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

10:52 PM - Weds 9.16.20

The Shameless 'New Normal"

Well, instead of this, I was going to do a podcast tonight, since I haven't done one in a while.

But apparently my delicate psyche isn't up to the challenge right now - I started recording, and as soon as I stumbled over my words a sentence or two in, I started beating myself up.


(But I don't want to make this about that, so moving on...)

Well, after a very long wait - We were supposed to start shooting back in mid-March - I finally shot the first episode of Shameless (Season 11) on Monday and Tuesday.

I'd wondered about "The New Normal", (i.e. shooting during COVID-19). Months back I'd read some articles speculating on how productions would move forward, and the Shameless producers started giving us more of the low-down during the table reads, but I still wondered, "What is this going to feel like? Just how weird is it gonna be?".

Well, to start with, the process actually started at home - I had to do a five-question COVID "assessment" on a special "Health Passcode" website, with questions like, "Do you have a fever?", "Have you french-kissed someone with COVID today?", that sort of thing (The successful completion of the assessment gives you a green check-marked "pass" you have to show to get in the parking structure, then again to go onto the lot).

(To be honest, having to park across the street from the lot made me a little sad, since that was where I'd had to park when I first auditioned for the show, a million years ago now. Parking on the actual lot always felt like a "badge of honor". But let's be real here - COVID has taken way more than that from a lot of folks.)

After getting onto the lot, I then had to check-in for my COVID test, at a station set up across from the soundstage.

I'd been mildly worried about the actual test when told they insert a very long Q-tip way up your nose - I knew I could deal, of course, but I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.

So it was reassuring when our "COVID Set Liason" said the test we'd be doing was not "the brain tickler", as she called it, but just five or six swirls inside each nostril - The test on Monday was my second, and like the first one, a week or so previous, it was more "ticklish" than anything.

Far as I know, that's going to be the basic procedure for the duration of the season (Though I might have days where I have to drive to the lot just to take the test since we have to be tested three times a week).

When I was shown my dressing room, in addition to a welcome-back fruit basket, there was a bag containing what I first thought were some electronic toys and what-not, but were actually a box of gloves, N95 masks,face-shields, wet-wipes and hand-sanitizer (I was a little disappointed till I realized, "What did you think would be in that bag that you don't have, Jim? You've got more crap than you need already. Be happy you got a fruit basket, ya greedy bastard!".

(The "basket" part of the fruit basket turned out to be a large ceramic flower-pot - Which, since I have no yard, my apartment gets virtually no natural light, and I've killed what few plants I've had over the years, means I now have to think of what the hell to do with a big-ass ceramic flowerpot. But anyway...)

My wardrobe was left outside my door - because once I'm in my dressing room, I guess I'm the only one who's supposed to go in or out of it (Barring some elaborate cleansing ritual beforehand).

The other big thing - big to me, anyway - is that Craft Services are now not on the soundstage, but under/in a makeshift plastic tarp set up across the way. More along the lines of a kiosk than a buffet.

...which in my case, isn't all bad - Because while, on the one hand, "crafty" is one of my favorite things about working on TV, on the other hand..."crafty" is one of my favorite things about working on TV.

(If you catch my drift.)

If you give a food junkie access to food all day long, placing it in a spot where he's going to pass it dozens of times during the day (A day typically punctuated by numerous stretches of inactivity)...that can be a problem.

So having it be out-of-sight, even if still quite close by, did actually slow me down - That, and having to ask for anything I wanted, as opposed to just "grazing" (I still managed to overeat - On neither day did I need the sandwiches that were available mid-morning, maybe two hours before lunch - and I had too many Coke Zeroes as if water were suddenly not an option. But I had no junk food, and made very healthy choices when I did eat).

After the COVID-related differences, there was a bit of a "same old, same old" feel when I waited for hours before doing my thing (My call time was 9 am and I didn't get called to set till 2:15).

Everyone is wearing masks - The crew all the time, and the actors when they aren't shooting - and while it still feels like there are a lot of people on set (In spite of efforts to minimize contact by departments working in shifts and what-have-you), it struck me at some point during shooting, "If I get COVID under these circumstances, it was just 'meant to be'").

I guess there's still an element of risk (ex. Having to trust that everyone involved in the production is going to behave themselves during their off time). But that said, I didn't spend a lot of time during the shoot worrying about getting sick.

And the shoot was fun, particularly on Tuesday - While Monday had the excitement of being "the first day back", I simply had more (and more interesting) things to do on Tuesday.

I was particularly pleased at the end of the day Tuesday when we wrapped.

The Director was going around to people, saying, "Good job, good job"...but when he got to me, he said, "Good job - Terrific job, actually".

That was very gratifying - I was very cognizant of getting to do a little more "acting" in the episode than I typically do on the show, so it meant a lot to feel the Director had taken note of my work.

So Episode #1101 is in the books.

I'm shooting the second episode tomorrow, and #3 on Monday and Tuesday (After that, I don't know what's next - I'm not in #4 and have heard nothing beyond that).

On my day off yesterday, I decided to go to Target to go clothes shopping (Sadly, I had an audition I couldn't do yesterday because I was working. But
"the audition that wasn't meant-to-be " made me realize I've gotten so fucking fat - I've been living in sweat pants and gym shorts for most of the year - I can't get into any of my pre-pandemic clothes. Which would pose a problem if I got an audition for a character described as "Man who wears pants".

So I went to Target.

And to my horror, I couldn't find anything in the size I needed.

Not at Target.

Not at Old Navy.

Not at Ross.

Not at Marshall's.

I bought a couple of fat-guy shirts at Target and two pairs of "jogging pants" that, in dim light, if you didn't have to tuck your shirt in, could be mistaken for regular pants.

But there were no actual "regular pants" in my current gigantic size to be found.

I'm still kind of stunned.

I was very depressed at this realization - I don't cry alone very often, and I didn't on this occasion either...but I felt pretty weepy inside.

(The other thing that made the Target trip pretty unsatisfying was that I couldn't "pull the trigger" on a SodaStream - Every since my friend Josh posted an article on Facebook about how plastic recycling isn't really a thing, and likely never will be, I've felt guilty about all my Coke Zeroes and bottled waters. But depending on the model, a SodaStream is anywhere from $90 - 130 and I couldn't make myself do it, opting to buy a couple cases of canned sparkling water instead.)

Well, I think that's all I've got.

And if there's anything else, it'll keep.

Till next time...




previous - next

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