Wednesday, July 02, 2014

June gigs

I was almost sure that I'd be sitting June out.  Many of the recent extra gigs have been primarily doled out to SAG/AFTRA people.  And there doesn't seem to be any big demand for a "cast of thousands"... or even hundreds!  But I can't complain about auditions... I've had a couple this month; two of them with call-backs. Unfortunately none of them with a booking.  But I remain optimistic, after all, my call-back statistics have increased and my real-life job interviews have suddenly come back to life.  Looks like I might be getting back to a real-pay job for a couple of months soon.

During the first week of June, I got a call to go out to the tip of Long Island... to Montauk Point (a.k.a. "The End").  We were supposed to be vacationers on a ferry boat to Block Island while one of the principals ponders meeting her paramour there... hence the title of the show: The Affair.

Ruth Wilson in the foreground checks her iPhone while I hang back at the orange life-saver!

But the day turned out to be cold and rainy... and the boat was rocky.  Some people got wooozy even though the PA's were giving out Dramamine. I was in shorts and wearing a sandal as the wind blew the cold rain at us.  What fun.

A week later I managed to book The Nest.  A Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy about sisters who plan to throw one big party before selling their "nest" house. We extras were airport travelers in the old EAB building's atrium on Long Island. This was yet another rainy day but thankfully we were indoors.  Here the PA's were kept real busy as the building's worker-bees tried to sneak an iPhone snapshot of the two principals.  Shoo...Shooo. At one point,one of my old bosses whom I worked for back in the 1990's showed up from his local office.  We barely shook hands as he was quickly escorted from the set.  I got a real chuckle out of that!

Five days later I got the call to be a 1985-ish golfer for Red Oaks, a coming of age comedy for Amazon.  It starred Paul Riser in this scene, who drove up to the set's posh golf club in a late model Corvette.  I was assigned to drive around in a golf-cart. But I didn't mind.  It was the first time I had ever driven one of those electric do-hickeys.  At another point in the story, one of the PA's asked me if I could hit a golf ball!  I said "SURE!" (I was always pretty good at miniature golf.)  I was then taken to one of the tee-off areas where another extra was smashing the balls across the field.  The PA suddenly said to me, "If the director doesn't like the way that guy hits... you're up next!"  GULP!  I'd never hit a "real" golf ball like that... but I was ready to give it a try.  Trouble was, that everyone was focused on the golfer at the tee.  The cameramen, the director, the director's assistant... and their assistants.  I thought it was just a background kind of deal... where no one really cares what happens at the "deep end of the camera's horizon".  But luck was with me... they liked the guy and I was sent back to holding without ever having a go at it.  Perhaps that was a good thing?

Later as they placed us by the poolside, I was paired with a sunglassed guy named Josh.  Our direction was to chat it up as the pool activity (swimming, bikini girls going by, sunbathing, etc.) was going on.  And that's when I found out that Josh was actually the stand-in double for George Clooney! He'd been in a couple of his movies and became friends with the major star... to the point where they were tossing a baseball to each other.  And as I wondered just how close Josh really looked to Clooney, he took off the sunglasses. WHOA!  He really did resemble GC... a lot.  Now that's the kind of job that keeps you employed -at least as long as George makes movies. (I wonder if he'll get an invite to the upcoming rumored wedding?)

The following week kept me busy with commercial call-backs.  I got two of them.  For me that's a first.  Unfortunately... they didn't pan out.  But a quick Sunday call for a reality gig originating from England, called Taking New York, was shooting in DeWitt Clinton Park on the west side.  They needed a couple of "elderly chess players" in a hurry for a Sunday afternoon.  I love chess... and the chance to play a game (and get paid for it) was appealing a lot to me.  So I went.  As it turned out there were four of us in the background but only me and another chess player were used at the park's chess tables.  For the next three hours, my new chess-buddy and I played a couple of games.  I won one and he won one.  But just as our tie-breaker game was taking off, the cute PA came over and told us that "unfortunately we're wrapped" but getting paid for the whole day.  Excellent!

So I did a comparison of my last year's work-frequency record and the one for this year, and what do you know.  It was almost exact in the number of jobs and the money made.  So why does it seem like I'm hardly working?

Epilogue:  Got the real-life-with-real-pay job!  Guess I'll be going on showbiz hiatus for a while...