Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Uncharted Territory

The role everyone thinks I'm playing today is Herb. The role I'll actually be playing is "Big TV Star", all in my head. It's to fool my brain. I'm not fooling around in the background today, I'm being featured in an action-packed scene with the series lead. So I'm a bit nervous and anxious. I decide that by playing "Big TV Star" in my head, maybe I'll be able to Fake It Until I Make It.

The show is "Haven" and the scene is with its star, Emily Rose. Away from this TV series, she voices the Elena Fisher character in the series of "Uncharted" video games. Now, my son and I have been playing these games for seven years. He was eight when they first came out. Now he's fifteen and we're both very keen to see the fourth one which is coming out next year. "Uncharted" has been ground-breaking games in terms of video game look and style and not only was I delighted and entertained by the gameplay, but my son and I bonded for hours and hours over these games, whatever that might say about me as a parent.

So the voice coming from over there beside me? I've only ever associated that voice with that character and now sitting in the wardrobe trailer and on set listening to routine conversations, in my head is all BIG ACTION IS GOING TO BREAK OUT ANY MINUTE!! I gotta say, it's very cool and I'm geeking out on the inside a little. Okay, maybe more than a little. Outside I just keep trying to stay in character ("Big Important TV Star") even as I casually text to my son, "I'M LISTENING TO GODDAM ELENA FISHER!"

The Big Important TV Star has a trailer - one fifth of one any way. My door (with a 5 and a Herb and a star on it) is the closest one to the toilets at the back, just saying.

Day one, I have a quick scene with Lucas Bryant who plays (coincidence?) "Nathan" on the show. Lucas is a pretty cool dude, softspoken, understated and a nice guy from what I can tell - I'm still mostly trying to keep out of everybody's way, old habits die hard. I'm on set at 8:00am, I get into wardrobe, Dorothy from Makeup puts a scar on my wrist that will be key to the scene we're shooting and then we go do the work - coverage shot from a bunch of different angles including a closeup of the scar and by 1pm, I'm wrapped for the day. Yup, and I got paid A LOT too.

Still in makeup, I go across the street to get my driver's license renewed. Hey why not look pretty for your picture when you can?

Continuity note, for my first scene I wore white socks and for my second scene I'm wearing black socks. I figure no one will notice.

Day two, one week later. Big day today. I'll be doing a stunt, first time ever. I probably shouldn't say what the stunt is until the show goes to air. Day two on set is also my birthday and I'm expecting (hoping, if I'm to drop character for a moment) that it's going to be a super fun day.

Today makeup is applied with a paintbrush. In a little while I'll be ready for a second coat.

I'm so bad with names. I feel so self-conscious on set because I keep forgetting everyone's name which strikes me as something especially bad in this weird world of show business. Dorothy does my makeup. Dorothy should be an EASY name to remember, my sister in law is named Dorothy. But no, I'm blanking on it while I'm in the trailer and only remember after someone else calls her by name. Duh. Also in the trailer is Joanne who does hair. The hair she's doing belongs to Emily Rose (that's an easy one except why do I keep writing "Audrey Rose"?). Nicole is the fourth AD who meets me all the time at the production trailer (John's in there too) and she gets me a driver to set and to lunch and she brought me a breakfast plate that first morning I was there and still I keep having to look her name up on the call sheet. Geez.


Lee is the director. Forbes is the camera guy, almost as famous Emily Rose (to me, anyway). Gary I met at lunch today, he's the guy that's going to be supervising the stunt. The lady who introduced me to him has been on a whole bunch of other shows I've visited and I needed to find her name on the call sheet too. Dammit. Is it Heather or Megan? Fuck. (It's Heather.)There's a shit pile of names on the call list and most of them will do more to make my performance look good than I will.

That comforts me, by the way. Everybody else's good work helps ease my own anxiety about my upcoming performance. Makeup, wardrobe and effects are going to have more to do with it than I will. I relax a little.

My second coat of makeup gets me a little closer to being performance ready. Later, there will be blood. And also, I will be married to Gabrielle Miller. (We have discussions about "suspension of disbelief".)

On set ... I'll try to remember to add some things after the show has aired so this is not all spoilery, but there were particular moments where my heart rate shot up higher than any other time I've been on set, and that includes when Tom Selleck said hi to me. My breathing was coming too fast and I could feel my pulse pounding along the veins in my neck. I came away bruised and bloody. Part of it was real.

Blood all OVER my hands. At the end, after I was wrapped to the traditional applause of the crew and Emily Rose came over to shake my hand ... well, we decided not to. I was way too sticky. Ah, well.

I didn't get to say goodbye to everyone like I usually do. And say thank you.

It was a strange ride back to Base Camp, adrenaline pounding through me. Fight or flight. WHAT NEXT?!?!? WHAT NEXT!!???!!


Nothing. That is all. Happy birthday. You had fun. Please try to calm down.

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