Archive for the 'show business' Category

The Magazine Photo Shoot

Cranky recently did a photo shoot for a major magazine. Playing a mom of an errant teenager. Funny, the same magazine wrote a cover article about errant teenagers when Cranky was one and Cranky’s suburban town along with Cranky’s crazy friends were in that article. But I suppose one could write about errant teenagers every few years.

Anyway, the casting director said the stylist would be in touch about wardrobe. No word from the stylist for days. Then the stylist emails me the morning of the shoot and said to call her when I got up. When I call her, she tells me they were shopping until 11pm sorry she didn’t call, she is on the way to the shoot, she got some choices, could I bring some clothes, do I have khaki pants, they are thinking blue for me, yes going to put me in blue, do you have a blue dress, and , and how about nice jeans do I have a pair of those, and bring a bunch of accessories… At some point I just hold the phone away from my ear and let her go on.

Cranky has been through this before and has no intention of bringing the laundry list of clothes. Because I know. I know what will happen. Which does. When I get there, she hands me a blue dress with a price tag on it and says, “Go put this on.” And there is a mountain of accessories. There always is. No need to bring your best pearl earrings only to have them lost on chaotic set. No no.

In the photographer’s studio are three moms, three dads and three teenagers with their stage moms. One of them an uber stage mom who never stops talking about all the things her kid has done. She says she has a suitcase of pictures that she brings with her to show casting directors all the projects he’s been on. “That suitcase is heavy! There are so many pictures!” “How about just a resume? I suggest. She is living through the poor sucker. He looks resigned to it. On top of that, he is home schooled. No break from the constant fawning. I feel like telling him if he ever wants to feel like a normal teenager he can come and stay at my house and I will ignore him 22 hours a day.

There is talk on the set that this might be a cover story. So the “family” that the editors pick will be on the cover. Great I think. That will be fun. I am going to make sure my family rocks the shoot. Then I go into makeup. The makeup artist makes me look like Mommy Dearest. Frightening Cookie Monster eyebrows with a pale face. No mascara, eyeliner or lipstick. I frighten myself when I look in the mirror. When she is done I pray. Dear God please don’t let this be in the cover. Please don’t let this be on the cover. PLEASE NOT THE COVER!

Last Day of the Webisodes

Cranky had her last day of shooting the webisodes last week. I can’t believe we made it though all eight episodes. Amazing. Everyday there were grumbles among the crew about leaving. The sound guy said he couldn’t make the last day. Early on, one of the producers kept telling the crew to stick it out. Then she decided to actually show up on set and work with the production. She lasted two days, then she split.

Then the last day was pushed up by five days. Nothing was ready. There was stuff to be built. Wardrobe to pull. I got an email from the wardrobe person that used the word HAVOC. I had been scheduled to work that day and since money trumps webisodes, I had to go to work. So the whole day had to be shifted for a later call time – 5pm. Oh oh. We know what that means, an all-nighter. Cranky becomes non compos mentis after 1am. That’s it. I’m done. I’m either laughing or sleeping. Speaking of sleeping, one day on the set I was doing a scene that takes place in a spa bed. And Cranky actually fell asleep between takes. I swear. I woke up to hear the word “ACTION!” It was very surreal. And Cranky remembered her lines! Another webisode miracle.

So I show up on set and set pieces are in the process of being built on the sidewalk. The makeup and hair people have total pusses on. When my hair is being done it is completely fried by the hair lady who keeps it in the curling iron like FOREVER. But the puss makes Cranky afraid to say anything. Curl, fry, smoke, curl, fry, smoke, curl, fry, smoke, over and over to my poor hair. Which means I will have to get an extra, unscheduled haircut to undo the damage.

We have about three days worth of work to do in one day, or night I should say. But it is webisode world, and the producer got the space for free, and this is the day we got it, so it is do or die. The space is a regular sound stage and we needed a place to shoot scenes that take place on the set of a soap opera. Cranky is playing a soap star. They actually made a mock magazine cover with my face on it. I know it’s stupid, but it is still on my coffee table. Like maybe it is true and not just a prop.

All my first scenes of the day take place in a hospital bed. Hospitals are big on soap operas where there is always a crisis or a shooting. Or a coma. One of the crew lends me his Soduku book so I have something to do for the hours in the hospital bed. Of course, as an actress, I hate the fact that I have practically no makeup on because I am in a hospital. I was in a hospital once. I put on makeup EVERDAY. And earrings. And a velvet robe. I told them that, but they said that it was not normal. Really? Cranky is not normal? So I got no makeup.

Then around 1am it was time to get ready for the wedding scene. Cranky is the fucking bride. I kid you not. I am sure that by this hour Cranky looks like Miss Havisham in a white veil. And both dress choices are strapless and I have to figure out a way to keep my breasts from getting out of control and spilling out everywhere. And Cranky has always said no one over forty should wear a strapless dress. And here I am being FILMED in one. But the wardrobe person tells me we are lucky to have ANYTHING. FOR NO MONEY.
So in the words of Tim Gunn I have to make it work. I keep trying to get the veil to cover my armpits. At this point a Burka/veil would be much appreciated.

I go downstairs to the room that they have been furiously decorating for the wedding scene. There are like forty extras in the scene. The first time we run the scene I am walked down the aisle by a man and all the extras stand. And I can’t believe this faux wedding brings tears to Cranky’s eyes. Seriously, how lame. Cranky is crying at her own fake soap opera wedding. Because Cranky never had a wedding and right now Cranky thinks her husband hates her. So I am thinking, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. You stupid idiot! Don’t Cry!” I try thinking about the latest episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” It takes three takes to stop the tears from happening on the walk down the aisle.

Then I realize that I know the story line, and that my fellow actors the forty extras DON’T. So they don’t know that when I do the soap opera scenes I am doing kind of over the top bad acting. Oh no!! So between Takes I am on the stage by the priest and I stop everything. I say; “EXCUSE ME! I HAVE TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT! I AM NOT A BAD ACTRESS. I JUST PLAY ONE ON TV.”

I couldn’t help myself-or my ego couldn’t help itself.

So the working on the webisodes is over now. And it was a big pain in the ass. And like every actress I am so sad that it is over and I miss it like crazy.

Not Another Student Film!

Cranky is doing her eight hundredth graduate school film this weekend. I figured graduate school – its gotta be good. They use Bob Giraldi’s DP and sound guy. I got the lead part. Sounds OK. Right?

OF COURSE NOT.

“Oh yes. We have a producer and a wardrobe person and hair and makeup,” the director said. Love that. Love when they are taking care of the actors. I had great expectations.

Until the wardrobe person actually called. Four days before the shoot. Completely unintelligible.

The phone rings.

“Ah, hello. Is this Cwankery?” says the voice on the phone.

“Um, this is CRANKY,” I say.

“Oh, yes Cwankery this is Naohagalaga. You playing housekeeper. I need to get uniform,” she says.

“I’m not playing the housekeeper”, I say.

“No director say you need a uniform,” she says, “Housekeeper?”

“But I’m not playing the housekeeper”, I say.

“Do you know who is playing the lead?” she says.

“That would be me,” I answer.

“I need to get you uniform?” she says.

“But I’m not playing the housekeeper,” I say.

“Oh. Do you know who’s playing the housekeeper?” she asks.

“No,” I say, “Why don’t you ask the director.”

“Do you have the director’s phone number?” she asks.

This is a first. The wardrobe lady is asking me for the director’s phone number. Seriously.

Then I get a call from the director. I had agreed to go and have a few pictures taken with the guy playing my husband and the guy playing my son for photos around the house so he is calling to schedule that. It was fine with me until he wants me to go an hour into New Jersey by train to take the pictures. “Why can’t we do them in the city?” I ask. “Because the guy playing your husband can’t leave Jersey,” he says. “Why? I answer, “is he under house arrest? Does he have an ankle bracelet?”

Of course not. He doesn’t WANT to leave New Jersey. He is a friend of the director’s parents who has agreed to play my DEAD husband who has no lines in the film so of course he has more power than I do because who the hell can you get to play the dead husband with no lines and one flashback scene?

Then I get the shooting schedule from the previously unheard from producer. All the scenes are marked by scene numbers. But there are no scene numbers in the script, only page numbers. I can’t tell which scene is which and I am in every fucking one of them. I have a million different outfits to figure out and all Naohagalaga can do is buy a uniform. I email the producer to please send me a script using page numbers as there are no scene numbers on the script and she writes me back that she can’t change the script.

HUH?

For this I am losing quality time with my dog?

Wish me luck.

PS – Of course after all this it came out fab. It is now one of my fav roles.

My Dog Meets A Rock Star

Cranky has decided to try to get some background work.   Have to think of someway to make some dough after parting ways with Oscar the crazy boss. I was having nightmares that included close-ups of seeing his fungus fingernail pointing at the computer screen and him saying: “How about that one?” about some beautiful young woman on match.com.

I haven’t done any background in years because I felt it simulated the experience of being a homeless person because you end up being on the street for like twelve hours. It’s hard to have studied Stanislavsky and then get paid to basically be a piece of furniture that moves itself.  But tough times require that you suck it up.

So this is how my dog met a rock star. They needed a black terrier type dog. So I sent Lu’s portrait. I got a call saying to stay by my phone because the rock star had to approve the dog. The next day I was told to report to the Upper East Side where the rock star is directing a film.

When I got there they told me there was another dog in the running and there would be FINAL approval for one dog. So now it is a dog eat dog situation. Hate that, but since I am SAG will get paid if I work or don’t work, so WHATEVER.

Little Lu and I are brought to the lobby of a building on Park Avenue. The rock star is seated in the lobby. Starbucks in hand. I figure she is like Rachel Zoë and Anna Wintour who are never seen to consume ANYTHING except the non-fat latte. Although someone told me they once saw Rachel Zoë eat a piece of GUM. I digress.

So I casually sit down opposite her and when she is not looking I must analyze her outfit. Blue training trousers with the white stripe down the side – the one thousand dollar version that Jay Z might wear. A lovely Argyle sweater- triple knit cashmere. White sneakers that are vented on the side also very expensive looking somehow. And giant Poindexter glasses to fit the intellectual endeavor of directing a movie and look SERIOUS. The master of reinvention has combined hip-hop, rock and roll and egghead into one outfit. Impressive.

The woman sitting next to her gives me and my dog a disdainful look and says with her best bitch face; “That’s a toy?” Cranky just shrugs her shoulders and doesn’t answer which is the best way to deal with such people.

The other dog comes in and it is GREY.

We are asked to go stand in the vestibule. The rock star comes over and asks my dog’s name. I tell her. She says; “What?” Which is understandable considering what multiple rock concerts will do to your eardrums. I repeat. Then she says; “So, whose dog is better behaved?” How do I know? The grey dog could be fucking Cujo for all I know. Are we supposed to compete with each other in espousing our dog’s etiquette skills? Cranky hates stupid questions. So Cranky squinted her eyes and sarcastically said; “My dog’s an angel.” Why can’t Cranky keep her mouth shut? Please tell me? So of course the rock star turns her back to me and says; “We’re using Dixie.” Dixie. The grey dog. Dixie, who I think they put black hair dye on to avoid using Cranky’s angel dog. Maybe if that other woman hadn’t given my dog a dirty look. Cranky loves her dog like in a crazy way.

As I am going to sign out the AD tells me to hang out for later street scenes. So I go to crafty and have a lovely made to order cheese and spinach omelet. And they have a JUICER so I have some fresh juice so I am now totally impressed with this operation.

And I am taught by the best how to navigate background work.

By hour five when my feet start hurting from my sandal heels a lovely actress looks at me and says; “Honey always bring thongs. Put them in a little bag and keep them with you.” By hour nine I am standing barefoot on the pavement. I am hoping I am not getting hookworm or some awful thing.

At dinner the lovely actress whips out a three-foot high stack of Tupper ware containers and fills them with the leftover food. “They’re just going to throw it away.” In five minutes they are filled, stacked, and securely tied in a plastic bag and sitting on the table. I love actors. Actors have been recession ready for years.

After dinner I am given a lesson on how to evacuate your bowels when getting up at five a.m. for an early call. “First you have to eat dinner at four thirty in the afternoon the day before. Not a morsel after that. Maybe some coffee. Senecot before bed. Then get up early and do some yoga and have a black coffee. It will clear you out. No way I can go on set. I cannot go in some Porta Potty. I cannot go in a public bathroom. I can have sex with other people but I CANNOT crap with other people.”

And I am taught that as background it doesn’t matter if you are used or not used. “Honey, some days you are box office poison. Some days they never use you. And then other days you are seated right next to the star because the color of your shirt looks good next to theirs. That’s what this boils down to. The color of your shirt.” Actors. Love them.

I am there for twelve hours. The other actors show me how to fill out my form. They explain overtime, penalties, etc. I get a voucher. I am getting prop dog pay, wardrobe change pay, night pay, time and half for two hours and double time for one hour and I DID NOT have to look at one fungus fingernail.

Help! I’m Stuck In An Audition And I Can’t Get Out!

So after missing an audition I decide to turn over a new leaf. I will go to everything. I will not be judgmental.  I will have a good attitude. Well, that was my first mistake.

So when I get a call to go to an audition my attitude is so “good” I ignore all the usual warning signs. I am so into “getting out there” that I let it go that the audition is in an apartment building. Never a good sign. If they can’t fork over fifteen bucks an hours for a studio, fuck them. And when I ask, I am told, “Oh there are no sides. We are going to improvise.” Hmmmm. Again questionable.

But the new positive Cranky is looking on the bright side and ignores all this. The new positive Cranky is giving everybody the benefit of a doubt. The new positive Cranky says; “Sure!”   And I head uptown to 15 Central Park West for the audition.

Probably the fancy address helped to quell my fears. The presence of that many doormen somehow makes the possibility that I am going to see a psycho killer at home highly unlikely.

When I get there I CANNOT believe the lobby. It has a pre-war feeling and pre-war dimensions, and yet it is new. I ask the doorman about it and he tells me the building cost one billion dollars to build. “They used the same stone that was used to build the Empire State Building. They wanted a building that would fit in with the rest of Central Park West. Not like that ugly glass building next store that Trump built.” Its true this building is elegant. The Trump one next door doesn’t cut it. But if you‘ve ever watched “The Apprentice” and seen the inside of Donald Trump’s apartment, this is understandable. He has terrible taste the poor thing. I think his home décor style is called “Early Hotel Lobby.”

So I enjoy the walk through the lobby. I pass through the corridor that goes through the walled formal gardens. I go up on a spotless elevator. What the hell kind of independent filmmaker lives here? I wonder. What kind? The rich kid who lives with their parents kind.

I find this out when I enter the room.  It is a conference room that is available to tenants. I have to ask who lives here. “Oh, me and my parents,” answers the director.

So she explains the film to me. In it a woman gets followed home by some guy who then pushes her in the door and shoots her. I now realize I never got a script BECAUSE THERE IS NONE. She’s gonna improvise the entire film. I am not hot on that. You can usually tell by the quality of the dialogue when it is all improvised. And as a writer I always think things would be better if somebody wrote something.

So there is no script. The director then says we are going to improvise. She wants me to walk around the room like someone is following me.  Huh?  Walk around the room?  At this point I’m sure she must realize what I am thinking because I am absolutely sure I have a self-diagnosed condition called FACIAL EXPRESSION TURRETS. I can’t help myself really. Every emotion just passes over my face without me having a say in it. It is great for acting, but sucky in life.

This is when I need a strategy to get myself out of the room. A sure fire way to get out of there. But I AM STUCK IN THE AUDITION AND I CAN’T GET OUT. I may need a “Lifeline” device to hang around my neck with a button I can press to summon help.

She wants me to walk around the room? Which basically means circling the fucking conference table whilst looking over my shoulder. I mean you expect this kind of retarded shit at a commercial audition, but at one for a film?  No.

But I can’t get out of the room, so I do it. I avoid making any expression at all. I am not gonna do the Laura Dern in ”Jurassic Park” look. I feel like an idiot. I am circling a table. At one point I stop as if I am at a traffic light. My method training is surfacing willy-nilly. When I finish she says, “Oh, we didn’t want you to stop. WOULD YOU MIND DOING IT AGAIN?” Please Dear God Please God get me out of here. So again I am circling circling.

The feast de resistance comes when she tells me to now make believe that I open the door, some guy pushes me in, and then he shoots me. The only thing is, THERE IS NO GUY. Do I look like frigging Marcel Marceau? Can I push myself through a doorway? Can I shoot myself?

That’s it. So I look at the assistant director and ask if he can be the guy who pushes me in the door and shoots me. He looks real embarrassed. He’s embarrassed? I just circled a conference table for ten minutes!

They look at me like I’ve got some balls. When in reality, if I had balls I would have left fifteen minutes ago.

He blushes through the whole thing, which makes me superbly happy.

When I leave, I sit in the beautiful garden with the fountain that so looks like the afterlife. It is quiet there. Not an idiot in sight. I regain my composure. I decide to walk across Central Park even though there is a light drizzle. Again, I am alone. With the trees. With the plants. It is very quiet. I feel all right. I know Cranky will live to act another day.

A Cranky Confession

Cranky hasn’t written in AGES. AGES AGES. First, there was absolutely nothing going on in Cranky’s life. No auditions. No nothing. Then I got busy and had no time. Well maybe there was time. Maybe if I could stop watching “Real Housewives” (WATCH THEM FIGHT! WATCH THEM SHOP!) there might have been time.

So I will pick up life after the great hard drive crash of 2010. A little story that is so embarrassing I told my friend that I was too embarrassed to blog about it. “But your blog is anonymous!” she said. “I know,” I answered, “and I’m still too embarrassed to write about it.”

It all started when I got my computer back up and running and received three thousand emails at once. I did my best to weed through all the Smart Bargains and horoscope messages and find anything I needed to know.

I came across one with the subject: Audition. “Audition! I thought, “Audition? When? Thursday. Thursday? TODAY is Thursday!” I gulped my tea down and ran to get dressed. I stared into my closet in a daze trying to figure out what to wear. I came up with a salmon colored cardigan over a white shirt and a pair of jeans and beige flats. I felt smart. I felt springy. I ran to the subway with a smart spring in my step. The F train takes forever. All the trains are going in the other direction. COME ON! COME ON! I decide that if I am late I will not apologize for being late because it only calls attention to the fact that you are late. Finally a train comes and I jump on the last car, which I know will let me off by the First Avenue staircase.

At the station I bound up the staircase and run down the street. I find the address. There are three doors into the theater building. I try the first one-it is locked. The second – the same. The third – ah also locked. Huh? I go back and try the first. The second. The third. “How late am I?” I think. So I look at the printed email. Oh yes I am late. A WEEK LATE. The audition was LAST THURSDAY. The smart the spring? They’re all gone. I imagine someone from the theater seeing me and thinking that I am a mental case.

I need a cappuccino ASAP. I find a nice place that allows dogs, (only in the East Village) and I pet every dog that walks in for therapy.   It’s the best place to people watch. I realize the East Village is one of the only places in the world with octogenarian hipsters. My favorite of the day is the man with the grey ponytail who walks in with a cane covered in a mosaic of little mirrors.

The benches in front of the café are lined with people looking like a row of pigeons catching the sun.

Another octogenarian hipster comes in. He has the de rigueur grey ponytail. He is wearing faded overalls and a knit cap. He has an athletic physique. His body has an alertness, a quickness. I picture him standing and working on big canvasses. He does not go to the counter. He goes straight to a table and whips out a thermos of coffee and a book. A THERMOS. He’s not buying nothing. And because this is the East Village and he probably goes there every day, nobody says nothing. It’s so nice to be off the capitalist grid for a moment. I feel better now. At the rate I am going it’s nice to know there is a possibility of being an interesting octogenarian. Going to auditions a week late is not going to make any big success out of me any time soon. I should start collecting the requisite turquoise jewelry now.

The Weekend Audition Has Got to Go!

Today was not the best day I’ve ever had. I had to go to an audition. On a Saturday. I resent the weekend audition. I do. I know I am supposed to be dedicated and willing to do anything for an acting job blah blah blah but the weekend audition still burns me up.

So, I had planned out my day the day before. I figured I had just enough time to take my weekly African Dance class with the live drummer– which is one of my favorite things in the world. I was raving about it to a musician friend of mine recently who responded with; “Oh really? What region of Africa?” To which I responded; “The Alvin Ailey region I think.”

But I digress. So I had it all planned out.

But, when I woke up this morning the alarm clock said 7:45 – plenty of time to walk the dog, have a cup of tea, some raisin toast and a sit down to polish up the monologue they sent me, and go to class and make the audition. However upon entering the kitchen I learned it was actually 10:00 am and the battery on my alarm clock had died. NOOOOOO.

So no time for anything. Must walk dog. Must feed dog. Trying to get ready with a dog clamped on to my left foot. No time to discipline dog. My husband says this is why he is Alpha dog and I am not. I try throwing a toy in between putting on eyeliner. I try to throw it far enough to finish one eye. She’s back. Throw it again. She’s back. Again, back, again, back, again, back. I am sure as shit this dog is a terrier. I never wanted a terrier. But I love her now so it is too late. I get up to go to the closet and she latches on to my foot again so I have to drag her into the living room to get the silver coasters off the cocktail table. The silver coasters are the only thing that will stop her when she is in clamping mode. I have to clang them together. Repeatedly. My husband thinks I am a moron because being Alpha dog he only has to look at her.

After coaster alert I forgot exactly where I was headed in the first place.

I finally get out the door and when I am two blocks away I realize I forgot to put the monologue I was going to brush up in my purse. Too late to go back. Run down the stairs to the A train. NO A OR C TRAINS RUNNING AT THIS STATION says the magic marker sign. Fucking weekends fucking track work. So I run to the 2,3 three blocks away. Asking myself seriously if this is worth it. When I get there there are 10 people staring at an elevator with open doors that isn’t moving. Finally the other elevator comes.

I get on the train and I swear I am seated across from an actress preparing a monologue. I’m not kidding. She knows hers by heart. She obviously doesn’t have a terrier puppy. It starts annoying me. I want to close my eyes and meditate for a minute but I can’t look away. She is mouthing the words complete with much eyebrow raising and crazy intense looks and jutting of the lower teeth out of her mouth. And darting looks back and forth. I swear. The head- back and forth and back and forth. And now a crazy look. And now a pumping of the eyebrows. I look at a folder she is carrying and read the word “Shakespeare” upside down. Ah hah! She is doing bombastic Shakespeare on the 2 train. It is so fucking annoying to me that I can’t stop looking. And why is no one else noticing I wonder? Until a Hispanic guy with headphones gets on the train and sits down next to her. He notices the bizarre behavior. So he looks her up and down very carefully to figure out if she is a crazy homeless. When he decides she isn’t he sits back and returns to Ipod world. Fine. Fine. Leave Cranky alone in her annoyance. It’s so great to be annoyed with some one else. It’s one of those days. Everything is annoying me. When a man hits me with his Toy Are Us bag and an entire third grade class on a field trip gets on the car, I am so sorry I didn’t stay home.

I make it to the audition with ten minutes to spare. When I go in I ask if they have a copy of the monologue and they say, “No but someone left one by accident on the chair.” I realize yes I should have stayed home. And after I do the monologue and they hand me sides and ask me to read a scene I’ve never seen before with no preparation I am mentally kicking myself for skipping brunch with my husband and friends. And to rub it in, they have an actress there who has a part in the film read with me and she sits in a chair on my upstage left side, so I have a choice of relating to her and having the back of my head to the camera or having my face to the camera and looking like I don’t know how to act. But does it really matter anymore?

When I go to take the same train back there are no trains running at that station so I have to walk eight blocks weaving my way through slow walking lumbering tourists who are walking four across on the sidewalk. Times Square on a Saturday – thanks again screwy filmmaker.  The city needs to implement my idea of tourist walking lanes on the sidewalk. When I finally get to the platform the doors of the car close in my face.

But I’m home now. I’m on the couch. The doggie is on the back of the couch looking out the window her arm resting in what I call “Statesman Pose”. All is quiet and contentment now.

She does seem like terrier but I’m also sure she has a lot of poodle. Every dog now is crossed with a poodle. There are Cockapoos, Jackadoodles, Dachapoos, Labradoodles. Someday the poodles will take over the world. People will start having their offspring crossed with them. “What are you having? A boy or a girl?” we will ask. Oh, I’m having a Boydoodle. They are completely hypoallergenic and smarter than the average boy.”



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