Monday, December 15, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I'm a big fan of Six Feet Under so was excited to see Rachel Griffiths, but apparently she is a huge diva. I think it may be an Australian thing cause Poppy on Without a Trace is also very difficult and you can't walk in her eye line. (This seems so funny ever since Christian Bale's explosion on set). Rachel also used to do these breathing exercises before each take that would take forever and drive the crew insane, but she's settled down some this season. A lot of the actors were sick so she was on heavy drugs too that made her completely out of it. I wonder if she was hallucinating...it seemed like it.
The coolest part of the day was walking around on the Disney lot during lunch and seeing them film a special effects scene for Lost. It was part of the plane against a green screen and bits of it was on fire. Very neat. Maybe I should get into special effects. It seemed so fun.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I had bought a new suit a few months ago because I was tired of wardrobe commenting on how the my last suit's jacket was too short or it was too light. I went to buy a nice Theory coal colored pin stripe suit at It's a Wrap which is a store that sells used wardrobe from television and movies. It's about a $600 suit that I got for $70. Not too shabby. But for some reason, I had never bothered to look in the pockets, which were mostly stitched up, until today. I felt a little bump in my right butt cheek pocket and decided to investigate. What I pulled out was a white powdery round tablet about the size of a pill. I showed it to another guy on set and he told me that it looked like ecstasy laced with heroin. ( I later looked up online that they don't lace ecstasy with heroin. ) He also guessed that the pants came from Jennifer Love Hewitt. Apparently I look the same size as her. I was flattered, sure, since she is a size 4 and makes a lot of male top ten attractive bodies lists, but I just had to remind him that I was about 4 inches taller and the pants were not hemmed at all. I was completely floored that I, Mary Howard, had been walking around with ecstasy in my pocket for months! What if I had been stopped by a cop and searched? I believed him of course because frankly, that's exactly what it looked like to me as well. The edges were too powdery to be a regular pill and why would someone have a random pill in their pocket. I also noticed from experience that it was not tylenol or any other form of advil or aspirin which is the only pill that makes sense to have on oneself.
Luckily for us, there was a reformed drug addict on set named Christian who could shine a light on the situation. After his careful analysis of sniffing and scratching at it with his fingernail before licking the debris, he told us it looked like a dry cleaned breath mint. He didn't rule out ecstasy, he just gave us a more likely substitute. I still wasn't convinced. There is only one real way to find out. Any takers?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
What also made this day great was the fact that I saw Charlie again. I hadn't seen him since Race to Witch Mountain. He didn't recognize me of course since he had never seen me out of costume, but after teasing him awhile, he figured it out. He told me I should work on True Blood, and he just happened to have worked in the scene that my friend Deborah worked on. He thought she was amazing, and that everyone else sucked. I had to call her and tell her. Jonathan Dillon was on set as well. I went to high school with him, and then also he transferred to USC film school when I started as well. It's always nice to see fellow Kansans, but he has to be one of the most awkward guys ever. We always end our conversations saying that we should hang out sometime, but we never do. Still, it was good to see him. Also on set I met this cool guy Dan (who looks like Mos Def) and also Rebecca (Becky) who I had met previously on The Amazing Miss Novak. We walked over to Trader Joes and McDonalds during our lunch and got food and a McFlurry. I usually don't eat during walk away lunches, but felt the need to be social. We became quite the trio, especially when we worked together again on Ghost Whisperer, but I'll get to that later.
There was a scene we did at a funeral later in the day. I was in a nice maroon sweater and dress pants and had my hair up. I feel the need to describe my appearance because of what happened during that scene. I was standing in my place as we were about to role when I heard the director shout, "What's the one who looks like one of us doing in the shot?" The 2nd Director came up to me quickly and told me to walk in to frame instead. I guess I look like a crew person. Which makes sense, I suppose since I went to film school. I just never knew that we had a "look". I glanced around the room trying to decipher what it was about me that differed from all the other extras. Besides the smile and happy disposition, I thought I fit in. Maybe it was the fact that I was young and happy and comfortable on set. Or maybe only crew people wear their hair up and extras are required to wear it down...who knows. But this is not the first time I have been confused with a crew person rather than an extra, and I'm sure it won't be the last.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I have never really cried on set before...walking to my car, yes, but never have I lost it while I'm working... until today. NCIS has never been my favorite show to work on because I have to wear my suit all day and I'm usually the youngest by a good twenty years. Jesus...I must look 30 again. Also, since I am the youngest, I feel as though I am the target of George the Wardrobe guy's wrath. He hates my suits. I used to wear a grey one, but he always complained that the jacket was too short, so I went out and bought a new one especially for him. I wore it last time I worked, and he okayed me. Didn't say a thing. For once, I didn't have to borrow a jacket from him that is long enough to cover my ass which I'm sure must be intimidating to a gay man such as he. Sure, my new suit wasn't that long...after all I do want to appear youthful and not plumpy, but it was longer than my last and much more flattering if I do say so myself. The fact that he didn't make me change did wonders for my confidence. A confidence that he demolished when I wore that same exact outfit this beautiful Valencia day.
It was supposed to be a short day and my friend Cindy was going to be on set, but when I arrived, I was informed that there was going to be a wardrobe change. Of course, on the one day I didn't bring any back up because I hadn't had the chance to wash my dress shirts (which the Wardrobe guy hated anyway.) I was terrified, but I figured this is his job. He LOST it. He started patronizing me from the beginning telling me how unprofessional I was, and he asked if I wanted to go home. I told him no. Then he proceeded to tell me that my suit jacket was too short and starting sighing with frustration because I was actually going to make him work. He told me, "You always do this." I said, "No, this is my first time." "No, you always come unprepared. What did I give you last time to wear?" That is when I got offended..."Um. This is exactly what I wore last time, and you okayed it so I thought it would be fine today." "That is not what you wore last time." "Yes, yes it is." He then handed me off to his assistant proclaiming in a huff, "Here, you deal with her. I can't handle this anymore." I was hurt. Never have I been so insulted. His assistant was very nice however. He let me wear what I had on for one change and gave me a jacket and a blouse for the other. I told him that he never liked what I brought, so why bring anything. His assistant was very sympathetic, but that didn't help the waterworks that came when I left the trailer. I ran to crafty for some food with Cindy in tow trying to brighten my day. Useless. I wanted to get out of there, and finally 3 hours later, I did, hoping to never return.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I love getting my hair and makeup done for a shoot. It makes me feel mighty special and significant, but this was not normal set where extras are separate from the guest stars and cast. Maybe it was because of the small call of only 10 background performers or something, but Zachary Quinto was getting his makeup and hair done right next to me. And that is when it happened. He leaned over to throw his empty bowl that once contained oatmeal away, and he missed and it ricocheted near my shoe. He said "sorry" and picked it back up to throw it away. I must be a trash magnet. First House and now Sylar. Do I care? Of course not! Whatever it takes for them to talk to me, even if it is "sorry."
Sylar also had his dog on set which was pretty cute. I guess a lot of cast members bring their pets with them which is pretty amazing. I need to find a job on a set like this for when I finally get my Great Dane...which at the rate I'm going might be in 30 years.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I met a friend on set named Aileen. She was a newbie like me, and I haven't seen her since, so I guess she didn't get a regular stint like I did. We hit it off straight away and probably breathed a little life into the dull routine of Without a Trace. People instantly took notice. At one point we started speaking French on set...only the curse words of course. "Tu es un sac de merde!" and so on. Moments later, the director Jonathan, who looks a little bit like Santa Claus except shorter and much crankier, says something in French...like "can we hurry up merci beaucoup". He was eavesdropping. It was hilarious. This man seemed to hate life and everyone on set, and yet he was entertained by us enough to join in on our French fun. Later in the day one of the extras asked the 2nd 2nd if she should point to the photo in the scene as if to talk about it. He answered yes. I was far back closer to Jonathan and heard him say, "We should fire her. Does she seriously think she wants to be an actress? Who asks that question? Idiot!" (it was something to that effect...I may have paraphrased.) Needless to say he was an insulting jerk and I found him to be hilarious because he was blunt and honest and highly entertaining.
The next day I returned, but there was no Aileen...she was replaced with another token Asian girl, Cindy. Cindy and I became friends because again...we were the only non-regulars and therefore we bonded. We ended up working together almost everyday for the next few weeks. Very random, but it's always nice to have a buddy to do the crossword puzzle with.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
There was an additional PA on set who graduated from USC in Critical Studies...just like me. Though he graduated in 2003 I think. He is writing some screenplays and doing this for money. He was pretty cool and gave me some good advice. He told me that he has never had to hand out his resume to anyone. Every job he has gotten, he has gotten because he knows somebody. He is positive that all those interviews I went on were filled by people who knew someone. I agree. He also told me about how he was working as an Office PA on Freaky Friday and was offered a small part. It got cut though...but he still got paid. Jealous. I've seen him a few times since then, but he never remembers me, which is strange because we talked the whole entire day. Not everyone has a memory like I do.
I got bored later on and while looking at my phone, noticed it had a stop watch. I decided to see how long I could hold my breath. My siblings and I used to have these contests in the car during long drives. I held my breath for a minute and five seconds. I texted my results to my cousin Drew and friend Alex. Drew held his for a 1:30 and Alex 30 seconds. Amazing, I know...after reading this I'm sure you are all going to see how long you can hold your breath and compare your results...if you aren't...you clearly are not as cool as us.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
He was the only other person I knew on set that day (besides Zac who of course did not recognize me as usual...very unattractive in a man.....but he was made attractive again when I saw him playing with a baby). We partnered up and I started to get to know him better. I found out that he plays the drums and is from the midwest. He asked me if I could have a party in any store in the world what would it be. The answer: The Toys R' Us in Times Square. He was floored by my answer since it afterall, is the perfect answer. We talked about Twilight books and how he wants to read them because he noticed how much I liked them. We were totally flirting and if I were any other extra listening to our conversation, I would have been grossed out, but since I was involved, I was smitten. We talked about Dark Knight since it was coming out in a week and we were thinking of seeing it together. He was starring in a show at the time where he played Superman when he wasn't working. I told him I'd come and see him in it. That's when he got up to go to the bathroom. And then we were wrapped...I thought about waiting around for him, but figured that I'd see him soon enough since we'd worked together on almost every show the past 2 weeks. Not the case. And this is why my New Year's resolution is to take more chances. I should have waited. Taken a chance on love?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Okay....so I know you're all dying to know what I said to Zac when I finally approached him. My heart was beating so fast I felt like I was going into cardiac arrest. He was standing at the nerd herd desk, finally alone for once, doing the crossword puzzle. (side note: one of my criteria for my perfect man is that he does the morning crossword....heart beating faster). I went up and introduced myself and said I was a friend of Ann and Jeremy's and that I met him last St. Patrick's Day and how he got me addicted to Guitar Hero and how I visited him on the set of Chuck and how I knew Ann, etc. I repeat these facts every time I see him and he still never really remembers me. Maybe he would if my boobs were bigger. He says he remembers me though and is acting all too cool for school for the first time ever on set. I like to think he was trying to impress me with his coolness. Then somebody came up to me and he told me he'd see me later. Yay! It's a good thing I talked to him then because he was done for the day and left like 5 minutes later and was not back the next day. Luck was on my side.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
This is my 2nd time working My Boys...and it really is a fun show. I hope it comes back next season. The actors are really sweet and talk to the extras and such. AND Ryan Howard is in it...I totally had a crush on him when I was a kid...mainly because his last name is Howard. He's still pretty cute...if I married him...I wouldn't have to change my name. I was always thinking...even as a kid.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Today I worked on the corny show The Middleman. I was to be a high schooler at a boy band concert. It was a pretty easy night of jumping up and down to somewhat inappropriate lyrics for a Disney family show. They were making crude humping dance gestures which had us all in stitches. Each member also reminded us of a Backstreet Boy or NSYNC guy...which makes since because the same people who put those bands together were responsible for this massacre. At the end...some of the extras were actually kind of all over these guys....seriously? Here is the band....Varsity Fanclub.
And here is their youtube homepage since I know you all love them SO much.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
I couldn't fit through doorways. I had to duck down because with the head dress and heels I was about 7 feet tall. Needless to say, I'm in the deep background for a lot of the sci-fi convention scenes. Oh but so easily spottable. In fact, I'm pretty sure I talked to every single one of the 400 or so extras. They all had to come up to me and touch my costume. "You look like a hershey kiss", "You look like a mushroom", "You look like a bag of trash", I got them all. For some reason they were all fascinated by me. It did wonders for my confidence. And then there was Charlie. Charlie is a retired 69 year old who used to be in the Navy before making his millions in the pant industry. He was my protector and was desperate to see me out of my costume. He kept telling me I was a 10 and if only he were 40 years younger... He was a hoot and was always up to trouble. He went up to one black girl who thought she was all that and told her she was a 7. "That", he said as he pointed to me, "that is a 10". Of course he had no idea what I really looked like. The only real me that showed were my eyes. I think the mystery behind what I looked like was the real appeal, and some guys were getting a little too obsessive about all of us female larpers that a few were sent home for sexual harassment. I should have reported a few men, but I never felt really threatened as long as Charlie was there to scare them off.
My only real threat came on the 2nd day of filming towards the end of the day. My back was killing me as usual from carrying that heavy headdress on my shoulders. As I was rolling my shoulders during a break a guy offered to massage my shoulders. Apparently he took some classes, but I'm not sure I believe him. Don't get me wrong, it felt amazing and was greatly appreciated, but he had to go and ruin it when he said "You, me, a bottle of baby lotion, and a king size bed". I received no more back rubs after that...not that he didn't try. It became my goal for the rest of the week to avoid him and all of his hoots and hollers from across the room. He had a tattoo on his bicep. I have a theory about guys with tattoos...they're always up to no good.
My costume, though amazing, did prove to be quite the hassle. There was the back pain and sore bleeding feet (which I nursed back to health thanks to my new uggs I received a month before my birthday) and the fact that I couldn't go to the bathroom without taking off my trashbag and unzipping myself out of my costume. Now, the average person goes to the bathroom like 3 times a day, but a female during a certain week of a month goes to the bathroom a little more. It was always quite the event and took me about 10 minutes to get in and out and do my thing. It was pretty much the biggest pain in the ass imaginable.
I made a few friends on set which and we'd hang out and eat lunch together during breaks and what not. There was Ashley who was from Florida and was a pink Larper and Amy who was only there 2 days because she went to Disneyland to audition to be Snow White. She didn't get the part unfortunately but did make it past 3 cuts which is impressive. Arthur and Jonah balanced us out and we became quite the cool little bunch and made promises to hang out later which of course never materialized. On Friday, only Ashley and I returned from our group. They cut the call by a few hundred people, and neither of us had to wear our costumes which was bittersweet. Ashley got to return on a SAG voucher...I did not. Lady Luck has never been with me. At the end of the night I went up to the 2nd 2nd Assistant and asked him why Ashley got to return on a SAG voucher and I did not. Apparently there were only like 3 given out and they gave them to non-union people with crazy costumes like myself. He leaned back in his chair and put his arms behind his neck and smiled, "Mary-Ellen. She decides, and I had nothing to do with it". He wasn't trying to be mean and I found him empathetic because Mary-Ellen is crazy and he had to deal with her more than I did. She is the casting person from central who casts and handles background for most motion pictures. I smiled at him and nodded and walked away to head home, holding in my tears till I reached the cool refreshing night air.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
We were apparently students at Butterworth Senior High School. I still have my program from the ballet show. It was a very detailed program. The cast and crew listed in the program were made up of characters from other high school shows like Jeff Rosso, the psychiatrist from "Freaks and Geeks" and Mike Seaver from "Growing Pains" and Kelly Kapowski from "Saved by the Bell". It became a game to try and figure out the references. Fun little souvenir to have from the day.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I also met Patti Moore on set. We became fast friends over our love of Hugh Laurie and because she grew up near Yardley, PA where my parents currently live. Such a small world. She also lost a brother in a car accident so we bonded over that as well. I've seen her a lot since on random sets, but as of last August 08, she moved back to PA.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I was working on House again, which meant nothing to me because I didn't watch the show. I was playing a PA. Perfect casting! We started the scene, and I made my cross over to where the trash can was before we cut. I stayed over there till the chaos halted and that is when Hugh Laurie came toward me. I had thought that he was pretty attractive for a 49 year old, but the hot factor went down quite a bit when I saw him light a cigarette outside. My friend Kate texted me that I should tell him to stop being a stereotype. I guess this might have been my chance. My eyes were most likely bugging out of their sockets as I awaited his next move. That is when he threw away a gum or candy wrapper, but instead of getting a nice 2 pointer, it bounced off the backboard...ME. "Sorry sorry," he quickly muttered, but he looked genuinely apologetic as he bent down to pick his trash off the floor. But I really didn't care. He spoke to me.
I made friends with the 2nd 2nd Assistant Michelle...well not really friends, but she was only a few years older and we talked film school and bonded a bit. This was important I suppose because she let me shadow her awhile and didn't seem annoyed by my close proximity. So, instead of going back to holding for a break, I stood by her side, and that is when I heard it. It was the most beautiful sound in the world. Somebody was playing the piano...and extremely well. The "Flight of the Bumblebee" is no simple task, and it was being played perfectly. "Who is playing?" I asked Michelle. "Oh, that is Hugh. He sometimes plays during breaks." My heart melted. Hugh Laurie can play the piano. When he came back in view I started looking at him differently. Suddenly, he was drop dead gorgeous, the hottest and sexiest man ever. So much more attractive in person, and that is not just the piano talking. He's tall and has great style and a sleek 5 o'clock shadow. Okay, now I realize that the style and whiskers is part of his character Dr. House, and not Hugh Laurie, but at the moment they were one and the same. I was in love.
This was the first episode of TV that I actually saw myself in as well, and after watching the episode, I fell in love with the show. If you care to find me...I'm in a maroon shirt crossing right to left in a wide shot in the episode "The Living Dream" when House visits the Soap Opera set.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Being teased and getting attention must be an attractive quality to have because as the scene ended, a fellow extra who used to be the naked dead body I was tagging decided to find out a little more about me. Note to all men reading this: When trying to guess a girl's age, never go up once you guess wrong. And boy..did he guess wrong...in fact he gave up before he even got to my age. "28? 29? 30? 27? 26? 25? 24? 23? Ok I give up..15?" In case you are all wondering, I was 22 at the time but apparently could pass for 30!! I felt so old at that moment and wanted to curl up in a ball and die. But not right away because I later found out the key to doing extra work...good food. There was grilled chicken and steak and crab legs and sushi, and the food was all brilliant. 5 star restaurant quality. How had I not known this before? People do extra work for the food. One of the PAs told me he gained 30 lbs while on set and then works it off when they are on hiatus. Too many cookies and cakes. I'd believe it. I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten so well. Who has chicken AND steak for lunch? Me....that's who.
After lunch I got to be a cop. The uniform was...well...interesting. When the costume lady asked my waist size, I replied with 28, which it is. So she gave me size 28 pants. Ten minutes later I come back down asking for a different size. I couldn't even get the pants on up to my knees. She gives me a 30 and a 32. Nope and Nope. I finally go back and grab the 34s. Snug, but I was too embarrassed to go back down for a bigger size. My escapade was witnessed by a stand-in doing yoga in the dressing room. "You better get a bigger size. You'll want to be comfortable." I didn't listen, but I don't think it mattered. Gun belts were not meant to be worn by women. I have never been so uncomfortable in my life. My back was killing me. I couldn't stand, I couldn't sit, I was pretty much resenting every single women's movement which called for equal jobs for both men and women. But seriously, if there was a burglar in your house...would you want a male cop or a female cop to show up and kill the bastard?......that's what I thought. What made matters worse is that the guest actress reading the part of the childnapper was dreadful. The whole crew was cringing and about to lose it. We were doing take after take of this woman's deadpan delivery. Move over Buster Keaton! Though obviously she could never pass it off as comedy...none of us were laughing at her, grinding our teeth, yes, laughing, no. My chemist friend came up to me later and told me that I was so much better in our little cold read. I was flattered, but wondered who couldn't have done better? Oh, there seemed hope for me yet. If she was getting work, I could too. And after a meal like the one I had on set, I was anxiously waiting for my next stint as an extra.