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Programming Note

The episode of Vanished with Beth Holloway I filmed a few weeks ago is airing tonight on the Lifetime network at 10PM EST. I play the mom Patricia in the Rivazfar story’s reenactments.

You can read all about my day on set here.

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And … Scene!

Song Lyric of the Day:

I could stick around and get along with you, hello / It doesn’t really mean that i’m into you, hello / You’re alright but I’m here, darling, to enjoy the party / Don’t get too excited ’cause thats all you get from me, hey

Martin Solveig (featuring Dragonette) / “Hello

Monday afternoon I got a call from my talent agency about an acting job. You forgot I’m with an agency, didn’t you? It’s OK. I’d almost forgotten myself; the last job I had was a Ruby Tuesday commercial a couple of years ago. I’m also pretty sure my headshot is about four years old now (gotta get that updated). The job was for the Lifetime show Vanished With Beth Holloway and I’d be playing the mother of a couple of girls who get abducted. I ran into my boss’ office and excitedly told her about the gig; she agreed I could take the next day off to take the role (my boss is AWESOME). The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur since I was so excited and nervous about the job — the commercial was fairly recent, but the last time I did a docudrama was years ago. I spent Monday night packing what amounted to half my closet so I’d have more than enough outfits to choose from on set; I figured it was better to take too much clothes than not enough, because then I might end up having to wear something all wrong for a given scene.

After a last-minute cancellation for a late-night shoot Monday, I reported to UT Hospital at 8AM yesterday for my first scene of the day.

(I apologize for the photo quality — I only had my cell phone with me, not my camera. Added bonus: I sent these to Twitpic yesterday and it turns out they didn’t go through.)

Hospital Scene

Hospital scene setup

For the scene, I had to sit by my daughter’s hospital bedside, upset about what happened to her. A detective comes in the room and asks me to step into the hall to ask me some questions. That’s when the fun started. See, with docudramas like this where there’s narration playing over the re-creation scenes, you make up dialogue or just talk about whatever since what you say won’t actually be used on air. For some takes, we made up dialogue to go with the scene. Then there were the other scenes where Nick, the actor/producer playing the lead detective, was trying to make me laugh. He flashed his badge and introduced himself as “Detective Dirtbag.” He asked me if I realized he was missing The Price Is Right because of me, and that it only comes on once a day. The kicker was when he asked me if I knew why my boyfriend was wearing women’s underwear when he was arrested; I almost cracked up during that take, so I covered by pretending to cry even harder.

Tired mom makeup

Me post-scene in my tired/crying mom makeup

Next we headed to a house in Oak Ridge to film the other scenes. There I was introduced to not only my evil ex-boyfriend (the one who kidnapped the girls), but three other boyfriends. Apparently that wasn’t enough, because later on our awesome makeup artist, Jason, was recruited to play a fourth boyfriend.  Oh, and I was introduced to my son. That’s right: four boyfriends, three kids, and one ex. Busy day.

I got made up in heavy, smudgy makeup since I was supposed to have been out barhopping/clubbing. My first scene at the house involved me stumbling into my bedroom drunk, crawling into bed fully clothed, and passing out. Next to the first of my many fake boyfriends. Can you say awkward? Actually, it was more surreal than anything. It was all I could do not to laugh during one take when I was pretending to be passed out and Xander turned over while he was “sleeping.” Too weird.

Then it was on to a scene where me and my second boyfriend had an encounter in the hallway and failed to notice my daughter standing nearby. My third boyfriend and I didn’t ever have a scene together. Then my fourth boyfriend (Jason) and I watched TV with all three of the kids. He was given a beer while I was given watered-down Gatorade that passed for White Zinfandel. I took a few sips of it during our takes; I’d be lying if I said it tasted good.

Made up

Me in my "clubbing" makeup between scenes

In between takes, I hung out with the kids’ moms (the kids enjoyed running around between takes) and had a nice chat with one of the production assistants. I also enjoyed talking with all my fake boyfriends — they were a really nice bunch of guys. It turns out that my evil ex is actually married to one of my coworkers. Small world and all. We all had fun talking about what TV shows we’re currently enjoying (Game of Thrones was at the top of the list), and how we’d all pretty much give anything to get a call to be a zombie on The Walking Dead.

After my scenes wrapped, I headed out to pick up Coraline from my parents’ house and headed home to try to nap. I never did manage to fall asleep, but I enjoyed the much-needed downtime after getting home at almost 1AM that morning, sleeping terribly, and then shooting all day.

At 10PM, I headed back out to meet the crew downtown, from where we’d caravan out to Ijams Nature Center to film my DUI arrest scene (mother of the year, I know). I grabbed Rich’s camera so I could get pics of everyone. It turned out to just be Jeff, the director, Nick, and myself. On the way to Ijams, I asked Jeff all about what it was like to be a director, how long he’s been in the business, etc.; he’s worked on some really neat projects and traveled the world, even going to Venice recently.

Once at Ijams, we met up with Bill, a cop who lives there for security (news to me), so Nick could get prepped for the scene, including receiving instruction on the proper way to cuff me.

While Nick was getting ready, Jeff and I sat in the living room talking with Bill. That’s when I remembered I had a camera with me this time, and I asked if they’d mind if I took some pictures since I blog everything.


Jeff, our intrepid director

Bill the cop

Bill the cop

Scene prep

Bill makes sure Nick's uniform is up to par

Once Nick was ready, we headed outside to film the scene. It was a quick scene, where I got handcuffed and put in the back of the cop car. I have to say, the handcuffs were really uncomfortable, and having to get in the car while cuffed was not easy. Nick apologized every time he had to put me in the car; I think he was worried I was going to bonk my head. Which, me being me, was a very real possibility. Being cuffed and put in a cop car — even though it was all pretend — is all the motivation I need to avoid a life of crime. That and the bruise one of the cuffs left of my right wrist (to be fair, I bruise easily).


Nick, my arresting officer

Once we finished the scene, Jeff and Nick joked that the key for the handcuffs was broken. I hardy-har-harred and was then released on my own recognizance. We headed back to Bill’s, said our thanks and goodnights, and Nick drove me back to my car downtown; we talked about movies, actors, and directors on the drive back. I ended up getting home at almost midnight, and today it was back to my usual daily grind.

Nick and Jeff

Nick and Jeff (who I think look like Bradley Cooper and Billy Squier, respectively)

And now you know what my day on set was like.

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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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