Quiet Concern On The Set, Please! (pt. 2)

**This 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 promise.

So…

The lead actress and the director arrived at last.  She wasn’t really speaking because she’d lost her voice that morning and was going to have to croak, painfully, through her lines and overdub them later.  After some very quick introductions and pleasantries, I – in the interest of self-preservation – got right to asking if she’d had much training in stage fighting.  She said:

Slide1

No experience.  She was apparently a lead actress of the classical mold – meaning her lack of acting training was unimportant because she had a terrific body.  This is not to slight her natural acting ability (I didn’t really get to see it), but I began trying to think of how to teach stage fighting in 10 minutes.  I also began to see the process in motion behind the scenes.  And so I got concerned.

Or I thought I did.

Because then the producer said:

Slide2

“Real quick”?  90 minutes after start time and now you’re going to shoot an entire other scene “real quick”?  And I don’t want to unfairly trash the production – anything like this involves a lot of adaptation to the unexpected… but my day was slipping away.  And there seemed to be a lot more adaptation than original plan.

And I was concerned. Or… I thought I was.

Because we hadn’t had to call the paramedics yet.

Literally seconds after the director called for places, the other actor leaned over in his chair, muttered, “Oh God”…

And collapsed down to the floor.

Slide3

Everyone reacted how people always react – they stood up and all began shouting “Someone call 911!” without doing anything.  I pointed at someone and said:

Slide4

He was conscious and mostly coherent; he was complaining of nausea and light-headedness, but no tightness or stabbing pain so I don’t think it was a heart attack.

Slide5

The paramedics came and said his blood pressure was extremely low, so they took him to the hospital.  *(I’d find out later that he’s okay)*

Adapting once again, I was upgraded back to “government agent,” from “drunk at bar who gets beat up – possibly for real,” thus narrowly avoiding the stage fight, and the probable need for those paramedics to make a quick u-turn back to the set.

We shot the scene, and at this point the lead’s voice was basically gone.  I was particularly proud of my portrayal of “man who is not traumatized by how painful it sounds for the lead actress to speak.”

Slide6
We finished – with only a minor hiccup when the shooting lights blew the fuses in the place – and they thanked me.  I asked:

Slide7

I asked, as politely as I could, if I could get paid.  The director said with all the craziness he didn’t have the money, and wasn’t able to pay me then.  He said he’d send me a check as soon as he got organized.

And that… is when I got concerned.

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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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41 Comments on “Quiet Concern On The Set, Please! (pt. 2)”

  1. Pleun Says:

    Gripping story, excellent build-up and very well illustrated! And with all that, we can only hope your scene doesn’t get cut. Or should it? 😉

    Reply

  2. becomingcliche Says:

    Oh, NO! I hope you get paid!

    For a moment there, I was imagining terrible disco music beginning to play in the background.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’m about 50/50 on whether I will or not. It’s certainly not unheard of in these situations for people to just never get around to it, or for the finances to “suddenly dry up.”

      Reply

  3. Go Jules Go Says:

    DESPITE the fact that you didn’t get your butt kicked, I still loved this. “Lozenge…lozenge…lozenge…” Ha!

    Who needs a paycheck when you get a blog post -posts!- out of it?

    Reply

  4. Don't Quote Lily Says:

    Is this for real? WOWWWW… Um, you deserve to be paid. If not for your acting skills, then for all the crap they put you through. Jeez.

    Reply

  5. mistyslaws Says:

    I believe you should be compensated not only for your obviously stellar acting skills, but for your services as a medical professional during that medical emergency. That’s at least like five more bucks than originally promised, I assume.

    Reply

  6. mairedubhtx Says:

    You certainly should have been compensated. You had acting skills PLUS medical skills. Two for the price of one. They got a bargain. Plus you have mad artistic skills.

    Reply

  7. BrainRants Says:

    Based on the rest of this story, I’m surprised you didn’t get paid in Monopoly money. Still, I believe you came out ahead.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I did stand-up once for a “TV show” that a group was putting together and it was so pathetic and ramshackle that even as I was performing and getting filmed I kept thinking, “If this gets aired, it will be in a country that ends with ‘-stan,’ and if I get paid, it will be in their currency.

      Reply

  8. Michelle Says:

    I wish I was the kind of person who would have just left. But I’m too nice, and I would have been there when they finally showed up too. And then not get paid. I hope you see the money! Maybe it’ll come quicker than you think, like in 6 months.

    Reply

  9. pegoleg Says:

    In the interest of total honesty, I ask that you reconsider the brain ratios shown in the “response to crisis” panel. C’mon – you can tell us. Because only decades of being concerned with what other people would think of me, would have kept me from shouting the pea-sized brain response.

    I think your concern at the end was warranted.

    Reply

  10. Jackie Cangro Says:

    I think this is the part in King Lear when the king meets Edgar disguised as the madman.

    Reply

  11. Anka Says:

    I’m not sure what the title of this web series is called. But, maybe it should be changed to: “Everything went wrong!”

    Reply

  12. UndercoverL Says:

    Bravissimo! Encore, encore!

    Reply

  13. Laura Says:

    If there’s any justice in the world, the health food guy will wind up in the fight scene with the untrained actress.

    I hope you get paid.

    Reply

  14. Michael Says:

    The nutrition liason guy’s mouth looks like a banana. I’ve been mentally referring to him as Bananamouth since your previous post on him. If you make him a recurring character, I vote for that being his name. 🙂

    Reply

  15. pithypants Says:

    No need for concern. I’m sure the check is in the mail. Or at least a few carbon tablets to help leach the toxins out of your system, courtesy of Mr. NutriSystem.

    Reply

  16. List of X Says:

    Maybe they thought that not being kicked to the groin is compensation enough…
    I’ve never done any paid acting gigs myself, but isn’t it standard to find out whether it’s a paid job, and how much, before doing it? Or that’s a standard, but not a guarantee of any promised payment?

    Reply

  17. marz Says:

    I love this story! I’ve been wondering about the “And I was concerned. Or I thought I was…” parts all the way through it, and you brought it all together in the end!

    Have you thought about doing a collection/book of all your stick figures??

    Reply

  18. She's a Maineiac Says:

    Sure you may never see a dime from this….but we get to see some pretty cool drawings! Yeah!! And that’s all that matters, right? Eh? No? (your drawings were most excellent…I especially loved the expression on your face in the second one, that’s my go-to expression)

    Reply

  19. Sandy Sue Says:

    Gonad Crunch Averted! (I think this is all the payment you’ll ever get).
    I’m with the rest of the gang here. Banana Mouth and Squeaky Hot Babe deserve a CYOA story. We’re waiting…

    Reply

  20. Teepee12 Says:

    I just KNEW it was going to end without a paycheck. I’ve just had so many of these jobs. You just know how it’s going to end. But we do it anyway. Like my dogs. We always think there’s a biscuit out there somewhere and we’re going to get it.

    Reply

  21. thesinglecell Says:

    So, wait. The guys with the heads. Is there a sideswept-like-Vincent-Kartheiser-in-Mad-Man hair thing happening there? Or is it just a stylistic, devil-may-care attitude toward closing a circle (which I am not condemning)? I need to know your motivation.

    Reply

  22. silkpurseproductions Says:

    It seems you may have been lucky to get out alive. I think I might have paid them to let me leave.

    Reply

  23. Andrea Says:

    Oh lordy… Honestly I’m surprised you didn’t pay them just to let you get away from the irritating (even as a stick figure) nutrition guy!

    Reply

  24. stormy1812 Says:

    i feel guilty for laughing to the point of tears at your “pain” but this was hilarious. the stick figures are probably my favorite. it’s clear you were a stand up comic at one point because your timing is excellent! having read through a few items on here, i’ll be sure to follow. i love the humor. im sorry it was such a rough day and i hope you got paid, or will. p.s. – definitely consider “thinning” out the “shuttle 6” story – it’s totally hollywood bound. 🙂

    Reply

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