By Dean Nelson on Oct 12, 2008
Let me tell you why I have the coolest job at Sun. First, I get to build datacenters all over the world, talk with thousands of customers, build new communities to unite datacenter peers globally, and play with all the new Sun technology years before it is released. But, today I did something I have never done before. I became a Secret Agent...
The Marlowe-Pugnetti Company used our Santa Clara campus to film some scenes for their upcoming movie called "The Awakened". James Marlowe, the director, contacted Sun a few months back and asked if he could use the campus to finish his movie. As soon as he saw the datacenter, he knew it was perfect. It had "the high-tech look" for the agency, like it was in a bunker 30 floors underground. The "secret government agency" called S.H.A.D.O.W. had an intense situation room scene in the Mansion as well as a datacenter scene.
Brian Day, (my Chief of staff in real life) and I were extras playing agents from S.H.A.D.O.W., the Specialized Homeland Alien Department of World Wide Security. We played well dressed datacenter technicians (we all know they usually wear shorts) working on the supercomputer in the back. They put a laptop on top of a pull out KVM and had the sun servers in the background. The laptop had some great computer animation including scrolling code (no idea what it was, but it looked good). The geeky agency guy realizes there is a major paroblem and has to pull out his flash drive to keep the evidence. Brian was in the background playing with a power cord and I was in the back side have a conversation with Jennifer, another extra near the other "super computers". This was Jennifer's first time as an extra as well. She is a regional sales manager from Dynasplint. Looks like we will have our 3 seconds of fame in that scene (if it's not cut). :-) But, best of all our datacenter and Sun servers will now be immortalized in the movie.
The next scene I was in was in the mansion sitting with about 20 other extras simulating a war-room environment for this agency. Christina Lucke, from Sun marketing, was also able to join the scene and sit next to me at the conference table. Everyone but me seemed to get makeup. I guess my forehead doesn't shine. :-) The interesting thing was the other extras were from Applied Materials, VMWare, and even a Santa Clara coroner (72 years old and doesn't plan to retire). I believe these were just different people that James has worked for or with in the past on other corporate type of jobs. It's all in who you know, eh? All of us were different ages and nationalities and it made the scene look good. Another extra was Hooman Khalili, the Alice radio personality and star of HoomanTV on YouTube. In the scene, we were discussing amongst each other as the head guy came in. Robert Picardo, who played the doctor on Star Trek Voyager, and is the new commander of the Stargate Atlantis, is the agency head in the movie. He is an all-powerful commander type who lambastes a newly transfered agent from the NSA who is questioning the agencies spending and practices. All of us had to give different reactions and facial expressions to the exchange between the agency head the NSA agent. It was a pretty cool scene that took about 3 1/2 hours to film. Four angles, wide, closeup and background shots. Robert was really nice and kept cracking jokes between scenes.Throughout the day James knew exactly what he wanted in the shots and seemed to really love what he was doing. Then again, who wouldn't love filming a movie. :-) While I was sitting at the table in the conference room scene I had my laptop open. We had to be talking about something in the scene so I pulled up black box slide. I doubt it will make it in, but was great behind the scenes dialog before the main actor walked in. I think remember saying something about "world domination", I doubt that will make it into the final scene either. :-)
In the end, the mansion and the datacenter were perfect locations for the shoot. I think it will add quite a bit to the production. So, back to the datacenter (until Steve Spilberg calls). :-)