HELLO AMERICA!—In the earlier days of Hollywood when an agent or producer discovered an actor whom they believed had that certain X-Factor they were in seventh heaven and put all the studio guns behind him or her. This is how our production team met and discussed acting, modeling, filming and the love for creating magic on the little or big screens of the world. His name, Chris Cavalier, who signed with our film group for a documentary we are putting our blood and soul into based on my many years in the entertainment industry called “Michael St. John’s Mad, Insane Hollywood World!”
A few days ago, we were fortunate to have an enchanting day shooting the likes of Hollywood veteran actress-author Gloria Berlin, from the Erving Berlin dynasty and it was absolutely thrilling filming her memorabilia and listening to her unbelievable tidbits of a Hollywood we can only find in books. When she was introduced to Chris, our new team member, she took me aside and quietly said, “That young man, Chris, has something very marketable; you should do something about that, Mike.” Then she sat down at her beautiful kitchen table, topped with pictures depicting her with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Glenn Ford, Clark Gable, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart and tons of other legendary figures of yesteryear.
Gloria is her late eighties and proud of it. She obviously never forgot what kind of magic a good make-up job can do. When we arrived at her beautiful home in Sherman Oaks, she opened the door and shocked everyone, looking years younger that even I expected. However, Chris who is assigned to operate the camera for much of the documentary spent a few minutes studying her features, looking deep in her eyes, listening to her musical sounding voice.
When setting up the lighting for the interview, he placed her in a position perfect for the illusion needed for this kind of story; it was an astounding moment for everyone involved. Gloria Berlin looked possibly 30 or 40 years younger! The crew quietly gasped, it was unbelievable! When I asked Cavalier what kind of lens he was using to film the lady, he smiled and said:
“Miss Berlin was easy. She allowed us to enter her inner-being and she seemed to let it happen. Your questions were easy for her to respond to because she simply dealt with the truth when responding to you about her long and close friendship with MICHAEL JACKSON and so many others. She seemed to let it all hang out and didn’t give a damn. When you asked Gloria about her early years as an actress and what kind of experiences she had with a producer or casting person, she didn’t hesitate telling you that she at times had to escape the clutches of some sick, hungry sex fend who was used to taking advantage of young girls hungry for money and fame. It made it easy for me to reach beyond the physical and explore who she was inside. Filming Gloria Berlin was definitely a gift to all of us.”
Filmmakers like Chris Cavalier are very rare in our business. They are usually so involved dealing with camera tricks i.e., shadows, angles and views which might thrill an audience, they miss the heart and soul of a scene involving the subject itself. What we all witnessed on this shoot with Gloria Berlin was a master class in capturing the absolute id of life experience itself. As a result, the day’s shoot ended in a silence which spoke loud and clear that we had something, someone extremely special! Thanks you Chris Cavalier and Gloria Berlin!