Friday, May 23, 2008

This is a crazy business

I got a call from my agent booking me on a job on Long Island. I hadn't auditioned for it. They booked me based on my headshot and resume. She didn't give me much information, just the time and day, the amount I was going to be paid and that the wardrobe stylist would contact me. Fine. That's what agents are great for. Jobs out of the ether.

So, the stylist called, and we agreed that I would bring four different combinations of business casual clothing but I was warned to stay away from green. (TRANSLATION: I'll be working in front of a green screen)

I made a slight stink about not being reimbursed for my travel since I had to take a Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to Islip and then take a cab to the location of the shoot. It's customary to be reimbursed in these situations. But I eventually let the issue slide, thinking, "what the heck. I didn't have to audition, it's basically like I'm doing the job for $50 less than I was originally quoted. Yesterday I didn't even have this job, so I shouldn't blow it over pettiness."

The only train I could take that would allow me to get to the location on time left New York around 7am and got me to Islip about an hour and a half before I needed to be there. But, the next train got in at 8:25, giving me five minutes to be on time to the location. So, I took the earlier train, knowing it was better to sit in a coffee shop with a book for an hour than to be late to a shoot. So, I arrived at Islip and I was a bit worried when I didn't see the fleet of cabs that usually await arriving trains. I walked a couple of blocks to the nearest bagel shop, got a delicious strawberry bagel and called a cab from my cell phone. I waited for that cab for literally 45 minutes and finally made it to the set with no time to spare. In fact, I had to call the producer from the cab to explain why it was 9:30 and I was still en route.

So, I arrive on set and, as anyone in this business knows so well, the WAITING begins. Still I have no idea what I'm going to be doing or saying or what the product is and if its going to be print or video. The producer offered me a glass of water and looked at the clothes I had brought. She chose my outfit and I went and changed. My next step was make-up. I waited about an hour and a half because the two women in the chair in front of me were both very 'high maintenance divas' according to the stylist. Once I got in the chair, my make-up was on in less than ten minutes.

More waiting.

I learned, only by evesdropping, that we were shooting an opening montage for a website. You know, those flash montages that you can click "SKIP THIS INTRO" to get past and right into the main site. I ended up being called to the set around 11:30am. There was a green screen on the set, but I was escorted past that to a desk. I was told my action was to sit at the desk and type on the lap top. The camera was going to pan around from the back of the lap top and across my fingers at the keyboard and then past them. My face wasn't even in the shot. And, except for my shirt cuffs, my wardrobe wasn't in the shot either. I was doing what I like to call a "hand job." So, I typed, the camera man panned and I was done in less time than it took to write this blog. I was wrapped and released. My job that day, earning me a good half months salary, was sitting and clicking on a laptop for about four minutes.

I took another cab and another train and was home in plenty of time to teach my Nia class at 5pm.

Is it me? Or does this just seem insane? I love my job.

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