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9:15 AM - Mon 8.13.18

My Busy Week (Which Is Probably, Like, Your Normal Week)

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it...?

Since I last wrote, I spent a week rehearsing for the staged reading of my friend Liz's PTSD musical Look For Me, and working two days on Shameless episode #908,

The Look For Me performance was on Thursday (Which reminds me - I haven't deposited my check yet. I should do that today).

I'm actually glad it's taken me a while to write an entry because I was working on one during the first couple days of rehearsal, and...well let's just say it wouldn't have shown me at my best, as a person or an actor.

For some reason, the experience "pushed my buttons", to a shocking degree - I knew there'd be some initial anxiety (Over meeting a new group of people and doing my first theatrical/musical thing in nearly two decades), but I wasn't prepared to be flat-out miserable (At one point I wrote "This musical about PTSD is gonna give me PTSD...!").

So what was the problem?

Mainly, I think the social/performance anxiety was greater than I'd anticipated, and it took days for me to work through it.

And to be honest with you, and myself, my actor's ego got in the way big-time.

For example, I was somewhat perturbed when one of my roles was given to someone else, theoretically because of staging.

Then when another one was taken away, this time without explanation, I was a heartbeat away from quitting altogether - and I mean immediately walking out - because I was already unhappy and feeling like "I wasn't doing anything". (Which wasn't true - I was not playing a main role, but Liz had given me more to do than anyone else in the chorus, quantitatively at least, and I think the Director wanted to "spread the wealth").

And what fixed the problem?

One thing that helped, a couple days in, was when we started rehearsing the group numbers. I haven't sung in a group in years, and doing that reminded me how much I enjoy it (I've been a bass since I was 11 or 12 years old, which has often been a source of frustration - while I have "a good voice", in a pop/rock world, there's always been a lot I can't sing - but choral singing, whether in church or community theater or what-have-you, made me feel like I really had something to "bring to the table" musically).

And while I never bonded with the group as a whole - a lot of whom already knew each other (A number of them work at Disney together, or knew each other from previous shows) - I did eventually connect with a couple of my fellow cast members, and that made a difference. I didn't end up feeling like "Big Man On Campus", but I didn't feel (so much) like "Odd Man Out" either.

And I did a lot of "talking to myself" - About how it was "only a week", how I needed to be "doing things like this" as an actor, how I didn't "deserve" to have more of a role, even if there'd actually been one in the show for me, how this was a good chance to "get my feet wet" (I was working with professional musical performers, and as I've said, I haven't performed musically in the better part of 20 years), etc.

And when I emailed Liz to ask why the 2nd role had been reassigned, she told me what I told you, and that altered my perspective - I wasn't a lead (Something I've been jonesing-for for a long time that - let's be honest - is probably never gonna happen), but it just wasn't true that I "wasn't doing anything".

Then, just as I was starting to "get my mind right" about the whole thing, I got notice I was shooting two days on Shameless...and the first day was the night of the show.

Now if the shoot had been one day, for one scene, it very likely wouldn't pose a problem - those calls are usually in the morning, and we're often done by lunch, or mid-afternoon at the latest - but shooting multiple scenes over the course of two days suggested to me that it would be two long days, and I wouldn't be able to guarantee I'd be able to make the show.

So I called Liz to let her know I had to bow out.

I even went so far as to have a musical friend call Liz and offer his services as my replacement (A 2nd Tenor almost 20 years younger than me, but "any port in a storm"). He was told they would probably just end up splitting up my stuff amongst the other cast members.

Then I got the Shameless script and saw that I was in four scenes, followed by the tentative shoot schedule that had only one of those scenes shooting on Thursday.

I'd also had some back-and-forth with the AD, before the tentative schedule came out (because "time was of the essence"), explaining my situation, and asking if she thought I'd be released in time to do the show (She said that, while the schedule could always get changed, barring unseen circumstances, I was probably good to go).

So I forwarded the AD's email to Liz and Elise (The Director), saying "how do you want to proceed?" (And the answer was basically to split my stuff amongst various cast members, so if I made it, great, and if I didn't, they had a Plan B. which seemed imminently reasonable)

Honestly, for a hot minute, it had struck me that I had an iron-clad excuse to bail if I wanted to...but it turned out, I didn't want to, not if I didn't have to.

I was really uncomfortable initially, but I thought it was important to see the thing through, for myself (To have successfully "worked through" my discomfort and dis-ease), for Liz (Who'd been nice enough to include me), and for the group (People were already going on with a week of rehearsal, so no one really needed more things to do last-minute).

So I made it Thursday night, the show went on, and while it wasn't magical (Not gonna get into a review of the show or the production here, but one week of prep - where we almost never had everyone there at the same time - was never gonna allow for "magical"), it wasn't bad. I had some fun, I made a little money (Or at least didn't lose money), and was ultimately glad I had "seen it through", and that everything worked out.


They're using me a lot on Shameless this season (I've been in seven out of eight episodes so far, and I'm on deck for the 9th), and #908 is the second time I've worked two days on an episode.

Thursday was fun, even though I didn't have much to do in the scene, in part because it involved both Bill Macy and Emmy Rossum (Bill I've worked with a lot now. Emmy Rossum not so much).

(We also had a Director who's done the show a couple times before - she also directed the Bosch episode I was in last year - who I like)

I didn't really act with either of them but just having them there sort of "elevated things" (And - not to get too pervy here - Emmy Rossum is very pleasant to look at).

And it was just the second scene of the day, so we were out before lunch, if I remember correctly. In any case, I had all the time in the world between the show and the reading that night, which was nice.

Friday was a bigger day for me, and we had a couple guest actors, which made things more interesting.

The only downside on Friday was that, because I'd gotten home from the reading at nearly midnight, and had to get up at 5:15 am for my call time, I was tired and basically gave up even the pretense of moderation at craft services - It was quite possibly the worst "eating day" I've had since joining Weight Watchers ten years ago. (Seriously, it struck me that something sick was going on with how much I was shoving down my throat, when long after I was "full" I just kept on shoving).

At one point Kyoko, one of the guest actors (Who's on for the next episode as well), was expressing her pleasure at what a nice set we had, how everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and it struck me that I kind of take pride in that (Even if little of that is actually on me).

I remember before I had a set to call "home", how uncomfortable it was to perpetually be "The New Guy". So, that said, I do make a point, in my own small way, of being welcoming if/when I'm working with someone new.

Well, there's actually more I want to write about the past week, because I found my response to being "busy" interesting, on multiple fronts.

But if I did that, I wouldn't be napping (Then maybe getting dishes done, taking out the trash, getting in a workout, and working on voiceover stuff before Zumba tonight).

So, till next time...


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