Friday, April 1, 2016

tfw work is not work

I made myself available for rush calls last night, and then watched a little tv and played a little Rock Band with Stephen. Never heard the notifications from my phone re:emails or text messages.

Got a phone call from my service at 10 p.m. "Do you have your details?"
Me: "Wait. What? I'm booked?"
Service: "Yeah, like three hours ago. You didn't confirm, and everyone else did,"
Me: "I didn't get the notification. Go ahead and confirm me, and I'll check the details online. What's the gig?"
Service: "____, BG with car. I'll re-send it; you don't have to confirm, I've got you confirmed. Have a great day on set!"
Me: "Thanks, I'll check it now. Thanks for calling. Sorry about the confusion."

last night's sleep: 105% of my 7.5 hour goal
TODAY's steps: 40% (4088 steps out of 10K goal)
Looked into the details, mapped out my route, planned my day (today) and went to bed. Took a melatonin, which kicked in pretty quickly, so I slept pretty much after my head got comfy. You may remember all the steps I walked yesterday. That may have had something to do with it. ;)

Got up with the alarm, checked the call time change box to discover my call was 1/2 an hour later, and completed my morning. Mapped out my route to BOTH the basecamp AND the location, in case I was actually supposed to arrive at basecamp rather than the location (since the call time had changed, that detail could have changed as well), and then headed out early enough to get there and go to the other, if necessary.

Got parked; got checked in. Was offered a breakfast burrito, but since I don't like eggs, I declined, opting for my yogurt from home instead. Moved my car to a different space. Hung out with another BG artist while we awaited further instruction. Moved my car again. Made my way over to a "holding" area and spent the day checking Twitter and chatting with the other BG artists who were also not working in picture (seriously, our cars were the "atmosphere" today, not us).

By the time production was ready to wrap that location, they also realized that they might want us to drive in the scenes at the next location, so we got back into our cars to drive to basecamp. Even though I had mapped it out earlier, my phone at that point had zero battery, so the Boy Band in Waze was not going to get me to my destination. I had to follow another BG artist, who was kind enough to not lose me.

"gratuitous" behind the scenes picture.
At basecamp, they broke us for lunch, only to realize seven minutes later that, nope, we need you all to drive in this scene. So we all plugged our phones in and ate little bites of our lunches in between driving on camera, and then we drove around the block eleventy billion times. When we were done with that, they really broke us for lunch, and when we were officially "back" from our lunch break, they wrapped us for the day.

Background Acting isn't for everyone. Some people actually crave camera time. Some people don't want to act without dialogue. Some people don't want to be paid a living wage with multiple "bumps" for doing essentially nothing. I am not one of those people. Some days, I get to have a five minute nonversation right behind a lead actor, and some days, I get to let my car do all the work. I really don't care. You could hire me to walk away from camera (back of my head), every shot of every day of every shoot for every production for the rest of my life, and I will feel satisfied and fulfilled. Well, maybe not every shot. Still. My favorite place in the world is "on set". Put me on set. Give me a task that I'm capable of doing, and pay me an appropriate wage for that task, and I'll do that task as well as or better than anybody else. For me, that's that feeling when work is not work.

What's YOUR work-is-not-work "dream job"?

... in other news, Stephen got his second pair of new glasses in today's mail:
I think they make him look "studious"


  1. Somehow as a fluke, my daughter visited L.A. for two nights and got shot as an extra for "Straight Outta Compton". They ended up giving her a prop (a briefcase) and she had to rehearse. Other people were mad that she got this and was just walking by. She got some small check and it was pretty darn exciting (the scene did not make the movie). Was that weird? It sounds interesting! What other job is so unpredictable every day?

    1. Those of us who do it for a living never call ourselves "extra" because of the negative connotations associated with that word. But it certainly applies to your daughter's situation, and yes, that sort of thing happens all the time. If the check she received was for more than an eight-hour minimum wage, then she was actually acting on a union bg or principal contract. They probably had her rehearse because of the "fluke" nature by which she was hired. Carrying a prop is a normal part of the gig. Sometimes it's an item you've been asked to bring; sometimes it's something they hand you in the moment.

      What was she doing in LA, and what does she do in the "real world"?

  2. They called it a walk on part because of the prop I think (they handed it to her). She went with a friend and was on Judge Judy (in the audience). Walking from the taping of Judge Judy to her hotel, she came upon the S.O.C. shooting. In her mind, she was in L.A. two days and was on one TV show and one movie and that's how life would be there every day. Ha! She is a stay at home mom back here in S. Carolina. She just got an expenses paid trip to go as the "friend" to the person on Judge Judy.

    1. They called it a "walk-on" part because she "walked on"to the location without having preregistered with the casting company. When big productions do lotteries or sweepstakes, one of the prizes you can "win" is a walk-on part. It's essentially the same job as a background actor, and it's all good. In this business, it's not what you know, it's not who you know, it's who knows you. The director or his First or Second Assistant saw your daughter walking by, and they saw that she could probably contribute something to the scene. Had the whole deal taken place in South Carolina, they may have brought her in, but they probably wouldn't have ended up paying her ("right to work" sometimes means "right to work for your hot dog lunch that we have a right to feed you").

      I'm glad Judge Judy paid to get her out here, and that she had a good time while she was getting some camera time. Everybody who participates in this world has a different experience, and I'm glad hers was a good one. It's definitely a good story to tell!


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