Friday, January 30, 2009

Life and My Phone Number

I was working Life over at Universal Studios. I was to be a classy restaurant patron. Instead of wearing my blue silk dress, they put me in a navy suit that was too large and made out of a stretchy sweater material, and of course pearl earrings, bracelet, and necklace. I was 23 going on 70. I must have looked HOT though because the most attractive man I have ever seen on set who looked a bit like Colin Farrell just happened to be my dining partner and we struck up quite the conversation. I found out he graduated in Finance and came to LA to be an actor and was a bartender which is quite the corrupt occupation. I told him that I went to USC film school, which I never divulge on set for fear of crazy extras grasping on to my tiny coattails and wanting to stay in contact with me...I didn't mind with him though..he could grasp on to whatever he wanted. I also happened to mention, when he brought up True Blood, that I was friends with one of the actors. He seemed very impressed. We talked more of acting and what I had learned at school and what movies were out now, etc. Hours flew by and he was about to be wrapped. He changed out of his business attire into a polo with popped collar (I like to think he popped it especially for me) and was heading out. But then he stopped by my table and asked for my number saying, "So we can talk about SAG and acting and ......" He was mumbling really....quite nervous. Totally adorable ( I don't care if another extra saw him spit 3 times on set...I didn't see it so my mind has only admirable thoughts. ) So anyway...I gave him my phone number. AND the next day he texted me. Is he doing it to use me? I care? NOPE.

We transitioned to the interior of the LAPD and a new set of background rolled in. Only 5 girls remained from early in the afternoon. They must not get too many new faces because I was pretty exciting to many of them. That's where Arson a black man in his 40s from Manchester, England comes in. He and another man noticed my really cool blue Nooka watch (which he later said matched my eyes). Arson had seen them before and wanted one and even knew how much they cost. This obviously sparked conversation before he told me, "You know who you remind me know from Oz?" I laughed, "Oh gosh...I'm from Kansas." He couldn't believe it. "You know, you're very pretty." I blushed and headed inside. (I'm so hard to get aren't I?) Later we were in a scene together and waiting to be placed and Arson asked me if I wanted to go get ice cream because he is divorced and all. I shouldn't let the fact that he has a daughter with an Italian woman get in the way. He then blatantly pointed out, in case the three men witnessing the conversation were deaf, that he was hitting on me and proceeded to hand me his phone. I acted all cutesy in order to turn him down lightly. Replying in a falsetto voice, "Naaaaoooohh". Two guys asked for my number in the same day. This may not seem like a feat for the likes of Cindy Crawford, but today included my 2nd and 3rd time ever (1st occurring on the set of CSI).

During our lunch, I took the time to walk around the Universal back-lot. If only it weren't 7 pm and pitch black. I entertained this girl Camilla by telling her what all the production companies we spotted produced. It was so dark though that it was a pretty shitty I know why the Universal Theme Park is never open past dark. It closed at like 4 pm on a Friday! Walk-a-way lunches suck though because I'm not being fed a proper meal on set...instead I had to resort to eating a bag of skittles, cheesecake, and a grilled cheese sandwich at midnight. Ugh!

Monday, January 26, 2009

American Teenager and the Poisonous Bathrooms

I worked the Secret Life of the American Teenager last Friday and today. It is an AFTRA show, which means I get paid 105 bucks for 8 hours, but it also means that AFTRA gets to keep my check and I don't get to see any of that money until my dues are paid. Shit. I was to be a nurse, which is a great gig because I get to lounge around in comfy scrubs all day. I worked for 10 minutes on Friday and was there for 11 hours. I didn't work at all today and was there for 4 hours. Oh the sweet life. Though it can get mighty boring when not working. To distract my boredom, I had the bathroom to fret about. For some reason, the folks at the Warner Bros Ranch decided to pump poisonous perfume into the restrooms. I never understand why Vegas hotels and now studio bathrooms do such a thing. It never gets rid of the smell, it only masks it with something more pungent. Anyway, I am slightly allergic to perfume, so urinating had to be out the question. A bladder infection seemed to be more welcoming than going to the bathroom in the intoxicating loo. Seemed to be....but alas, I really had to go. I pulled up my sweatshirt to form quite the gas mask over my nose and mouth and proceeded to relieve myself. I held my breath as long as possible, but I am not a whale, and had to take a deep breath through my protective sweatshirt. The results were not quite as effective as I would have liked. Minutes later I was still having breathing problems and felt drugged and loopy for about an hour afterwards. Was it worth not wetting myself? I suppose....but still....who has stools so bad that they have to deodorize the bathrooms that much?! I did, however, have the yummiest macaroni and cheese I have ever had in my life, and for the first time ever, I got a To-Go box and brought some home with me....sure...I was out of lactates...but it was so worth it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dollhouse and the Unlucky Streak

I worked Dollhouse again on Wednesday and Thursday, but instead of playing a high schooler or college student, I played a genius assistant. Clearly I am working my way up in the Dollhouse world. I actually learned what the show is about and who and what the characters are...finally. I had a fellow assistant the first day named Mark. He was from Boston and went to Ithaca. I love having them talk about how cool their film school is before I tell them that I went to USC film school. The looks of inferiority on their faces are priceless especially since they probably assume I am a theatre student from some Midwestern state university like most other extras who were smart enough to even go to college (not very many). He wasn't that bad looking and has been doing this for a few months...would be more attractive if he opened his mouth more when he talked, but that's getting nitpicky. Nicole, the 2nd 2nd who was placing us in the scene, had to pick one of us for this featured scene with Topher...Mark got picked. Ironically we spent a good portion of our walk away lunch discussing how unlucky I am. It never fails. The next day we were joined by another assistant, Nick. He was dark, tall, handsome, and from Vegas...if only he were more confident when he spoke, it would make him seem smarter. I suppose I feel the need to talk about men here because usually, there aren't any suitable bachelor's on set that I get to talk to, and now I had 2 reasonably attractive guys. So naturally, I over-analyze them until I can dissect their behaviorism and form a non-judgemental assessment of who they are and their potential in this world.....just as I do with everyone...including you. Nicole had to pick someone to be featured again...she chose Mark...again. I think it might be the glasses. Nick and I were unused and went home after 7 hours of waiting. Go figure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Criminal Minds and the Funeral

I was leaving later than I should have for my 11:30 AM call time. Why? Because Barack Obama was now officially the President of the United States and I had to watch the inauguration. I was punished, however, for my slight tardiness. I arrived to the parking area right after the People Mover left. You would think they'd come back for me soon since my call time was at 11:30 and it was currently 11:31. Wrong...I was finally picked up at Noon. I have never waited so long ever! Thank God for my new i-pod. The PA who was checking us in is the same USC cinema grad who gave me such good advice on Without a Trace back in August. I asked him how his scripts were going. He didn't remember me of course and confusingly replied, "I'm still here." We were doing a memorial service for people who got killed in a fire. There is a serial arsonist on the loose! I hate doing funeral scenes...because I kind of start crying during them. I'm the only one of course, which is not very'd think there would be more criers at a REAL funeral. So I guess maybe I am just that good...and not that pathetic. I sat next to Arthur from Race to Witch Mountain and also my friend Becky was on set. She has now taken up knitting, but she uses cheap yarn so she feels sorry for those she gives her scarves to because they are very itchy. It's the thought that counts anyway. We wrapped fairly quickly, and then proceeded to wait an hour for transportation to take us back to our cars.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Name is Khan and the Crazy Indian Fans

Today, I got to work on my first Indian film starring Shahrukh Khan...who according to the crazy Indians raiding the set is "bigger than Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Tom Cruise combined!" The day started off poorly because I was one of 400 extras with no craft service and no meals. Cheapskates! Then we filed into single file lines about 70 people deep. To my left were 3 black guys who decided that it would be genius to sell some drugs while there. (They were not with Central Casting and I have no idea how they got on set.) Then they decided it would be better if they smoked it themselves. I watched this guy in a baseball jersey with CLOWNS written on it roll a joint. A select few around me were looking appalled. I wanted to tell them to stop being such a stereotype. I was too afraid of being stabbed, however. Here is a picture of them, joint in hand, about to go over to the library to light up.

Needless to say, black people were not invited back to set the next day. Which is understandable because there was a George Bush look-a-like on set, which means we were at a George Bush rally. Do you know any black people who like George Bush? What's also really funny is that this was a Republican rally type thing that Khan attends and says, "Mr. President, I'm not a terrorist"...but everyone mistakes him for being a terrorist of course. Now, I don't know too many republicans, but I'm pretty sure they are not holding up signs that say "Peace" and "No blood for oil" and "No War". Somehow...this republican rally was full of Liberals...and black people...and Indians. The Props people who made the signs probably knew nothing about American politics.

After lunch, the Indian population of the background scene doubled. They just walked onto set to take part in the scene. Only a few small children were told to leave because of labor laws. Most knew about the movie because they were UCLA students or they read it on the director's blog. The new brown faces surrounded Khan in the front of the crowd, hoping to get close to their hero...the white faces were in the back...they could care less. Finally a PA started going up to some of them and told them they needed to get in the back. "We need white American faces up front". The poor girls looked so hurt and went towards the middle (there was no way they were going to the back), before they returned to their original spots up front. One girl actually got the courage to talk to Khan as he walked by, "By the way, I'm such a fan". He touched her hand. She just about died. At the end of both days, when we were wrapped, there was a line of about 75 Indians waiting for pictures and autographs, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite star.

I was so thankful that I knew someone on set today, Tammy, who I had a class at USC with. So reassuring to see other USC students in the same boat that I'm in. Also, it makes the mundane pain of the day more tolerable. While we were talking this ghetto white guy who HAD to be on SOMETHING came up to compliment me on my record purse and watch. This was right after the person in front of him used my purse as a mirror before I told her how awkward that was. He asked me if I like his plastic white rimmed sun glasses which he probably got for three bucks at a gas station. I didn't reply. "Don't you think they are Ka-Blam?". Poor Tammy fell into the trap and replied "yeah". He then proceeded to call himself a retard...I couldn't have agreed more. It's always nice to know that people are not in denial of their brain capabilities. We had to try and ignore him the rest of the day. Also on set on Sunday, there was a blind man. Very interesting career choice. On Monday, Jermaine Jackson, older brother of Michael, came to set because apparently he is a big fan of Sharukh Khan.

Crowd scenes as big as this can always get a little crazy. We are all shouting and hollering, and for some reason, the 1st AD decided it would be a good idea to use a megaphone. As if we couldn't understand his thick Indian accent enough, we now had to try and understand it as it was being shouted through a megaphone while we were all screaming and cheering hoorays! Not the smartest guy in the India, if he were, he'd be a doctor like his parents wanted him to be. The one plus of crowd scenes is that the lead actor will often times brush or push against you trying to get through..which he did. Yes, that is right, the biggest star in the world touched me. Please try to contain your jealousy. One obnoxious black girl behind me did not understand the hooplah surrounding him. "He's so old" and "I know he is like your idol and everything, but will you please get out of my space". All the Indians around her were probably planning on killing her behind the bleachers later on in the day....too bad Hindu is a peaceful religion.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Prison Break and the Bubble Gum

For some reason, I believe that I can get ready in exactly 15 minutes in the morning. This, obviously, is not accurate if I wish to do my hair and put makeup on. However, I continue to wake up 15 minutes before I need to leave to make it to set on time. It takes me 22 minutes to get ready, like always, and like always, I am running 7 minutes behind which I have to make up in my commute by going slightly (15 mph) over the speed limit.

For some political reason concerning his age I assume, Charlie was not there this morning. The day just got a little longer. I would have to find other ways to entertain myself which turned out to be no problem with my new accomplice, Amber. Amber was there on Wednesday and also I worked with her Thursday on Bones. She was young like me and normal and just as highly entertained and annoyed by the crazy people...perfect set friend. I spent the early part of the morning writing a poem for Charlie, longing for his presence in my life.

I once met a man, a retiree turned actor.

His name was Charlie and he filled me with laughter

He told me about his days in the navy

And how he slept with more than 150 a lady

Now a married man, to his wife he'll be true

So now his caring friendship will have to do

Charlie and I, we were quite the pair

Over 40 years older, but I didn't care

He was funny and charming and never boring

He kept me on set from sleeping and snoring

Yes Charlie and I were two peas in a pod

For I was his Harold and he was my Maude.

Cheesy, I know, but that's how I roll. At 11 o'clock sharp, Amber tapped me on the shoulder so that we could go to craft service for some Coke. She is already getting to know me so well. Those 6:30 AM call times really kill me. Down at crafty, they also had mac & cheese. It became my quest to retrieve some without getting noticed, since that scrumptious delicacy was for the crew only. I'm a girl, so I probably didn't have to tread so sneakily, but still, where's the fun in that, and in the end I won my cheesy prize. Amber was not as courageous, but lunch was in an hour so the stakes weren't too high. During lunch, we eavesdropped on an interesting pair next to us and talked about our distaste for this one woman who was quite obnoxious and since she was sick, was afraid to call her guy friends because she feared that they were going to find her voice too sexy. Trust me, I can't ever imagine that being an issue....EVER. She'd be lucky to bed any guy, if they're her friends first?..More power to her. That means they can stand her. After lunch, I went to the bathroom. There was a bulimic in the stall next to me. So awkward. I never saw her face.

After lunch, Amber and I were told to be deep background outside along with about 15 others. We went over to crafty to get some blow pops. I got a cherry and she got a sour apple. When was the last time you had a blow pop? Years, right? They are nasty yet sugary delight. We spent the next few moments trying to blow the biggest bubble. Onlookers seemed disinterested, like walking zombies, but still amused enough to watch. The gum continued to get sticker, making each burst bubble more difficult to scrape off my lips and skin. Just then a guy walked by eating a Peanut Butter Cup. I had an epiphany. When I was a little kid, I once blew a bubble sooooo big that it blew up and got in my hair. My mom used peanut butter to disintegrate the gum. Amber's mom used lighter fluid...eeks. I decided to make my sticky lips a little worse in order for optimum results. Then I went to get a slightly melted Peanut Butter Cup and started dabbing the peanut butter all over and around my lips. It worked like a charm, and also softened my skin. I think they should start making peanut butter lotions in naturel.

Jack, the hilarious extra's coordinator who reminisced all day about his craziest days on set, decided to wrap most of the background. I was one of 15 chosen to stay. An hour later, they cut those 15 down to 7. I was still one of the lucky ones. Yes...lucky. We were in overtime so I was getting paid $16/hr to read a book and the longer I stayed, the less traffic I would have to fight on my way home. I was never used those extra 2 hours. Sweet victory.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prison Break and the Truth About My Charlie

I was running late again this morning, but you cannot judge me because unlike running late at 12 in the afternoon, I was running late at 5:30 AM and about to travel 35 miles to Long Beach (aka Miami, Fl). I got there in time because of my tactful driving just so I could wait in line for half an hour to check in and watch the sunrise. I grabbed some scrambled eggs for breakfast that I drowned in ketchup in order to make them edible (a trick of the trade) and sat down ready for action. After hours of waiting and doing the infamous nod nod...JERK, I decided that today's shoot qualified me for a Coke. You see, I gave up caffeine many years ago, but sometimes the early calls require a little boost of energy. I made rules: I can only have caffeine if I wake before 6 AM, and if I do, I can only drink said caffeinated beverage between the hours of 11 AM and 3 PM. Needless to say, that can of Coke was opened at 11 AM on the dot. I was pretty wired until 6 it did its job.

I was playing a convention goer at an Energy conference, and the head speaker gets assassinated. Pretty exciting stuff. You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to try and act like someone is shooting at you. I'm rather well practiced since it happens all the time in TV, but can't say that I can draw from experience. My friend Charlie can, however. Charlie, if you recall, is my 70 year old protector from Race to Witch Mountain. The second he saw me today he said, "You looked better in the wig." Thanks Charlie. Always one to compliment. Now, Charlie is one of the most entertaining people that one could be blessed to know in one's life. His mother was in burlesque and worked with Danny Thomas, he ran off with his wife because her dad was in the KKK and did not care for Charlie's Judaism, and according to him, he slept with over 150 women between 1955 and 1959. He was in the Navy, apparently women couldn't resist a man in uniform back then. But sleeping with all those women got him into trouble because one night his ladyfriend's husband decided to check up on her. Charlie hid under the bed before running off down Bourbon Street in his underwear while rounds went whizzing by. Silly Charlie, such a ladies man. "Man, if only I were 30 years younger," he said. "But Charlie, last time you said that it was 40 years younger!" "I'm going to go drain my dragon, though my doctor told me not to do any heavy lifting." That in a million. (Don't even get me started on the orgy he told me about...eeeek!) Here is a picture of Charlie on the set of Angels and a Cardinal...ironic, isn't it? He is and ever shall be my protector and friend, and Damn...set is never boring with him there.

Like two peas in a pod, I'm his Harold and he's my Maude.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

NCIS and the Fart

It takes a special kind of person that can run late at 12 in the afternoon. I woke late and jumped in the shower, dreading the day ahead of me. I was terrified of George the evil Wardrobe guy. I thought I would never work the show again, which is silly since I made no effort to prevent this inevitable rendez-vous. I pulled my wet hair up in a bun and ran out the door, suit in hand. I became very thankful for the cars going 95 mph on the freeway because it made my 87 mph look slow and legal by comparison, even though the speed limit was of course only 65 mph. Only two things were running through my mind: Please God, I hope nobody gets mad at me, and did I put any deodorant on this morning?

I arrived about 10 minutes late, but nobody noticed and I proceeded to sit on the couch waiting for George to look at my wardrobe. He came eventually and sat down beside me. He complimented me on my British socks and the color of my shoes. He was in a good mood. YES! Happy Happy Joy Joy. AND he was okay with my suit. Listen...I'm not even going to pretend to rationalize his mood swings, but am thankful that he didn't give me a hard time today. Maybe he remembered making me cry last time...or maybe he really is just incredibly moody. Who knows.

During lunch, an hour after I arrived, we had carne asadas and watched the episode that premiered tonight. I love watching the episodes with the cast and crew and spent most of my time watching the lead actor, Mark Harmon, watch himself on screen. He seemed to be enjoying it. Later in the day they had a guy making crepes, but I managed to show some restraint...barely.

After lunch, Hacker the 2nd 2nd was setting people for the scene. He then came right in front of me and Tim the guy I was going to be crossing with. Then the unexpected happened...he let out a loud and long fart. Embarrassed, he turned around quickly and said, "Holy shit I'm sorry." Tim broke up laughing, but Hacker's real concern was me. "I lived with a girl for 4 years and can count on one hand how many times I farted in front of her. I can't believe I did that. Don't tell anybody, okay?" I told him I'd write it on my blog. He thought I was joking.

When I got home at 7:30 pm, my hair was still wet. C'est la vie.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heroes and the Joey Pal

Well, it is a new year and before I begin my post about the joys of Heroes, I would like to take the time and re-evaluate all that I have learned this past year of doing extra work.

-It takes a real actress to dance to absolutely no music, in painful heels, with a smile on her face, after someone spills a syrupy mixture of sorts on her dress and to not react in terror after realizing it will take half her paycheck for the night to dry clean it.

-It takes a real actress to behave like it is cold outside and to shiver, even though she is wearing a wool coat and it is one hundred degrees outside in sunny LA and the shiver might be caused by a fever due to dehydration. AND she can always pass the sweat off as melting snow on her forehead.

-It takes a real actress to wake up at 4 am and get her hair and makeup done, only to wait around for 8 hours doing nothing, while her hair frizzes and her make up melts and smears across her face.

-It takes a real actress to seem upset after being wrapped after working only 10 minutes on set. That's like $350/hour. And to think...I could have been a doctor.

As you know, I love working Heroes. Why? They have good food. That's the only difference really between a good show and a bad show... the grub. Today was sub par for them, but I'm not going to complain really cause I did eat steak and birthday cake which I sure hell would not have eaten at my apartment. I also got to work with Sylar (Zachary Quinto) today and also Zelijko Ivanek who has been really big of late appearing on True Blood and House and he won the Emmy last August for Best Actor in TV Drama. I would say he's huge even...except for that he is not. When I first saw him on set, I did not recognize him. In fact I found him to be terrifying...kind of looked like someone who would go postal on you at any moment. Also, he is tiny. Like 5'3" and the width of my thigh. IMDB has him listed at 5'7" but that is a lie...sure I was wearing heels...but he was shorter than every guy there and had to sit on two pillows to make out with this one Asian girl. Key word in that sentence was Asian...and god knows they are a tiny people...unless you are Yao Ming. It was really cool to see him though.

Okay..I'm not going to freak out...but Zachary Quinto touched me. Yikes! Moving on up in the world...first he throws trash at me and says sorry, and now he bumps into me while moving through a crowd of people. Oh the little joys of extra work.

Now, I used to have a theory that any guy who likes Frank Sinatra music has to be a decent guy. I would like to modify my theory however. Any guy who likes Frank Sinatra music has to be a decent guy unless they are an Italian from New York. I had my Sinatra purse on set today which has been my usual for the past few months. I assume this guy had seen it when he decided to blast "New York, New York" from his MP3 player, but who knows. I try to be friendly to this guy who looks like the offspring of Elvis and Zachary Quinto and say that I too like Frank Sinatra music and he says, "Frank Sinatra is the best. Ain't no one better. Other people can sing his songs, but no one will sing em like Frank one" Now...he said this as if he were going to kill if I threatened him in someway, which was quite jarring and I decided to not speak to him again, but then he said, "Have you seen Joey Pal?" "Ummmm....You mean Pal Joey" I replied. "Yeah. That's it, Pal Joey, I alway get it reversed. Boy, Rita Hayworth is something in that, isn't she?"

I will never understand why guys on set are so crazy. The girls don't seem half as demented at times. And I always feel so awkward for the poor helpless ones who catch a guy's fancy. I can usually take care of myself with these crazed wolves since my knowledge can be quite intimidating, but most are not as fortunate as I. Towards the end of the night there was this shorter version of Kevin Smith preaching to this attractive female about how important watching movies is to an actor and how surprised he was at how few movies some of the theatre students at his college had seen. (Clearly he did not go to USC.) He was saying how his favorite movie was Raging Bull and how Meryl Streep was the most nominated actress, and this poor girl had to listen to his rant and was clearly not interested since she knew a lot of this stuff anyway (just because you haven't seen the movie, doesn't mean you're clueless as to what it is about Kevin Smith look-a-like!) I usually behave myself on set and act very professionally but I almost lost it with what look-a-like said next. He said he was going to have a Sam Mendes marathon. You American Beauty and Road to Perdition and LITTLE CHILDREN!! That was my chance, my chance to put the girl out of her misery and to put this little show off in his place. TODD FIELD! I wanted to scream. TODD FIELD directed Little Children you douche. But alas...I refrained. However, my facial expressions must have given away my thoughts??? Fore at that instant the guy next to me turned to me and said, "You need to read this book called the Power of Now. I can tell you are either thinking about the Past or the Future, and you need to be in the Now" I am quite confused. "Actually, I was thinking of the present. In fact I was eavesdropping and analyzing the person next to me". "Oh", he replied, "You must be a Cancer or a Libra". "No... I'm not". And that was the end of it.

A few moments later, they started cutting people to go home. I noticed that they were keeping all the "hot" people for another scene. I made it past 3 cuts until they realized that they had all women and no men. Still...not bad to be considered hot enough to be part of the 2nd to last cut. Ego Boost!

Keep an eye out for this episode 3.21!