3:37 pm - Sat 9.25.2010
Well, I shot Mr Sunshine on Wednesday, on the Sony lot in Culver City.
You'd think I'd be eager to write about the experience...but for the life of me, I'm having a tough time finding much to write about.
But I'll give it a go...
Had a challenge finding someone to work my morning WW meetings in Santa Monica - which I believe I mentioned in the previous entry - but eventually I got it worked out...and ended up with a 2:30 call time for the show anyway.
So it goes.
(And just as well - Part of the fun of doing these things is being "Actor For A Day"; it's not the same if you're driving to the set from your "day job" - but I wish I hadn't drawn Sherry G., the WW Territory Manager, into my "I can't find anyone to work for me" drama, because then it actually did become "drama" for awhile, which was really unnecessary. But anyway...)
I got there early, and my contract and wardrobe were in my trailer. So I got dressed and started doing my paperwork, and before too long there was a knock on my door by the second AD, summoning me to hair and makeup.
Allison Janney and Nate Torrance - two of the series regulars - were getting made up when I walked in, and greeted me warmly, which I thought was nice.
As is often the case, they didn't do much with me in hair and makeup - mostly just covering up the dark circles under my eyes (Which I think are sometimes part of why I'm cast in a role...but not this time) - so before too long, I was back in my trailer.
I finished my paperwork, and again, didn't have long to wait till I was summoned to the set.
I don't know at what point I'm going to feel like I know exactly what I'm doing on a set, exactly how things work and so forth...but I'm not quite there yet.
(I have to remember, and remind myself, that prior to coming out here, I had virtually no on-camera experience; pretty much all my "training" has been "on the job".)
for example, I still tend to think of whatever I'm doing as its own little "scene", which is often not the case, at least not in the way I'm thinking (By that, I mean I go in thinking "Well, this is just a line, so how long could it take?", without considering what's happening before and after my "scene").
And as I've said many times before, my goal at this point is still, for the most part, "not to screw up"; I want to do a good job, seem like I know what I'm doing, and not be the thing that "gums up the works".
On that front, I'm a little disappointed in myself; while I don't think they're cursing themselves for casting me in the role, it was clear I'm still a relative novice (I had a hard time hitting my mark, for one thing. And there was one very embarrassing instance where I blew a take of the scene immediately before mine because I'd misunderstood the direction I'd been given by the AD).
But like I said, I'm more unhappy with myself than anything; the bit is pretty quick (Matthew Perry has a line, I respond, he has another line, and I run off), and it didn't seem like undue attention had to be lavished upon it on my account, however clueless I was sometimes feeling in the moment.
Allison Janney, who I didn't actually work with, was very nice - At one point, as we passed on the set, she touched me on the arm in a "Hey, how's it going?" kind-of-way. Which, again, I thought was nice; I hope when I start getting series regular roles, I remember how it felt to be a day-player - basically, you're always "The New Kid" - and act accordingly.
Matthew Perry (Who's a Producer on the show, as well as the Star. And I believe he also co-wrote the pilot), was perfectly pleasant, though he clearly had more on his plate than making me feel warm and comfortable (Though when I blew that one take and went back to my spot, tail between my legs, he reassured me that it was no big deal, or words to that effect).
The most interesting, borderline surreal part of the experience was Matthew Perry...or to be more precise, Matthew Perry's line-delivery.
I've sometimes referred to a "Through The Looking Glass" feeling when working on a tv show - like Mad Men, for example ("I've been watching the show...and now I'm on the show") - but that feeling's never been stronger than when Matthew Perry said his first line to me....cause he sounded just like 'Chandler'.
It was disorienting enough that it actually threw me for the briefest moment, and I kind of "went up" on my line a little.
The whole thing - from call time till wrap - took about five hours.
I wish I'd felt more comfortable and had had more fun, but ultimately, it worked out fine; the scene is quick, and I think it's an amusing "bit" that will do what it was intended to do (Can't imagine it'll "pop" enough to make them think "Wow, we've gotta get this guy back on the show, and quick!", but by the same token, I don't think I'm going to be banned from the lot because I sucked so bad).
There was no big fanfare when I finished - cause while I was done for the day, they were just moving on to the next scene - and I didn't really have a chance to say "Goodbye" or "Thanks!" or anything like that.
(Might have been just as well - Not sure Allison Janney or Matthew Perry really needs the guy who had a line on the show to gush about how exciting it was to work with them - Or in Janney's case, to at least work on the same show with them. I'm starting to think, in some situations, the less I talk the better)
The show's not starting till January, and the episode I shot was the second (Or maybe the 3rd), so it's going to be awhile till it airs.
(One nice thing, when I read the script? After my bit in the show, there's a "callback" to something in that scene later in the episode. So I'm hoping, between that and the fact that my bit's with the star of the show, that I'll make the final edit....and then they'll have me back as a recurring character, cause the scene ends up playing much funnier than I imagined.)
Something that struck me during my time on the set (After getting past the "I'm on a set with Matthew Perry and Allison Janney" excitement)?
It's a job.
It's a nice job. It's a very well-paying job. But when all's said and done, it's a job.
That might seem like an obvious point, but I think it's a point I need to make - To myself, if not to you.
It's a good job to have, but it's a job, and like most people with most jobs, it's rarely going to be a transcendent experience...though I do look forward to the time when I'm a more important, more meaningful part of getting the job done.
And I think that's coming.
It seems as if things are "going in the right direction".
I just want them to "go in the right direction" at a more rapid clip.
Well, I have more thoughts on all this, but I'm going to let them percolate a bit - I'll get to you if/when they come to a boil.
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