My Great Acting Adventure

Song Lyric of the Day:

Then I met an Englishman / Oh he said / Won’t you walk up and down my spine, / It makes me feel strangely alive. / I said in these shoes? / I doubt you’d survive.

Kirsty MacColl / “In These Shoes?”

9:29 AM Wednesday. Counting down until my office’s Thanksgiving feast at 11:00. The smell of turkey and bar-b-que wafting over from the other cubes is driving me nuts. I went ahead and had my usual breakfast, yogurt, to tie me over until I can pig out. I’m helping with the setup starting at 10:45. Not only would I rather help with setup than cleanup after, but this way I can plan which dishes/stations to hit first with my plate in hand. I gotta say, food makes me happy. Especially turkey. Mmm…turkey.

Back to my happy mood…soon…turkey.

10:23 AM Friday. The office’s holiday feast on Wednesday was faboo. I ate so much I got lazy and then I couldn’t get around to updating the blog until today. I didn’t even have dinner Wednesday night—I was still full from lunch. That hardly ever happens. Me skipping meals, I mean.

Yesterday turned out to be a good day. Not only did I get a good work eval and a raise, but when I got home my check from a TV show I recently filmed was in the mail. It pays to be an extra–$105 for approximately an hour and 45 minutes of work.

That’s right—I’m a part-part-time actress. I say that because I’ve only had 2 roles in 10 months. Still, it’s a lot of fun. I originally sent in a photo and filled out the required form for New Dominion Pictures about a year and a half ago. I’d all but forgotten about it until I got a call in mid-December asking if I was still interested in being an extra. Of course, I said yes. My first role for them was as Female Clerk in Medical Examiner’s Office for the “Taste of Poison” episode of “Diagnosis: Unknown,” which aired in April of this year. The editing process always takes a while.

My most recent role came last month. I was Wendy Bedford (I had a name this time!), the bad guy’s girlfriend, for an episode of “Interpol Investigates,” a show that airs on the National Geographic Channel. I got the call on a Wednesday morning, received an emailed script on Thursday, and went to film the scene that Friday morning, with a call time of 10AM. I got to the studio at about 9:50AM, parked in the parking lot past the fake graveyard, walked past fake store fronts back to the studio, signed in at the front desk, got my name tag that said ACTOR 10/22/04 on it, and headed to the cafeteria to sign in with the production assistant. This time around I came prepared—I had reading material to kill the time because you basically sit around a lot and wait to be called for your scene(s). I ended up talking to another actor (aka Swiss bank manager) at the table at which I sat down, and then we were both called into makeup and wardrobe after about 15 minutes. We were led through the filming studio onto a back lot and into the makeup/wardrobe trailer.

I had been directed to bring tight clothing for my character (think upscale hoochie), and after the wardrobe lead picked out what she wanted me to wear, I was led to a dressing room much like a store’s dressing room to change. After changing, I was given my accessories—big gold earrings, a gold necklace, a gold watch, and a black quilted purse with—you guessed it—a gold chain strap. I was also given big Jackie O-style sunglasses that she wanted styled into my hair. So my next stop was hair and makeup. The makeup artist gave me a nice, natural look and gave me biggish, Jersey-girl type hair, into which she carefully set the sunglasses. After I was finished, I went back into the main area of the trailer to wait for further instruction. The Swiss bank manager and a Swiss bank teller were being prepared at the same time, as well as a tall, well-dressed Hispanic man. When someone called out “Gil” to get his attention, I realized that he was the actor playing my fake boyfriend. So I introduced myself as his fake girlfriend, Wendy, to which he replied that he got lucky—good looking wife and good looking girlfriends. That was when I realized he was indeed playing a bad man.

We chatted a little and then John, one of the production assistants, came to get us for our scene. Since it was a little chilly that morning we were told to wait inside the fake bank. I asked Gil about how much he’s acted, and it turns out he’s a professional based in New Jersey with an agent and everything. He had just finished filming an independent movie in Las Vegas, had been on several episodes of “Law & Order,” and was in the movie “Stepmom” with Ed Harris and Susan Sarandon. After a little while, we were called outside to go over our scene. The director instructed Gil to get in the car they had (fake CA plates and all), and I was given a fake cashier’s check for $9900. Then I was back in the bank with John, waiting for my cue, which was “Action 2;” Gil’s scene in the car started on “Action 1.” On the first take, I walked out of the bank, cashier’s check in hand, crossed the parking lot, and got in the car with Gil. I handed him the check and then he questioned me about what took so long, did anyone give me trouble, how did the manager act, etc. I told him everything went well and the manager was very accommodating. Reassured, he opened the envelope, looked at the check, thanked me for a good job, and then leaned in to kiss me. At this point, all I heard in my head was “Oh, f#ck.”–I haven’t kissed anyone else in the seven years I’ve been with Rich. But, trying to be a good actress, I went along with it since it fit the scene, and we kissed. Thank goodness, it was a closed-mouth kiss. We ended up shooting the scene about 8 more times due to gaffes (French ATM in shot) and from different camera angles. During takes starting with me in the bank, I had fun joking around with John—we recognized each other from the last time I worked there. He was teasing me and calling me “one-scener.” Some more takes were filmed through the driver’s side window of the car as well as from the backseat. After the director was satisfied, my scene was over.

As Gil and I sat in the car waiting for his next cue, I asked him how I did, since he’s a pro and I’m a newbie. He said I did great and then squeezed my hand and thanked me for going along with the kiss. Then I was off to go change back into my street clothes and he was off to change for his next scene. His character was a former DEA agent who stole drug money and went on the run. I think he had 2 or 3 days total of shooting time. I said my goodbyes to the makeup and wardrobe people, checked out in the cafeteria, had my photo/mugshot taken while I held a board stating the show and episdoe I filmed, and headed off to work at my day job.

When I got to work, my cubemates asked how it went and commented on me being made up. I’ve gotta say, when a pro does your hair and makeup, you keep that look going as long as you can. And I did look pretty good. I ended up getting a whole lot of attention from my coworkers—everyone wanted to know how I got the part, did I have an agent, what else have I been in, how can I act, too? It was fun being fawned over for the day. When I got home that night, Rich had to tease me about the kissing but he complimented me by saying that I looked sultry with the makeup and hair.

So that was my great acting adventure for the year. Next stop—“Arrested Development” and “Alias.” Don’t I wish. Now I just need an agent…

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1 Comment

Filed under acting, personal

One Response to My Great Acting Adventure

  1. ndicenso

    WOW! Congratulations on the acting gig. That is hot stuff. BTW, I had no idea this was you when you commented on my blog the other day. but now that I know…

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