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Journal

JIM WILL BE "CHURCH ORGANIST" IN WEDDING SCENE OF DISNEY FILM "CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC"!!

On February 4th while on the set of "ALL MY CHILDREN" in New Hope PA at the New Hope-Ivyland Train Station, an actress I worked with that day gave me a valuable lead. We had conversed throughout the day, and at one point she asked, "You said you play piano--do you also play Church Pipe Organ?" I said that I did--in fact that I've played the Church organ from age 13 to my late '20's in my parish Catholic Church--and have played various Church wedding ceremonies ever since. She told me she read an ad online at NYcastings.com seeking an actor who played Church Pipe Organ for a wedding scene in the Disney film "Confessions Of a Shopaholic". It's not often that roles are so "dead on" for me, and I was excited about the opportunity. The next day I joined NYcastings.com so I could retrieve the information--it was Comer & Gallucci(C & G Casting)in NYC that had posted the ad seeking the Church Organist. Once I sent my info to them and called them as well--they said they would get back to me as the date of the shooting of that scene was still a few weeks away. And so I waited patiently...and sent follow-up emails..it finally paid off... I received a call from C & G Casting March 8th(on the 11th anniversary of my father's passing)--saying that the director wanted to go with me for the role of the Church Organist! (I'm thinking Dad had something to do with this as he used to be the cantor at some of the Masses I played on Sundays!)...I was told that I had to learn/know two traditional wedding songs--Trumpet Tune and Air by Henry Purcell and Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke. I knew both of them--but did not know the "Air" part of the Trumpet Tune(the middle part)and so I was to spend most of Saturday and Sunday listening to mp3s of the songs on my computer. Another conflict is that the call time for the film shoot was 5:00 AM on Monday March 10th in NYC--the holding area was the Central Presbyterian Church at 593 Park Avenue at 64th Street. Over the years my method of transport to NYC was the Bieber Bus leaving Wescosville--but even their new early bus schedule was not early enough to get me to Manhattan by 5AM--so I chose to book a cheap hotel the night before so I could awaken in NYC that Monday morning. I was told to wear a dark suit as the organist and so I brought that along and an overnight bag and Sunday night I took the 6PM bus to Manhattan. A few hours later I was checking in to the Best Western President Hotel on 48th Street(a hotel I've stayed at previously that was very reasonable). Though I tried to sleep, getting to bed a bit after 10PM--it seemed like 3AM came much too quickly as a drowsy Jim showered, got dressed and hailed a cab for 64th Street. When I arrived at the the holding area(Central Presbyterian)--dozens of actors were gradually filing in--looking as groggy as myself. Most of them would simply be "the wedding guests" at this church--and as many as 200 were called in. As we all checked in and were given our vouchers to fill out so that we can be paid correctly(I was check in #136), one of the Production Assistants on "Confessions" told me I would be receiving extra paperwork to fill out since I would be paid under a AFM Contract rather than by Screen Actors Guild. "AFM" meaning American Federation of Musicians--since I was playing an instrument on camera, it was not under the jurisdiction of SAG but the AFM--this would prove to be a more lucrative situation for me as well. I was also told that I would be wearing actual "Choirmaster" garments as the Church Organist rather than my dark suit--and eventually the actor playing the minister and myself were directed to the wardrobe truck. There we were given our appropriate robe and surplice--I must say I looked "smashing"(a British term--appropriate as the lead actor in this film-- Hugh Dancy-- is a Brit). Though the holding area was a Church--it was not where the filming would take place--eventually the production staff walked us all over to St. James Episcopal Church on the corner of 71st St. and Madison Avenue ( http://www.stjames.org/). As I arrived I noticed that the organ was on the altar(on the right side if you are viewing it from the pews). I was concerned about trying to get time to rehearse my songs and adjust the organ settings--but was told by one of the assistants that I WOULD BE 'MIMICING" or pretending that I was playing the songs. The reason for having an authentic organist however is that it had to look believable that my hands and arms were moving in a convincing manner--in sync with a taped version of the wedding marches I would be "playing". As the morning progressed, it took some time to get the couple hundred actors situated in the pews and start rehearsals for the wedding processional. I had opened the organ, pulled out various organ "stops" and pressed some buttons so that in case there was a closeup shot--it looked like the organ had been "set to play". Once the music began for the bridal party's entrance, I noticed the melody was not familiar to me--and was more "violins and stringed instruments". Due to having numerous takes, I was able to memorize the tune and play the notes/chords convincingly(I still don't know what the melody was!)...At some point the tape switches to the "Trumpet Tune" that I was familiar with--and this is when the actress Krysten Ritter playing "Suze" comes down the aisle as the bride to meet her groom "Luke" played by Hugh Dancy(Australian actress Isla Fisher is the "Shopaholic" Rebecca Bloomwood and matron of honor). There is no actual ceremony that is filmed so I'm not sure how this wedding scene fits into the plot of "Shopaholic"(fans of the book series by Sophie Kinsella can email me here to fill me in). Much of the filming was actually from the back of the church looking into the church, with some disturbance occurring prior to the wedding in the Church vestibule. The hours went on as I watched the actors in their pews looking restless--welcome to showbiz!(a lot of 'hurry up and wait")...An area was set up downstairs in the church basement for a craft service table--and so actors were excused periodically to eat and use the restrooms. I noticed a few lady friends from back in the Lehigh Valley were on set today, so that was a fun discovery. They and others I met on the set told me they actually "thought I was playing the organ"--so that is the best compliment I could receive. As we kept shooting even into the evening hours, around 8:00PM most of the actors were dismissed except for a few in the front pews. Close up shots of the wedding party and couple near the altar, along with the minister and myself at the organ were filmed. It was only at this time that I felt I may have been getting "my closeup"--as the cameras were now at the front of the altar--and why should they not get the "choirmaster" organist costume into the film?(lol)--we'll see--when the film comes out in February 2009. Around 8:30PM it was finally a "wrap"--whoooh--15 and a half hours later!! In the coming days I contacted the AFM in NYC, Green Scarf Productions(the film's producers)and tried to get a sense of how I was to be paid. A representative from the Philly SAG office was on the set that day as an actress--and she advised me to be vigilant about this as I could be "credited" for my role as the organist in the closing credits of the film. After a week or so of explaining my situations to various people at the AFM on both coasts--Green Scarf was in touch telling me they spoke with Disney people in CA and they had granted me the AFM contract for the film--and almost a month later I received a sizable check for my time. I was also told by AFM in NYC that once the film is released and then goes to DVD--I could see residual checks every 6 months on the sale of the DVDs due to the music I was playing--or "mimicing"--on screen. It's all very complex how all this minutia is worked out..I'm just going to keep my mailbox open--keep those checks coming!(so I can be a "Shopaholic" too)... Here are some links for the film--enjoy! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1093908/fullcredits#cast http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Dancy-And-Ritter-In-Confessions-Of-A-Shopaholic-7470.html http://buzzsugar.com/tag/confessions+of+a+shopaholic

JIM LOFTUS ORIGINAL MUSIC PLAYER

UPCOMING GIGS/EVENTS

  • October 20, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • November 3, 2018
    ALLENTOWN ART MUSEUM(Cocktails & Collecting Fundraiser), Allentown, PA
     
  • November 23, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • November 24, 2018
    MOHEGAN SUN POCONO "Bean & Vine Cafe and Wine Bar", Wilkes-Barre, PA
     
  • December 1, 2018
    WILLIAMS RESTAURANT(private), Easton, PA
     

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