30 June 2008

YOINK! Oh, I'm sorry. Did you want that job? You're a bit too...male.

Well, here I am in my cave, blogging with a refreshing import brew by my side. Which is odd, since I was supposed to be on set for commercial #7 of '08, extolling the virtues of a certain mass-produced domestic beer, which shall remain nameless, but will heretofore be known as "Pisslyte."

The story begins last weekend, with an unusual Saturday afternoon callback. Normally not a big deal to me as I don't venture far these days, but of course, that's the one weekend I had a plan to get out of town. And at this rate, probably the only vacation I will get until Thanksgiving, if that's a vacation. So I delayed my road trip a full day to make the callback.

Fast-forward to today. I'm on set, after three walk-thru rehearsals, moments away from last looks and getting the establishing shot. That's when a production manager asks me to follow him for a second.

Yeah, that's your first clue that something's amiss. When a set full of half a dozen principals and 8 or 10 extras patiently wait in their places, a guy having you follow him out of the building is a bad thing.

So, it turns out that the big honcho from Pisslyte had just arrived on set. Mr. Big Cheesenuts, fresh off his private jet, takes a look at the lineup of the 3 "hero guys" and thinks.

"Too much penis."

Cheesenuts want girl with boys. Cheesenuts not satisfied with only one girl in spot, so I guess Cheesenuts picked his favorite extra and totally made her day. And home I went.

Not much you can do in that situation. I do take a lot of solace in knowing just how many crew members there I had worked with 2 or 3 times in the last few months. They've seen me do some crazy shit to sell product, they know what I'm all about and we'll have a good laugh about it one day, just as heartily as we laughed about how Verizon doesn't like paying its stunt men. Man, good times! I look forward to Cheesenuts seeing my other spots running later this summer and just knowing he's seen that face somewhere... But chances are, tomorrow morning he won't even remember he commercial-cockblocked me. I, meanwhile, am revising my expected income this year by a good 15-25%. Wonder how Cheesenuts would feel about that kind of a salary adjustment. For the actor, it is another reminder of that saying with the chickens and the hatching and whatnot.

But that's all you can do. Throwing a tantrum, taking it personally, anything other than just taking it gracefully is bad for business and would ruin any goodwill built up between actor, agencies, and crew. And it would make things awkward when it comes time to shoot whatever import/independent brew commercial is waiting for me in the coming weeks. This is the time not for sulking, but for putting my energy to just how amazing it would feel to be hired as the spokesman for any rival import, or good beer. And to make it successful enough to put a nice dent in Pisslyte's quarterly earnings. "Highly motivated actor seeks beverage campaign! Preferably a beverage with flavor, but willing to consider all options..."

In the end, I'll get my session fee for the day, which will pay for my groceries in late July or early August. Unless I have to pay for something else, like the bills that are 2 months late, and then all bets are off. It's phenomenal to have booked this much work this year, but I have needed every single penny of it. July looks bleak, as I will have about $300 after rent is paid. (And a maxed-out credit card.) I have no idea when any more checks are due, and the only reason I will be plus-300 rather than minus-300 is the economic stimulus bribe check which finally arrived. So the next time to feel like ridiculing your waiter/waitress for their acting career, keep in mind that they may very well be consistently working. Acting full-time is an edge of your seat, hold-your-assets journey. Ups and downs are guaranteed, so take it easy on the drinkie.

And don't forget to tip your waitstaff and pay your stunt men!

1 comment:

Matt L. said...

Tough break... another reminder how the powers-that-be often view actors as pawns on a chess board, to move and manipulate without concern.

Hey, I always tip well unless the service is absolutely awful. Anyone who ridicules a waitor/waitress should be smacked around.