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9:23 am - Sun 4/15/07
A Good Time To Be Me (aka \"The Snickers Shoot\")

A Good Time To Be Me (aka "The Snickers Shoot")

(As I begin, I'm listening to the episode commentaries on the 5th Season box set of The Shield...)

I know some people who read this really enjoy the "on the set" entries, so I'll give you what I've got for the Snickers job (Skipping most of the "getting the gig" stuff, which I already covered in my last entry):

Fri 4/12/07 (7:30 a.m.)

(In Westchester, on the set of the Snickers commercial)

The second callback for this was weird; no acting, really, just them taking a lot of digital photos, as the director manipulated my face this way and that, trying to approximate how I'd look with the prosthetics they had in mind.

They'd actually cast someone else for the "Dad"--the producer and director had wanted me, but the client wanted him--but they let him go, after two days of prosthetic makeup tests, when they weren't happy with how he "matched up" with the two actors playing the kids (The thing that killed me? The person doing my hair told me they'd colored and straightened his hair, cut a "bald spot" out of it, and really "effed him up", as she put it. So while I was happy to get the gig--don't get me wrong--I really sympathized with the other guy; bad enough losing the job, but to have them "eff you up", and possibly cost you thousands of dollars in lost auditions/bookings...? Well, let's just say I was glad I had the Coldstone job, so they couldn't "eff me up", then fire me. But anyway...).

After taking the pictures, they asked me to step out while they discussed things (I think they also photoshopped me into a picture with the two guys who were playing the brothers, to see how we "matched up").

So I chatted with Cary on a little bench outside their conference room, till they called me back in and told me I had the gig. Then they immediately had me trying on jogging suits and what-have-you, taking photos of each "look".

I'm not sure how long the whole thing took (Maybe an hour...?).

(11:30 a.m.)

I've been made up (I didn't know about the prosthetics at the initial audition; a Neanderthal-ish "brow ridge", tape behind my ears to make them stick out, and rings up my nose to make my nostrils bigger. In addition to the regular makeup, and spraying my hair and mustache for a more reddish-brown hue), and now I've gone from the "base camp" to the "set", which is a field by what appears to be a junior high or elementary school(As my "wife" watches our two kids play soccer, while eating a delicious Snickers Dark chocolate bar).

So far, I've done maybe a half-dozen takes of my entrance, while being fed different lines and actions from the director. But the spot's really about the mom and the kids (To give you some indication of the spot's focus, its called "Brothers". Not "Dad". But anyway...).

When I first got here, I was talking briefly to the director, and he told me two things I thought were pretty cool-1) He recently saw my "Bahamavention" commercial at some screening of award-nominated spots, and 2)He mentioned how some other spot he'd done--I forget for what now, but something comparable to this one--ran for over two years (And that, my friends, is a commercial actor's wet-dream--a long-running national commercial).

I'm having "cell phone withdrawal", since I plugged my phone into the charger while getting ready today...then promptly forgot about it (Editors note: I was happy the phone was still working when I got home).

I'm thinking about money a lot right now, but not in the usual way; with three spots running, and another two "in the can" by the end of next week, it would certainly seem I'm "set" for the year (And we're only two weeks into April, so how cool is that?). So now the question becomes, "What happens next?".

(3:30 p.m.)

Lunch was nice--Grilled chicken with some sort of mustard-based sauce (very tasty), savory brown rice with bits of pecan, a mixed-greens salad, apple pie, and bottled water (My "two flavored drinks a day" limit is being sorely tested today, but so far so good).

I was able to borrow a cell phone from someone in production and check my messages (One from the ENT doctors office, to reschedule my appointment--I should have known I'd book this gig once I scheduled a doctor's appointment today--and one from the Coldstone people, asking me not to shave from now till the shoot next week).

(The second AD just took me aside, to tell me they'd wanted to have me in more setups, but were running out of time, so I might just end up in the one they're working on now.)

The idea that I'm not really "featured" in the spot doesn't bother me, surprisingly enough (Not as long as I'm in the spot, anyway). The "wife" is pretty much "the hero", and the "brothers" (Who look great--a visual cross between "Napoleon Dynamite" and the Geico cavemen)are the lion's-share of the comedy.

I'm the "button", I guess you could say.

(4:30 p.m.)

Still shooting...

We've just hit 8 hours, so anything from here on is OT.

I had another few minutes of filming earlier. I don't know if that's going to be it for me or not, but I know we're getting down to the end of things here (Editor's note: I was right--We wrapped an hour later).

Starting to think about going home...

I've lost my card for the parking ramp at ArcLight, which sucks (I've become pretty dependent on being able to park there lately).

Well, it feels a little skimpy as I read it back, but that's what I wrote down while things were going on...

It really should be a fun spot. I don't feel much "ownership" of it at this point--I didn't do very much, as I said--but Victoria, playing the mom, did a nice job, and I thought the two guys playing the brothers were pretty friggin' funny (If they don't already get a lot of theatrical stuff, this could get them a lot of auditions for nerdy brothers)

I don't know if this is the right term, but at one point, I saw a "storyboard" of stills from what was being shot (As opposed to the "storyboards" that are drawn before the shoot), and there were two stills from the stuff they shot with me (So even if, like at the "Bahamavention" shoot, I was sometimes afraid I wasn't giving them what they wanted, they obviously got something they could use).

So here we are.

It's hard not to be pretty darned excited about this turn of events--five commercial bookings in less than five months--but I still feel the need to guard myself from over-exuberance; this Snickers gig should be a huge national--maybe bigger than Propel--but it could run and be pulled quickly (If the client thinks it doesn't "work"), or not aired at all.

The experience the "other guy" just had--thinking he'd booked a great gig, then being fired--shows me that you can pretty much never be certain of your good fortune in this business.

But that said, I'd have to say, right here, right now, that it's a good time to be me.

I want to actually "act", to be sure, and won't be truly happy till that starts to happen. But in the meantime? Making beaucoup bucks from commercials is not a bad "consolation prize".


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