Quiet Concern On The Set, Please!

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:

Slide1

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.

Slide2

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.

Slide3

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.

Slide4

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.

Slide5

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.

Slide6

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.

Continued Here!

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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73 Comments on “Quiet Concern On The Set, Please!”

  1. Laura Says:

    It’s nice that they let you send email from your hospital room.

    Reply

  2. aiyanajane Says:

    i love the comics here, especially the nutritionist one ahahaha! i sincerely hope you didn’t get sacked!
    xo, aiyanajanee || http://www.citystylecountrysmile.com

    Reply

  3. Elyse Says:

    How cruel — making us wait.

    Reply

  4. The World Is My Cuttlefish Says:

    When’s the next instalment?

    Reply

  5. Go Jules Go Says:

    Holy crap! I was right! You are holding out! Okay. This is amazing. “…but – comparatively – I wasn’t.” HA. I can’t wait for part 2. Also, I love the way you’re pointing in the ‘Hamlet’ drawing, and the little flipped over script.

    Someone I work with told me she was a “flexitarian.” I laughed because I thought she was kidding.

    She wasn’t.

    She said, “I eat fish.” It took everything I had in me not to say, “I think there’s an actual name for that.”

    Reply

  6. silkpurseproductions Says:

    Really? A cliff hanger? I like how you have the talking into the camera nailed, “I know you are thinking, ‘well that’s an extraneous detail to include’. It will be important later.”
    I can’t wait.

    Reply

  7. BrainRants Says:

    I see a former East German powerlifter, post-op female, as your lead actress… just guessing.

    Reply

  8. PinotNinja Says:

    I need to know what happens!!

    And, also, I need to take the “extraneous detail” comic and put it on a little hand sign that I can hold up whenever I am telling a story and I catch two people giving each other the “and she’s off on a tangent” side-eyed glance. It’s pure genius.

    Reply

  9. mairedubhtx Says:

    It is like Hamlet. I can’t wait for Part 2. But I don’t remember the part in Hamlet where the actress kicks the drunk in the groin.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Act III. Hamlet’s says to Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnery!” and she’s all, “Well, get thee to a nuttery, jerk-bag!” and WHAM-O, lets him have it in the crotch. Classic stuff.

      Reply

  10. mistyslaws Says:

    Ahh, the ole stick figure talking to the audience routine. Man, that’s almost as common as screenwriters doing a revised and modernized version of Hamlet!!

    It’s Hamlet, right?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      You know, now that you put them together, I’d forgotten that whenever I taught Shakespeare I’d draw his plays out with stick figures to help explain it. I even called them the “Royal Shakespearean Stick-Figure Academy.”

      Reply

  11. Jackie Cangro Says:

    This whole event sounds like a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I agree. It makes me think about that one. With the dad? The king who dies? And the turmoil among the rest of the family? And it all leads to the destruction of the kingdom? You know, “King Lear.”

      Reply

  12. thoughtsappear Says:

    Sugar doesn’t cause cancer. If it did, I’d be dead by now.

    Reply

  13. Anka Says:

    Yep, there’s definitely reason for concern, especially after learning about your character change. Going from FBI agent to drunk guy can’t be good. And, no coffee? That’s an even bigger problem.

    Reply

  14. rachelocal Says:

    I can’t even film one of my world famous vlogs in under an hour. And without coffee or sugar?? Impossible!

    Reply

  15. TAE Says:

    The Byronic Man trapped in a downward spiral of tape!

    Reply

  16. becomingcliche Says:

    Eek! Where can we send flowers and get-well wishes? I can’t wait until Thursday!

    Reply

  17. UndercoverL Says:

    Yes! I like this story!

    Reply

  18. Lorna's Voice Says:

    Hey, I’m thinking this might be your big break, B-Man…in more ways than one. 😉

    Reply

  19. Michelle Says:

    I can’t wait to read the rest of this story!

    Reply

  20. speaker7 Says:

    I have a feeling your account of this story is going to be far better than the actual story.

    Reply

  21. pegoleg Says:

    I just know this is going to have a happy ending involving you and a Tony. I’m sure this is just how Olivier got his start.

    Reply

  22. thesinglecell Says:

    Okay, so, A) for some reason I should probably have evaluated by a professional, I believed your stick figure quotes about the perils of sugar and caffeine, but cast all that aside when I read the bit about eight sticks of butter in a restaurant dish. And 2) Once again I must compliment your spacial awareness vis-a-vis quote bubbles. Also I’m glad that guy wasn’t doing MacBeth because you can’t say “MacBeth” and I feel certain that would have made the upcoming part 2 more horrifying.

    Reply

  23. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Ah! You mean we have to WAIT to see what happens to you and/or your nether regions?! (the expression on your face in the last frame just about killed me)

    Reply

  24. Rohini Says:

    Can’t wait for Thursday…

    Reply

  25. sarahwriteshere2010 Says:

    Your stick people are expressive and humourous. I enjoyed this immensely Mr. Man.

    And yes I’m keeping the extra u in there spellcheck, I’m Canadian, we stick Us where they have no business being, like in our neighbours.

    Reply

  26. List of X Says:

    Oooh, a fight scene…There is a way to film a fight scene in under an hour – when it’s NOT a stage fight. I hope it didn’t come to that, because even stick figures feel pain when kicked to the groin

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Have you ever seen the awesome movie “They Live”? With Rowdy Roddy Piper? There’s a fight scene in an alley that goes on so long it starts being hilarious. It feels like an hour in real time, but I can’t even imagine how long it took to shoot. Although, it’s a John Carpenter film, and he’s a little nuts so it probably took 3 minutes longer than the running time.

      Reply

      • List of X Says:

        I have not seen that movie. Basically, the only movie fight scenes I remember off hand is a blur of Jackie Chan scenes mixed up with outtakes, and possibly something from Die Hard. Oh, and when one of my friends was asked to demostrate a stage fight move to another, and very realistically stage-smashed his head into the table (at a busy restaurant), after which they both returned to their dinner.

        Reply

  27. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    I am really looking forward to seeing where this goes.

    On a related note, I actually believed Anthony’s new show when they said he’d be seeing nice, short days. If fourteen- and sixteen-hour days are short days, then the job definitely fits the bill.

    Someday I’ll learn that show biz is not like contracts.

    Reply

  28. Life With The Top Down Says:

    No man wants to hear “Ok everyone let’s wrapped this up. Female actress give it all you got this time. Drunk guy the pain on your face is perfect. Kick to groin … TAKE 5!”

    Reply

  29. Sandy Sue Says:

    So, I assume you’re still on set, writing these cliff-hangers while icing your nether regions or dunking them in contraband coffee.

    Reply

  30. Charlene Woodley Says:

    I love the comics (Hamlet) – can’t wait for the next post!

    Reply

  31. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    You should tell all your stories this way, big or small. Now I can’t wait for tomorrow!

    Reply

  32. Teepee12 Says:

    I can mell these jobs. The vagueness. The shifty eyes when you try to pin someone down to a schedule, a pay rate, anything. My own unfocused but heavy sense of impending doom, knowing this is going to steal a piece of my life then spit it up, leaving it to rot in the sun. No paycheck either. If it gets done at all. No, no, no, no … I’ll never go there anymore. LOVE your presentation.

    Reply

  33. clemarchives Says:

    Your misfortune is our good luck! Yay for retrospective schadenfraude!

    Reply

  34. Andrea Says:

    Hurry up and wait. The first motto I learned after Semper Fi, upon arriving at bootcamp. Hurry up. And wait.

    (just like waiting endlessly for the Like buttons to load on wordpress..speaking of which, you’re self hosted. How do you have a Like button??)

    Reply

  35. travellingmo Says:

    Oh man, I can’t wait to see what’s next! There’s no way this turns out well. . . And the Hamlet stick figure scene reminds me of this bit in Kids in the Hall:

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Quiet Concern On The Set, Please! (pt. 2) | The Byronic Man - June 6, 2013

    […] is a continuation of the story that begins here.  I’d highly recommend reading that first to be caught up. It won’t take that long, I […]

  2. Neil Patrick Harris Turned Me Down Again Then Asked Me To Stop Calling Him. But This Is Still An Awards Show. | The Great Unwashed - July 15, 2013

    […] 1. The Byronic Man- Sometimes I send The Byronic Man fan mail in the middle of the night. Even though it’s completely incoherent, he makes a point of answering me.  He tells stories using a combination of the written word and stick figure drawings. His stick figures are the most expressive that I’ve seen. 2. Hold The Condiments- Hannah writes a fantastic blog but even better than that when a complete stranger (me) asked for her home address to send fan mail, she gave it out! Mind you she moved directly after that, however I’m certain that the two events are unrelated. 3. Listful Thinking- This is what Hyperbole And  A Half would look like is Ally Brosh made lists rather than Microsoft Paint inspired cartoons. Sometimes I pretend that I’m Stephanie just so that I can claim to be funny, interesting and photogenic. 4. The Good Greatsby- Paul Johnson of The Good Greatsby is my ideal imaginary third husband. He’s suave, debonair, extremely good looking and is excellent at turning a joke. He’ll get along splendidly with my imaginary second wife Martha Stewart. He’s also a blogger for the Huffington Post. […]

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