Hawaii Five-0: "Actress for a Day" - Ramsay Behind the S - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Five-0: "Actress for a Day" - Ramsay Behind the Scenes

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By Ramsay Wharton
Email: rwharton@hawaiinewsnow.com

Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's the afternoon of August 30, 2011 when I arrive at Base Camp, set up along University Avenue in the parking lot of the old Varsity Theatre located behind the Burger King.

This is where everyone meets, and its my first big day on the set of Hawaii Five-0. It is the hottest show on television, and everyone from local talent to big name stars wants to be on CBS' Hawaii Five-0.

After several auditions through my agent, my time had finally come. And before any shooting starts on any episode, everyone has to come here to Base Camp first.

I am greeted by head of Base Camp, Jason Gutierrez, the show's additional 2nd AD.

"I'm in charge of when the actors arrive, getting them through hair and makeup and wardrobe and communicating with set and when they'll need them," he said.

When I worked my way toward the back of Base Camp, which changes locations regularly, it was very exciting to see all the trailers lined up and I wondered which big name stars might be inside.  Actor Daniel Dae Kim, who plays the popular Chin Ho Kelly, walked up to say hi and joked with me that I shouldn't have any problem playing a reporter. Soon after, I watched as actor Alex O'Laughlin ran by and jumped into a van to be rushed up to the set to shoot his scene.

I was then surprised to find out that even a small speaking role meant I'd have my own small trailer to hang out in and relax, so I could prepare for delivering my lines.

Then I saw it..."the secret" Five-O script sitting on the table for me to review.  It's so shh, shh, hush, hush. Everyone who takes part in the show works hard to keep all the details of an upcoming Episode under wraps so that fans have a reason to watch. CBS only reveals guest star and generic role/plot descriptions as needed to help promote the show.

Once I was done checking out the trailer, Five-0's Key Costumer, Toni Reed, came to see me. She's in charge of outfitting everyone who appears on camera, and sometimes that's dozens of people a day. While she did have some outfits purchased for a news reporter's role, Reed asked that I bring some of my own attire just in case that worked out better. And it did.

Reed quickly picked out my outfit, shoes and earrings. Then, I got a chance to check out her world. I joined her inside a large white trailer packed wall-to-wall with clothes and accessories- from board shorts and bikinis to Kamekono's bright t-shirts.

"We have so much in uniforms. We have principle stuff here, stuff for background. Shoes, anything," remarked Reed.

There are even eight pairs, yes eight, of McGarrett's famous cargo pants. And that's just the green ones.

Reed explained, "If there's a tear we have a back up or if it gets dirty, we can change him or if he gets sweaty, we always have a backup for him on set to change."

And Reed meticulously keeps track of every detail of what everyone wears .She logs the information into a large, tabbed "continuity book" that's made for each episode. All to make sure that should any scene need to be reshot or a guest or actor revisit a scene over the course of several days of shooting, that that individual looks exactly the same throughout the episode.

After getting changed, I headed to the hair and makeup trailer. On the show, its the talented makeup artists who make you look good, beat up or even dead.

While inside the trailer, Joe Toro, a local Honolulu firefighter, walked in looking garish and dead. He's playing this week's "dead guy" -- the UH Volleyball coach. Movie star, Tom Sizemore, also comes in to get ready for his scene and we chat about his excitement to be a part of Hawaii Five-0 which he said is all the "buzz" in Hollywood.

Then, "Danno," played by Scott Caan, enters the trailer with his dog following right behind him. He sits down and chats with Sizemore about what's coming up. Inside, several hair and makeup artists stand over multiple swivel chairs and reach for loaded counter tops full of all sorts of makeup tools and products, some from product lines I don't even recognize.

Within a half hour, I leave the trailer with my hair having been straightened down a bit. They also took off some of that Sunrise early morning makeup gunk that's been on my face since 1:00 a.m., and cleaned me up. And jokingly, it felt like they've taken off a couple of years.

While I'm waiting, I run into Katie Wheelhouse who's in charge of keeping everyone organized for shooting.

Due to the fast paced world of TV production, it can not only be exhausting but difficult for everyone to keep track of everything that needs to be done, from scripts to set changes. So it takes a talented crew to keep the actors and production crew informed and always looking ahead.

"Our episodes are eight day episodes. So I'm typically...once we start with day one, I'm two to three days ahead and really focusing on the next day, but the bigger items that need to be done three to four to five days ahead," said Wheelhouse.

I head back to the trailer for one last check of my line. Then I wait, and wait. Different scenes are shot at different times and if there's any delay or change up, then it effects the rotation of actors sent up to the set. And timing is key.

Jason tells me, " I'll bring you a ten minute warning an then let you know we're gonna travel in 10 . And that's when we'll send you up in the shuttle van to have you go to set and work," he said.

Finally, its time. I climb into the shuttle van with Tom Sizemore, and costumer Reed and the makeup artist, who always travel with the talent to the set. Today they're shooting Episode 205 which means second season, 5th episode.

Once I walk on set, it all happens very fast.

Everything has been preset. There are background actors and extras already in their place and lead actors, like Daniel Dae Kim walking around. Dozens of locally hired crew members are busily working and running around doing their jobs.

I meet and chat with the episode's Director, Steve Boyum. The former stunt man has 3 episodes he's directing this season. Did you know, he once stunt-doubled for Tom Selleck in Magnum PI?

I do a couple of practice tests while the lights and camera angles set on my position, then ...ACTION.

And a short scene that took me hours to prepare for takes just minutes to shoot.

It's just one of several scenes shot daily for this crew. (You can only imagine how many scenes and much prep time goes into the daily shoots for the principle actors) It takes all that hard work to make Hawaii Five-O the top rated new show it is. And by utilizing local actors, residents and personalities, the show works hard to stay as true as possible to being a Hawaii-based show as well as looking and sounding like the real Hawaii we love and know.

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