Matthew in the Final Season
The Final Season
Where oh where to start. I guess at the beginning is a good place. This came as quite a shock to me. I had learned of a casting call for a movie called the final season. I got it kinda late and most everything had been cast already and they had even filmed some of it. But I sent in my headshot and resume anyway like i was told too. I later learn that they needed umpires for their film. I figured I could do this. Because I do have the background as a former umpire for my local town Babe Ruth baseball league. I still had all my equipment and baseball is always something I like. So this movie was right up my alley. A couple weeks went by and I hadn't heard anything from it. I figured I was pretty much out of luck. Till I received an email from Erin. She told me to email her back as soon as possible about some stuff. I was offered the job as one of the umpires in the movie. I was asked if I could make it there for the 17th. 20th thru the 24th. I said I would check things out. I got back with her and made some calls. I was offered and confirmed to be one of the umpires from the 20th to the 24th. So I get all my stuff together. Planning the trip, packing luggage and more. I have to go to Cedar Rapids Iowa. So I look up some air fair and soon decide being in Indiana. It is cheaper to drive to there being only 400 miles then to fly there. a couple tanks of gas even at these prices is still cheaper then the airfare I was looking. So I get things planned more. My dad decided he would drive with me. He is retired and usually bored himself not to mention he needed a vacation. I think he got more then he bargained for overall. In the past he has been one to not like my acting or me doing anything with it. So we plan to leave on June 19th. We plan to get up at 6 am on Monday morning. We were packed and ready to leave soon after. We get it all in and then take off around 6:30. We drive out 74 and across Illinois up to Iowa and then on up to Cedar Rapids. We made it there in about 6-7 hours. 410 miles. We only stopped a couple times but overall made it there pretty easy without any problems. We soon found where I needed to be and where the stadium was located. So we went searching for a hotel. We found a few and soon found a nice deal at the clarion hotel in Cedar Rapids. They had told me what days I needed to be their so we paid for it. I get in the hotel room and soon get a call from Erin. With my casting information and what time I need to be at the stadium. I had to be there at 9 but everyone knows me. I am usually early and like to make a good impression. I was told to find Erin in the morning when i got there. So I went back to Veterans Memorial Stadium in the morning. I talked to her outside and was soon taken to my dressing room. I began getting things ready hanging up my clothes. Then walked around checking stuff out waiting on what needed to be done. I began meeting people pretty quick. Talking to the other umpires who soon showed up too and other people in charge. The players locker room was right next door to the officials locker room which was smaller. So i began to talking to a few of the extra players. Soon after we began rehearsal of what needed to be done for the shots. We could see the clouds taking strange shape and were feeling rain. So they quickly covered the field with the tarp. Even with the tarp covering things. We tried to get in some rehearsal. The scenes we were filming were for the 1990 state championship game with Powers Boothe as the head coach. Sean Astin was the assistant for this year. When it started raining. It just kept on raining. We didn't get much filming outside done. So they decided to get some of the locker room scenes done. It was filmed in the larger open locker room around the corner from ours. They were setting the cameras up for it and in close quarters in the hallways so that meant stay out of things. So we just sat around for a while. Luckily the official locker room had one of the only TV's. So it was a mix of the weather channel, World Cup Soccer and ESPN. After so long you can only take so much of it. Some of the players also snuck in to catch things they just had movies to watch. The were watching the Sandlot and Major League. The director of the Sandlot. David Mickey Evans is also the one who is directing The Final Season. It is one of my favorite movies. He also does the narrating on it too. Which I realized after hearing his voice. They were still in the other room. One Scene I got to see filmed was of Sean entering the locker room. Talking to his players before the big game. I love watching the filming process even when I am not in front of the camera. Watching the monitor screens is just really cool to see how things are looking and will be looking like on film. Soon after they broke for lunch and it was still raining. For lunch we had grilled chicken and fish. Along with salads and all sorts of other items. By the end of lunch. The rain had stopped. We we got back to getting things ready. I was talking to people and my dad had came in. They said that the people they had picked to play the opposing teams Coach didn't show up. So they called one person up and then asked if my dad could play a coach. I asked my dad and he said sure if he didn't have to say anything. Which he was just going to be a base coach. So I had to help him get ready because he didn't know what he was doing. They wanted him in uniform too. So I had to go to wardrobe with him to help him. Which was actually kind of funny to see in the end. Not to mention it was the first time he ever wore metal cleats. He learned to be careful on walking on cement too. By this time I found it all funny. Especially with him not liking me doing things. Sometimes you need a swift kick in the butt to realize things. Finally got him fixed up and we went back out to the field when it was clear. The ground crew was fixing things. They started me out on 2nd base. But then decide to change me to 1st base where they put my dad at. So I was also able to help him out. Giving him a few pointers and ideas of what to do and not to do. We started rehearsing and was filming scenes shortly after. They were filming the scenes where the 1990 team wins the state title. Filmed them nearly losing it but coming though in the end. Powers and Sean were on set and both were very nice. We filmed a few different scenes and angles till past 7 PM in the evening from then on. Being on first base I talked to Brett Claywell a few times. Since he is playing the first baseman in the movie. We wrapped for the day and I get told to be back earlier at 7:45 in the morning. They tell my dad to be there earlier. So he can get dressed. So riding with him we go back and relax at the hotel. I go take a dip in the hot tub. Check my laptop and get some sleep before getting up at 5 am to make it back by 7. We were a little early like usual and we got to eat breakfast. But as soon as we got there and got things ready. Guess what. That's right more rain. It did keep things cooled off. So we hung out watching TV till time to be ready. The crew went down to the baseball store and hitting facility across the street from the stadium to film a few things. Then they needed us to help pull off the tarp. Which we did only to put it right back on for another hour. We got things on and was ready to film. When we were not in the shot. The rest just stood by the dug out talking to the guys. The one team knew their team (North Tama) was not going to win. The players decided on the team motto of "Oh sh*t". While filming we did all the shots we needed to film. From more angles. Mainly just a repeat of what we had been rehearsing and doing. Somethings they wanted done all together. So we did it from all sorts of angles like is the usual. Standing up for 12 hours is something i hadn't done for a while but I was use to it. I gave my camera to one of the players. He took a few pictures for me. Here is one of me and Mike Bodicker.
He was a former professional player who was brought in to help on some of the baseball. So by the end of the day I was having fun. Getting everything done. We finished up all the scenes that included my dad by the end of the day on Wednesday. The photographer wanted to get a picture of the umpire and also I got this picture with Sean Astin himself. I thanked him then I went to the locker room to change out. I got told to be back at 6:30 in the morning. About this time is when things started to go downhill for me somewhere. After all the excitement. Erin told me to wait a moment. I found out that one of the umpires who was going to leave because he had been in too many shots from previous other games decided not to leave. I really don't know the whole story and everything involved. But even I could tell something definately was up. Erin said she would call me with what she found out from Rob. I went back to the hotel and got the phone call. She said she talked to the person in charge and apparently the schedules got messed up. They had called in one too many. Rob then decided that he would just go with the other 4. That I would not be needed in the morning. She said she was sorry that i had drove all this way and stuff. About this time I was pretty upset. Because I had really been excited about this all. It just kinda crushed my spirits on it all. I told her I would show up anyway. But I went down to the hot tub and just sat in it for a good long while. I was wondering what the heck went on. I had been confirmed to be there for 5 days and maybe more. Now I'm only working 2 days and gone. Something screwy was up with it. I can definitely say that. So I go in on Thursday morning like I said at 6:30 and wait there to see what was up. I find out that one of the other umpires coming in had previously worked the original game. He was friends with
one of the umpires that was there too. Plus the one that was leaving was not going to leave now. For some odd reason. They told him they had him in too many shots then all of the sudden he was staying. He acted more interested in his other work then doing the umpiring acting job. Which is what I was there for. This point I didn't know what to think. I told them ok that's fine. They said I could have the first thing to open up. Well this day they were starting the 1991 state game. They had chosen players, 2 of the extra bench warmer players. didn't bother to show up. The guy who made the call on it. Told me I looked a little too old for things. That I didn't mind. But it is another thing when he mention athletic ability and the guys are sitting on the bench in the dugout for fillers. Needless to say there was just something funny about his attitude towards me by then. So they went up to the extra crowd and asked a couple of the other younger guys. I know I'm not that young anymore. I didn't mind that till when I found out they had went up and got two other older guys just to be camera men along the sidelines. just to stand there and point a camera. I guess acting as a umpire calling the players out is not anywhere in the league of pointing a video camera at the action. That really upset me though. Because I was told I would have the first thing that opened up. They knew I was there too. It didn't help my blood pressure by then. I found they pulled them out of the extras. Because my dad had signed up to be a crowd extra for the day because he thought I was going to be umpiring. I went back down underneath into the locker backstage area after I told him what was going on and he told me what happened. They couldn't give me an answer other then well I guess this part of the group didn't know what the other part was doing. Well I don't know what kind of kiddy school casting summer intern department they were using but it was totally unprofessional in everything I know. It showed that they didn't know what they were doing or they obviously were keeping something from me on the situation. Which they most likely were. By this point they said sure thing next thing that comes open. They started filming and needed someone to run out and get the microphone stand after the little girl was done singing the national anthem. Gee they sure didn't look my way when they needed this filled either. So I was screwed over not one, not twice but three times. So I was pretty mad and didn't feel like going up to be just an extra sitting in the blazing hot sun on metal bleachers only to get a sun tan. To be in the distance shots. I said screw that. So I just hung around and ate lunch then went around and talked to some people I had met. They asked why I was not umpiring today. Cause they knew I was suppose to be. I told them the situation and they said I had a right to be upset. They would be too. It just totally sucked. Other things I have worked on would never have pulled that kinda stuff. Especially after confirming it. That was the only reason I accepted it. I told them to confirm that I would be working all those days because I was coming in from out of state. Which I was told I would be. It was just absolutely ridiculous. Lunch came around I went and got something to eat with some of the cast who told me to stick around. It was chicken and rice with some roast. So after lunch. I went and sat behind the director and watched the monitors that were facing the stands. The picture quality on this movie is going to be excellent. The widescreen digital quality you could see was amazing even off the monitors. I began walking around and got some pictures while talking to some friends. Inside the Norway dugout. I was able to capture this picture of Michael Angarano. The temperature was rising and some were not able to handle things. I soon found out those other umpires didn't know what they got themselves into filming on a movie set. They were all sitting to the side and not in their places. When they needed to be because they were setting up for their shots. It helps the director and assistants to know what will be in shot so they can change it and set things up how they want it. While in the dugout taking picture. Someone showed up to talk to Sean who was filming. I decide it was an opportunity to get this picture. It was Powers Booth. I was happy to get my picture with him. He had brought some things by the set and was getting ready for a few other things even though he wasn't filming that day. Well by then I went up to check on my dad. I seen him sitting to the side from everyone else. He said he needed to sit in the shade for a little bit. So I sat and talked to him and told him what was going on with some stuff. We sat and decided what we wanted to do. While sitting there I had someone un-expected walk up next to me. It was James Gammon. He has the part of Michael's Grandpa in the movie. He was checking things out on set. So I seized the opportunity as well.
I was happy I got something out of the day after all the trouble that went on and everything that went wrong. It started to make me feel better. It made me feel even more better when I got the chance to take another photo. With someone I had no idea who was standing near me. It was Power's Booths Daughter. Parisse Booth. She was walking through the stadium with her dad. So I seized another photo opportunity. She was incredibly nice and very pretty as you can tell. Her father came over soon after he seen us getting the picture. They were on their way out and stuff. So i sat down and relaxed and decided on a few things. After the most horrible day on set till the end. I decided a few things. I decided I would be back in the morning. I told them I was there till Saturday. I made a commitment that I would be their till Saturday. I said I was going to keep my promise. Most would of just left. I am not a quitter and I keep promises when I make them. So I went back to the hotel and relax. Morning came pretty quick. I seen a few people so I made it a point to let them know I was still here if they needed me. I went and sign up to be an extra for the day. Which they were glad I did. because they didn't have the people they expected. But before things got underway. I seen someone I had talked to a couple times earlier in the week and I wanted to get a picture with him. So I ran down really quick and got the picture. It was Larry Miller who is also in the movie and playing the part of a reporter. I was kinda happy to get that. So it helped keep my spirits up for the part of the day. I also decided I wanted another copy of the documents i signed. So I let them know I wanted it. They moved us around to a few different spots for filming. They also had us fill out question cards. They were going to give them to Sean so he could answer questions about the cast, crew and everything. So needless to say I got some good questions in which they answered about 3 of them. Asking about the cute make up girl which the guys were drooling over and including who was faster around the bases. Michael or Brett. While Sean was answering questions. Rachael Leigh Cook showed up on set. But then while he was answering some of the questions so did Tom Arnold. Tom plays the father of Michael's character who sends him to live with his grandpa. They did a little bit of comedy and got back to filming. While doing this. They were setting up to get the shots facing towards the plate. So I am sitting in shot right behind home plate on the front row. They wanted us to get into the game. Cheering and things. So needless to say I got into it. I started yelling at the umpire. Telling him to call strikes and balls. So I should be in some good shots and be heard doing things. They later said they loved how things went. I even got some of the others around me into things. Not just sitting there clapping and cheering. When they went to move us again. I hung back. I said I'm in the movie in several shots. I also took the chance to go get Sean's Astins autograph on a baseball I had. Which he signed for me. I also had to stop and get some of the water that was there. I was walking and I seen this blonde girl who looked really familiar. I hadn't been introduce to her but I soon talked to her. It was none other then Danielle Savre. She has a part in the movie and plays the girlfriend of one of the players. She was extremely cute and nice too. She asked me after we took the picture if I was coming back tomorrow. I told her I would. After all I keep my promises. They soon wrapped up and i told a few people I'd see them later. When we got back to the hotel. The hotel room we had was occupied by someone else. Good thing we had put our bags in the truck. For some reason there computer screwed up and said we had checked out. Which we didn't. So they gave us a different room. Just a couple doors down. We got up and went back at the usual time early. This was suppose to be a big extra day. They were hoping for around 2000 people to show up. They had the radio station into things. They were giving away prizes and shirts. So it was alot of chaos all around with everything. There were some of the die hards there from previous days. They kinda stuck together. But for some reason they kept putting me in the good spots for shots. I had to take matters into my own hands on that situation. I don't mind being in the shots or anything. But I'm also not self centered. There were alot of people that came to get that same chance. Some with little children. Who were just
after a chance to say they were in it. I talked to a few of them. I gave up my seat and let them have it. I tried to stay towards the back or not at all after a while. About then I noticed someone who sort of stood out. It was Eddie Driscall. I went and got a picture to add to my growing collection of cast member photo's. He was really nice and pretty funny. He was getting ready for his scene with the others where they are all sitting in the crowd. Him and Larry have some lines together. By then I walked down toward the dugout to say hey to a few other people and then i noticed someone. Someone who I was wanting to meet when I found out I was going to do this. It was none other then Rachael Leigh Cook herself. I said hi to her and talked to her for a moment. I told her that I was in the movie as an umpire and stuff and we talked for a moment. She is extremely nice as well and as you can tell extremely small and tiny. especially compared to me. Then she had to run off to do her scene and get a few things taken care of. About that time another person came out and I was able to quickly get a picture with him. I think some know him as Tom Arnold. They sat them down in the crowd and got things worked out. Tom shows up for the final game to watch his son. So there are all sorts of storylines in this movie going on. I got a few more autographs while waiting. I was able to get Rachael's Autograph on a baseball along with Power's Autograph. By then alot of people were leaving. I helped out in a couple more scenes. Some of the ones where Powers Booth shows up in the crowd. I am right behind him in those shots too. The guy arranging the extras was getting a little rude with me and he knew who i was too. So I went over and sat down in a different location to avoid him. Then they wanted to film there a few last shots. For the final. All the stars were to rush the field when they celebrate. The parents and grand parents and they also had some extras to run out too. Needless to say I was one of the extras to run out onto the field. We did that shot twice. The first time we ran out and celebrated. I ran out and was acting like we were celebrating and i picked Rachael up into the air. Which kinda took her by surprize. So needless to say I can still leave the girls speechless. Soon we wrapped and they started giving away more prizes for ticket holders. I walked up the stairs and guess who was there. I was kinda shocked to see him. It was David Mickey Evans. He had gotten stopped by the crowd since they were filming things. So I said why not.
I thanked him for the opportunity to be able to work with him on his movie. I said it was a pleasure. Just like I told all the others stars. It was a pleasure to work on this film. Even with that all happened. I was totally professional about it all. I walked around and told all the crew members and friends I made that I was leaving. I told them Thanks for the opportunity. I even went and told Erin and the others, Thanks. Even though I didn't have too. I did. I said I was going to keep my professionalism concerning it all even towards the ones i didn't have too. I'm a better person. I soon left by 9 PM. I was on my way home and was home by 4 am. So I was home and done. My experience from it all is something I am going to remember. I was a part of the movie. The Final Season. It wasn't for as long as I had planned. But I did it none the less even with the problems that happened. So when the movie comes out next year in 2007. I will be able to say I was a part of that.
My Collection of Autographs.
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