I booked my first TV gig! The manager who sends me out on occasion and I were shocked. I’ve auditioned for years and never booked anything. But as with any good news, my reaction was distress. Who was going to pick up Baby? How would I survive my day job if I was on set all night? What if I bombed? Husband was psyched for me and encouraged me to enjoy this as much as possible, so I went ahead and did it.
When I got to the studio, I slowly began to panic that my casting was a fluke as I met other cast and crew. All the other actors had much more substantive resumes than I did. And let me clear something up; I didn’t get a mondo-part — I was cast as Friend #2, a teeny part that required crying on cue. It was the lowest part on the totem pole, not even on the cast list or the script character list, and not only that –- I was the second choice for lowest part on the totem pole (I know this, because they hired me late the night before the shoot.) But even the woman playing Friend #1 was no schlub –- she had a yearlong run with her one-woman show at UCB, she had done 30 Rock and Law and Order. Lots of people actually recognized her. My deflating ego was rapidly encroaching negative air capacity, you feel me?
And then I was walked to Hair & Makeup with Sarah Silverman, confirming that I was totally out of my league –- which made me laugh. At this point, I was like, oh dude, just relax, this is such a joke. Silverman, who definitely seems like an odd, though friendly lady, palmed my shoulder instead of shaking my hands, as our group discussed the merits of Neti pots and her concern about having stinky feet for her foot massage scenes. I had nothing to add.
Friend #1 and I reported at 6 p.m., finally got on set to rehearse at 12:24 a.m., and dismissed at 2:10 a.m. We drank coffee and bottles of weird bacteria, fruit juices that were supposed to give you energy and came in flavors like “triology”; ate crafts services (I got made fun of by a crew member for needing a sack for my goodies); drank Mexican Coca Cola; played Rock Band (Friend #1 has a marvelous voice, Friend #2, not so much); finally, I went off to my private dressing room (score) to go work on crying. This was why I booked the job in the first place, and I had some concerns that I’d be able to deliver. For the audition, Husband advised to use whatever I needed to get there. Turns out I find it really hard to cry past midnight. When we actually did get to film, I was able to cry only one of the three times we shot the scene.
Friend #1, really into being an actor, asked if she should get the other cast members to sign her script. She meant the stars, but me, fully committing tocmy bottom feeder role, offered to autograph it myself. Dear Friend #1, Although I was Friend #2, you always made me feel like Friend #1, etc., etc. She laughed but didn’t take me up on my offer. No one would take my autograph.
When I finally got back home, I was relieved. Husband said my reaction is typical whenever I do a little acting; I usually respond, “Okay, well that’s enough of that” like a cranky old man. I am deeply attached to routine, and don’t do well with change, and yet these changes of routine are what let me not get tired of my life. I missed Baby terribly, even though it was only one night.
Now, with a few days distance from the whole thing, it was a cool thing to do once. And although, I think acting for TV/film seems foreign, I do think writers are cool. The writer made up this whole world, and someone built a set and filled with people to have his ideas live and breathe. THAT is sublime. I hope this will motivate me to finish my next novel draft!