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john starr pirate

The glasses adds a real air of ‘authenticity’!

Yo ho ho and a bag o’ Balloon Swords. Tis your old matey Johnny Blackbeard at ye fake Renaissance Faire Studio Back-Lot set. Got my requested Balloon Artist Speciality Rate (ca ca ca ca-ching). News flash .. these days real Renaissance Faires are attended mostly by people dressed like Pirates because the costumes are cheap & popular at Halloween. Other than the Tri-Tip Corner Hat (borrowed from my Boyfriend’s costume trunk so shhhh already) I put this outfit together last night after the text confirmation booking. This purple satin shirt has never been worn since it fell into my suitcase the last day of Summer Stock in Idaho when I was 19. I’m sorry for stealing it along with my ‘Tulsa’ Green Satin Shirt from “Gypsy” but everyone else was doing it so there & I was a poor little lamb who had lost my way…as a thief. Stop judging me & tell me the shirt doesn’t work great with this get-up? And if you’re asking, then “Yes” I’ve worn the Green Satin Shirt as Peter Pan on multiple Hallow’s Eve, too. I’m bad, I’m bad. You’ve seen me in this black sweater vest dozens of times in my Professor Look. The bronze satin sash belt was quickly cut last night from a bolt I bought cheaply at a movie auction mid-90s & was originally used as curtains in a Whitney Houston movie. Ran out & bought this black pillow case at Target for under $10, Sewed on a rope-tie handle & voilà … Pirate Johnny mit Balloony Baggy.

Random thoughts on my day counting gold doubloons & twisting latex pieces of eight …

Between 4:30am Monday alarm & leaving for set in full costume & make-up by 5:30am, I forget the matching bronze satin head scarf on the chair by the front door. Darn it! Picture it please over this red wig & under the hat. Great, right? Darn it! Oh well. Next time!

At 6:30am a Casting Director, who likes me, signs me in & per her request I make her another Pink Poodle with black sharpie fine-point cartoon adorable eyes & smileyness (her last Poodle from my Clown gig 2 months ago finally shrunk down to nothing on her desk … it’s called “branding” folks). She loves my outfit. You’re welcome.

The 2nd 2nd AD instructs me to start making 40-50 Balloon Swords & tells me to hand them out to everybody in Holding. Among the many reasons that Extras-With-Attitude-That-Are-Better-Than-Everyone-Else decline my offer …  “Ah no thanks. I’m allergic to latex”. Okay, that’s possible. Then a young hot wench (in wardrobe’s sexy maiden outfit, not hers) refuses a balloon & complains “Then I’d have to hold it all day”. Look honey, try carrying a heavy stuffed dead body for 12 hours as a fake coroner … and work for a living! This is called a “Prop” dear. Learn to use them to your advantage. See the pretty bright colored balloons? Look at that guy dressed like a 1600s Smithy who turns his sword into a funny balloon hat. He is the only one who does it. He’s singled out for a feature bit this morning (& he’ll keep my hat on all day & be re-established on-camera repeatedly by Production. I wonder what helps get him noticed?). Use the balloons people, trust me. This is my gift to you fellow Background Performers. As instructed, I make each Young Boy Extra a different color saber & they are directed to have a sword fight on “Action”! Two other maidens do lusty folk dances waving their Lime Green & Day-Glo Orange balloon swords over their heads. Nice routine ladies. These gals know Props. They get attention. Wake-up lazy Extras & avast ye landlubbers.

I get a close-up making a royal blue doggy. Quick! The 2nd AD tells me there is no time to blow-up anything on-camera so I finish prepping 4 same color balloons moments before “Rolling Rolling” is yelled. “Background! Action!” I make 1st doggy, hand to boy. Pull out & hand already made swords to rest of Boys & Girls. “Cut!” 10 seconds for the entire bit. 1 rehearsal. 1 take. You’re welcome.

My name is on the voice-mail-information-line everyone calls last night. “And John Starr will bring his own Halloween Pirate costume & balloons.”  My friends, who are Extras, hear the night before that I’m
Booked on the show so they’re excited the next morning to see me knowing they’ll surprise me. Fun! Huge Call of costumed folk. My favorite is a guy with a stuffed Parrot on his shoulder who looks like a 75 year old Jack Sparrow carrying a real muzzle loaded musket. He has real long straggly grey hair & a full white beard & thankfully I have at least a goatee. Any of the male atmosphere that do not have facial hair today are having fake side-burns, staches & beards spirit-glued on. Here, let me take that off you after 14 hours in the hot sun. Ouch! Oops, sorry that hurt. No thanks. Instead I use dark eyebrow pencil at 5am to get this highly realistic Blackbeard effect.

john starr extra, pirate!
Shiver Me Timbers!

I email out the top photo to family by 9am. My brother responds “the glasses adds a real air of ‘authenticity’!”. My sister says “dashing”.  At 1pm my eldest Nephew joins me on-set for lunch. Walking over to the commissary I grab a guy to take our picture. Both the guy & my Nephew insist I remove my glasses. Fine I take off my glasses. Happy now? Whenever Production asks me to take them off I do. Otherwise I leave them on during the shoots (yes even as a Clown, I know I am a bilge rat scoundrel for wanting to see clearly all day & am already an admitted thieving former theatre Musketeer). A Pirate’s life for me. Ahoy?

26 Responses to “Pirate Johnny”

  1. John Starr says:

    I’m the Astronaut in the silver costume jumping around in the 1st minute of this Music Video for ‘New Found Glory’ latest song “Radiosurgery”. Enjoy…

  2. Morgan says:

    How fun!

  3. Ronnie says:

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! Um…I think you and your boyfriend should be pirates for Halloween this year. 🙂

  4. John Starr says:

    Ronnie- Thanks but we’re going for Halloween as “True Blood” Vampires. Did you say cliché? How dare you!

  5. No one makes a cheap Pirate costume look pricey like you. Ahoy, matey! Hilarity!

  6. Meela says:

    That’s a GREAT photo!

  7. Kathy Rosenberg says:

    And is that your Howard Stern Wig? It looks very familiar!

  8. Trevor says:

    Good job in the video, bud!! :o)

  9. John Starr says:

    Thanks Carolita!

  10. Marina says:

    😉 !

  11. Daniella says:


  12. Richie not Rich says:

    I have a parrot if ya need one. Not sure they’il be agreeable with baloon swords.

  13. Mandy says:

    Somehow I don’t think Johnny Depp has anything to worry about!

  14. John Starr says:

    Kathy- Yes this is the wig I use for my Howard Stern costume!

    Trevor- Thanks for watching my Astronaut music video! That was a crazy shoot day, trust me.

    Mandy- Too true!

  15. Ben Estrella says:

    Great blog.

    I already saw your bouncing Astronaut bit before. Ur a good bouncer.

  16. Laurie Morgan says:

    I think a good compromise for “vision vs. authenticity” is to wear an eye-patch under your glasses

  17. John Starr says:

    Laurie – Perfect solution!

  18. Nate says:

    You make balloon animals for a living. Classic!

  19. Twila says:

    Johnny Depp is turning green………definitely not his best color.

  20. Justin says:

    I just saw you on ‘Wilfred’ and thought “Hey, that’s John Starr!”

  21. John Starr says:

    Guilty as charged. Thanks for watchIng.

  22. Timmy says:

    Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me. The nerve of that woman who didn’t want your ballloon animal…great article…:)

  23. Eleanore Tanin says:

    I just saw you as a Taxi Driver on How I Met Your Mother! Great long shot! Yippee & congratulations!

  24. Pam Woodson says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! Your blog should be REQUIRED reading for ALL actors! Hysterical AND YET informative ( and great pix to boot)!

  25. John Starr says:

    Thanks Pam! You are too kind!

  26. Shelby says:

    I’m a bit back logged, just read your pirate blog. Great stuff! Where do you keep all those outfits?

    Also saw you on Wilfred. Cool beans!

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