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9:12 pm - Sat 4.27.2013
One Funny And Charming "Trained Monkey"

One Funny And Charming "Trained Monkey"

The "True Blood" shoot was yesterday.

At evening's end (Which was early morning), I signed a "confidentiality agreement", so I need to be very general about what I say regarding the episodes themselves.

"General" as in "I probably shouldn't say anything".

So I'll just say, since this is my journal, and thus understandably "Jim-centric", that my role is very small, but spread out over the two episodes.

For purposes of my getting paid - and more on that shortly - My bit will be credited as a "co-star"...but in my mind, it would really be more accurate to call me a "featured extra".

I went in Thursday morning for a fitting - as I believe I've already mentioned in my previous entry - and in hindsight, I wish I'd walked-around a bit more in the shoes they had for me; on Friday, the longer the day went on, the more they hurt.

And "the day went on" for a long time; my call time was 12:30 pm, and I wasn't released till sometime after 2:00 am.

Honestly, it was really tough.

I was dog-tired, my back was seriously rebelling from standing all day, and as a souvenir of the shoot, I have a blister on my left big toe and a raw patch behind my right heel from "The Cruel Shoes", as I came to think of them (The shoes were also a big part of the backache; with my flat feet, I really need shoes with great arch-support, or else standing and/or walking around goes bad for me in a hurry).

So, physically it was tough.

And acting-wise? Well, I didn't really do any acting, "wise" or not.

And that was tough; I came out here to act, after all, not be a glorified extra.

But on the other hand...

My experience with the very lovely wardrobe ladies on Thursday was echoed throughout Friday's shoot.

Troy (My fellow co-star), Nick (Who helped me with wardrobe stuff on-set), Luis (My makeup guy between takes), Trevor & Nate (The stand-ins), Howard and Scott (The two Directors of the episodes), and too many other people to name, were very nice, and very solicitous of me.

(I was impressed that both Directors made a point of complimenting me on my work, both during the shoot and afterward. Scott - the director of the 2nd of the two episodes - even told me he'd hoped after my audition that they'd write more of a part for me, throwing me the bone of suggesting it was possible I'd maybe come back.)

Like me, Trevor (Alexander Skarsgards' stand-in) and Nate (Who was my stand-in for the evening) had a lot of time on their hands where they weren't needed, so I talked to both of them at some length at different points during the shoot - good guys.

And while I didn't interact with Alexander Skarsgard or Lucy Griffiths - The series regulars who were the center of the scenes in question during the shoot - for most of the day, in the latter part of the evening, when we were pretty much the only actors still working, I got to chat and joke around with them a bit, which made me feel really good and which they seemed to enjoy as well; I might not have felt like much of an "actor" in terms of actually acting yesterday, but it was pretty cool that I got to joke around with a couple of the series regulars as if we were all "just folks".

And the food was pretty damned great...though in my current, over-my-goal-weight situation, that was something of a "double-edged sword".

And speaking of "pretty damned great" - in terms of money, it's going to be a pretty damned great payday; I'm getting paid around $300 over "scale" for each episode, not to mention racking up some serious overtime (Honestly, that's what kept me going when I was dead on my aching feet, with my back killing me - I kept saying to myself, "Jim, this is going to be one sweet payday...!").

And in general, I think I acquitted myself pretty well (One embarrassing "glitch" - I thought at one point that we'd broken for dinner, when it turned out that some people had been given the okay to break for dinner, but not me...Ooops!). While I didn't really have any "acting stuff" to do, I had more "business" than normally, and at times, that felt pretty nerve-wracking (Since a couple of the bits of business were not things I typically do, and they had to "time out" with other things that were happening, not to mention me having to look like I knew what I was doing).

But far as I could tell, I did a good job - having to be pulled from my too-early dinner notwithstanding - of not being the thing that "gums up the works", which as I've often said, is one of my driving desires when I'm doing a gig.

And whatever the tedium and fatigue and physical discomfort, I was unfailingly polite and charming, handing out a lot of genuine "thank-yous", and I'm guessing, probably making Alex and Lucy's night a little more bearable with some well-placed humor.

Of course, I'm me, so I want perfection out of an experience like this - I think that's a hazard of bookings being such rare-and-precious things - but be that as it may, on balance, I've gotta put this in the "win" column, big-time.

It struck me yesterday that, in the case of a role like this, where a trained monkey could do what's required, being pleasant and courteous and (If one has one) skillfully employing ones sense of good-natured humor, is all you've got in order to make yourself memorable, and worth hiring again.

I would say this particular "trained monkey" - who got paid very well to be a "trained monkey" - definitely made himself "worth hiring again" yesterday.

So "Yay!" me. :)


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