The sun was intense, and the winds were brisk. It was Friday, March 12, 2021, a perfect spring day for filming the final fan film in Controlled Chaos’ Revenge of the Mask (ROTM) youtube channel. This was a canon of fan films which included “Rise of the Mask,” “Revenge of the Mask,” and “Rise of Odin’s 9,” and most recently, “Jumanji: Level One.” This film will be called “Batman Other Worlds.”
As I rolled up to a young man on Main Street directing traffic in front of the park, I was directed to park behind the canopy. I was told that Christina Tomlinson-Sides (Dylan’s wife) would outfit me. As an extra in this film, I had made the drive from Jackson, which according to RandMcNally, was a sixty-minute drive from my house. But having stopped at the Pilot Truckstop to fuel and grab a fast breakfast from Arby’s, it actually took me longer than an hour to make the drive.
Having allowed for this stop, I made it on time. It was precisely 11:00 AM when I entered under the canopy. There were a good number of people present, either cast, crew, or extras. They were all masked in compliance with CDC protocol but milling around, so it was difficult to tell who was who.
Directly inline with the canopy, on the street, was the car around which these scenes were to be filmed. This was the original George Barris-designed 1966 Batmobile which I took several photos of and uploaded directly to my Facebook newsfeed.
After I had done so, I noticed Dylan Sides standing next to the theater talking with a couple of people. Being a smartass (me, not Dylan) and full of myself, I elbowed Dylan in the shoulder playfully upon approaching him to jostle him.
He didn’t recognize me at first as I was wearing a medical mask. When I introduced myself, he seemed confused. I told him I would be writing an article on this filming, and then dropping my mask, Dylan said, “I didn’t recognize you at first.” Of course! I was wearing a mask.
Dylan told me to go up to the wardrobe wagon and tell Christina that I was an extra. I did.
The first costume I was given was a Bagger Vance-type golf outfit, which Christina said was one of her favorites. This costume was a two-piece with a shirt and large checked sweater-vest and a matching hat.
Between the canopy and Plymouth’s historic Penn Theater, there was a designated comfort station. Equipped with men’s and women’s bathrooms, this was where the actors and extras changed.
As this costume was a pull-over, I knew I would get into it without some real effort. Whatsmore, I found the hat too small for my honking big head. Wearing it, it would have been like having my head in a vise all day. After as many hours as we were expected to be on the set, I would have had one hell-of-a pressure headache. So, I returned the costume to the trailer.
Instead, I was given a brown shirt that I knew I would have no problem getting into. Marked 3X, it buttoned in the front, and the hat with its stiff brim had a badge on it that read, “Security.” I was a security guard in this film.
Upon the wagon’s drop-gate was an excited young man who I was reminded was someone I had met once a couple of years ago at a premiere of Jeff Kapp’s “Scapegoat.” He was cool. He spoke with a Detroit street accent, which he told me was feigned. He said this often fools people, and he explains to allay any concerns that it is simply a character that he slips into depending on whom he may be with. His name is Daniel Fernando Acosta.
Daniel is a Detroit resident. He has lived on Detroit’s westside all of his life. An entrepreneur, he has owned his own HVAC company for the past 17 years. This has enabled him to pursue acting for some time.
After I talked with Daniel for a while, I heard someone mention the name Tubio, and as quick as a bloodhound fast on the scent of a squirrel, I asked to see Tubio’s car.
Tubio Bethards is the owner of a ’78 Monaco which has appeared in the following locally produced films Revenge of the Mask, Road Runner, Crow, Crawlies, and four music videos.
The car has a much more interesting back-story. But having signed 9 NDAs, Tubio is not permitted to share that story, unless he does so in person. Should you be on a film set with him, ask him about his car. Ask him about the good ol’ boy, redneck music videos in which his car has appeared. You’d enjoy seeing these videos.
As we were looking at the trunk of the car, and the photo clips and signatures, our attention was diverted. And the focus of everyone present shifted, as filming began.
As the day slipped into the afternoon, there was a steady stream of traffic that crawled by the film set. Although there was only a UBS building, the canopy, the Penn Theater, and a Jimmy Johns restaurant on the one side of Main Street, and across the street was a park, it was obvious that the drivers chose to drive by the film set out of curiosity. Also, gawkers gathered across the street to watch as filming progressed.
Within time, mothers with children, or families with young ones, became brave and approached the actors/extras during breaks in the filming. Some wanted to pose with Batman, there were two Batmans or Robin. After the Penguin, the Joker, and the Riddler were dressed and appeared on the streets, other children sought photos with them.
By the time the filming wrapped, we were all jacketed or huddled under blankets as the winds continued to blow and the temperatures dropped. Although filming went over, the last two scenes wrapped rather quickly.
For many of us, this was the first time in over a year since the pandemic lock-down that we had gotten out to mingle with others and work for a shared objective.
Said Lance Kawas, “Perhaps the last episode on our YouTube Channel Revengeofthemask Film – As the team moves on in different directions, I get to say some last words in the Batman Parody episode- comes out soon as the final episode- With more than 51 million hits and closing in on 200K subscribers, I believe we did very well. Special thanks to my partners Dylan Sides and Christina Tomlinson, and my A-Team, especially Bobby Laenen, Istvan Lettang, Matthew Sisco, Pierre Vaucher, Ryan D’Silva, Roe Dayzon, Lisa Beth North, Cory James Taylor, and too many to name… it’s been a blessing. We all blossomed and grew on so many levels. Now we embark on a new journey…”
To connect with Lance Kawas on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/lance.kawas
Lance Kawas IMDb page https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2043863/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
To connect with Dylan Sides on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/dylan.sides.1
Dylan Sides IMDb page https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3655028/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0