Get your own
 diary at! contact me older entries newest entry

9:04 am - Sun 12.08.2013
Big Time Acting Man

A Big-Time Acting Man

Well, it was quite a week...!

As I've said before, while I've shot gigs a week apart - Mad Men & The Mentalist come to mind - I don't think I've ever done two jobs in the same calendar week before.

And it was cool, because with both jobs I had fun things to do, I like the shows in question, and nothing makes you feel more successful than actually working.

And it'll make me feel "successful" all over again when I get the checks.

And (hopefully) it'll make me feel "successful" yet again when the shows air, and people (hopefully) enjoy them.

(5:24 pm)

(Good weigh-in at WW today, my fourth in a row - Lynn commented on my confidence this time out, laughingly telling the receptionists "He didn't even get his credit card out today...!", referring to the deal I've made where I pay the weekly fee if I've gained weight that week.)

Anyway back to "My Week As An Actor"...

I had a 2:00 pm call for Shameless on Monday, was called to the set maybe an hour later, and the scene was wrapped at around 6:45.

It's a pretty fun scene - in the bar, as usual (But with no Bill Macy; since his character is dying from liver failure, he hasn't been showing up at the Alibi much this season) - and other than one instance, (where I was, for a moment, so obtuse about something the DP was telling me he hung his head in frustration), it was a fun, easy-breezy scene to shoot (As Mike, who plays "Tommy", said on FB afterward, "It didn't feel like work", and for me, having it "not feel like work" is what it's all about).

Call for the first day of my Brooklyn 9-9 shoot was at 10:00 or 10:30, I forget which, on Wednesday.

(When it's a location I haven't been to before, I'm more anxious about getting to the job than the job itself, so I was very happy to discover I didn't have to deal with the freeway, and "base camp" wasn't as far as I'd imagined - It was basically a straight shot from Vermont to 39th, a left turn, then parking across from LA Memorial Coliseum.)

My dressing room was a "honey wagon", which - I'll have to check to be sure - was probably smaller than a federal prison cell. It had a sink and a toilet, but the water wasn't turned on for the individual "wagons" (Instead there was a general bathroom for the actors doing bit parts, like Yours Truly), so all having a sink and toilet did was not give me enough room to lie down (Which became kind of a desperate issue over the course of two days where I had - on both days - something to do early on, then nothing to do for a very long stretch of time, until the last shot of the day).

Got made up and did my paperwork in the first hour, and was called to the set maybe two hours after that.

For the first time in awhile, I was very nervous once I got on the set (Like "butterflies in my stomach" nervous), and for awhile, as they were finishing the previous scene, I just wandered around - trying not to dive into "crafty" out of nervousness - feeling tremendously excited, yet awkward, when I'd see one of the regulars I hadn't yet met.

But I felt myself starting to settle in once it was time to shoot my first bit - a scene with most of the regulars and the actor playing Andre Braugher's husband - and that seemed to "break the ice" (I think Melissa Fumero was the first person to actually introduce herself; Andy Samberg and I just acknowledged each other with a couple of manly nods).

The scene seemed to go well (In it, I'm basically doing my "deadpan thing", which feels like I'm not doing anything, but which people just seem to find funny).

And while I only had one line in the scripted scene, the director gave me another line to say to AS on my way out (Which the sound guy said afterward was very funny, and he was sure it would "stick" and be in the final episode).

I think we broke for lunch after that - In any case, I don't really remember anything of note happening in the interim, if there was an "interim" - and lunch was one of the highlights of the whole two-day experience.

Lunch was in a park across the street from the location, and as I got my food and went to sit down, I definitely had a "new kid in the cafeteria" moment, not sure of where to sit, or with whom (The big "debate", in my mind, was whether I could sit with the regulars, or if the guest cast would be sitting together, or what...but I hadn't met any of the guest cast at that point, and turned out most of the regulars skipped the group meal, and just had AD's bring food to their trailers).

I saw the Director at a table by himself, so I sat across from him and a ways down, so as to be "sitting at the table", but not forcing him to talk to me, and a few minutes later, Andre Braugher walked up with a tray, and sat at the table, directly across from me.

I would have assumed that if anyone was going to talk during lunch, it would have been Andre Braugher and the Director, but actually, the Director just ate his lunch, and I talked to AB for maybe 20-25 minutes as we ate.

I don't remember who broke the ice - AB might have asked me how long I'd been out here or where I was from or something like that - but I mostly just asked him about Men Of A Certain Age and Last Resort (I also asked him if he'd been approached about the Ironside remake - because he would have been such a better choice for the role than Blair Underwood - but he said he hadn't, because he'd gone directly from Last Resort to Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

He told me he took "Brooklyn" because he was "burned out on drams" (Making reference to "guns & violence"), which was an interesting perspective for me (I'm not "burned out" on comedy - I enjoy it - but I'd love to do drama, and no one sees me as "Drama Guy" out here).

So anyway, that was pretty cool. Extremely cool, actually.

Sometime after lunch, when I was hanging out at the location (In the "video village", where they had the monitors set up in the house we were shooting in), more of the cast introduced themselves to me, and I used WW as "a way in" with Terry Crews; he's a former pro athlete (He played 7 years in the NFL), and after seeing him interviewed recently, I told him I'd brought up something he'd said in the interview at a WW meeting (Re: His #1 "fitness tip" - Basically, that you have to see yourself as "a fit person" first, otherwise you won't be able to motivate yourself to eat right, get to the gym, etc).

So he and I and Dirk Blocker then had a nice conversation about "positive thinking" and "intention" and that sort of thing.

My second scene of the day, which was the last scene of the day, was with TC, and it went well (I define "going well" as "everyone seemed to be happy, and it went quickly").

So Day 1 of the shoot, beyond the initial nerves at the beginning, went very well, all-in-all.

Day 2, on the other hand...

My call was an hour or so earlier, so the traffic was a little heavier going in, but I got to "base camp" - where cast and crew park, where the trailers are set up, etc - in time to have a little breakfast, and I was probably at the location about an hour later.

For my first scene of the day, things did not go well. In fact, from my perspective, it was a nightmare.

It was a quick scene, and I only had one line - that I'd worked and worked at home, because it was kind of a mouthful - but when the time came, I kept stumbling over it, to the point where one of the other actors in the scene, in what felt like a serious "dick move", kind of "gave me the business" about it ("She's getting her line right", he said, referring to the other actor in the scene - And yes, to my additional humiliation, she was nailing her line, which was also a tough line to get out, every single time).

(I wanted to say to the actor needling me, "Yeah, if I ever come across you bleeding in the street, remind me to kick you in the nuts, asshole!". But I refrained.)

I remember, at one point, the Director gave me some direction on the line, and it was all I could do not to say, "I'm sorry, but forget about 'acting' - you're going to be lucky if I get it out in English at some point!".

Ultimately, I either got it at least once, or they decided it wasn't enough of a scene to keep fucking around with, but it's the worst moment I've had on a set in at least the past couple years (I was afraid at any moment they were going to come in and tell me they were changing, or dropping, the line. I'm still afraid I'm going to get called in to loop the line in post-production).

I wasn't exactly in the mood to hang around the set after that (Besides, I'd already had my "face time" with the two actors I was most interested in meeting/talking to, and didn't want to make a pest of myself), so when the AD suggested I could go back to "base camp", I did.

That turned out to be a terrible mistake.

I've been doing this now for awhile, but I'm still constantly having to "figure things out".

For example, realizing that - in my position, anyway - unless you really need to lie down and rest between scenes (To do a good job when it's time to do your job), or you really need to attend to other business during your down-time, you shouldn't hang out in your trailer when you aren't working.

You aren't making any "connections" hanging out by yourself in your trailer; If I'd done that the first day, I wouldn't have had lunch with Andre Braugher, or had that nice conversation with Terry Crews and Dirk Blocker (Dan Blocker's son, for those who were wondering), and I wouldn't have met Joe Lo Truglio (When we were all hanging out in the "Video Village". I thought that was very nice of him, by the way, since we weren't really even working together).

But I was bummed and embarrassed over how my first scene of the day had gone, I didn't want AB or TC to think I was "glomming onto them", hoping for more of their time by "hanging around", and I was very tired, and worried about how my next scene would go if I didn't get some rest.

But here's the thing - You can't be a 6'2", 225 lb man and get any "rest" in a fucking coffin-sized "honey wagon" (They're not even comfortable to sit in - It's basically just designed to be a place to change your clothes, and at my size, it's even a little uncomfortable doing that).

I wished I could have just gone home for awhile - It was a good seven or eight hours between my first scene of the day and my second (Like the first day, my last scene of the day was literally "the last scene of the day") - but there I was, alternately trying to figure out how to lie down (At one point, I was lying down, with my legs up, heels on the wall), reading, checking my email on my phone over and over again, checking for WIFI (I was told they didn't have any for the production - kind of hard to believe, but so be it), and walking around and around...and around...and around...the parking lot, which was across the street from LA Memorial Coliseum.

Probably should have just asked to be taken back to the set at some point, but I don't like to ask for things from anyone on the set unless I really need whatever-it-is (I'm all about being "Mr Agreeable" on set).

But again, lunch was nice; this time, I ate with Dirk and Joel, who play "Hitchcock" and "Scully" on the show (My last scene was with them, and Harvey, another co-star actor).

They were very nice, very much "regular guys", and as older, white male character actors, I felt a certain "affinity" with them, in the sense that, no one's going to ask me to front a series, but it still feels possible, like it was for the two of them, to book a "series regular" role somewhere within an "ensemble cast".

Eventually, it was time to do my final scene.

As a scene, it was fairly simple - Only seven lines between three of us - but it was interesting, because it entailed the three of us watching someone singing, so they shot the three of us talking without him singing, a shot of him starting out singing, then miming the rest, and him singing, while we mimed doing the dialogue. It'll be interesting to see all that "come together".

And that was pretty much it.

Oh, two quick things I want to get in...

1) The very first person I talked to on the set was Gregory, TC's stand-in, who was very nice (Pretty much all my experiences with stand-ins have been very pleasant, for whatever reason). I also talked at some length to the female security guard on the set, whose name I've forgotten, but who was very nice as well. They were an important part of my experience, in part because I could express concerns to them that wouldn't be appropriate to share with the Director or series regulars, not to mention, those people on a set often have some interesting insight on things.

2) On the afternoon of the first day, the writer of the episode introduced himself, and complimented me on my work (I'd finished my first scene at that point).

I told him I'd actually had the wrong idea on the scene going in, and had just followed the re-direction of the CD (Which is true), and he said, "Well, then you were the only one who did - I saw you and said, 'Yeah, there it is'".

(I think it's only fair that if I'm gonna "tell on myself" when things don't go well, that I also "tell on myself" when they do.)

So that was "My week in acting".

I'm a little uncomfortable writing about it the way I have - I feel like people want to just hear that it was a blast and I felt great and all that, and not hear me complain about anything - but it's my journal, and I have to "write it like I see it".

Besides, it struck me after the fact that the "issues" I had with the "Brooklyn" shoot - primarily the tiny trailer and the huge amount of "down time" - would be largely alleviated by one simple thing, which is "Moving up the ladder" (Being more successful would even allow me to afford a smart phone and/or tablet, to "ease the pain" of "excessive lag-time" when it did happen).

But there's a "down-side" to starting to "move up the ladder" (Which I'm not sure I'm doing here...but it is a bigger bit on a sit-com than I've done to date), which is basically, "The more you do, the more chance there is to mess up...and have people notice".

But if you want something to happen, you've gotta have the courage to "put it out there", knowing that, sometimes, you're going to fall on your ass.

But hopefully, not this time...!


previous - next

1 comments so far
about me - read my profile! read other Diar
yLand diaries! recommend my diary to a friend! Get
 your own fun + free diary at!