Hello, Hollywood

14 Nov

I have been MIA for a while because my schedule is currently categorized under Insane.

Besides working with Paul and plans to launch my photography, I recently decided to try acting. I don’t really know why, but it came upon me that it may be fun to do. It would be a new experience with interesting (and strange) people to meet. Plus the extra cash is helpful, especially after paying for my 40D. (I’ll be writing about its arrival soon.)

To begin this goal, I immediately wanted auditions. That’s how I am – jumping right into Hell before testing the surrounding temperature. Paul said no, why not an acting course? Because Muriel, you might really suck at acting. So I enrolled in the first course at the local community college. After a while, I signed up with a background call-in service that was recommended to me by a guy in my class. In one week, the service got me five jobs. FIVE! Two days on a Fox pilot, overtime on CSI Las Vegas, a day on Greek, the friendliest crew with NCIS, and a webisode of Rockville. If you knew how slow the business was right now, you would realize that 5 days of work in a week is stellar.

The cons: Background pay is low (for non-union) and it’s difficult to join SAG, not to mention expensive. The studios and locations are usually far from me. It’s a lot of waiting and boredom and standing and reading and waiting. But, I love it. I love watching the crew set up. I love being a part of their larger project. I love receiving the direction, seeing the actors work, and anticipating the chance of my family seeing me as a blur in the background.

I’ve noticed from my long and informative experience as a background actor, there isn’t any concise information as to what the hell a beginner should expect when they arrive on set. Or how you actually sign up, get a job, join a union (SAG or AFTRA), and possibly become an actor with an agent booking you for auditions. So I’ve asked questions – a lot of questions, and I’ve learned quite a bit. I mostly ask my fellow extras because I’m too new to the scene to approach anyone higher than my pay grade. At least, that’s what it feels like, and you would know what I’m talking about after someone reprimands you for breaking for lunch before the entire crew has gotten their food. This was my first lesson.

There are also unspoken rules of paychecks and “bumps,” which no one will tell you unless you ask, or overhear and then ask. The crew can take advantage of “ignorant” people, but so far, extras have gladly answered my questions, and I try not to act like I’m stealing their chances at stardom.

You spend a lot of time around the same people if you work regularly, so we acknowledge that we’re all in this together. We help each other. And if you come across someone that doesn’t, don’t take it personally. Just kick him in the head and move on. Keep people around you that have positive energy, instead of the life-sucking, complaining mentality that match too many individuals that I won’t name.

So I’ve decided that I’ll put a page up on my blog on all the information I’m gathering. I’m assuming it will help someone who is just searching for some answers. And after some background acting, I’m hoping to become SAG, get auditions, and have even more new and exciting experiences.

But for now, here I am from my most recent job as a CSI (New York) technician! (Taken with my crappy cell phone.)

NY

You may (or may not) see me in Season 5, Episode 13. And hello Gary Sinise, Carmine Giovinazzo, Melina Kanakaredes, Eddie Cahill, and Hill Harper. You seemed like nice people.

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2 Responses to “Hello, Hollywood”

  1. Giyen November 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Just out meeting NaBloPoMo participants and wanted to say howdy!

    Good for you for pursuing the dream!

    Cheers! Giyen
    http://www.baconismyenemy.com

  2. Babsy November 22, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    Wow, that was lucky of you to meet them and actually get in the epi.

    Good Luck! May you have more to come.

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