Putting together any kind of creative performance – dance, a play, shooting a film – requires such delusional, quixotic optimism, that when I got a call this Saturday asking if I was available to play a part in a scene for a web series on Sunday, and the associate producer said:
I knew there was no way that was true (if you’ve ever done anything with film, you know that nothing can get done in under an hour), but a couple hours was no big. Also it was shooting in my part of town, so that’d help. So, I wasn’t concerned. But that’s because I hadn’t gotten the second call yet.
The time and my character had changed as well as the location. It was now not in my part of town. It wasn’t even in my town. So I was a little concerned about my time commitment and also the organization level.
Or at least I thought I was concerned at that point, but – comparatively – I wasn’t. Because I hadn’t gotten to the set yet.
I arrived promptly on time the next morning and very few people were there. A couple crew guys, a producer, one actor, and the liaison for the building where we were shooting. It was some health food/nutrition system/change-your-diet-change-your-life place and as people sat around chatting, the liaison filled the air with a non-stop barrage of highly enthusiastic and highly questionable nutrition facts.
I realized that none of these people was the lead actor. She wasn’t there. Nor was the director.
The other actor was very chatty. He was talking to the nutrition guy about how he’s mostly vegan but he’d gone out to eat the night before and had fish and maybe his system wasn’t used to it, because his stomach was upset.
Then he told me excitedly about a script he’d written. It was set in the old west and he couldn’t stop telling me about it (and I don’t blame him, I get the same way) , even when I’d clearly gotten it. He asked if I could get the reference in the plot.
An hour passed. Still no director. No one was doing anything except chatting and not drinking coffee.
I was getting concerned.
Or I thought I was.
But that’s because I hadn’t read the script yet.
It turned out my scene wasn’t just a short conversation – it involved a fight in which my character gets beaten up by the lead actress.
Stage fighting, as you can imagine, is a very delicate process. There are very set roles and rules. And so then I got really concerned.
Or I thought I did.
Because I hadn’t met the lead actress yet.