is/was in the Jackson Heights and Astoria areas. My grandfather used to work for Pan Am when I was a kid. I still have the metal model jets he gave me.)

 

I always thought the upbeat Italian anthem was a nice contrast after the somber German one. :thu:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I do like it when producers use real musicians for scenes with musicians.
You mean like this?

 

(That's The Factory, a band Lowell George and Richie Hayward were in before they formed Little Feat.)

LOL and a half! I remember seeing that as a kid! Only then I didn't recognize Lowell. (I still don't recognize Richie ...)
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Naaa...I don't know about being displaced or not but I think we've been calling each other that since I was a kid! Then again I'm in Queens, NY and it's a little rough around the edges here!
Ha! My dad used to say that when I was a kid, too, but I can't recall if he ever meant it in a good way. (Most of my family is/was in the Jackson Heights and Astoria areas. My grandfather used to work for Pan Am when I was a kid. I still have the metal model jets he gave me.)

 

I always thought the upbeat Italian anthem was a nice contrast after the somber German one. :thu:

 

Ok - so your family is about 20 minutes from me! I'm in Ozone Park, about 5 minutes from JFK airport!

 

That's awesome about the model - I was chatting with the costume designer and she was telling me about how all the Pan-Am bags the stewardesses have are all authentic and they got them months earlier off Ebay. I bet no one on Ebay had picked up on the sudden bidding on Pan Am memorabilia!

 

Thanks,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Good work dude, enjoy your time on screen!

 

Oh yeah, it always goes too fast! At least this I can DVR and force my fiancee to watch it over and over! hahaha Thanks a lot man for nice words!

 

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Ok - so your family is about 20 minutes from me! I'm in Ozone Park, about 5 minutes from JFK airport!

 

That's awesome about the model - I was chatting with the costume designer and she was telling me about how all the Pan-Am bags the stewardesses have are all authentic and they got them months earlier off Ebay. I bet no one on Ebay had picked up on the sudden bidding on Pan Am memorabilia!

Yeah, they're up around LaGuardia. My grandmother's place used to be about a block from one of the sets of runway lights. I'm told that's where I lived for my first two years.

 

I'm sure we had a bunch of Pan Am stuff when I was a kid, now that I think of it, but it's probably all gone now.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Frank,

 

I'll be looking forward to seeing the show tomorrow night, and your part in it. One major reason that I've been watching the show is not the plot, but the attention to detail. I'm old enough to remember that time period well, and they really have attention to detail in clothing, autos, room decor, even the way people in airports looked at the time. I wish more productions were like that.

 

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Hey MoodyBluesKeys!

 

Thanks man!

 

Yeah, I agree that they really went over the top with the detail. Also, the guy who was cutting my hair in the makeup department was telling me that he got the gig because in the 60s he was the top guy for the airlines for cutting stewardesses hair and worked for many airlines, Pan-Am, United, etc. setting up the standards for the hairstyles and teaching hairstylists for the airlines how to implement them, which I thought was a pretty cool attention to detail, going right to the source for the hairstyles!

 

 

Regards,

Frank

www.frankperri.com
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Frank, congratulations! Love hearing about gigs like this!

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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She's really tiny. I'm 5' 7", but she came up to my chest which was surprising. I finished shooting at midnight on Friday, I made a lot of small talk with the crew so they hired me the next 5 hours after I was done because they needed a stand in for Christina's male lead. So I got to run some lines and stand nose to nose with her.

 

Love this story, but you need to resolve an inconsistency. Were you nose to nose or did she only come up to your chest? I'd think either would be ok with Christina, and other possibilities could work too. Did I just say that? Oh yes I did!

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Nice gig, Frank! I had been debating whether to watch Pan-Am or not, I guess now I will try at least one episode. :)

 

Ozone Park, eh? My wife is Italian and grew up in Long Island City Queens. (Next door to Astoria -- no one ever seems to know where LIC is.)

 

Are they filming Pan-Am in New York? Or are you in LA now?

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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