Monday, December 29, 2014

A flurry of jobs at the end of the year

2014 ends with a melange of bookings!

I was called for Blue Bloods twice.  Once as a relative of an officer in a promotion ceremony and weeks later as a witness.  The latter was three and a half hours of "perps" and "witnesses" not being used!? I did get to see Marisa Ramirez come out of her dressing room.  Our glances met in surprise! She gave a quick smile. Great eyes. Everyone was wrapped on a short day!

Epilogue: I got to see myself chatting with another extra in the recently aired moralistic episode of "Sins Of The Father" 

Elementary provided an interesting set: The Brooklyn Museum on a very cold day... and night!  We extras provided a "tuxedoed backdrop" for a fundraiser event during which Lucy Liu's Watson-character has some serious words with someone at the bar.  It was interesting to see all the museum's artistic displays moved to the side in order to make way for the theatrical setup.  Later that evening "some of us" (including me) were selected to walk outside in the frigid air as the principals were "dialogueing" in the lobby.  Luckily I brought my thermals and was paired with an attractive girl.  That's always a good combination for providing warmth.
Cast of "The Mysteries Of Laura"
Two days later I got my wish to be on The Mysteries Of Laura!  In fact I hit the jackpot.
My first role of the day was that of a CSU investigator where Josh Lucas, Laz Alonso and Janina Gavankar were all present to check out a burn-victim in a body bag... while I nonchalantly dusted a piece of burned out furniture in the DUMBO background.  Props provided me with a whole case of CSU equipment but I had no idea that I could disturb it's contents -and so I just used a piece of splintered wood to make believe I was scraping off "evidence!  I'm such a dummy.  Luckily my second role wasn't that complicated -I was a parent at a school party.  There must have been 50 little kids running around inside this set as Debra Messing and her "two kids" were taking selfies for the scene's holiday festivities.  BINGO!  As far as I was considered, I won the jackpot of seeing all the major characters in one gig. Big kudos to the PA in charge of the kids.  She was able to control them with her 3-2-1... QUIET technique!!!

Peter Facinelli
One more tuxedo gig for a new "politico-intrigue" series entitled Odyssey.  It was a large cast call to one of the prestigious hotels in Manhattan.  As I entered a ball-room holding area, I met a bunch of my usual "tuxedo-role friends" and then some in a not-so-tuxedo role: unshaven men dressed up like women!?  As it turned out, the scene called for a CEO-gala with a bunch of cross-dressers to entertain the big-wigs. Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga) was one of the principals whose role was to confront an old adversary at a dinner table.  The takes were endless with a lot of wipes.  We did get to rest during our walk-away meal! Some of the scene's benefits were the NYC's building-tops' evening scenery from the 44th floor balcony and the inevitable "you can eat the food now" frenzy of the center table's super-fancy macaroons!  What a mess we left!!! The drawbacks were having our large crowd of extras wait for the small elevators to get back down to holding, so we could wait on the long line to be signed out. Not to mention the tuxedo cleaning bills we'd have to endure! But hey... maybe that can be a tax-deduction?

A new period-piece cop show, Public Morals, was set in the late 1960's, for which Ed Burns is both star and director. The set was in Hell's Kitchen off 11th Avenue. The scene was a "stabbing"... with us extras walking by nonplussed.  I guess it was no big deal for that to happen in Hell's Kitchen back in 1967?  It was a gruesome scene as Ed directed the thug to "stab him wipe the blood in his roll him under the truck... now hide the knife in your jacket...Great!  Let's do another!!!"  Ed was pretty cool. He knew what he wanted to achieve in the scene and was working hard to get the effect.
Me in "present day 1967"  ... and in real 1967
We had great wardrobes, haircuts and period picture-cars in place.  I was particularly worried about the Corvair I had to stand next to.  But as long as no one bumped it from the rear, I felt ok about it. It was yet another gig with a walk-away lunch -but I didn't mind it.  I found Gotham West Market a block away and had one of the best burritos ever!  Later in the afternoon, we were put into a comfortable holding-bus for an hour or so.  One of the women sitting across the isle started a long conversation with me regarding her personal worries.  I did my "therapist shtick" and soon found that the whole bus was quieting down.  Everyone was half-sleepingly tuning in to our dialogue.  Occasional snickering from the nearby seats would accentuate our otherwise Freudian colloquy as I segued into "what about yoga".  And as the sun went down, we wrapped.

My last gig of the season was HAPPYish.  The set was at a Tarrytown train platform where Steve Cogan (Philomena) is waiting for the train while reading a hard-copy of the Steve Jobs bio.  A comical scenario ensues as he bumps into one of the many yuppies around him holding tablets with the same reading material albeit in e-pub format.  Steve replaced P.S. Hoffman (whose untimely death was a sad tragedy). He plays a middle-aged unhappy worker whose not interested in keeping up with the modern social network technology.  We extras "played" commuters - doing walking, standing, "background acting"! There wasn't much dialogue from the principals, but since I was paired up with a long-time extra buddy whom I hadn't seen in ages... well, let's just say our bantering was way-off-track.  Lot's of funny jokes and a couple of train rides back and forth made the day go fast. And... what seems to be a bonus lately on a set: we got fed!

And now the infamous end-of-the-season "slow down" starts.  We extras will be checking for non-existent submissions on an hourly basis.  It seems that a manic-momentum is created throughout our working period that just can't be turned off easily.  Probably no bg-work until mid January!? But 2014 was a pretty good year for extras work.
I don't know what 2015 will bring, but I'm sure looking forward to it... in fact I'm going to "brush up my Shakespeare" (statue).
"Alas poor William... I knew him Horatio
-A man of infinite composite jest!"


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