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1:45 am - 05.22.2008
No Acting Required

No Acting Required

Where to start...?

Well, I did my film gig on Tuesday - at a location in Santa Clarita, literally a block away from Cary and Kay’s house - and I’ve realized something; I really have to stop bragging about booking things before I know exactly what it is I’ve booked.

When Vicki called me on my birthday, to say the people doing this film (Off Hollywood) had seen me in a commercial and wanted to book me, without an audition, for the small role of “Undertaker”...well, here’s what I wrote yesterday, while at the gig:

When Vicki called me about this, I assumed the part of “Undertaker” was an actual part (A small part, mind you, but a part nevertheless).

It’s not.

It’s “background”, a.k.a. “atmosphere”.

(a.k.a. I’m an extra).

When I finally got the script last night (I was supposed to have gotten it days before ), I was deeply disappointed - forget about having lines; my “part”, if you want to call it that, wasn’t even indicated in the script.

But even though I’m just an extra, the director liked my “look” well enough that they’re paying me the “principal” rate for a SAG “modified low-budget” feature ($268), which is about twice what I’d be getting as an extra.

So, while my search for satisfying acting work continues, and this isn’t going to be anything to add to my reel or put on my resume, or anything that means anything to me, at least it’s gotten me out of my apartment, and I’m getting paid, and I’ll get a free meal or two in the bargain (Editors note: for breakfast I had an eqq-white & veggie scramble, and for lunch, a chicken breast stuffed with red peppers, in some sort of mustard sauce, steamed broccoli, and a salad with vinaigrette dressing).

But I have to be honest - money notwithstanding, I’m still not over my sense of disappointment, and my feeling of having been hoodwinked (Editors note: ...and my embarrassment over having bragged about something that was nothing to brag about at all).

(After reading the script, I almost decided not to do it - that’s how “disappointed” I was. And I did call Vicki afterwards, to tell her that, in the future, I’m not interested in doing extra work.)

Right now, I’m in my trailer, which is bigger than the “honey wagons” I’ve been put up in on some other occasions.

(As I came in and got situated, it struck me that this space, with a higher ceiling - for a sleeping loft and storage area - is probably about the size of some of the Tumbleweed “tiny houses” I’ve checked out online.)

My call time was 9:00 a.m., but in my desire to be on time/terror of being late, I ended up getting here a half-hour early (It’s now 11:15; I’m in wardrobe, which is all stuff I brought from home, and I’ve been through makeup, so now I’m just hanging out, waiting to be called to the set).

I don’t think I’ve worn the black suit jacket I’m wearing since starting Weight Watchers, so I feel like I’m swimming in it. But the wardrobe person said it was fine, and that I could wear it open, which helps (I’m wearing a pair of my black Dickies work pants, so I’m all set “down below”).

I read the entire script last night (I don’t know why, but I did).

Here’s the plot:

As I was in the middle of breaking down the plot - which I’m not going to do now, because really, who cares? - I was called to the set, to do my bit: Along with another “Undertaker”, I close the back door of a hearse (we’re hauling away the body of one of the supporting characters, which you don’t see), then walk out of frame. Then you hear the two of us getting in the hearse, and driving away.

That’s it.

(We didn’t actually get in the hearse - we just opened and closed the doors. Then some production guys pushed the hearse out-of-frame; the sound of the hearse starting up and pulling way will be added post-production.)

There was the usual waiting for things to get set, and the usual waiting to be told you’re “released”, so while a couple takes of the scene containing my little bit of action took maybe ten minutes all told, I was “on set” for about two hours, during which time I watched the real actors rehearse, chatted with Steven (the other “Undertaker”, who was my age, but looked easily ten years younger), and just stood around.

(The first AD actually released us two “Undertakers” while we were having lunch, which is how my last job - doing re-shoots for the AT&T spot - ended as well, with lunch.)

I imagine some of you reading this are thinking “What’s Jim’s problem?”; I got paid quite well for doing nothing, they fed me, and I was done by early afternoon.

Well, that’s all good, it really is (Though to be honest, with the year almost half over, I need bigger scores than $238).

But I didn’t come out here to “get paid quite well for doing nothing”.

I came out here to act.

And seven years is a long time to wait, especially when there’s no end of waiting in sight.


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