Archive for August, 2011

Acting in August-Webisode Hell

Cranky is working on some webisodes. I don’t know if anyone gives a crap about webisodes, but as there are no other acting jobs flying my way what the hell. And as an added inducement Mr. Inscrutable is directing. And he has a real live Emmy sitting on his desk. Which reminds me. I must add this to my resume and put DIRECTED BY EMMY WINNING DIRECTOR _______________. Because I am an actress and must take advantage of anything that sounds good.

And right now “sounds good” is about the aptest description for shooting webisodes. But as my dear friend Lisa from Chicago says, “Making the sausage is never fun but the result will be.” This is my daily mantra as I sit sweating in full makeup in August heat waiting waiting waiting for shooting to BEGIN. Every fucking day. Three hours. Four hours. Some days I am in makeup already when the crew arrives. What is wrong with this picture?

And the criminal acts I must commit to keep going. Like driving without a license. I know. I know. How crazy. But the queen of the subways doesn’t need a car.

So anyway, one day on the set they want to film me pulling into a parking space. The first time I do it I keep pumping the brake out of fear so me and the passenger actress look like two bobble heads on camera. Finally, I get the hang of it and I look at my co-star and say, “My motivation in this scene is not to get arrested.” Then after like ten takes my blood turns to ice when a cop car pulls up in front of us and a policeman gets out. “It’s happening” I think, “It’s happening.” There is nothing to do. Nowhere to go. And then the cop goes into the ATM to get cash and I realize I’m not going to jail. Whew.

The best day was the day the producer procured a Mariachi band to provide atmosphere the Mexican Restaurant scene shot in an Irish bar. Where did she meet them? Playing in the subway of course. So six guys three feet tall in cowboy hats show up on set. And as usual we are waiting waiting waiting so the Mexican Mariachi men buy Irish beers and keep buying them the entire three hours we are waiting.

It comes time to shoot. They are each directed (with a translator) to do actions involving writing on a piece of paper, carrying it across the room, reading from it and then turning it around and showing it to me. And Cranky is thinking, “Uh-huh. Good luck.”

Ok then. Everyone is ready, SLATE, Sound – SPEED. Camera- ROLLING. And the director yells, “ACTION!” And there is complete and utter silence. The only movement is the gently swaying of six cowboy hats on the heads of the three feet tall Mariachi men. It all seems so Felliniesque.

After much yelling and translating, yelling and translating, yelling and translating, their action is changed to standing still holding a piece of paper.

I could have told them that. This is why I took technique. This is why all actors study. The simplest tasks are impossible for the layman on camera or on a stage. DUH!

We get through the scene and the subway Mariachi band is wrapped. They go outside. They refuse to leave. They are demanding money because they had to wait. They are told that they were told that there was no money involved.

We continue shooting inside and one of them deliberately comes in and walks through the shot. As if to say, “I may be three feet tall but I can still make TROUBLE.”

After we finish I go outside just at the right moment. A wad of cash is being handed over to the Mariachis.

What does this mean? It means that they are being paid to leave, and that Cranky is not getting one fucking penny TO STAY!