I need a crash course in bricklaying, tonight!

A friend asked me to be in his movie tonight, and they shoot tomorrow. It’s not a video camera type thing, and SAG is involved. It’s still really low budget, but I don’t want to look like an idiot (or at least anymore than I already do).

I play a bricklayer, and I even get a few lines. I’ve seen people use a trowel to slop mortar on a brick, slap the other brick on top, and roughly scrape off the excess, but that’s all I know. What do they use to smooth the mortar between the laid bricks? I’ll need a level right? Any other tips?

All you need is a trowel. Mud goes on top of row of bricks, kinda thick. Then slap the next brick down until its at the same height as the previous one, so that the mortar is an even thickness. After it dries for a couple minutes, trowel the excess off the sides of the bricks. For a finish, sometimes guys will come back later with a big wire brush and get off any little bits that stuck while falling.

Now let’s talk about getting me on set… :stuck_out_tongue:

They don’t always use a level, typically they use a string between some boards that is levelled off. Then they raise the string for each new course of bricks.

Bricklayers also use a pointing tool to smooth out the joints between bricks. But they don’t usually do that while they’re still laying the brick…they do it after the mortar’s cured a little bit, when it’s starting to set up but is still soft enough to shape.

And you want to butter your bricks. The key stylistically is you watn to hold the brick in one hand, lay some mortar on the brick with the trowel and then set it into the mortar on top the previous course. You then want to sight along the brick, using the butt end of the trowel to make minute alingemnsts to the brick to make it plumb level and square.

Having a couple pieces of wooden stakes, preferably all scruffy, with a string tied to each and marking a level line across will be a good set addition as noted above. Another thing to have is a 5 gallon bucket with water that will be all muddy from the mortar; you want to dunk the brick in to get it wet, that’s crucial for a proper mortar set.

This won’t teach you to make a proper wall, but it will get you in the right frame of movement for on screen.