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.