"Who monitors the birds?"
November 13, 1995
Central Casting's Steve Riker left another message on my phone machine, concerning the show 'SPACE:
Above and Beyond.' Seeing I haden't heard back from them for nearly a week, I was beginning to think that
it was not going to be an on-going engagement. Again, mixed feelings -- as it was a tough gig to endure. I
still had abrasions on my body from wearing that alien costume. But on the other hand... it was a job -- and it
was network television. So, I returned the call to Central... and confirmed my availability. God help me. :-)
I was informed that this call was to be 'on-location' -- in a canyon, north of Malibu. The Calabassas / Agoura
area, to be more precise. Specifically, the spot was called Lake Sherwood. It was a little place, about 30
minutes outside of nowhere, specifically chosen for the purpose of exploding large special effects bombs.
Riker went on to tell me that I should be prepared to be working this call for at least a week. The good thing
about it was that it was scheduled to be all 'night-shots.' This meant that we wouldn't be expected to show up
until sundown. Possibly, I would be able to get a little sleep... possibly.
November 15, 1995
(Wednesday - Lake Sherwood, California) The sun was just going down when I arrived on-location for my
6:30 PM call time. It was dark as I drove into the lot. It was dark and ominous out there. All that would
indicate that I was at the right place was a fairly distant glow of clegg lights. I parked and jumped onto the
transportation van that would take the actors down to the wardrobe trailers. When I got down into the
compound where the equipment trailers were parked, I noticed that there was a group of people huddled
around a couple of butane space heaters. It wasn't even really night yet and the canyon was already cold.
As soon as I jumped out of the van, I went directly to the craft services table and grabbed a cup of coffee. I
turned around, and there was the director's guild trainee, Maria Battle. She was acting P.A. for the chigs
and she had our vouchers. Maria told me that there was no great rush.. but that I should make it a point to
go check-in with the wardrobe people soon.
It was the proverbial 'hurry-up-and-wait.' As soon as I got into the chig outfit, I was quickly sent to the holding
area.. where we sat for hours-on-end. We passed the time by chatting and snacking. One highlight of the
evening was when John Austin asked me to accompany him down to the banks of Lake Sherwood to watch
the pyro-technics crew detonate some petroleum-fueled special effects bombs. It was very interesting to
watch how those guys did it. And the stuntman that was running through the scene truly appeared as if he
was being fired upon.
When the production crew had completed filming those sequences, John Austin and I made our way back to
the spot that had been designated as our holding area. We grabbed another cup of coffee and again sat
near the space heaters. It was during this time that I first met Dale Dye. He is a noted actor, military advisor
to the film industry... and a veteran of the Vietnam war. Listening to his actual war stories was chilling for me.
I won't even attempt to annotate his story here -- but it is truly amazing that the man is alive to tell his tale. I
can say one thing. I feel incredibly blessed that I did not have to experience what he did. And I feel extremely
lucky that I did not endure the injuries that he suffered. When I candidly asked him his inner-feelings about
his experiences, he confided to me that he would do it all over again. I was.. and still am.. honored to have
We broke for dinner around 10 P.M. As always, the caterers did a wonderful job with the meal that they
prepared for us. Personally, I had prime rib and salad. Others had various selections of chicken and fish. I
have to say, that is one of the biggest perks of this business. We always eat very well.
Around midnight... we chigs were instructed to go to the props trailer and pick up special flashlights. Upon
closer inspection -- I noticed that the lights had green lenses. Then we were ordered up onto the side of a
mountain and high above where the camera was positioned. In this scene, we chigs were instructed to
simply shine our lights around as if we were searching for intruders. It was cold on the mountain and it was
rather boring. But we completed the scene quickly and were sent back to the holding area.
About an hour later, we chigs were again summoned. This time, we were given our chig rifles. Most of us
had the fiberglass props, but John Austin was once-again handed the live-firing special effects weapon.
Then, we were taken back up the side of the mountain. In this scene, we were to be supposedly in pursuit of
Rodney Roland and shooting at him. It was pretty obvious to me that the scenes were being shot out of
sequence of how they would be edited into the final version.
This was another relatively boring scene and it was increasingly cold on the mountain. There was one
situation, that was serious at the time, but rather funny in retrospect, as no one was hurt. We had to do
several takes of this sequence. The first time through, John Austin's weapon shot out some flamming wads
of perofin that landed directly beside him and ignited the dried-out grass where he was standing. John didn't
even notice and was just standing there as the flames grew around him. 'Yo-dee-doe' -- he was just looking
around and enjoying the scenery. The next thing that John knew, we was engulfed in the propellant from a
crew member's fire extinguisher. When it was over, we all had a good laugh. But, I guess it really was a
'close call' and wasn't actually a laughing matter. It is just that it seemed somewhat surreal... like something
one would expect to see in a cartoon.
Again, we were sent back to the holding area by the space heaters. I grabbed some more coffee and was
soon instructed to go to another area of the location where another scene was being shot. This time, Jason
was with me. As we strolled down the dirt road to where the production crew had set up their cameras, I took
a moment to look up at the cranes that had the spot lights on them. There were large bundles of electric
cable strewn all across the area. A thickening layer of fog was settling into the area and an eerie light was
being cast. The clegg lights reminded me of how 'cool' -- how incredible it was... that I was actually taking
part in a network television show. This was a tough gig to endure. But it was also the realization of a dream. I
love the process. And now, here I was in the midst of it.
When we got to the place where the camera crew had set up, Gere, the 2nd A.D., told Jason and I to stand
to the side. We could see that Kristian was already on the set. A couple of stuntmen were also in the shot.
They were standing by a big rock, and apparently, had found some equipment that the character 'Hawkes'
had mistakenly dropped. The prop looked like some kind of a signal finder -- or possibly a GPS transponder.
I then walked over behind the director's chair and looked at his television monitor. All I could surmise was
that this scene was supposedly being seen from 'Hawkes' point-of-view. It looked like something he might
have seen through the scope of his rifle. When the production crew was filming the action, the stuntmen
were given a que.They then threw themselves to the ground, as if they had just been shot down. Without all
of the special effects added, it is rather funny to watch. The rubber-headed stuntmen look kind of cheesy
compared to the hard-suited regular chigs. The shape of the stuntmen's helmet and suit is somehow 'off.'
But on camera, it is harder to tell the difference.
When the sequences with the stuntmen were completed, Kristian and I were sent in to take their place. We
joked about how well we portray dead aliens. I told Kristian that this was going to be my best action scene
yet and that I expected that 'Mr. DeMille' was now going to give me my 'close-up.' : ) After we were laid down
into the positions where the stuntmen had fallen, one of the prop guys came over to me and put the GPS
instrument that 'Hawkes' was attempting to retrieve into my right hand.
We spent the next 20 minutes just lying there, as the production crew set up the proper lighting -- and the
camera crew set their lens focus. Then Rodney Roland was brought over to the set to do some rehearsal.
The first time that he passed by me, he kicked me, but I said nothing. During the second run-through,
Rodney kicked me again. This time, I flinched. Even between the thin slits of my chig helmet, I could see that
he was surprized. Then he commented that he didn't realize that there was actually someone inside the chig
costumes. We all laughed and then proceeded to actually film the scene.
I did get my 'close-up' -- and portrayed a dead alien flawlessly. Soon we were done and we chigs were
dismissed for the shift. As we walked back to the area where the trailers were all parked, I once again
pondered the clegg lights that were illuminating the area. And I remember that I felt excited... and proud...
that I was actually there in that place. It felt somehow like history... mine anyway. And I wished that my
friends and family could see all of it with me. Although I was considered to be a background player... just a
mere chig... I was living a big part of my dream. Then I looked down on the dirt road and noticed that the
prop guys had inadvertantly dropped 'Hawke's discharge papers' on the ground. I quickly snatched them up
and took them with me.
November 16, 1995
Thursday night. Again we had a call time that coincided with sundown. It was to be another all-night shoot
for the chigs. After getting back into that miserable tin can that they call a chig costume, we were once again
assembled in our holding area by the space heaters. As usual, we sat there for hours. I got the opportunity
to spend additional time talking to Dale Dye. The more I would learn about the man, the more intriguing he
would become to me. I really think he should write a book about his life. Few could even imagine what the
guy has been through.
Also, it was this night when I first got the opportunity to speak with Glen Cambell, the special effects graphics
supervisor for 'Area 51.' I guess I expected him to be arrogant and unapproachable, like so many of the
other Hollywood 'up-piddy-ups,' -- but in conversations, he was just a regular guy. He had no prejudices
against me because I was considered a mere background player. And I felt that during that time, that as
much as it was possible, I had gained a friend. Glen Cambell just has a way of making a person feel like that.
Around 10 P.M., Sam, John Austin and myself were instructed to head over to the set. This time, the
production crew was set up a bit farther down the dirt road. It was a small thicket, just adjacent to the bank
of Lake Sherwood. 'On camera,' it looked like it was far out into the woods. We chigs were led down a side
path, and set back into an area that was deep in the brush. We had a bit of a hard time navigating through
the trees, as they were growing very close together. Maria Battle was assigned as our coordinator on that
shot, as we were about 50 yards from the camera and she had a radio with a headset. This way, she could
silently relay our que to come into frame. She would do this by using hand signals.
So, the chigs, Maria and Steve Mallory (the chig dresser) stood around in the thick brush while the camera
crew set up their lighting and focus. We hung around in the trees and cracked jokes until we were instructed
to put our chig helmets on. It would be another 20 minutes until 'Bear' - the prop man would come over with
our prop 'chig rifles.' Then we chigs were set into specific positions to make sure that the camera couldn't
see us until we ran out onto the path. When the Director of Photography was satisfied with the shot, we were
then put through a couple of practice runs. When Maria Battle gave us the que, we ran out of the woods
and onto the path. Then we scurried out to an open area on the main road and over to where Dale Dye was
lying. He had just finished a scene where he had supposedly been ambushed by the chigs. When the
director was satisfied with the practices, a couple more adjustments were made to prepare for the actual
Once again we were set into the woods to await our que. It seemed like it would take forever. Standing right
next to Maria and with my helmet on, I did my best 'Darth Vader' impression, breathing heavy and making
'Luke, I'm your father!' jokes. She laughed... but slapped me on my armour, telling me that I was causing her
to have problems hearing the instructions coming over her radio. At one point, the 1st A.D., Chris Stoia,
even walked down the path to where we were at to tell us to keep quiet. (oops!!) He said that, although we
were far from the camera, their sensitive microphones were picking up our voices. At that point, the joking
around ceased and we just concentrated on executing the scene.
When the director was happy with what he was seeing on his monitor, we went ahead and taped the
sequence. I'm not sure what the problem was, but they made us do 5 takes. As we were running about 40
yards in that heavy chig armour, we were beginning to get winded. When they finally got the 'take' that they
wanted and we were allowed to take our chig helmets off, it took a few minutes to catch our breath. Although
it was very cold out that evening, we chigs were breaking out in a sweat. It was funny to me to see the steam
rising up off of the other guy's heads.
We thought that we would then be sent back to the holding area, but were told to stay where we were
standing. After a couple of minutes, Sam, John Austin and I were approached by the director, Winrich Kolbe
and his 1st assistant, Chris Stoia. Immediately, Mr. Kolbe singled me out, telling me that I would be 'the
machete' man.' I didn't really understand him, until 'Bear' from props came over with a sizable metal weapon.
It was a pecularly shaped sword/machete', that was odd, to say the least. The fact that it was actually made
of steel made it heavy to hold. The constricting nature of the gloves that we wore as chigs made it a chore
to merely grasp the handle of the prop weapon. On those gloves, there were only 3 fingers, which meant
that the 'middle finger' was actually a section where two fingers were crammed into the same space. It was a
task just to close one's hand, let alone hold anything.
Once I had the machete' in my possession, Mr. Kolbe told me that I was to fiercely swing the weapon down
towards Dale Dye, who would be lying in the road before me. Then I was to pull back my stroke, just before I
made contact with Mr. Dye. Then the director and his first assistant just turned to walk back to the director's
station. My mind began to race. I was faced with a couple of very serious problems now. Firstly, I could
hardly hold the heavy machete'... let alone swing it fiercely. I was afraid that the weapon might slip, or that I
may not be skilled enough to draw back correctly before I might accidently strike Dale Dye with it.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn't do what they had asked -- at least not the way
that they had instructed. I realized that it was very possible that if I protested, or even further inquired as to
the wisdom of their request, that I would be replaced as the machete' wielding chig. I might be dismissed
from the scene... or possibly even from the show. But I couldn't take the chance of actually injuring Dale
Dye. So I called out to the director; 'Hey, Rick?!!'
Judging by the looks on everyone's faces, I can only surmize that they were surprized that I would have the
audacity to call the director by his first name. Both Mr. Kolbe and Chris Stoia turned with a start. I thought I
was in trouble, but stood firm with my convictions. And I told the two men of my concerns, impressing upon
them the facts that I am not a trained swordsman and that the chig costume made it a precarious
undertaking at best. I completely expected that I would be relieved of duty. But instead, the director and 1st
A.D. considered what I was saying and even agreed.
They decided that Dale Dye would be replaced by a dummy. This way, I could hack away at 'the corpse' with
great force -- making the scene much more convincing. Dale was relieved and happy that he could now get
off of the cold ground. And I think that I gained some respect from those around me, as I showed that I was
not afraid to present my opinion to the director's corps. Then I was able to convince them that my
suggestion held some merit. It was a risk though, as it is a rare occasion that a non-contracted player would
be allowed to question any decisions from their employers. My little protest set production back another 20
minutes as we all had to wait for a dummy to be dressed and transported to the set.
Another problem that I had was the fact that in the sequence leading up to this point, I only had a chig rifle.
Now suddenly I had this alien machete' that I had to use. The director had simply told me to figure it out and
walked back to his monitor. I tried to find a way to hang the weapon on one of the life-support system hoses
on my chig suit. That didn't work. I then thought about just keeping it under my arm until needed. But that
would also fail as I had that stupid rifle. Also, the fact that I am right-handed meant that I would have to
switch the rifle to my left hand. Either that, or I would have to toss the rifle to the ground. That is something
that a soldier would never do, so that was out of the question.
This scenario that I found myself in was getting more complicated by the minute. With the director and
nearly 100 production crew people watching me squirm -- I fought within myself to not panic. I knew that
there had to be a solution, but what? Then John Austin suggested that I could pass the rifle over to him
before I somehow pulled the machete' seemingly out of my amour. Still, I had the problem of where I was
going to retrieve the blade from. I paced a couple of steps and the fiberglass on my right leg locked up in
Boy, I really didn't need that problem right then. I angrily adjusted the leg armour to make sure that I could
bend my knee. Then it hit me. The leg armour that covered from my ankle to my knee was not attached to
anything. Basically, if was just free-floating. That meant that there was a space in there with no straps in the
way. As it turned out, it was just the right size to stick the machete' blade into. Actually, the blade fit right in
as if it were going into a custom-made holster. It couldn't have been more perfect for the task. John Austin
and I just looked at one another and laughed. God, what a relief it was to figure that out.
The directions given to me for this sequence were as follows. After I took several chops at the 'corpse,' I was
then to use the hideous claw that protruded downward from the handgrip of the weapon to open the victim's
chest -- somewhat like a can opener. Then I was to act as if I was sticking my hand into the chest and extract
the heart. Then I was to hold it up and show it to my chig comrades. When the preparations were all made, it
would be up to me to deliver a performance that was worthy of the delay. And I was very determined that the
director would not be disappointed that he decided to have me remain as the actor that was swinging the
machete'. I was very emotionally 'pumped-up' at that point. When Mr. Kolbe yelled 'action!' -- I chopped at
that dummy with ferocious anger. In my mind, I wasn't acting.
Then I pointed the blade skyward and brutally plunged the clawed handle into the dummy's chest. I hit it so
hard that I actually tore it open. Worse for myself was the fact that, as I forcefully crouched down to deliver
the blow, I also seriously strained a muscle in my groin. It was excruciating, but I continued the sequence as
if I were fine. I gave one of the best acting performances of my life -- to not let those around me know that I
was hurt. But I felt that I was 'putting my money where my mouth is.' Now it was a matter of personal pride. I
certainly gave it all that I had. : )
At that point, I was wishing that we could go back to the holding area. But our task was yet to be completed.
The next shot would be a continuation of the 'chopping up Colquit' scene. The film crew moved the camera
up a few more yards and changed lens settings for this one. When filming commenced, John Austin handed
my chig rifle back to me. But this time it was placed into my left hand. I kept the alien machete' in my right
hand, we turned toward the camera, and we began to walk briskly towards it. This shot was supposedly
'Hawkes POV' - ( point of view.) Walking was painful for me now and I struggled to not let people see me
limping. I think I was actually whimpering under my chig helmet. Still, neither the production crew nor my
fellows actors were aware of my condition. (Today, when I look at the tape of the show, I can tell -- but I know
my body movements... manerisms, etc. Plus, I am looking for it specifically. )
When we moved to within appróximatly 10 yards of the camera, Mr. Kolbe again yelled 'cut.' But our task
there still wasn't completed. John, Sam and I had to still stand there as they reset the lighting and again
focused the camera lens. And we listened to Mr. Kolbe give instructions to Rodney Roland, concerning how
the next sequence to was to be acted out. As the director explained it, the chigs believed that they had killed
'Hawkes,' and were en-route to butcher the body. Rodney would wait until the moment right before we got to
him, spring up, and gun-down Sam and John Austin. Then he and I would have a confrontation. I would
swing my machete' at him and miss. And he would then finish me off. I was actually very excited about this. It
would be a big scene for me, going 'hand-to-hand with Hawkes.'
As everyone in the crew was scurrying around to prepare for the next shot, we chigs were standing there
and practicing being shot. I went through the motions multiple times. After a few, I started to get more
aggressive with my reactions, and jerked back so hard that it almost threw me off my feet. I had to take a
quick step backward, in order to stop myself from falling. But when I did, the back of my left heel caught on a
big rock. The next thing I knew, I was falling backwards in that incredibly heavy and ackward fiberglass
costume. To hit the ground would be extremely bad thing. The suit would most likely break and it was a very
expensive outfit. And if I cost the crew anymore delay time, I may actually lose my job because of it -- not to
mention the fact that it was a very embarassing situation.
We 'chigs' had been told nothing, but to stand there while they were preparing for the next shot. I can only
imagine what must have been going through the minds of the on-lookers. It must have been rather
humorous, contemplating that some non-contracted player in the chig costume was suddenly just throwing
himself to the ground without any cause. Almost certainly the result of this would be the chig suit breaking
into a thousand little pieces.
For me, time was going in slow motion as I was hurtling towards a humiliating end to my career as a space
alien. My adrenaline was pumping so fast that somehow, in the midst of falling, I spun myself around and
landed on my hands. Then I did a 'push-up' with such force that it bolted me back to my feet and without
causing even a scratch to the chig suit. At that moment, everyone on the set was silent and looking at me in
disbelief. As there was no damage done, people thought that I had done it on purpose. They all went back
to what they were doing and nothing was said to me.
As it turned out, it was quite unnecessary for me to have risked what almost happened. When the camera
and lighting were set-up correctly, we chigs were replaced by stuntmen that did all of the action shots
anyway. I didn't know whether to be proud of myself or to feel like a blithering idiot. We ended the scene with
Sam, John and myself replacing the stuntmen. Now we were once again portraying dead aliens that were
lying on the ground. When that sequence was complete, we were sent home for the night. Looking back on
it all, I would have to say that that was the most bizarre and taxing time that I ever spent as a chig.
November 17, 1995
Friday night. On this shift, we had a 7:30 P.M. call time. Only 4 of the chigs were called in for this one. I don't
know the particular reasons, but Sam and Jason weren't on hand for this night. Again, we chigs were quickly
dressed and placed back at the area where the space heaters were set up. There was only one scene with
the chigs scheduled to be shot on this call, so we were told that we would be released relatively early. Not
surprizingly, we would have to wait for hours until we were actually used in a shot.
It was unbelievably cold and we spent much of the time crammed into the small trailer that had been
designated for the 'alien atmosphere' actors. Inside there, John Austin was sprawled out on the couch. I
propped myself into a corner of the room and actually dozed-off for a while. Bryan Rodgers did the same.
There we stayed until we were summoned for the dinner break. Kristian Sorensen spent the evening
somewhere else, presumably hanging around with Dale Dye. They were friends from a couple other projects
that they had done together.
During dinner, I had the opportunity to spend a few moments talking with Winrich Kolbe. Off-duty, I found
him to be a very personable man and we shared a few jokes. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe
that Mr. Kolbe told me that he was most noted for being one of the directors of the classic movie 'Dr.
Shivago.' He also directed some episodes of StarTrek TNG. I didn't really know what to say to that. To that
date, my biggest credits had been being an alien on 'SPACE' - and singing on ´'Dr. Demento.' : ) What could
I possibly say to this man? But he was most gracious and I greatly appreciated it.
I also had the opportunity to spend a few moments chatting with the 1st A.D., Chris Stoia. He was another
fellow that, when we were not in the heat of a production schedule -- was a very personable and
approachable guy. I feel a little silly about it now, but at the time, I was more than a little intimidated by these
people. From that time on, those men called me by my last name, instead of just 'the blond gentleman.' : ) I
would have preferred to be referred to as 'John,' but there were already so many guys with that name on the
set, that I made it a point to go with 'Wilkie.' I guess I left a favorable inpression on them as well. I know it was
a simple gesture on their part, but I felt more accepted as a valuable cast member from then on.
After dinner, we were once again sent back to the holding area. So we sat and we sat -- and talked with
everyone that stopped along their way through the compound. At times, it seemed more like a social
gathering than a job site. During this period, we saw the first and only female that would be part of this
episode. The lady was wearing a housecoat and had slippers on her feet. She looked like she was probably
an attractive girl in real life, but was covered with such an ugly make-up job that she was repulsive to look
at. Later, we found out that it was Kristen Cloke in that awful costume. She was called in to do a cameo
appearance as a character called 'the whore of death.' Incidentally, that was the original title of this episode
( The Whore of Death ) - but that was later changed to 'Who monitors the birds?' -- most likely done to make
it more appropriate for television audiences.
Sometime after 3 A.M., we chigs were instructed to walk over to the set, which was now located at yet
another small clearing in the woods, and just off to the side of the long dirt road that stretched across the
Lake Sherwood movie lot. When Sam, Bryan and myself arrived, we found that Kristian Sorensen was
already there. Also present were 3 stuntmen in chig costumes. First, we watched them shoot a scene where
the chigs walked into a clearing in the woods -- only to be gunned down by the characters played by Dale
Dye and Rodney Roland. In this sequence, the marines were doing sniper duty and their mission was to
assasinate the high-ranking chig officer who had supposedly been responsible for the massacre' on the
Rodney and Dale were positioned up in the branches of a nearby tree. When the stuntmen walked into the
clearing, the director gave a que, then they hurdled themselves violently to the ground -- as if they had
been cut-down by the sniper's bullets. It required just a couple of takes and the stuntmen were sent home
for the night. At that point, I was pulled to the side and instructed to go back to wardrobe, where I would be
changing into the armour of the chig officer. His costume had brightly-painted red shoulders and a special
red badge on his communications horn. Also, the horn was detachable. It was held into place by some small
retainer clips and a magnetic base.
When I got back over to the set, I found that the special effects crew had dug a small hole and had set a gas
canister into it. I was positioned to lie down with it underneath me. The idea was that when the character
'Colquitt' came over to remove the identification from the dead chig that I was portraying, he would use his
k-bar ( military-issue knife ) to sever a hose on the alien's life-support system. When he did this, a gaseous
plume would be released -- implying that he had just depressurised the chig's uniform. Within the premise of
the story, this was to insure that there was no chance of the Alien's survival.
The special effects guys tested the set-up a couple of times. In my opinion, it was a very neat visual.
However, inside the dead chig costume, the gas rushing past the right side of my neck was very cold. I was
glad that they only did it a couple of times. It was getting to be quite uncomfortable.
When it came time to finally tape the scene, it all went off without a hitch. It was very interesting to watch it all
through the narrow slits in the helmet of a chig. I just remember hearing the director call for action, some
rustling in the grass, then seeing Dale Dye come over to me and pull the horn off of the costume. After that,
there was a rush of CO2 and I couldn't see anything but a gas cloud rushing past me. The sequence was
repeated a couple more times and that was pretty much it. As the P.A.'s were helping me to my feet and off
with the chig helmet, I was relieved to be done with it. The ground was very cold and I could hardly feel my
hands and feet due to numbness. Every breath that a person would take ejected a cloud of steam.
We chigs were then sent back to wardrobe and taken out of our chig costumes and released for the night.
Instead of leaving, the 'chig brothers' walked back to where the film crew was set up. They were filming some
scenes of Rodney and Dale hustling through the woods. The 'marines' were in full field gear and were
wearing a special net apparatus that supposedly further concealed them. When they completed those
sequences, the director announced to the crew that Dale Dye had completed all of his scenes and that he
was finished for the duration of the episode. We then all shook hands with him and he was on his way. That
was the last time that I have seen Dale in-person.
After that, we were all released for the weekend. I spent my days off sleeping, going to the gym, then
practicing with my band 'The Others.' It took all of the 2 days off to recover from the time in the bitter cold of
a few nights in Lake Sherwood. Actually, I fully expected to come down with the flu after exposure to the
elements out there. Lucky, I got away with only catching a mild cold. Rodney Roland haden't been so lucky.
The man was already in the depths of a horrible flu by saturday morning. Still, I have to say that he did gain
some measure of my respect as he continued to work, even though his illness was so severe.
November 20, 1995
Monday morning. Today, we had a 7:30 A.M. call time. I was relieved that we would now be doing 'day
shoots.' The bitter cold of the last week had been just about all that I could take. Now our problem would not
be staying warm, but much the opposite. On location in Lake Sherwood, the daytime temperatures would
soar. There was a major difference from the nighttime temperatures at that lot.
By the time I was in costume, John Austin was already on the set and shooting a scene. In this new
sequence, he was an alien soldier on patrol. He just walked down a path, looking to the sky. He also had a
close-up, very close to Rodney Roland, who was supposedly hiding in the bushes. When John was done
with his scene, he came back really excited. He was proud that he actually got a scene that when he would
later watch the show, he would know which alien was him. I, on the other hand, could always tell which alien
was John Austin. Even in his chig costume, he had a certain posture and a gate to his walk that was very
specific to him. We were all glad that it went so well for John, and gave him our congratulations.
Again, we sat and waited for several more hours. I spent the time talking with some of the stuntmen. Kristian
was off with the production crew. Sam didn't get onto the set until a little later, as he had been doing another
job that morning. I believe he said that he was once again on 'Beverly Hills 90210.'
Sometime after lunch, we chigs were called over to another part of the lot. This time, we were adjacent to
the shores of Lake Sherwood. Basically, we were just doing 'insert shots' of a group of alien soldiers on
patrol. We just walked straight ahead, until the director told us to scramble off into the brush. Later, that
scene would be edited together with shots of 'Hawkes' tossing a 'smart grenade' our way.
Then the camera angle was reversed, and the group of us were set up on the opposite end of the road.
This way, it would appear that 2 groups of aliens were converging on 'Hawkes.' Often times, shooting these
sequences didn't make a lot of sense to the actors. However, it would all come together quite well after
editing. We chigs would just do whatever they directed us to, knowing that much of it would be cut out of the
final version anyway. Most of the time, it wasn't a very glamourous job. But the work was steady, and it paid
a lot better than digging a ditch. : )
After those 2 sequences were completed, John Austin and myself would sneak off to a hill overlooking the
set. John had a compact video camera with him and he taped the stuntmen being splattered by a special
effects gasoline bomb. It looked really cool, but I was very glad that I wasn't one of the stuntmen on that
scene. I don't know how they can do the job that they do -- constantly being exposed to fire bombs. The
mere thought of it scares the hell out of me. I think I will stick to being a regular actor.
Not long afterwards, we chigs were released for the day. I was glad that it was a short shift. I didn't know it at
the time, but that was the last day that I would work on this episode. There would be no chigs in the next
day's filming -- and I wasn't called in for wednesday. The six regular 'chigs' were in rotation and it was my
turn to be off that day. Actually, I was given the next 10 days off.
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