THE KEENE STATE COLLEGE MAGAZINE SUMMER 2008
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The Day I Met Martin Landau
Not only did our Advancement colleague get to meet one of her favorite actors – she also witnessed KSC film students in action.

Martin Landau photo
As an administrative assistant in the Development and Alumni offices at Keene State College, I get to be involved in many exciting things. I know you're probably thinking, like what? Answering the phones? Filing? Well, yes – but please don't typecast me. My four and a half years at KSC has shown me that every day is different and exciting on a campus teeming with the energy of engaged students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

I currently am most impressed with the students I've met from the Film Studies department. We've housed actors in the alumni guest rooms in Elliot Hall many times before, but more recently allowed some scenes to be shot here. Yes, our lovely, historic Elliot Hall was being depicted as a mental institution in a film project called The Eyes. Students Nick Schwartz, Ryan VanDalinda, and Ted Raviv paid for the use of the rooms, communicated clearly with me, replaced anything that might have been ruined (fake blood scene), washed linen they spilled soda on, repaired a fan that needed to be put back together, and replaced a window shade!

I knew it was my job to remain calm, cool, and collected and not act like a maniacal fan of Mr. Landau. Of course, when he walked into the room I did catch my breath, but I made a quick recovery and told myself, 'Amy, act like you meet celebrities every day.'
And that is how I got to meet Martin Landau. Ryan approached me one day and asked me if I would be an extra in an office scene that was to be shot at the Keene Sentinel. By the way, he added, Nick Schwartz's great uncle, Martin Landau, was flying in from L.A. as a favor to act in Nick's senior film project. Definitely intrigued, but thinking I'd just be one person in a mass of extras, I thought, sure, why not? And of course, my heart leapt at the chance of getting a glimpse of Martin Landau.

When I arrived at the Sentinel, a few students were sitting around a conference table running through scenes, talking about cutaway shots, and going over every little detail ahead of time so that everyone was on the same page. They greeted me politely and told me I could take a seat and hang out with them until it was time to start. Ryan had warned me there would be a lot of waiting around, so "bring an MP3 player or something to do." I don't own an MP3 player, but I came prepared with my Spanish textbook. I moved to the side of the room and sat where I would blend in – to the wall. I noticed there were only a few of us "extras."

Martin Landau and Nicholas Schwartz photo
Actor Martin Landau receives direction from his great-nephew, Keene State College student Nicholas Schwartz, during filming on campus.
While I pretended to be absorbed in my book, I listened to everything that was being said in that room. The students interacted like seasoned professionals – allowing for each other's input and creative thought while knowing clearly their own roles in the production. I'm a mother of two college students myself and don't often get to be a fly on the wall for a snapshot of their college lives. Here I was, experiencing every mom's wish – and I was witnessing young adults collaborating with each other in a respectful, creative, and purposeful way. I had never realized how hard these students work. They raise funds, they write grants, they buy "wardrobe" from Goodwill, and they spend their own money on their projects.

Best of all, I, a film extra, was "on location" for a film project with none other than Martin Landau. I knew it was my job to remain calm, cool, and collected and not act like a maniacal fan of Mr. Landau. Of course, when he walked into the room I did catch my breath, but I made a quick recovery and told myself, "Amy, act like you meet celebrities every day."

Well, introductions were made to the few at the conference table, and then it happened. Mr. Martin Landau, with his amazing blue eyes and distinct voice, looked my way and said, "And who is this?" Yikes! I thought my "blending in" would make me invisible, but he actually saw me. (I guess I'm a horrible actor.) I stood up and shook his hand while one of my young bosses introduced me. I melted into a surreal place and told myself I must now just go with the flow (and breathe) and quietly take my direction from this competent film crew. I didn't even request a photo or autograph.

As it turns out, March 15, 2008, was one of my KSC highlights, and not just because I got to meet Martin Landau (although I have to say he's fabulous!). It also was special because I saw our film students at work.

To the Film Studies professors, I say, good job! And to the students, soon to be official alumni of the College, I hope you'll remember that "mom" and "office worker" you cast as an extra in your KSC senior film project because "she didn't need any wardrobe." When I see you on TV someday accepting your Oscars I'll be cheering and clapping for you and screaming, "I know them! I know them!"

Amy Proctor works in the Development and Alumni offices at Keene State and is a linchpin of the Centennial steering committee. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Keene State.

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