10:18 PM - Sat 10.03.15
Got a text from my brother Gregg this afternoon, saying "Call me. It's semi-important".
So I did.
And it was actually not "semi-important" - It was just flat-out "important".
I don't want to get too personal about his deal here, because I don't know his comfort level with that sort of thing - Let's just say he's not well, it's pretty serious, and he will be having surgery this coming week.
He seemed upbeat, and in surprisingly good spirits. all things considered - He feels good about his doctor, he's got a lot of support from family and friends, and he has his faith (He mentioned that a number of "prayer circles" were operating on his behalf - regarding that, I said, "I think you know I'm not religious...but in this case, I'd be very happy to be wrong").
I was definitely more upbeat with him than I would ever manage to be for myself in the same situation, but I am worried.
It's serious stuff.
And even though I've never met Gregg, we have talked any number of times on the phone now, and I feel like it's safe to say we like each other, and like that we've gained a "brother" in middle-age.
I hope he's going to be okay (I'm going to make sure I touch base with him again before the surgery, and his wife is going to let me know how things go on the day).
So, not being religious, I'll just say, "Please keep him in your thoughts this coming week", if you'd be so kind.
Shot my latest episode of Shameless yesterday...
Typically, a Shameless shoot, for me, can be as short as a few hours, or as long as seven or eight, depending on what's being done.
Yesterday's shoot lasted for twelve.
I wasn't used to it, and even some of the series regulars were making passive-aggressive jokes about how long it was taking...so apparently, they weren't used to it either.
I went from enjoying myself (When I was doing my little three-lines in a group scene), to wrestling with fatigue and boredom (At one point, I remember thinking, "Jim, no one would be paying you to be tired and bored at home, so 'suck it up'!"), to wrestling with craft services like I haven't in a very long time (And losing badly), to sitting at the bar while a scene was going on - the second of my two scenes for the day - kind of wishing I were dead.
I've been joking in the time since that the experience has made me re-think the whole "Series Regular" fantasy (Though I do think the day wouldn't have weighed quite so heavily upon me if I had actually been working most of the time).
On the ride home, it struck me - There's nothing I enjoy doing that I would enjoy doing for 12 hours straight.
They're going to Chicago this coming week - And when I say "They're" going, that means I'm not (Though there will be one more trip at the end of the shooting schedule, so who knows?).
After that, I'm back for episode #7, which is gonna shoot sometime from the 12th-20th.
That makes five episodes for me so far, and even though I've told myself over and over that this is not a helpful line of thought (Because it can only lead to disappointment), I think it would be fun if I got at least two more episodes, because that would break my record (Of six episodes, in the 4th season).
One thing I thought was interesting - I watched Macy during that second scene I was in (The last major scene of the day), and while he was clearly tired, like everyone else, and laughed at some of the joking over how long it was taking, he didn't say a cross word himself, "joking" or otherwise.
Even more interesting, at one point I listened in on the Director - who was maybe half Macy's age. giving him notes, and at least in one instance, an out-and-out line reading.
To this actor, it was a pretty corny line-reading, and it looked to me like Macy thought so too.
But again, he didn't give the guy any attitude, just said, "Okay, I'll give it a shot" - or words to that effect - and did it on the next take.
I think he could have been forgiven if he'd said, "Kid, I've been doing this character for six years now, I think I know how to play him", but he didn't. He was malleable, willing to give the Director what he was looking for in the scene.
I was impressed with the professionalism, and lack of ego (I'm going to try and remember that when a Director is giving me a line reading I don't agree with someday).
10/4/15 (1:13 pm)
Well, in less than 24 hours, I'll be shooting the commercial...
I feel myself - like I did on the Shameless set on Friday - trying-on various "mental strategies" to deal with the situation.
It's difficult-bordering-on-impossible to not try and predict how things will go, in order to ease my anxiety...but I think that's unwise - Literally all I know is the basic scenario, nothing else - so I'm just telling myself to be happy and agreeable to any and everything I can (All the while knowing I have my agent's permission to be "That Guy" - the one who complains about something that isn't right when no one else is speaking up - if I have to be).
I'm nervous. I can't deny it.
But I think the two things I can say to myself, however things go tomorrow - whether it's all weird and funny, uncomfortable, chaotic, long and tedious, or anything in between - is that 1) I'm looking to keep myself on an even-keel, professionally, even if things seem to be going a little "sideways", and 2) However things go, and however I feel, I am very likely to be alive and kicking at day's end (Not to mention a little wealthier).
To say the very least, it will be interesting to see what happens...
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