Quiet on Set

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had opportunities to be more of an on-camera actor than a stage actor. The biggest difference I see between the two, at least so far, is that on stage, you have like, a week of dress/tech rehearsals, with one LONG tech day, and then you open and perform; on camera, it’s as though your performance IS that one long tech day.

I was hired to do some background work for a television series – I can’t name it, due to confidentiality reasons – but due to our so-early-it’s-still-night call time, I was able to watch the sunrise over Manhattan. And let me tell you: It was stunning.

I was on set for probably about 10 hours, and probably was only “on” for about 3 hours. This is because the crew needed to set up their equipment, and then move their equipment to get a different angle on the same scene, then move the equipment again to get ANOTHER angle. So there was a lot of down time. But I made it work for me. I got to observe the crew and the principal actors, and I got to chat with one of the stand-ins, which was really interesting. She was hired because she sort of resembles the principal actress, and it’s her job to help the crew figure out where their equipment (cameras, mics, etc) needs to be in order to get the best shot. It was a long day, but I found very little about which to complain. It was hot and humid, and we all had to wear jackets, so it was uncomfortable for everyone, but they had a medic standing by, who would offer us cold cloths (essentially paper towels doused in ice water).  Even though I was awake for about 24 hours (with some intermittent napping), and I went to bed EARLY that night, I think it was well worth my time, because I was able to learn some new things, and I got paid pretty well for my work.

Later that week, I volunteered a few hours of my time as a reader for a casting director here in town. She was casting an independent film, and there were several roles that the director was still looking to cast. It was really interesting to be on the opposite side of the casting room. I learned that sometimes, you’ll come in to audition for a role, and someone they saw the day before was so perfect, that the role you’re auditioning for has already been cast! I also learned that often, there is something specific the director is looking for, whether that is the way the character looks, or a certain quality the character has, so you should always listen carefully to what the director is saying, and be able to adjust to what they’re asking you to do.

Last week, I was able to work with some of my fellow Baby Bears who have taken Peter Pamela Rose’s Acting Business Boot Camp on a new web series called “The Roaring 30s of Ryan.” Baby Bear Lee (see featured image) is the star of the series, as well as the director. Baby Bear Mary is Producing, Baby Bear Phyllis played the Casting Director, and I played the Casting Associate for Ryan’s audition. What a great way to recall my experiences auditioning and being in the casting room! It was a really fun scene to shoot, but again, it was a long day, because of all the shifting of equipment, and making sure nothing will be in the shot that shouldn’t be. I don’t know if my character will be a recurring role in the web series, but we’ll see! And don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it’s available to watch!

Me, Phyllis (my Casting Boss), and Mary (Producer) on set!

This week, my focus is more or less back to the stage, but I’m looking forward to the next time I can be on a film set, and learn even more.